Name of AAPI FigureFritz Chang
What is the person’s Asian heritage or ethnicity?Chinese American
Area of InfluenceAthlete – Fencing
Date of birth or time periodLate 1930s
How did this individual make a contribution to their field or to society/culture at large?My grandfather, Fritz Chang, is one of the most accomplished Asian American fencers in the world. An immigrant from Hong Kong in the 1950s, he eventually made his way to New York City with his entire family. Fritz attended Queens College in NYC. After graduating he obtained a Master’s Degree in Chemistry and a PhD. in Physics from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. During his time in college he picked up the sport of fencing. After college, he married and settled in Massachusetts. Here, he had three kids, each of them picking up fencing, following in their dad’s footsteps. His kids went on to make the U.S. World Teams for each of their respective weapons and one of them was part of the US Olympic Team for Foil Fencing in 2004. Meanwhile, Fritz still kept up with the sport. He began to teach fencing to kids around the Boston Area after his retirement from the FBI. Prior to teaching fencing he also taught Mandarin, Mathematics, and Physics. Since 2008, Fritz has represented the U.S. three times at the Veterans Fencing World Championships, winning a bronze medal in Foil at the 2009 Veterans Fencing World Championships in Moscow, Russia. He was also the assistant coach for Wellesley College for several years. He currently teaches and coaches at New England Movement Arts in Burlington, MA. He is currently still an active competitive fencer in the Veterans category and will most likely participate in competitions when it is safe to do so post-pandemic. Before his arrival in the U.S., there were few Asian American fencers in the USA fencing scene. Today, the sport is championed by many Asian American fencers and families.
How does this person inspire you?I chose my grandfather, Fritz Chang, because he has directly influenced me. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have Fencing as a passion. Fencing makes up a lot of my life. It is the topic that brings our family together. I’m inspired to become and accomplish things similar to what my grandfather has done. To me, Fencing is not just a sport, it is a journey. Without him, I wouldn’t have ever been on this journey. I owe a lot of thanks to my grandfather, as he has done so much and always been there for my fencing career, as well as all his other students.
Resources to share if others want to learn more (optional)–list websites, books, or other resources you used to learn about the personHere is a link to an article about Three Generations of Chang Fencers from the USA Fencing website which was also published in their monthly magazine:
Submitted byKaiden Semapakdi-Chang (13) & Meilina Semapakdi-Chang (11)
City, StateLexington, MA