Michael was introduced to the art of fencing in Odessa, Ukraine at the age of 11. His older brother Boris – a three time champion of the former Soviet Union, now the head coach of US junior epee – was Michael’s role model as he was growing up. It didn’t take long for the youngster to follow in the ways of his older sibling – he claimed number ONE in Ukraine. He competed well in junior as well as open National tournaments all over former USSR. Michael Vaksman was fortunate to train with world famous Olympic champions and their coaches such as Joseph Vitebsky, Vitaly Zakharov, Arkady Burdan, Alexander Goppe, Yuri Velinsky, and many more. He studied foil first, then epee and saber. His favorite has always been the epee.
The Vaksman family immigrated to the United States via Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Italy and finally New York in 1989. Michael helped develop Staten Island Fencing club with coach Stephan Khinoy. He taught sabre at Newark Catholic School, and took to the team to be the top in New Jersey. Michael’s brother, Boris, still lives and teaches in Long Island. To this day the brothers fence each other whenever they get together. Their bouts are indescribable; they are like two wolves going against each other attacking and counter attacking. Michael’s nephew, Stanley Vaksman, also made himself known on the fencing circuit. He was a number one junior and now is competing all around the world while attending St. John University on a full scholarship.