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Mission Statement

The purpose of Halberstadt Fencers' Club is to promote the coaching and training of recreational and competitive fencers, with particular emphasis on youth and junior development. We seek to carry on the fencing tradition established by founding coach Hans Halberstadt.

Halberstadt Fencers' Club is one of a few permanent fencing facilities in the U.S. and is organized as a non-profit association with the IRS.  Our club is run by a board of directors elected by the membership each year.

The History of HFC

Halberstadt Fencers' Club is the second oldest continuously running fencing club in the country.  it was founded by Hans Halberstadt, a German Olympian, who eventually ended up in San Francisco in 1940 after being rescued from Buchenwald through his fencing connections. The club supported Hans through lessons and classes and equipment sales (this equipment supply would eventually become American Fencers Supply!). 


After Hans' death in 1968, the club members decided to continue the club under his banner.  We have been in four locations in the city, and this, our permanent home, is the only fencer-owned, fencing-dedicated facility in the country.

HFC has produced numerous champions over the years, including four Olympians: Salvatore Giambra, Harriet King, Gay Jacobsen and George Nonomura. Many great fencers have trained here over the years, including the great Helene Mayer, 1928 Olympic Champion and childhood friend of Hans in their native Offenbach. We continue to produce champions.

Many accomplished coaches, past and present have made contributions to our success: 

  •  Michael D'Asaro Sr., former head coach at HFC, SJSU and Olympic sabre coach.

  • Charles Selberg, charismatic former head coach at UC Santa Cruz.

  • Walter Steegmüller, current lead coach of the German fencing federation, and former coach at Heidenheim.

  • Cole Harkness, current coach at Mteam and former head coach at HFC.

  • Greg Massialas, current head coach of Mteam, and Olympic Coach in foil.

  • Robert Handelman, head coach of HFC in the 1970's and developed our thriving junior/youth sabre program.

  • Peter Burchard, former president of USA Fencing, former president of the US Fencing Coaches Association, former head coach at HFC in the 1980's, current head coach at North Bay Fencing Academy, and current lead foil coach at HFC.


The club has had champions at many levels, including veterans, seniors, junior and youth fencers. There have been individual and team National champions. Many scholar athletes pass through the club each year, including fencers who eventually have gone to Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Penn, Columbia, NYU, Saint John's, Notre Dame, Penn State, Wayne State, Ohio State, Northwestern, Cornell, UCSD, and Haverford.  

Halberstadt is truly a home of champions and a cradle of the fencing community.

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