Levitt, Teddy

Fencing is Teddy Levitt’s Forte

Palisadian makes mark on competition and school
From The Palisadian Post, article by Steve Galluzzo

 Teddy Levitt Saber FencerPalisadian, Teddy Levitt (right) practices his form with coach Daniel Costin at the Los Angeles International Fencing Center.  

When he was eight years old, Palisadian Levitt decided to attend a boys’ summer camp in Maine. Scanning a list of activities, his father suggested he try fencing. At first, the son thought that was the art of building a fence, but he decided to give the activity a chance. It might be a useful thing to know.

Nine years later, it is safe to say that Levitt is a master at his craft. Or at least a work in progress. He ranked 31st in the junior division (under 19) – that after attaining a United States ranking of no. 6 in the cadet (under 17) category. His weapon of choice was a saber and he wields it with the skill of a samurai warrior. Though most people start out with a foil, Levitt soon took to the saber because it is unique from the other two types of swords. “I like the saber because the sparring is much faster moving and you can slash with the side of the blade as opposed to just the tip.” Levitt says, “There are a lot more ways to score than just poking the guy. There is a lot of explosive muscle movement, and you can get pretty tired by the end of a tournament. 

Levitt is used to reaching the end of tournaments. He won all his bouts this season as captain of the Harvard—Westlake High fencing team, which won the Mission League championship. He also placed 6th in his division at the junior Olympics February 7th in Cleveland Ohio. His schedule is booked for the rest of the year too. He is slated to compete in the Summer Nationals in Charlotte, North Carolina, and then it’s on to Prague to fence with the Hungarian national team in July.

“I played a lot of sports growing up,” says Levitt, who lives up the street from Riviera Country Club. “I also played PPBA, I played AYSO, I played school volleyball. But when I was twelve, I really started committing myself to fencing. The thing I like most about it is that no matter how bad the day went, I can put on my stuff and release all my energy.”

For three days a week, Levitt trained under the tutelage of his coach, Daniel Coston, at the international Fencing Center (located at Olympic and Barington) in West L.A. There he benefited from sparring sessions with Jason Rogers, a standout High school fencer from Benton. Now a senior from Ohio State University, Rogers recently qualified for the 2004 US Olympic Team. Occasionally, Levitt even crosses swords Daniel Grigori, a member of Romania’s Olympic team. Teddy Levitt

“The mindset I learned from my coach, is that if your facing someone you know you can beat, you shouldn’t be nervous,” says Levitt, “ If you are facing someone you know is better, you have nothing to lose, so, again, you have no reason to be nervous.” 

Though fencing occupies much of Levitt’s time, it is not his only interest. He plays two instruments; the flute and the saxophone in Harvard-Westlake’s jazz band and he counsels underprivileged kids at camp Harmony in Malibu. On days he is not fencing, Levitt cross-trains by running, swimming, and playing tennis. At 5-10 Levitt is neither too small to lack the reach, nor too big to be hit in preparation when he is close. Having success, he says, is all about balance. “You can’t be one—sided. You have to have a healthy balance between attack and defense. If I had to define my style, I’d say I was a little more defensive. I like to make my opponents miss so I can hit them.”

Levitt isn’t thinking too far ahead, but he sees fencing in his immediate future. He is considering East Coast schools with strong fencing teams like Yale, Princeton, and Duke, but has far from made up his mind.

“I don’t know where I’ll end up. Right now, I’m just working as hard as I can. No one comes out of the womb with sword in hand. It’s a sport you really have to work at, and that is one of the reasons I enjoy it.”



Men's Saber World Champions

Gold Medalists
2001, Ivan Lee, Colin Parker, Jason Rogers, Timothy Hagamen, JMST

Silver Medalists
2001, Ivan Lee, JMS
2001, Timothy Hagaman, CMS
2003, Adam Crompton, Patrick Ghattas, Mike Momtselidze, Jason Rogers, JMST

Bronze Medalists
1994, Terrence Lasker, CMS
1998, Ivan Lee, CMS
1999, Colin Parker, CMS
2000, Ivan Lee, JMS
2000, Jason Rogers, CMS
2000, Mariel Zagunis, CWS
2001, Colin Parker, JMS
2002, Luther Clement, CMS
2002, Mike Momtselidze, JMS
2004, Timothy Hagamen, Alex Krul, Mike Momtselidze, Max Williams, JMST
2006, Raskyrie Davidson, CMS

