A silver sword flashes back and forth, waving in the air, sometimes connecting with its counterpart. Arms covered in white move with precision, waiting to explode. Blue and white sneakers shuffle on the strip, ready to fire. A black mask hides the eyes, eyes that focus on the target with precision, looking for the perfect moment to strike.
The fourth ranked Junior (Under 20) fencer in the nation, Noah Adamitis, a home-schooled senior from Kirkville, is working on his craft of fencing at the Syracuse Musketeers Club in Shoppingtown Mall. He fences with a passion, a passion that was born a few years ago when he was wowed by a Hollywood film that featured sword fighting.
â??It probably sounds kind of cheesy,â?? Adamitis says. â??But, five years ago my dad bought one of those old Mark of Zorro movies, and he's like, â??Hey, do you want to try fencing?â?? So, I Googled fencing clubs in Syracuse New York, and that's how I found [Syracuse Musketeers].â??
Once he got on the strip, the fascination with the movie itself went away, as doing it himself was better than advertised.
â??There was no comparison, this is much cooler, this is way more fun,â?? he says.
He admits he was not the best in the room at first; he finished second to last in his first tournament. But, he kept working, and was able to learn from one of the best in his coach, Lubomir Kalpaktchieu. Lubomir is known as Coach Lubo at Syracuse Musketeers, and is a great fencer in his own right, a former member of the Bulgarian National Team.
Coach Lubo and Adamitis have worked together the past five years. The two can relate to each other, as they share a passion for fencing, living and breathing it 24 hours a day.
â??That's what it is, you have to love it,â?? Coach Lubo says. â??He lives fencing. He watches other fencers how they fence so he can learn their style. He goes home and watches tapes of it too.â??
First, Adamitis competed locally, and despite that 2nd to last finish in his first tournament, he improved, eventually competing at the national level and most recently internationally in the Udine Junior World Cup in Italy in December.
It was Adamitisâ?? first international competition, which means he went into the tournament with zero points, so he started near the bottom of the competition, which featured about 215 fencers. After the preliminary bouts, Adamitis battled to the middle of the pack, getting himself a better seed (82nd) for the actual bracket. He won three straight bouts to finish 16th overall.
The performance turned some heads, including the head of his own coach.
â??The first time in Italy, it's kind of hard, you're scared, you're nervous, you've never been, it's the best guys in the world, it's not like...in Fayetteville or Manlius ya know...itâ??s the guys who are going to be in Olympics, so it's pretty amazing if you think about it,â?? Coach Lubo says.
Just like his mentality on the strip, Adamitis is staying in the moment, telling me heâ??s simply focused on the North American Cup in Virginia Beach this weekend. After this weekend, Coach Lubo has scheduled tournament for Adamitis in Sweden, Portland and they hope Bulgaria, which is where the Junior World Championships take place (Itâ??s also where Coach Lubo is from).
As for the tough schedule, Adamitis is doing his best to keep up with his schoolwork in the process.
â??It's rough, trying to combine the workload of a senior with work and fencing,â?? he says.
The hard work isnâ??t limited to the travel; heâ??s at Syracuse Musketeers four days a week for two to three hours at a time, perfecting his craft. Once a month, Adamitis travels to New York City to work out with the Olympic team. While he doesnâ??t want to look too far ahead, his goal is to make the 2020 or 2024 Olympics.
â??I definitely have a shot,â?? Adamitis says. â??Between the hard work Iâ??ll put in, my coach and my parents.â??
His work continues with the swish and flick of his weapon every day, looking for the right moment to strike, and to hear the refreshing beeping sound that means heâ??s won the bout, and getting better by the minute.