While it's not exactly clear when the Northern California Division was originally recognized by USA Fencing (then, AFLA), it has been around for many years, at least since the 1920s.

Because of the year-round nice climate and energetic atmosphere of the cosmopolitan San Francisco, the Northern California Division drew many top foreign fencers to the Bay Area. These include George Piller, an Olympic gold medalist (1932) sabre fencer from Hungary; Helene Mayer, Olympic silver medalist 1936) and many time world champion women foilist; and Hans Halberstadt, world renown fencing master.

Hans Halberstadt founded the Halberstadt Fencers Club in the 1950s. Piller was the fencing master at the Pannonia Athletic Club. Other notable fencing masters to have started or worked in San Francisco include Charles Selberg, Dr. William O'Brien, Michael D'Asaro, Ferenc Marki, and Marcos Lucchetti. Now, fencers in the Bay Area can obtain lessons and coaching from among a new crop of younger, energetic coaches and masters, including:

  • Michael Pacheco from the Sonoma Fencing Academy
  • Stuart Kaufman from the Marin Fencing Academy
  • Mike Pederson and Paul Soter from the Golden Gate Fencing Center
  • Peter Ignatov, Peter Burchard, and Cole Harkness from Halberstadt Fencers Club
  • Greg Massialas from the Massialas Fencing Foundation at Halberstadt
  • George Platt from Swordplay Fencing Academy
  • Abdul Habek from East Bay Fencers' Gym
  • Harold Hayes from Pacific Fencing Club
  • Will Brown from Fremont Fencers

The list is of course not exhaustive, as there are many other prevôts, moniteurs, and just plain coaches who provide instruction, lessons, classes, and other activities related to fencing.

The product of these great coaches left a long legacy in the annals of USA Fencing. Here is a short list of some notable fencers in recent Northern California Division history:

The 1970s

  • Heik Hambarzumian, Men's Foil
  • Gay Jacobsen, Women's Foil
  • Wayne Johnson, Men's Epee Foil

The 1980s

  • Heik Hambarzumian, Men's Foil
  • George Nonomura, Men's Foil
  • Peter Burchard, Men's Foil
  • Greg Massialas, Men's Foil
  • Dean Hinton, Men's Foil
  • Paul Soter, Men's Epee
  • Connie Louie-Handleman, Women's Foil
  • Robert Cox, Men's Epee
  • Craig Cummings, Men's Epee
  • Bruce Jugan, Men's Epee
  • Don Blayney, Men's Foil
  • Kevin Small, Men's Sabre
  • Steve Boides, Men's Sabre

The 1990s

  • Peter Burchard, Men's Foil
  • Greg Massialas, Men's Foil
  • Cole Harkness, Men's Foil
  • Tris Thompson, Men's Epee
  • Peter Skilman, Men's Epee
  • Laurel Skilman, Women's Epee
  • Lisa Erdos, Women's Epee
  • Jennifer Tondu, Women's Foil
  • Olga Chernyak, Women's Foil
  • Carlo Bello, Men's Foil
  • Leo Bello, Men's Foil
  • Sergio Bello, Men's Foil
  • Carlos DeMorelos, Men's Foil
  • Ken Chilton, Men's Foil
  • Derek Cotton, Men's Foil
  • Peter Grandbois, Men's Foil
  • Tom Thleveris, Men's Foil
  • Eric Hansen, Men's Epee
  • Chloe Stinetorf, Women's Foil
  • Janel Obenchain, Women's Epee
  • Alejandro Castillo, Men's Epee
  • Mark Pohl, Men's Epee
  • Karen Ladenheim, Women's Foil
  • Benn Herrera, Men's Foil
  • Eric Dew, Men's Foil
  • Gerald Cheng, Men's Foil
  • Raul Pomares, Men's Foil
  • The Halberstadt Women's Foil Team - with 7 straight Pacific Coast Champions hips 

THE 2000s

  • Doris Willette, Women's Foil
  • Ali Glasser, Women's Foil
  • Eric Hansen, Men's Epee
  • Alex Wood, Men's Foil
  • Jerry DeRaad, Men's Foil
  • Gerek Meinhardt, Men's Foil

THE 2010S

  • Alexander Massialas, Men's Foil
  • Gerek Meinhardt, Men's Foil
  • Katarzyna Trzopek, Women's Epee
  • Sabrina Massialas, Women's Foil
  • Keith Lichten, Men's Epee

The list continues to grow with every passing year...

Without a doubt, many prominent national and international fencers have passed through the Golden Gate into the Bay Area, making it either their permanent home or a long-term stay during their productive fencing period.