Alexander Maximovich

Coach Alexander Maximovich began his coaching career in 1976 and since has coached National foil and épée teams in Kazakhstan, USSR and Turkey before coming to the USA in 2000. Since then, he has coached épée in the Bay Area and New York. Alexander is considered a true Master fencer since he has mastered all three fencing weapons.

His accomplishments include Head Coach of the National Epee Team and Junior National “Trade Union” team in Kazakhstan, Assistant head Coach Foil in USSR which won the Gold medal in 1988 Olympics and the 1989 World Championships and a bronze medal in 1990 World Championships.

Alexander has received the honor of “National Honored Coach” from his home of Kazakhstan in 1984. In 1991, he received the “National Excellence in Sports and physical culture Award” from former Soviet Union. This awarded has only been given to a select few in the history of all sports in former USSR.

Coach Alexander Maximovich immigrated to the United States in 2000.

Natalya Maximovich

Dr. Natalya Maximovich received her PhD in Sports Physiology and Pedagogical Science. She has been recognized by the National Ministries of Sport in the Former USSR and her home, the Republic of Kazakhstan, for her work with championship fencers. Her speicality is implementing youth development programs for fencers that are fun and engaging, but support the rapidly developing minds and bodies of young athletes.

Dr. Maximovich oversaw the Graduate Studies Program at the Kazakhstan Academy of Sport in Almaty, Kazakhstan, including coach development and recertification. She has helped developed over 250 coaches, who are actively coaching throughout the world, including Victor Svatenko, Yakov Danilenko, and Vyacheslav Grigoriev.

In addition to being a renowned developer of professional competitive coaches, Natalya is also a three time national foil champion of Kazakhstan. She coached the 1990 Kazakhstan Women’s Foil Team to the gold medal in the USSR Nationals, as well as the 1991 Kazakhstan Sport Academy team to the gold medal in the USSR Collegiate Championships. She has prepared over 1000 athletes who have gone on to become fencing champions in Kazakhstan, the USSR, the World Cup, and Olympic Competitions.

Dr. Natalya Maximovich immigrated to the United States in 2001.

AFM Epee Coach Dima Chumak

Dima Chumak

Dima comes to us from New York were for the 10 years after retiring from sport after Beijing Olympic Games 2008 he was an epee coach in highly successful fencing club Fencing Academy of Westchester. Dima’s students won many national and international level medals, including NAC’s, July Challenges, Summer Nationals, and Cadet World Cup and World Championships. His student of 6 years, Romain Cannone, won an Individual Gold Medal in Men’s Epee at Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.

An Olympian himself in 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, were Dima finished 13th, Dima was a member of Ukrainian National Epee Team for 10 years, and was 2 times World Championship Medalist, European Champion and two time European Bronze Medalist, World University Games Champion and many more world titles.

Xiaoyan (Bonnie) Bao

Xiaoyan (Bonnie) Bao

Coach Xiaoyan (Bonnie) Bao was a member of the Chinese National Epee Team herself and participated as a fencer in many world-level competitions. In 1996 she became a Master of Sport awarded to her by the General Administration of Sport of China. Coach Bonnie has 20 years of extensive experience in training of high-level epee athletes including five athletes who won the top three places at the Chinese National Fencing Championships and the World Junior Championships.  More than 20 years she was a leading epee coach in Xuzhou Sports School in China and won many national level awards as a coach! Coach Bonnie also was a head coach of Fensen Fencing Club in China for five years raising many national level fencers. 

Coach Bonnie has had over 20 years of extensive experience as a fencing coach, training athletes for competition at the highest levels.  She began her career as a professional fencer herself, earning a spot on several national and international teams. She was a member of the Championship Team at the 8th National Games of China and the second-place team at the 1996 Asian Fencing Championships in Thailand.  He students performed well at international level placing in top 8 positions in World Championships and Military Games.

Zhanna Bikkina

Coach Zhanna Bikkina  is an award-winning coach whose students regularly compete in national and international tournaments. Zhanna’s fencers have achieved significant awards, including multiple Masters of Sport and medals in international tournaments.

Coach Zhanna’s talents as a coach are reflected in the success of her students, and she has won awards as a coach in recognition of her role in her students’ success. Her students have won and medalled at World Championships and European Championships, Cadet World Cups and many of them have received Master of Sport awards, a high honor which is given only to the best athletes in Russia, and which coach Zhanna herself also received when she was a competitive fencer. She has had students qualify for the Russian National Team every year in the last decade.

Mark Wheeler - Academy of Fencing Masters Fencing Coach

Mark Wheeler

Mark Wheeler is AFM adult and veteran fencing programs coach in our Sunnyvale facility. Mark brings over 35 years of fencing experience and 10 years of coaching experience to AFM.  Mark is an active competitor on the veteran epee circuit. He’s maintained his A in epee for over 10 years as a veteran fencer and won the Veteran Epee Championship at the Summer Nationals in San Jose in 2015, earning a spot on the 2015 national veteran team for the world championships.

Mark is experienced in developing and leading developmental conditioning and fencing programs as well as working with students one on one.  Mark earned his Moniteur certification in epee and foil in 2011 and received a USA Fencing Coach’s Medal for his student who won the 2011 National Vet 40 Women’s Epee Championship.

Mark is the Director of Operations and President of The Bay Cup, a nonprofit organization that developed and runs the largest local fencing tournament circuit in the United States.

Being a huge fencing enthusiast, Mark is well known for his passion for sport of fencing and for his dream to raise interest to this sport in the US starting from the Bay Area.

Jere Bothelio

Jere Bothelio started fencing with Maestro John DeCesare in 1994 at the age 43. He moved to épée five years later and was self taught, a feat in and of itself. Watching veterans fence, he was able to learn and apply what he saw. In 2003 he earned his first A, and three months later he won his first National Championship. Jere now has six National Championship titles and has earned 30 national medals. He’s also won one of seven U.S. Veteran World Championship Teams spots with his best Championship results being 2nd, 7th and 9th. Jere got  his epee moniteur certificate from US Coaches Association in 2011. He also earned two coaches medals in 2011.

Jere has taught classes at two Bay Area clubs plus Harker Academy and Hillview Middle school. Jere is also a President of the Central California Division, to which AFM belongs.

AFM is welcoming both Mark and Jere as a part of our coaching team! We hope that veteran and adult fencing in the Bay Area will become more popular and active. 

Coach Valeriy Naulo

Valeriy Naulo

Coach Valeriy comes to us from Cardinal Fencing Club where for 15 years he was training Cardinal fencers as well as Stanford University NCAA Varsity Team. He raised highly successful and rated fencers, and his fencers won many national level competitions, including NCAA Championship. Valeriy Naulo was ranked as one of the top five Ukrainian fencers for four years during his time in the competition.  Coach Valeriy has a Master’s in Physical Education with a focus on fencing from the National University of Physical Education and Sports of Ukraine. Prior to moving to the USA, he worked with the Ukrainian National Students Team.

Coach Assistants