Adam Nicholas Lindbichler

National fencer enrols in Nilai U to benefit from foreign coach.

“You are nothing without paper qualifications. You will be forced to work in physically demanding jobs and will be treated like a labourer,” warns Adam Nicholas Lindbichler. He should know as he started working straight after SPM and recalls doing various odd jobs at construction sites among other things. However, being a national fencer allowed him an escape route whereby he has been coaching younger children in this niche sport.  

The 24-year-old who hails from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah recently made the brave decision to ditch his job to pursue higher education. He has enrolled in Nilai University’s Foundation in Science programme with a view towards gaining a Degree in Mechanical Engineering. “Having had first-hand experience of working without formal qualifications, I knew it was important that I do something to improve my CV,” he says. “When I found out that Nilai U had employed a foreign fencing coach of international repute, I knew that this was the place for me.” 

Nilai University (Nilai U) was named a ‘Pusat Sukan Tumpuan – Fencing’ by the Ministry of Education last year and has now become the de facto training base for national fencers preparing for regional and national tournaments, making use of the top notch facilities. Adam is one of three national fencers at Nilai U’s campus. “Being on a campus that allows me to keep up my training while I study is absolutely ideal,” he declares. Adam recently won bronze in the men’s Sabre event at the Brunei International Open.

Adam admits that it was hard to leave his coaching job but recognises that he will learn more from the French fencing coach at Nilai U. “Bruno Gaby is a much respected figure in the fencing arena and I could not pass up the chance to train with him,” he confesses. “I hope to become a better fencer under his tutelage. I am also thinking of being a coach or umpire when my fencing career is over.” The former student of SMK Lok Yuk, Kota Kinabalu admits that fencing is his first love and hopes to carve a career for himself in this field. His plans to pursue a Mechanical Engineering Degree is for it to be a backup option.  

Adam says although he is the oldest student in his class, he is thoroughly enjoying his varsity experience. “Mingling with students again and studying is a great feeling,” he says. “I have already advised all my classmates about the importance of getting a degree in order to have a decent career.” As for getting back in the groove as a full-time student, Adam says he is taking everything in his stride. He says that training with a tough, no-nonsense fencing coach from China during his younger days strengthened his mental fortitude. “The training sessions were really tough. I even broke down in tears and quit many times. But each time, the coach would come to my house and walk me back to the training centre. I am eternally grateful that he did not give up on me as I have learnt so much from this sport,” he admits sheepishly.

At the moment, Adam along with his national fencer cohorts are busy helping Coach Bruno promote the sport on campus. He has gotten many of his classmates to sign up and is pleased to announce that the quota for the beginners programme is almost full. He strongly urges more students to pick up fencing for a variety of reasons. “First of all, fencing teaches you key lessons in maintaining focus. Secondly, discipline will become second nature to you. Thirdly, speaking from personal experience, fencing does imbue participants with a greater sense of confidence,” he outlines. “Once you have stood in front of a crowd while an opponent tries to jab you with a sword, nothing really fazes you. You will also become very good at reading body language.” Given Adam’s steely determination, a trait which helped him crack the Top 100 ranking at the World Championship in Italy three years ago,  it would certainly be no great surprise if he successfully completes his studies with exceptional grades.

Nilai U offers students plenty of opportunities to earn enhanced certifications from professional organisations and to sign up for modules which will enhance their soft skills. Among the soft skill modules on offer include Dale Carnegie’s Skills for SuccessOutward Bound’s Survival Skills and Mizuno Golf School’s Introduction to Golf. For more information, please go to or search for ‘Nilai University’ on Facebook. To speak to a programme counsellor, please call 06-8502308 / 07-2262336 (Johor Counselling Office).