Dariusz Gilman is the head coach and owner of Capital Fencing Academy, a fencing facility he opened in August 2013.
Trained as a coach at AZS AWF Katowice in Poland and certified as a fencing master with the US Fencing Coaches Association, Dariusz was the saber coach at the DC Fencers’ Club for more than a decade. He also worked with Ed Korfanty, coach of the Olympic Gold Medal Sabre team, and with Penn State University’s elite sabre fencing program. He has a master’s degree in physical therapy and a fencing master certification from the Polish Academy of Physical Education in Katowice, Poland.
Dariusz began fencing when he was 10 years old in his native Poland. He started competing internationally in his early teens and continued for more than a decade, earning results that include:
- 1991 Cadet European Champion
- 1991 Cadet World Champion
- 1992 Junior European Champion
- 1998 World Championships, Bronze Medal, Polish Sabre Team
- Polish National Champion
Dariusz’s students have achieved national and international results of distinction, including being champions and medalists at World Cups, Junior Olympics, NCAA and USFA competitions. His students have fenced for some of the nation’s most prestigious universities and leading collegiate fencing programs, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Duke, Haverford, and Penn State University.
Jill Feldman, Capital's Club Administrator, is an accomplished fencer and distinguished USFA official. She has a strong competitive background, having won 1st place in the Mid-Atlantic Sectional Qualifying tournaments (saber) for five straight years (1996-2000). In 1997 she won the Division III Summer National Championships, and in 1999 finished 3rd in the Division IA Summer Nationals.
Jill began teaching adult and children’s fencing classes at the Fairfax Park and Recreation Department in 1996. In 1999, she became a founding member of the International School of Fencing (ISF) in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, and served as an assistant coach for ISF until its closure in 2003. In 2004, Jill helped found Dominion Fencing where she taught all three weapons for 10 years before that club’s closure in 2013.
Jill has held offices in both the USFA Capitol Division and the Mid-Atlantic Section. She is regular member of the National Tournament Staff and has chaired many North American Cups and US National Championships. For all three weapons, she referees at the local, Sectional, and National levels and holds a Moniteur diploma from the US Fencing Coaches Association.
Aaron Ruby is a Capital coach, a scholar-athelete and a 2013 graduate Haverford College with a degree in chemistry. A longtime student of Dariusz Gilman, he has competed nationally for 10 years, and was a starter on Haverford’s sabre team every year of his college career. He was twice Mid-Atlantic Conference Team Champion and the at-large bid for NCAA Nationals.
Michael Josephs is a Capital coach, a 2015 graduate of Columbia University, and a nationally and internationally distinguished competitive sabre fencer, with more than 14 years of experience in the sport. A student of Coach Dariusz’s since the age of eight, Michael was the cadet silver medalist at the 2010 Junior Olympics and a member of gold-winning junior team at the USFA’s National Championships in 2011. At Columbia, Michael excelled as the Division I bronze medalist in 2012 and was a two-time All-American and Ivy League Team Champion. Under his 2015 leadership as team captain, Columbia won its first NCAA Team National Championship in more than 20 years.
Laura Hillstrom is Capital coach and first began fencing with Dariusz Gilman more than 15 years ago. Under his coaching, she became a top ranked US sabre fencer placing in the top sixteen in both National and Junior Olympic competitions. Notable finishes include winning first place in the 2002 Summer National Championship and fourth place in the 2003 Summer National Championship. Laura continued her fencing career on the Penn State Division I fencing team becoming an Academic All American and earning a team NCAA Championship title in 2007.
Off the strip, Laura graduated in 2007 from the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State with degrees in economics and mathematics. She works for an economic consulting firm in D.C.
Kaja Klodawska is a Capital coach and a previous member of the Polish National Team. Before joining Capital, Kaja served for two years as an assistant coach for the NCAA Division I sabre program at Wayne State University in Detroit. A competitive fencer, Kaja attended Wayne State on a full athletic scholarship and earned her degree in kineisology. In her collegiate fencing career, Kaja earned 281 sabre victories for her university—an all-time high for the women’s team—represented Wayne State at the NCAA Championships, and was a three-time gold medalist at the Danosi Open.
Sal Centanni is the assistant coach for Capital’s youth classes. A student of Coach Dariusz for eight years, Sal has been teaching the sport to young fencers since 2012. Currently a high school junior, Sal is an “A” rated fencer, the highest rating given by the US Fencing Association (USFA). Among his most recent achievements, Sal competed for the United States in Poland and Hungary, won bronze at the 2015 Junior Olympics’ men’s sabre event for ages 16 and under and finished in the top 16 in Division I, the highest fencing level, at the 2015 USFA Summer National Championships.