Karen Ladenheim – Head Coach
Karen has been a competitive fencer for three decades. She started at age 13 in New Jersey with Maestro John Geraci. In high school, she fenced at Montclair Kimberly Academy where she was the New Jersey High School Champion in her senior year. At Temple University in Philadelphia, she trained with Niki Franke who is considered to be the most outstanding coach in women’s collegiate fencing. Karen attributes much of her coaching style to Niki, who taught Karen the importance of dedication and teamwork.

In 1990, Karen moved to San Francisco where she fenced at Letterman Fencer’s Club. She practiced with some of the best men’s foil fencers of the time: Heik Hambarzumian, Dean Hinton, and Greg Massialas. Karen started fencing at Halberstadt Fencer’s Club were she earned numerous medals both individually and for the Halberstadt Women’s foil Team. In 1998, she began coaching youngsters and also served as a member of the Halberstadt Board of Trustees.

Karen attributes her success as a coach to her knowledge of child development. She has a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Masters Degree in Education. A school teacher for 13 years, Karen understands children. With a passion for both fencing and education, Karen’s goal is to pass her knowledge of fencing onto her students, not only to develop great athletes, but to instill a love of that lasts a lifetime.

Career Results

  • New Jersey State High School Women’s Foil Champion 1985
  • 1st Place Gold Pacific Coast Champion Women’s individual foil 1996, 1997
  • 1st place Gold Div 1 Women’s Foil Team Champions 1997
  • 1st place Gold Pacific Coast Champion Women’s Foil Team 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001
  • Silver USA National Championship Division 1 Women’s Foil Team 1998
  • Silver USA Summer National Veteran 40 Women’s Individual Foil 2008


Darwin Martos – Foil Coach Competitive Program
Darwin has competed, and excelled in various sports before he was exposed to fencing. He was captivated by the uniqueness, individual effort, intensity, speed, and cunning of the sport. Darwin started lessons with Joe Manzano at Halberstadt in 1996, and immediately, he knew fencing would be his sport to master! He started competing the same year where he earned his “B 1998″ Foil rating in only 2 seasons. Fencing in the Division I Men’s foil category, Darwin was sidelined by injury, and had to take a break from competitive fencing. He then focused on coaching at Sport Fencing Center, where he has developed young fencers, several of which are nationally ranked.

Darwin is certified by United States Fencing Association as a Foil Coach, and was trained by many high level fencing coaches such as Michael Marx, Ed Richards, Andrea Lagan, and Alex Beguinet at the United States Olympic Training Center Colorado Springs. He is well trained in the physical, technical, and mental aspects of fencing. Darwin inspires his students with his positive and youthful attitude, understanding, work ethic, and passion for the sport of fencing.

After a long break from competitive fencing, Darwin has finally made his way back in 2011 in the Veteran Men’s Foil category where he has re-earned his “B 2013″ Foil rating. He is currently ranked nationally in the top 8 in the Veteran’s 40 Men’s Foil category.

6922 Stockton Avenue El Cerrito CA 94530 | Phone: 510-528-5110 | Email: