Mark Headley

Mark Headley, Executive Director

Mark was brought up in Berkeley and fell in love with fencing while attending UCSC in the late 70's. He spent the next 13 years training with Maestro Charles Selberg and fencing competitively in the United States. He was a nationally ranked foil fencer in the late 80's and early 90's and was a member of the US National Squad which includes the top 24 competitors in each weapon. He represented the now defunct Letterman Fencers Club of SF throughout his competitive career and trained with numerous fencing coaches and Masters. Mark remained a life long friend of Charles Selberg and spent the last few years designing the concept of the West Berkeley Fencing Club with him. In 1992, Mark retired from fencing to move to Hong Kong and pursue a career in Asian asset management that has left him as Chairman of Matthews International Capital Management.


Cole Harkness, Fencing Master

Cole began fencing in 1980 at Salle DeCesare in San Jose, CA. He was a varsity team member at San Jose State University from 1983-1985 under Maestro Michael D'Asaro. He has also been a Pacific Coast Championship finalist three times, as well as a member of the 1992 Bronze-medal National Championship men's foil team. He was USFCA Master & Prevot Champion in foil twice and medaled in epee sand sabre. He was an "A"-rated foilist for 10 years.

He is a certified Fencing Master (USFCA, IAA) and he successfully completed the A-Trainer coaching course at Tauberbischofsheim, Germany.  His students have been finalists in International, National, Sectional, Divisional competitions in foil and epee. He was Head Coach of Halberstadt Fencers Club in San Francisco from 1990 to 1994.  He currently serves on the Certification/Accreditation Board of the USFCA (United States Fencing Coaches Association) which develops training and testing curricula for US fencing coaches.

In 2007 he returned to full-time coaching when he joined the M-Team under Head Coach Mt. Greg Massialas.   The M-Team uses a system developed by Mt. Massialas and is taught in a collegial fashion with the students working with each of the coaches.  The M-Team has been the most successful men's foil program in the United States and one of the top programs in the world, capturing World Championship titles in Cadet Foil individual twice, Junior World team twice and top 16 finishes in both 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

David Sinkkonen, Director/Coach

David began fencing in 1976 and was enthralled with this unique sport immediately.  By 1979 he was competing in both Junior and Senior events Nationally. David is a 4 time Junior Olympian and a Pacific Coast and Northern California Champion in Foil (by team) and fenced successfully on the North American Circuit before retiring due to injury.

Returning to completive fencing in the 2000’s. David won multiple PCS (Pacific Coast Section) titles and became one of the top ranked Veteran Foil Fencers in the Bay Cup.  As a competitor David received coaching and training from Olympic and World Champions Eduardo Mangiarotti (Italy) Ion Drimba (Romania) and Michael D'Asaro Sr. (Los Angeles)

He began his coaching career in 2010 and has taught fencing for the Mill Valley Parks and Recreation Department, The Marin Fencing Academy and currently runs the fencing program for the City of Piedmont.

David is a Prévôt de Fleuret and certified by the United States Fencing Coaches Association, a Professional Member of USA Fencing and certified internationally by the Académie d'Armes Internationale.

doug nichols

Doug Nichols, Executive Director of West Coast Fencing Archive

Doug began fencing at Cabrillo College in 1977 under the tutelage of Len Carnighan. Transferring to San Jose State in 1979, he trained under Olympian and Olympic team coach Michael D’Asaro. In all, Doug trained with Maestro D’Asaro for 13 years. At SJSU, Doug won the Western Regionals NCAA qualifier and was an NCAA championships finalist in 1981. A three weapon fencer, he was an A rated foilist and a member of the gold medal-winning Pacific Coast Championship foil team from The Fencing Center in 1985. After graduation, he coached at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA before beginning a 25 year career in animated films, working for Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks and Lucasfilm. He has returned to the sport as a co-manager of WBFC, as well as serving as Executive Director of the West Coast Fencing Archive.


Ryan Arieta, Coach

Ryan started fencing over ten years ago after spending several years competing in various sports in the Bay Area. Since his first class with George Platt at George Platt’s Swordplay he has an incredible passion for the sport. Since then, Ryan has also trained with Steve Baker, Cole Harkness, Remy Delhomme, and Michael Marx.

His competitive career has gone from the local level all the way to the international level at Satellite competitions. First competing in Youth 14 events in the Bay Area to his first ever flight to the Junior Olympics in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Then to training in New York, Boston, the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Thailand, The Netherlands, and France to competing in Switzerland, Finland, and Croatia.

Ryan has been coaching and teaching all three weapons for several years at West Berkeley Fencing Club, GPS, and various schools and recreation centers in the East Bay. His students have also competed up to the international level including the Cadet International Circuit, and the Cadet and Junior World Championships.


Dennis Thomas, Club Manager

Dennis studied Economics at UC Davis and started fencing in 2013.  His first tournament was a Reno 2015 NAC event and has since competed in local foil and epee bay cup events.  He's fallen in love with fencing because it demands the footwork preparation of tennis and the mental acuity of batting in baseball.

He's eager to bout with new, returning, and visting fencers alike.