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Three-Weapon Fencing Master

Maestro Gil Pezza is an author, a retired attorney and technology consultant and a lifetime student of fencing. Maestro Pezza started fencing at the age of  four in Milan at the fencing studio of Maestra Marisa Cerani (1908-1997); a successful  theatrical  fencing expert, who had been the trailblazer for women’s fencing in Italy as a foilist in the mid-1920s and early 1930s and the first woman to achieve fencing master certification in Italy (1935). When he turned six, his parents enrolled him at the Italian Olympic Center (CONI)  in Milan. There, he became a pupil of national coach Maestro Marcello Lodetti (1931-2012); a direct scion of the Mangiarotti school, who had been mentored by its founder,  the great Maestro Giuseppe Mangiarotti. At the age of ten, he joined the renowned Società del Giardino in Milan (founded in 1783), where he was tutored by the very charismatic national fencing coach Maestro Arturo Volpini (1919-1999) (Individual lessons) and by the legendary Hungarian  Fencing  Master Janos Kevey (1907-1991)  (group lessons).  As a member of the Italian National Team, Maestro Pezza fenced for the Centro Sportivo Carabinieri in Rome; always while training at the Giardino in Milan with Maestro Volpini. In 1977, he accepted a full scholarship to compete in the NCAAs for Wayne State University in Detroit. At WSU (1977-1981), he was coached by Hungarian Fencing Master Istvan Danosi (1912-2005). 



  • Diploma Maestro di Scherma -Accademia Nazionale di Scherma (Italy-1985).

  • Diploma of Fencing Master of Arms - United States Fencing Coaches Association (1986).

  • Diploma of Maitre d’ Armes - Academie d’Armes Internationale (1993).

  • Certified USFCA Coach Developer. 

  • Certified USFCA Examiner. 

  • SafeSport Certified.

Coaching experience 

  • Forty-five years of coaching experience.

  • Former US National Coach Women’s Epee.

  • Coach at Olympic Festivals.

  • As member of U.S. National Coaching Staff, led the epee clinics at the Coaches College at U.S. Olympic Training Center, Colorado Spring, CO.

  • Coach of US Veterans World and National champions.

NCAA Coaching

  • USFCA - Women’s Coach of the Year 1989

  • NCAA -Women’s Coach of the Year 1990

  • NCAA - Women’s Coach of the Decade -1980s

  • As Head Coach (WSU) Maestro Pezza won: Two NCAA Men National Championships in 1984 and 1985; Two NCAA Women’s National Championships in 1988 and 1989 and the 1990 NCAA women's foil team national title (combined championships). He coached three NCAA individual champions (men’s epee, men’s foil, and women's foil) and nineteen first-team All-America fencers

Records as a Fencer

  • Former member Italian National Fencing Team -Epee

  • Winner and finalist at many Italian national tournaments

  • Finalist at international events

  • NCAA Fencing: NCAA Individual Epee Champion in 1980 and 1981. Second Place in 1979, and fourth place in 1978. Twice NCCA Men’s Team champion, in 1979 and 1980. Four time First-Team All-America status

  • Recipient NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship (1981)

United States Fencing Coaches Association

  • President (1990-1994)

  • Executive Vice President (2010-2012)

  • Chair of the Certification and Accreditation Board (2016-2020)

  • Current Chair of Bylaws Committee

International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS)

  • Member, Disciplinary Commission


A foil fencer by birth, Maestro Pezza switched to epee in his early teens making both the junior and senior Italian national epee teams. After he moved to the United States in 1977, Maestro Pezza also fenced foil in national tournaments winning the US Foil team national championships in 1979 (together with Australians Gregory Benko and Ernest Simon). He won the Cherry Blossom Foil national event in 1980 and was a finalist in foil at the senior foil Class A international event Martini & Rossi in NYC in 1979; where he also placed third in the epee event. Maestro Pezza retired from competitive fencing in 1981. He competed as a professional in the United States Fencing Master Championships, winning both the foil and the epee national championships in the mid-1980s.

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