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Annual Tournaments

Monthly Tournaments at the All-American Fencing Academy

Previously, at the All-American Fencing Academy, Coach Gerhard would come up with a theme for the name of the tournaments of the season, with the exception of the annual Harry Rulnick Tournament.

Some previous themes have been:
NPR Shows:  All Things Considered Open, It’s Been a Minute Open, Wait Wait Intramural
How Friends Shows were named: The One With the Manuel Parking, The One With the Diapers on the Window Sill, The One With the Dead Squirrel
Bohemian Rhapsody Lyrics:  Very Frightening Open, Fandango Open, Scaramouche Open.
Names of famous swords: Omens Open, Green Destiny Open, Buster Open, Vorpal Open

In 2023, we decided to try to standardize the name of our events every year.  Although theming our tournament names were fun and creative, we decided it would be easier to have constant names for our tournaments for our fencers and visitors to enjoy.  

These new names will also give us an opportunity to recognize and give homage to our location, history, and inspirations.  There has been so many that have been a part of All-American Fencing Academy’s history.  We wish we could have recognized them all with tournaments.

January: Behind Every Great Man Open Celebrating Jennifer Guevarra's birthday, January 22, 1977

Behind Every Great Man Open 1000

The success of the All-American Fencing Academy wouldn’t be possible without the support of Coach Gerhard’s wife, Jennifer Guevarra.  Coach Gerhard joined the UNC Chapel Hill Division 1 NCAA Varsity Fencing Team during his sophomore year after taking fencing as a PE class in his freshman year.  Jennifer also took the fencing PE class during her sophomore year and joined the team during her Junior year.  Jennifer and Coach Gerhard met on the fencing team during their Junior year at UNC and began dating during their Senior year.  Jennifer also received a Varsity letter for fencing at UNC.  Prior to fencing she was a cheerleader in high school and was also a ballet dancer.  She has a twin sister, Kristie Wommack that also fenced for UNC Chapel HIll.

Although she isn’t actively fencing, she has been supporting Coach Gerhard, fencing in Cumberland County and Fayetteville, and the All-American Fencing Academy.  Who knows?  We may see Jennifer again on the fencing strip and coaching when all the other Guevarra kids are no longer fencing!  She’s an excellent instructor and briefly taught ballet at the All-American Fencing Academy and is also a certified yoga instructor.

February: Liberty Open Celebrating the initial completion of Camp Liberty on February 1, 1919.

Liberty Open 1000

One of three training camps established in North Carolina to train soldiers during World War I, Camp Bragg was established on September 4, 1918 outside of Fayetteville and was the only camp of the three to continue operations after the war. Camp Bragg was renamed Fort Bragg, to signify becoming a permanent Army post. In May of 2022, the commission officially proposed that Fort Bragg change its name to Fort Liberty.

Fort Liberty is one of the largest military installations in the world by population, with around 54,000 military personnel. Fort Lliberty covers over 251 square miles (650 km2). It is the home of the Army’s XVIII Airborne Corps and is the headquarters of the United States Army Special Operations Command, which oversees the U.S. Army 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) and 75th Ranger Regiment. It is also home to the U.S. Army Forces Command, U.S. Army Reserve Command, and Womack Army Medical Center. Fort Liberty maintains two airfields: Pope Field, where the United States Air Force stations global airlift and special operations assets as well as the Air Force Combat Control School, and Simmons Army Airfield, where Army aviation units support the needs of airborne and special operations forces on post.

March: Rizal Open Celebrating Filipino History and Jose Rizal during the month of an almost duel between Jose Rizal and Juan Lardet. Jose Rizal was a prominent Filipino fencer. On March 30, 1893, Lardet wrote his letter of apology to Rizal and called off the duel.

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José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Realonda, widely known as José Rizal, was a Filipino nationalist and polymath during the tail end of the Spanish colonial period of the Philippines. He is widely considered one of the greatest heroes of the Philippines; his writings eventually led to the Philippine Independence from the Spanish colonial government. Besides poetry and creative writing, he dabbled, with varying degrees of expertise, in architecture, cartography, economics, ethnology, anthropology, sociology, dramatics, martial arts, fencing and pistol shooting.

