With over 20 years experience as a coach and educator, John Gonzalez believes all kids can experience the exhilaration and self-respect that results from getting better at a sport. He loves to teach the components of fencing and of being a strong person: to offer a noble and firm hand-shake even if you lose, to think quickly and tactically on your feet, and to make good decisions under pressure. He sees all students as capable of reaching personal excellence in some area: his work is to help them (and his coaches) identify which.

As head coach, NAFA leader, and parent (of four), John practices what he preaches as fundamentally important: to listen well, to observe closely, to respect each other deeply, and to rebound from any set back with optimism and pragmatism.

He was a nationally ranked foil fencer from 1998-2005 under the tutelage of Polish master Marek Wyszynski, an incredibly perceptive and wise coach.

John is certified by the United States Fencing Coaches Association as a Moniteur in all three weapons: foil, saber and epee. He won a gold medal at Summer Nationals in 1999 in Team Men’s Foil and gold in Men’s Individual Foil at the 2000 Empire State Games, while also competing at the national level in epee.

John trains all his coaches in NAFA curriculum. He has worked with top-level Olympian and national team fencers and coaches, from Korea, US, Italy, and Russia. From this broad exposure to elite athletes and training regimens, he has chosen the best and most appropriate effective practices to bring to his programs.