Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Stro: The Michael D’asaro Story

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    43,876

    Stro: The Michael D’asaro Story

    My good friend Greg Lynch Jr. is working on his second full length documentary - STRO - which is about my former fencing coach, the late great Maestro Michael D'Asaro. Greg heads Bad Ass Bunny Productions and has produced many of the videos on our YouTube channel. His previous documentary is also on a famous fencing master, the late great Maestro George Pillar, the award-winning doc The Last Captain.

    Greg made this little vid last month, just for fun, for the many fencing notables that he has interviewed for STRO. While I'm not a notable fencer by any stretch of the imagination, I do hold a Provost Masters degree in fencing and so he interviewed me too, for contrast perhaps.I appear in this at 17 sec, but it's super quick. If you know the world of fencing, there are some really famous fencers and masters appearing in this, and I'm really honored to stand among them, and excited to see my old Master showcased in this.



    THREADS
    Stro
    Fencing
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    43,876

    Stro: When Vinnie met Michael

    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    43,876

    Stro: The Snake Story



    THREADS
    Stro
    Fencing
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    43,876

    Please like & follow STRO: THE MICHAEL D’ASARO STORY

    Please like & follow STRO: THE MICHAEL D’ASARO STORY:
    http://strothemovie.com
    http://facebook.com/StrotheMovie
    https://twitter.com/StroTheMovie
    https://instagram.com/strothemovie
    Michael D’Asaro was my fencing coach. This indie documentary is applying to film festivals & can use your support. I have a cameo.



    THREADS
    Stro
    Fencing
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    43,876

    Stro: Tracheotomy



    THREADS
    Stro
    Fencing
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    43,876

    Stro: Nell Diamond



    THREADS
    Stro
    Fencing
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    43,876

    Stro: Colonel Brownlee



    THREADS
    Stro
    Fencing
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    43,876

    Burbank International Film Festival

    STRO: THE MICHAEL D'ASARO STORY
    FILMS, SUNDAY | FORIEGN FILMS & DOCUMENTARIES
    1H 27MIN



    Already purchased a pass? Login
    Available on 9/13/2020

    Michael D'Asaro taught about life through the medium of fencing

    Micheal D'Asaro lived a life completely intertwined with the sport of fencing. It provided an avenue for him to escape the poverty of Brooklyn's Redhook district through a fencing scholarship to NYU. He became one of the dominant fencers of his era after coming under the tutelage of a fierce Hungarian Instructor by the name of Csaba Elthes. He made a name for himself internationally as well, fencing against the greats like Nazlimov and Pawlowsky. But D'Asaro always marched to his own beat which brought him into conflict with the governing body of American Fencers. He left the sport as a competitor when he wouldn't compromise to suit what he consider old fashioned codes of behavior. He returned to the sport as a coach in San Francisco purely by happenstance when he was hired to be the new head coach at the Halberstadt Fencer's Club. The only problem was, he had never been formally taught how to coach fencing. But, he taught himself to coach, quickly excelling to the top ranks of United States coaches. He was hired to coach National and International Teams. He achieved his greatest success at San Jose State where he directed the women's foil team to five straight national championships. His San Jose State students formed the basis for several Olympic Squads in the seventies and eighties He cut his college career as a coach short in the mid 1980s. He was burnt out and tired of the college politics. He moved first to Oregon where he opened his own salle, but that only lasted a short while. Ultimately, he moved to Los Angeles where he continued to teach fencing. He passed away in 2001 from an inoperable brain tumor. D'Asaro left an indelible impression on all the people he met. The lessons he passed on are still used today by his students, in fencing as well as in life.
    THREADS
    Stro
    Fencing
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    43,876

    Our newest interview - Free from KungFuMagazine.com

    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    43,876

    Boston Film Festival Q&A




    THREADS
    Stro
    Fencing
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    43,876

    Local coverage

    'Stro': The story of the world-class SF athlete who tripped with Jerry Garcia
    Photo of Dan Gentile
    Dan Gentile
    SFGATE
    Nov. 9, 2020
    Updated: Nov. 9, 2020 4 a.m.


    Jerry Goldstein Cadillac with Michael D'Asaro on the hood in front of Halberstadt Fencer’s Club, at the original location on Fillmore Street.
    Courtesy of Greg Lynch

    For most athletes, getting a haircut would be a small price to pay for a trip to the Olympics. But very few athletes cared about their hair, and personal freedom, as much as Michael D’Asaro.

    At one point in the 1960s, D’Asaro was perhaps the greatest living American fencer, able to defeat international opponents in all three of the sport's major disciplines (sabre, epee, and foil), an unheard-of achievement that is essentially the football equivalent of playing on offense, defense and special teams. In the fencing world, just like in basketball, everybody wanted to “be like Mike.”

    When D’Asaro didn’t have a sword in his hand, he was typically holding a joint instead, indulging in everything San Francisco’s hippie revolution had to offer. He grew a mane like a hippie lion, and when the Olympic committee demanded he trim it in order to join the 1968 fencing team, Greg Lynch, director of the new documentary “Stro: The Michael D’Asaro Story” (screening online this week), says that D'Asaro wasn’t willing to conform.

    “He said, ‘No, I don’t think so.’ Or he said, ‘Why don’t you go f—k yourself,’” recounts Lynch.


    Michael D’Asaro in Los Angeles in the 1990s, back to his hippie days.
    Courtesy of Greg Lynch

    The film, screening this week online through the Ojai Film Festival and Mescalito Biopic Fest, features D’Asaro’s former teammates, students and rivals speaking about his monumental influence on the sport, from his professional career to his latter days as a coach.