Men's Saber Record Holders

17 Titles
Norman Armitage: 1929 (out), 1930, 1930 (out), 1932 (out), 1933 (out), 1934, 1935, 1935 (out), 1936, 1939, 1939 (out), 1940, 1940 (out), 1941, 1942, 1943, 1945

13 Titles
Peter Westbrook: 1974, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1995

8 Titles
Dr. John Huffman: 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934 (out), 1936 (out), 1937, 1938, 1938 (out)

7 Titles
Tibor Nyilas: 1944, 1946, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1956

5 Titles
August Anderson: 1904, 1906, 1907, 1911, 1913
Alex Orban: 1965, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972

4 Titles
Charles Bothner: 1891, 1895, 1896, 1897
Leo Nunes: 1922, 1926, 1928 (out), 1929

3 Titles
Albertson Van Zo Post: 1901, 1902, 1903
Sherman Hall: 1915, 1916, 1920
Danial Magay: 1957, 1958, 1961

2 Titles
Graeme Hammond: 1893, 1894
Eugene Hamori: 1960, 1963
Alfonso Morales: 1966, 1967
Thomas Losonczy: 1976, 1977
Michael Lofton: 1991, 1992
Akhnaten Spencer-El: 1999, 2000
Keeth Smart: 2002, 2004

1 Titles
Hildreth Bloodgood: 1888
Luis Franke: 1889
George Heintz: 1890
Rudolph Haubold: 1892
Georges Kavanagh: 1899
John Erving: 1900
Kirk Johnson: 1905
George Postgate: 1908
Alfred Sauer: 1909
Joseph Shaw: 1910
Charles Bill: 1912
Hubert Van Blijenburgh: 1914
Chauncey McPherson: 1921
John Gignoux: 1924
Joseph Vince: 1925
Harold Van Buskirk: 1927 (out)
Peter Bruder: 1931 (out)
Irving Cantor: 1937 (out)
Miguel de Capriles: 1941 (out)
James Flynn: 1947
Dean Cetrulo: 1948
Umberto De Martino: 1949
George Worth: 1954
Dick Dyer: 1955
Thomas Orley: 1959
Michael D’Asaro: 1962
Attila Keresztes: 1964
Jack Keane: 1968
Paul Apostol: 1973
Stanley Lekach: 1978
Steve Mormando: 1987
Robert Cottingham: 1990
David Mandel: 1993
John Friedberg: 1994
Adam Skarbonkiewicz: 1996
Terrence Lasker: 1997
Patrick Durkan: 1998

*"out" refers to United States Outdoor
National Foil competitions, held twice
in AFLA/USFA history.

Men's Saber Olympians

Men's Individual Sabre
1904 William Grebe, Silver
1904 Albertson Van Zo Post, Bronze
1984 Peter Westbrook, Bronze

Men's Team Sabre
1948 Norman Armitage, Bronze
1948 George Worth, Bronze
1948 Tibor Nyilas, Bronze
1948 Dean Cetrulo, Bronze
1948 Miguel de Capriles, Bronze
1948 James Flynn, Bronze

Best Non-Medaling Olympic Performances

4th Place MST 1932
Peter Bruder, John Huffman, Ralph Faulkner, Norman Armitage, Nickolas Muray, Harold Van Buskirk

4th Place MST 1952
Norman Cudworth Armitage, Miguel Angel deCapriles, Tibor Andrew Nyilas, Alex E. Treves, George V. Worth, Allan Sidney Kwartler

4th Place MST 1960
Allan Sidney Kwartler, George V. Worth, Michael Anthony D'Asaro, Alfonso Morales, Tibor Andrew Nyilas, Richard Rex Dyer

4th Place MST 2004
Ivan Lee, Jason Rogers, Keeth Smart

5th Place MS 1948
George V. Worth

5th Place MST 1920
Edwin Gaines Fullinweider, Joseph Brooks Bloodgood Parker, C. Bradford Fraley, Arthur St. Clair Lyon, Frederick John Cunningham, Claiborne Jay Walker, John William Dimond, Roscoe Leroy Bowman

5th Place MST 1936
Peter Bruder, John Randolph Huffman, Norman Cudworth Armitage, Miguel Angel deCapriles, Bela De Nagy, Samuel Thompson Stewart, Jr.