According to Rizal: His Life, Works, and Role in the Philippine Revolution, Rizal almost had a duel with a French businessman, Mr. Juan Lardet, over the latter’s purchases of logs from him, some of which were of poor quality. Lardet confided and wrote this problem to Antonio Miranda, a friend of Rizal. Rizal flared up in anger and challenged the French man to a duel. The commandant however, when informed of the incident, warned the Frenchman, “My friend, you do not have a chance in a fight with Rizal on a field of honor. Rizal is an expert in martial arts, especially in fencing and pistol shooting.” He followed the commandant’s advice and sent a letter apologizing for his mistake. On March 30, 1893, Lardet wbrarote his letter of apology to Rizal.

April: Zane Kang Open Celebrating Zane Kang’s Birthday, April 16, 1980.

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Zane fenced at West Point and fenced for the All-American Fencing Academy when he was stationed at Fort Liberty. Zane suffered from heat stroke while taking physical training on Monday July 26, 2004, and was taken to Womack Army Hospital at Ft Liberty with a 108 degree temperature, and was transferred to UNC hospital at Chapel Hill on Tuesday. He passed away on July 27, 2004.

Zane was a wonderful addition to our young club when it was still meeting at the Albritton Middle School on Fort Liberty. He was always willing to work and fence with all age groups and skill levels. He was enjoyable to have around and always had a smile on his face. Zane’s birthday was April 16, 1980.

May: Grand Open Celebrating the birthday of the All-American Fencing Academy, May 6, 2008.

Grand Open Patch for web

The All-American Fencing Academy became an LLC on May 6, 2008 when it began teaching at the 207 Donaldson Street location. The All-American Fencing Academy had been a recreational club since 2001 teaching at Pine Forest Recreation Center and at Albritton Middle School on Fort Liberty. The All-American Fencing Academy became an LLC in 2008 when the opportunity to take over a ballet studio from Miss Josi became available.

Originally, the All-American Fencing Academy started by subletting the space from the Creative Dancer’s Workshop, a longtime ballet studio in Downtown Fayetteville, run by Miss Josi Strasnicsak.  The club met only 2 days a week and the entirety of the fencing equipment fit in two of the plastic closets that are still at the club.  There were not lined fencing strips and electric equipment only brought out occasionally.

With the exception of occasionally satellite programs, the All-American Fencing Academy has been in operation in it’s current location and has survived recessions, hurricanes, and pandemics.  The All-American Fencing Academy has been the only fencing club in operation in Fayetteville, NC.

August: 82nd Open Celebrating the birthday of the 82nd Airborne Division, August 25, 1917.

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The 82nd Airborne Division is an airborne infantry division of the United States Army specializing in parachute assault operations into denied areas with a U.S. Department of Defense requirement to “respond to crisis contingencies anywhere in the world within 18 hours”. On order, the 82nd Airborne Division, the 82nd Airborne Division rapidly deploys within 18 hours of notification, strategically deploys, conducts forcible entry parachute assaults and secures key objectives for follow-on military operations in support of U.S. national interests.

Based at Fort Liberty, North Carolina, the 82nd Airborne Division is part of the XVIII Airborne Corps. The 82nd Airborne Division is the U.S. Army’s most strategically mobile division. The 82nd Abn. Div. was established on Aug. 25 of 1917 during World War 1 as the 82nd Infantry Division.  The 82nd Airborne Division is the U.S. Army’s most strategically mobile division.

Since its initial members came from all 48 states, the division acquired the nickname All-American, which is the basis for its “AA” on the shoulder patch. The division later served in World War II where, in August 1942, it was reconstituted as the first airborne division of the U.S. Army and fought in numerous campaigns during the war.

