In 2003, Harry Rulnick saw an article about a local fencing club in the Fayetteville Observer. At the time, the All-American Fencing Academy was the Cumberland County Fencing Club at Pine Forest Recreation Center.

After seeing the article, Rulnick wrote to the head coach, Gerhard Guevarra, explaining he had fenced at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill from 1942 to 1943. He was happy to see fencing was available in Fayetteville and that he wanted to donate $100 to purchase any equipment the fencing club might need.

Rulnick, who also served in the Navy, returned to Fayetteville after World War II, and became a certified public accountant. He passed away in 2009.

In 2006, the Annual Harry Rulnick Open started. Rulnick came out to visit one of the tournaments and remarked, “Epee fencing looks very different from when I was fencing, I don’t know how they hit anything moving around so much.”

This year marks the 12th Annual Harry Rulnick Tournament.

Over the weekend, in the beginner youth event, former All-American Fencing Academy fencer, James Russell took first. Russell now fences at Cape Fear Fencing Association in Wilmington, North Carolina. All-American Fencing Academy fencers, Marlon Borges and Aubrey Aponte, took second and third, respectively. This was Borges’ first tournament after completing his first month of classes.

In the advanced youth event, Jacob Wechsler of Fencer’s Club in New York took first. Isabelle Guevarra of the All-American Fencing Academy placed third, defeating teammate Daniel Johnson, 5-4, in a tight match during pools. Johnson was previously able to defeat Isabelle in last month’s tournament when Johnson took first; they have been consistently improving.

In the men’s foil event, Alex Sichitiu of Research Triangle Fencing took first while All-American fencers rounded out second and third place.

In the women’s foil event, Tia Brown and Sabrina Krupenko represented the All-American Fencing Academy against fencers from Apex, Winston Salem, Durham and Clemmons, North Carolina. Krupenko took only one loss in the pools against Victoria Schmidt from Research Triangle Fencing.

Krupenko met Schmidt again in the finals, where Krupenko was first seed and Schmidt was second seed. The two fencers stayed neck and neck in the first round, but Krupenko started to pull away with a small lead in the second round.

Krupenko and Schmidt entered the final round with Krupenko needing only one more score to win. Krupenko finished the bout, winning 15-9.

Sabrina Krupenko had been fighting to earn her national “E” rating in fencing in several tournaments only to miss it by a few touches. Her hard work paid off with a great win against an entire pool of difficult fencers.

 

A Growing Sport and a Growing Club

The sport of fencing is growing worldwide. In a historically European-dominated sport, U.S. teams have consistently been in the top places on the world stage for several years.

In the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, fencing, for the first time, will have a full medal count. There will be six individual medals and six team medals in the next Olympics.

The All-American Fencing Academy hosts a walk-in class for fencers that want to give it a try without making a full month commitment. The classes occur during downtown Fayetteville’s Fourth Friday events.

About the All-American Fencing Academy

The All-American Fencing Academy is located in downtown Fayetteville at 207 B Donaldson St. It instructs and trains recreational and competitive fencers from ages 7 to adult. Its fencers compete regionally and nationally. Their coaches include former World Cup and NCAA fencers.

For more information about the All-American Fencing Academy and its classes, please call (910) 644-0137, e-mail info@allamericanfencing.com or visit www.allamericanfencing.com.