6th Place MS 1932
John Randolph Huffman

6th Place MST 1984

7th Place MS 1948
Tibor Andrew Nyilas

US National Men's Saber Champions


1888 Hildreth Bloodgood
1889 Luis Franke
1890 George Heintz
1891 Charles Bothner
1892 Rudolph Haubold
1893 Graeme Hammond
1894 Graeme Hammond
1895 Charles Bothner
1896 Charles Bothner
1897 Charles Bothner
1899 Georges Kavanagh
1900 John Erving
1901 Albertson Van Zo Post
1902 Albertson Van Zo Post
1903 Albertson Van Zo Post
1904 August Anderson
1905 Kirk Johnson
1906 August Anderson
1907 August Anderson
1908 George Postgate
1909 Alfred Sauer
1910 Joseph Shaw
1911 August Anderson
1912 Charles Bill
1913 August Anderson
1914 Hubert Van Blijenburgh
1915 Sherman Hall
1916 Sherman Hall
1917 Arthur Lyon
1919 Arthur Lyon
1920 Sherman Hall
1921 Chauncey McPherson
1922 Leo Nunes
1923 Leon Schoonmaker
1924 John Gignoux
1925 Joseph Vince
1926 Leo Nunes
1927 Nickolas Muray
1927 Harold Van Buskirk(OUT)
1928 Nickolas Muray
1928 Leo Nunes(OUT)
1929 Leo Nunes
1929 Norman Armitage(OUT)
1930 Norman Armitage
1930 Norman Armitage(OUT)
1931 Johnny Huffman
1931 Peter Bruder(OUT)
1932 Johnny Huffman
1932 Norman Armitage (OUT)
1933 Johnny Huffman
1933 Norman Armitage (OUT)
1934 Norman Armitage
1934 Johnny Huffman (OUT)
1935 Norman Armitage
1935 Norman Armitage (OUT)
1936 Norman Armitage
1936 Johnny Huffman (OUT)
1937 Johnny Huffman
1937 Irving Cantor (OUT)
1938 Johnny Huffman
1938 Johnny Huffman (OUT)
1939 Norman Armitage
1939 Norman Armitage (OUT)
1940 Norman Armitage
1940 Norman Armitage (OUT)
1941 Norman Armitage
1941 Miguel deCapriles (OUT)
1942 Norman Armitage
1943 Norman Armitage
1944 Tibor Nyilas
1945 Norman Armitage
1946 Tibor Nyilas
1947 James Flynn
1948 Dean Cetrulo
1949 Umberto De Martino
1950 Tibor Nyilas
1951 Tibor Nyilas
1952 Tibor Nyilas
1953 Tibor Nyilas
1954 George Worth
1955 Dick Dyer
1956 Tibor Nyilas
1957 Daniel Magay
1958 Daniel Magay
1959 Thomas Orley
1960 Eugene Hamori
1961 Daniel Magay
1962 Michael D'Asaro
1963 Eugene Hamori
1964 Attila Keresztes
1965 Alex Orban
1966 Alfonso Morales
1967 Alfonso Morales
1968 Jack Keane
1969 Alex Orban
1970 Alex Orban
1971 Alex Orban
1972 Alex Orban
1973 Paul Apostol
1974 Peter Westbrook
1975 Peter Westbrook
1976 Thomas Losonczy
1977 Thomas Losonczy
1978 Stanley Lekach
1979 Peter Westbrook
1980 Peter Westbrook
1981 Peter Westbrook
1982 Peter Westbrook
1983 Peter Westbrook
1984 Peter Westbrook
1985 Peter Westbrook
1986 Peter Westbrook
1987 Steven Mormando
1988 Peter Westbrook
1989 Peter Westbrook
1990 Robert Cottingham
1991 Michael Lofton
1992 Michael Lofton
1993 David Mandel
1994 John Friedberg
1995 Peter Westbrook
1996 Adam Skarbonkiewicz
1997 Terrence Lasker
1998 Patrick Durkan
1999 Akhnaten Spencer-El
2000 Akhnaten Spencer-El
2001 Ivan Lee
2002 Keeth Smart
2003 Ivan Lee
2004 Keeth Smart
2005 Ivan Lee
2006 Ivan Lee

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