Sdtrk: ‘What are you seeing?’ by The focus group
Found out about an interesting cultural phenomenon whilst trawling through the /k/ board of 4chan — funny how I come up with some of the strangest posts due to that site — cross Fight club with SoulCalibur, and you get the traditional Teutonic ‘sport’ known as mensur fencing.
Yes, he’s sporting an enormous open gash. Lookin’ slick, sir! Literally
You have two blokes, wearing chainmaille shirts and gauntlets, heavy padding over the right arm and throat, and heavy steel goggles that include a metal noseguard and mesh over the lenses. The fighters each wield a Schlager, a sword with a three-foot blade that’s been honed to incredible sharpness, and stand three feet away from each other. Now, the key word here is stand — you’re not supposed to move. You can deflect your opponent’s weapon with your own, but if you dodge or flinch at all, you’re disqualified. Bizarrely enough, the goal of mensur fencing is to stand your ground and take your inevitable licks. If you receive a nice facial scar, so much the better — you can show off your Renommierschmiß (bragging scar) as proof that you were in a match. The idea is that if you can face such intense, close-quartered armed combat with someone you may not even dislike, every other experience will pale in comparison. Or, as a famous extremist once said, ‘After fighting, everything else in your life gets the volume turned down.’
The centuries-old student organisations that participate in mensur fencing give off a bit of a ‘Freemasons with blades’ vibe, as many of the successful members go on to lucrative careers, such as the automotive industry, economics, or medicine, ironically enough. Initially, these fraternities sounded somewhat right-wing in nature to me, but they insist that they’re politically neutral. As it turns out, back in WWII, Hitler had told the organisations that they had to eject their Jewish members, and since being in such a fraternity is based upon brotherhood, they refused, and mensur fencing was banned until the end of the war. Even to this day, however, participants still keep their ties to the organisations secret, as most outsiders associate them with the right-wing mentality. Although if you personally ever run across any older Germans or Austrians with prominent scars on the left side of their faces, signal flags might start going up in your mind now…
Random similar posts, for more timewasting:
Two blokes in skinny ties hitting each other on August 30th, 2008