September: 1967 Open Celebrating the year that Coach Ron Miller began coaching at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Coach Gerhard’s collegiate fencing coach was Dr. Ronald C. Miller.  Coach Ron Miller came to Carolina in 1967 as a physical education instructor. More than fencing lessons have been learned from Miller through the years at Carolina.  His team’s 52 year record, 1553 – 868, proves that many acquired the skills that helped them learn about winning.  Five Carolina fencers were U.S. National Fencing Team members, while two were Olympians. Miller was the Collegiate Coach of the Year in 1983 and 1986.  Miller has never been one to only track his teams ‘win-loss’ totals. Members of past and present Carolina fencing teams say they have learned through Coach Miller about what it takes to be a winner in life, not just about attacking and ripostes.

Miller received his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Psychology from Florida State University in 1966. He received his Master’s in Exercise Science from Eastern Kentucky University in 1967. Miller earned his Doctorate in Exercise Science, Higher Education, Guidance and Psychology from Carolina in 1974. Coach Miller was also awarded a “Maitre d’ Armes,” in 1975.

Miller stated, “the main significance of the success of UNC Fencing is a culmination of, shall we say, the hard work of all our athletes from 1967 to the present. So it is an end result of their combined efforts. I have been associated with it all and I have seen it all since the beginning, but it is not my record it is their record, the student-athletes.”

October: Harry Rulnick Open Celebrating the anniversary of the date of Harry Rulnick making a donation for the growth of fencing in Fayetteville, October 15, 2001.

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Mr. Harry Rulnick saw the article and was happy to see fencing now being offered in Fayetteville. He contacted the paper and found the club contact information which eventually led him to the club’s head coach, Gerhard Guevarra.

“Gerhard, I want to donate $100 to your club, where do I send the check?” Those were his first words to Gerhard. With the donation, the club bought as much weapons, masks and jackets it could from ebay and other equipment suppliers. Harry Rulnick first donated, October 15, 2001.

The Harry Rulnick Open is the longest continuous annually held fencing tournament in Fayetteville, beginning even before the opening of the All-American Fencing Academy in Downtown Fayetteville.  Mr. Rulnick had an opportunity to attend a tournament before his passing in 2009.  Some of his family members continue to support the All-American Fencing Academy.

November: Highlander Open Celebrating Cumberland County's Scottish history. St. Andrew's Day is celebrated on November 30th.

Highlander Open 1000

The earliest, largest and most important settlement of Highlanders in America, prior to the Peace of 1783, was in North Carolina, along Cape Fear River, about one hundred miles from its mouth, and in what was then Bladen, but now Cumberland County.

Seventy-First Township consolidated in 1924 to form one in Cumberland County. 71st High School in Cumberland County, built on the Glendale site, was named after the township. The township was named after the Scottish immigrants who were descendants of the 71st Regiment of Foot, Fraser’s Highlanders, a Scots regiment of the British Army that fought with distinction during the French and Indian War and then disbanded. The 71st (Highland) Regiment was later re-raised during the American Revolution and fought with distinction throughout that war.

Saint Andrew’s Day, also called the Feast of Saint Andrew or Andermas, is the feast day of Andrew the Apostle. It is celebrated on 30 November. The celebration of Saint Andrew is a national festival in Scotland.

December: Miss Josi Open Celebrating Miss Josi's birthday, December 31, 1933.

Prior to the All-American Fencing Academy, the studio was home to Josi Strasnicsak and The Dancer’s Creative Workhop. She was still teaching when she allowed the All-American Fencing Academy to also begin teaching in the same space. When Miss Josi closed the Dancer’s Creative Workshop, she wanted the All-American Fencing Academy to continue its space. 

Miss Josi teaching style was very purist.  She enjoyed teaching dance, tap, and ballet and made it accessible to many students.  All her recitals occured at the studio and the dancers only wearing tutus and tights.  Miss Josi had met Maitre Ron Miller

After her retirement from teaching ballet, she continued to occasionally teach individual students at the studio who wanted to continue their ballet career.  She remained in contact with the Coaches and some of the fencers at the academy until she passed away on July 15, 2009. Miss Josi was born on December 31, 1933.