Robert Piraino, Head Coach
With over 20 years of fencing experience, Robert has played the role of athlete, referee, coordinator and coach. He began fencing at Newfield HS in New York, under the legendary Coach Van Wolosin. He was later on the Varsity Fencing Team at The Ohio State University, where he was recognized as a Scholar Athlete and member of the first Midwest Conference Championship Team. During his time at Ohio State, Robert was able to train under one of the world's most celebrated Fencing Masters, Vladimir Nazlymov.
During his career as a coach, Robert’s students have seen much success at the Regional and National levels. His fencers are consistently ranked top in the region, and have earned several national medals and national points. Robert is also a nationally rated fencer and referee, in all three weapons. As a competitor, Robert won multiple championships, including a gold medal at the 2008 U.S. National Championships. He is currently rated an ‘A17’ in Épée, ‘D18’ in Foil, and ‘D16’ in Saber.
Coach Piraino serves as the Chairman for the Tennessee Division of USA Fencing, Vice President of the Southeast Fencing Organization, Chairman of the TN State High School Fencing League, and is a member of the U.S. Fencing Coaches Association.
Zeno Doeleman, Épée Coach
born in the Netherlands, Zeno began fencing at the age of 5, when he first moved to the US. He trained under accomplished fencing Master Paul Sise (Maître d'Armes), initially as a competitor, and later also as a coach. He has earned his Moniteur d'Armes (Foil, Épée and Saber) coaching certification from the U.S. Fencing Coaches Association (USFCA), internationally recognized by the Academie d'Armes International (AAI) and its member organizations. As a competitor, Zeno is currently rated an ‘A19’ in Épée.
Marty Lang, Foil Coach
Coach Lang began fencing at Martin Van Buren HS in Queens, New York, along with Steve Kaplan, who would also go on to become an Olympian. He later fenced foil for New York University, where he was co-captain of the NYU Fencing Team, and was an NCAA First Team All American; he was 55-5 in his NYU career. At the '75 Pan American Games in Mexico City, Marty won the Individual Foil Championship (the first American in 20 years to win a gold medal at the Pan American Games in foil), and also won the Team Foil silver medal. The next year, he competed in the Individual Foil and Team Foil events at the '76 Summer Olympics in Montreal. Coach Lang won the U.S. National Foil Championship in '78, and was a six-time U.S. National Finalist in the Individual Foil event, and a five-time U.S. National Men’s Foil Team Champion. Marty was inducted into the NYU Hall of Fame in 2012.
Eric Howard, Coach
Eric is an accomplished fencer and coach, having ran the Vanderbilt University Fencing Club for 16 seasons. During this time, Coach Howard restored the program to dominance, creating one of the strongest club teams in the Nation. His athletes have successfully competed at the Jr. Olympics and the U.S. National Championships. He has also attended the U.S. Fencing Coaches Association's Coaches Academy, earning his Level 2 Coaching Certification, which is internationally recognized by the Academie d'Armes International (AAI) and its member organizations. Eric also founded the Cumberland d’Escrime fencing club in Nashville, and has served as the Chairman of the Tennessee Division of USA Fencing.
John Teitenberg, Assistant Coach
John began fencing in 1991 while attending college at Vanderbilt University. He was a member, and later President, of the Vanderbilt University Fencing Club. Upon graduating from Vanderbilt, John became an assistant coach with the program, and later served as the Chairman of the Tennessee Division of USA Fencing. After taking some time away from the sport to raise his three young children, John has returned to fencing as a competitor and a coach. His eldest daughter, Elise, is also a member of our club, and trains in foil. As a competitor, John is rated a ‘C19’ in Épée, and and ‘E19’ in Foil.
Alisa Chernomashentsev, Foil Coach
Alisa is well-known in the fencing community, having refereed on the International circuit, and competed successfully on the U.S. National level. She grew up fencing, having learned from her father Alan Chernomashentsev, who owns Fioretto Fencing Academy in Jacksonville, Florida, and is a member of the U.S. Men's Foil World Team. Alisa was a National Finalist in Cadet Women's Foil, and on the Cadet and Junior National Points list, as well as having won Florida's Sunshine State Games Foil Championship for three consecutive years. Before transitioning to the role of referee and coach, Alisa was an NCAA athlete as a member of the United States Air Force Fencing Team.
David Howard, Assistant Coach
David has spent most of his life around the sport of fencing, as both of his parents are accomplished fencers and coaches. He has qualified for the Jr. Olympics and competed in the US National Championships, and North American Cup. David has also spent some time training in Switzerland, and is rated a ‘B16’ in Épée. He teaches many of our group classes, and oversees our Fast Start Orientations and new member registrations.
Robert Szokolay, Assistant Coach
Robert began fencing 40+ years ago while at Wayne State University, where studied under Hungarian Fencing Master and Hall of Fame Coach, Istvan Danosi. He was a Varsity letter winner on the 1977 and 1978 teams, and went on to win the Georgia State Games in Men's Epee. He currently competes at the National level, and is on the Vet-60 National Points List. His best performance was earning the Bronze Medal at the U.S. National Championships in the Vet-60 Men’s Épée, losing his final bout to the reigning Vet World Champion, Walter Dragonetti. Coach Szokolay now lives in Orlando, Florida, but visits our club a few times a month, and works with our competitive fencers.
Simona Malfaccini, Club Manager
Simona has been around the sport of fencing for nearly a decade, with both of her children, Tommy and Mariasole Capellua, having started when they were around 8 years old. Originally from Ferrara, Italy, Simona and her family relocated to Nashville in 2016, and have been members of Music City Fencing Club ever since.