    Before D’Asaro found himself in San Francisco, his biggest influence came from Hungary. Already an exceptional collegiate talent, D’Asaro came into his own after he began training in 1958 with Hungarian maestro Csaba Elthes (“the dean of American sabre fencing”) from whom he learned a smoother, more fluid style that disrupted the typical rhythm of a match. It led him to big wins, including a fourth place finish on Team USA in the 1960 Rome Olympics, plus a gold medal at the national championships in 1962. Although he was still unknown in the U.S., he became a minor celebrity in Europe, where fencing was a popular enough sport that there were TV networks dedicated to it.

    “They thought of him as the Jesus of fencing,” says Lynch. “They’d go after him for autographs. I think he had security since he was so popular.”

    At that point in his career, D’Asaro had yet to grow out his signature long hair but had already started indulging in substances, most notably during a match in Warsaw. Due to a horrible hangover, he was seeing double, but when his coach told him to aim for the opponent in the middle, he won the match.

    In the documentary, Andy Shaw from the Museum of American Fencing expressed the level of his exceptional talent. “Michael can be asleep and drunk, and still beat anyone in the world,” says Shaw.


    Classic lunge by Michael D’Asaro on the left. A textbook lunge.
    Courtesy of Greg Lynch

    After a few years competing on the international circuit and a brief period working in the advertising industry, D’Asaro made his way to San Francisco. He qualified for the 1968 Olympics, but after refusing to cut his hair, he temporarily dropped out of the fencing circuit, opting instead to spend his days listening to concerts at Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park and working at the corner of Haight Street and Ashbury selling copies of the Berkeley Barb newspaper for a quarter.

    When an instructor at the Halberstadt Fencing Club on Fillmore Street learned that D’Asaro lived in San Francisco, he was recruited as a coach. It began a second phase of his career, in which he was one of the most in-demand and unconventional fencing instructors in the world and returned to professional competitions. He became known as "Stro," short for maestro, the traditional term of fencing coach. During his years in San Francisco, he was a cross between a tyrant and spiritual advisor, assigning rigorous training exercises but also handing out bags of mushrooms for students to experiment with outside the gym.

    “Michael was a very spiritual guy. As people in the film point out, he was their guru, and he was charting paths to new realms. And the drugs unlocked a lot of things to help him get to those places …” says Lynch. “To make a bad joke, it was a two-edged sword for Michael. It helped him, he enjoyed it, but it was kind of his downfall as well.”


    Michael D’Asaro standing in the center in the back at the Halberstadt fencing club. Three-time national foil champion Harriet King is demonstrating the lunge. She won two championships under D’Asaro’s coaching.
    Courtesy of Greg Lynch

    Although D'Asaro's methods were strange, they worked, with several of his students earning places on the U.S. Olympic Team. After leaving Halberstadt, he went on to teach at San Jose State, where he led the women’s fencing program with the same rigor. He then married one of his students and retreated to a remote home in the woods in Oregon, but his spirit never really left San Francisco, and he had trouble settling into a calmer life, eventually leading to the end of his marriage. He struggled with colon cancer and a brain tumor that affected his coordination to the point where he could barely walk, but he remained teaching until his final days.

    In December of 2000, he died of a brain aneurysm, but his legacy has been cemented in the fencing world as one of the greatest to ever hold a sabre.
    THREADS
    Stro
    Fencing
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    43,876

    Stro: Weapons Control



    THREADS
    Stro
    Fencing
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    43,876

    Stro: The Michael D’asaro Story is now available on Amazon Prime

    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    43,876

    Amazon Prime Watch Party

    Amazon Prime Watch Party

    Join directors Greg Lynch and Doug Nichols for the Amazon Prime watch party of their film Stro: The Michael D’Asaro Story on May 1. Stro: TMDS is the story of renowned saber fencer and coach Michael D’Asaro. Stro: The Michael D’Asaro Story recounts D’Asaro’s life story as he goes from dangerous gang member to internationally renowned saber fencer to hippy experiencing the summer of love to coach of the 5 time NCAA champion San Jose State Women’s Fencing team.



    On May 1 at 6pm, Doug and Greg will host an Amazon Watch Party for the movie on Amazon Prime. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can join in for free. The film runs for 90 minutes. During the film, there is a chat feature you can use to ask questions of Doug and Greg. The watch party is limited by Amazon to 100 people. Also, the Amazon Prime Watch Party feature does not work on Apple’s Safari Browser. You will have to use Google Chrome or Firefox to participate in the Watch Party.

    Amazon does not let you schedule a watch party in advance so on Saturday May 1 at 5:45 pm, the link to the watch party will be shared on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/StroTheMovie and Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/strothemovie First come, first served. We can also email the link to you at that time if you contact us in advance.

    Even if you don’t get into the Amazon Prime Watch party, you can still watch the movie at the same time and then join Doug and Greg for a Question and Answer session on Zoom. All are welcome to attend. The Zoom Q & A session starts at 7:45 and runs for approximately 60 minutes .

    To get the Zoom log-in information please email Greg at gregwcfa@gmail.com or Doug at doug@westcoastfencingarchive.com

    We hope to see you there.

    Please note: As much we would like everyone to see the film, the themes and language are quite frank and we did not censor anyone’s speech during the making of the film. Although Stro: The Michael D’Asaro Story is unrated, it would probably get an R rating if the film went before the ratings board.

    See you all on May 1
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •