Maitre d’Armes Michael A. O’Brien

Michael A O’Brien
Maitre D’Armes

The namesake of our club, Michael O’Brien has a long and distinguished career in Fencing as both a competitor and coach.


1927 Born Nambour, Queensland, Australia. Educated At St. Columbus College, Albion, Brisbane.
1943 Joined the U.S. Merchant Marines. Served on U.S. Liberty ships carrying ammunition, troops and supplies throughout the various Pacific campaigns.
1945 Served on The Albert A. Robinson, one of the first vessels to enter Nagasaki only days after the war ended and less than two weeks after the Atomic bomb was dropped.
1946 Served on the Bardestown Victory repatriating German prisoners of war from New York to Bremerhaven.
1948 Returned to Australia, commenced competitive fencing
1951 Queensland Champion – Epee, 2nd Foil
Australian Finalist – Foil, Epee
1952 Selected for Helsinki Olympics. Omitted from team in London and officials queried amateur status. Reinstated after Olympics and pursued Fencing Master’s Diploma.
1954 Awarded the Brevet of Maitre d’Armes from the British Academy of Fencing. Also sabre semi-finalist World Summer Games in Buda-Peste.
1955 Competed for “Cercle Hoche” Paris in the “Spinosi Bourbon”. A 5 man team event: 2 foilists – Claude Bancilhon, Adrian Rommel, 2 Epeeists – Claude Neter, Roger Crosnier, 1 Sabreur – Michael A. O’Brien.
Winner “Challenge Bruner” Paris.
1955 Won the Australian Sabre Title, 2nd in Foil. Turned professional, won Queensland Open Foil and Sabre titles. Winner of the inaugural & last national amateur professional championships in both foil and Sabre. 1st – Mtr. Michael O’Brien. 2nd – Gerald Michael Sichel. Equal 3rd Laurie Smith and Ivan Lund.The Epee event was not held.
1956 Coach of the Australian Olympic Foil team, Melbourne. Australia took Hungary (the current World Champions Team) to an 8 all draw. Australia lost on indicators – the match results were: Michael Sitchel 3 wins, Brian Mc Cowage 3 wins, Tom Cross 2 wins, David McKenzie 0 wins.
Introduced Fencing into Melbourne schools – standardized instruction throughout all Australian States excepting New South Wales.
Was appointed Coach to the Melbourne University Fencing Club.
1960 Co-founder of the professional body in Australia:- The Australian Academy of Fencing.
The president was Charles Stanmore, Secretary – Jock Gibson, Technical Director – Michael A. O’Brien, Overseas Representitive – John E. Feathers and Patron – Roger Crosnier.
1962 Coached the English Fencing team at the Commonwealth Games in Perth.
1964 Introduced Fencing into Monash University, Melbourne.
Left both Monash and Melbourne Universities in 1968 to coach overseas.
1968 Coached in the Tampa Bay area, Florida, after attending the Olympic Games, Mexico City.
1970 Coach of the Australian Commonwealth Games team in Edinburgh.
1974 Regional Coach for the four Western Provinces of Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba) stationed in Edmonton, Alberta. Appointed Coach to the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
1975 Coach to Australian Junior team members at Mexico City for World Junior Championships.
1976 Coach to Canadian team, World Junior Championships, Poznan Poland.
Montreal Olympics Coach to pupil Greg Benko – 1st Australian Olympic Finalist. Greg came 6th.
Returned to Melbourne as State Director of Coaching for the Victorian Amateur Fencing Association.
1978 Coach to Australian Commonwealth team – Glasgow and subsequent World Championships – Hamburg, Germany.
1979 Coach Australian Team (Foil) World Championships – Melbourne.
1981 Australian Team World Championships – Clement Ferrand, France.
Graduate Diploma in Sports Coaching Sciences from Rusden College, Melbourne
National Development Director for the Australian Amateur Fencing Federation.
1985 Requested by the AAFF to draft and submit a syllabus for Level 2 and Level 3 coaching. This was accepted by Laurie Woodman of the National Coaching Accreditation for Sport.
1988 Returned to Queensland to “semi-retirement”.
1991 Coach to the Qld Pentathlon team.
1993 Coach to Australian National Pentathlon Team to Santiago Chile.
1999 Award from the British Olympic Association in recognition of services rendered at the Gold Coast preparation for their Olympic quest.
2000 Awarded the Australia Sports Medal for contribution to FencingMade Life Member of the Australian Fencing Federation in recognition of a life time contribution to the sport.Made Life Member of the Qld Amateur Fencing Association for contributions to fencing.Volunteer Official at the Sydney Olympic Games fencing events.Appointed Fencing Master at Bond University, Robina Gold Coast.
2001 Participated in the restoration of the Australian Academy of Fencing; the governing body, guild and union of Australian Professional Coaches and Masters.
2005 Attended World Championships – Leipzig
2006 Attended World Championships – Turin
 2011  Appointed Fencing Coach to Modern Pentathlon Queensland



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