Maitre Michel Alaux (1924–1974) was a French-American world-renowned fencing master, Hall of Fame Olympic coach, key figure in developing official US fencing standards, and author. He was hailed as a "genius" in his field for his holistic approach. Historically, he bridged classical and modern Olympic fencing, approaching the sport as an art and science. He is credited with fusing, through his teaching and writing, nationally originated techniques into an international style.
He graduated from the rigorous military college, le Fort Carre d'Antibes, in 1947, and immediately established himself in his club, L'Association Jean Louis in Montpellier, France. There, he trained a number of foil and épée champions, the most illustrious being Christian D'Oriola, the greatest French foil fencer of all times, named Fencer of the 20th Century by the FIE, International Fencing Federation.
At the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Christian d'Oriola won two Gold medals for Individual and Team foil, spectacularly winning all ten bouts in the Team events. The French national press Le Monde and Le Figaro congratulated Maitre Alaux, noting the affinity and friendship between student and teacher, both in their twenties- four years apart.
Michel Alaux was awarded two Medals of Honor by the French Government's Ministry of Sports in recognition of his contribution to fencing: Bronze, in 1949, for the World Championships, followed by Gold, in 1952, for the Helsinki Olympics.
In 1956, Michel Alaux was invited to the US by the NY Fencers Club . He served three times as US Fencing Olympic coach: 1964 Summer Olympics, Tokyo; 1968 Summer Olympics, Mexico City; 1972 Summer Olympics, Munich; and several times US Nationals, Pan American, and World Championship coach. He remained head fencing master of the NY Fencers Club until his death in 1974, at the age of fifty.
In the course of his US fencing career, Michel Alaux played a key role in developing American fencing official standards and professional requirements. He chaired the 1962–63 U.S. Committee which developed A Text for Defining Fencing Terms. He chaired and directed the committee which devised the official examination for the first professional diploma of Fencing Master in the US (1965).
A passionate exponent of fencing, and seen as a glamorous figure by the media, he served as fencing consultant to TV, newspapers & magazines.
He was a contributor to US, UK, and French fencing journals. He is the author of Modern Fencing (Charles Scribner's Sons New York. 1975. ISBN 0684141167).
For his contributions to sports education and culture, he was inducted into l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques in 1962.
Following his death in 1974, twelve annual US Grand Open competitions (1975–1987) were named after him: the Michel Alaux Grand Open was a three-day international event "considered essentially the same as the Nationals". He was inducted into the US Fencing Hall of Fame in 2006.