Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Mensur or German "Academic" fencing

The Germans know how to do things properly. This includes fencing. No bendy blades with caps that look like cute little squirrel noses for them. Back in the day they'd suit up, strap on some Steampunk goggles and lash at each other's heads until one, or both, had scars. Awesome.

This type of fencing was called "Academic" or Mensur fencing. It's goal was not to teach the combatants fighting skills, but to instill robust character in the face of certain injury. The protagonists were expected to bear the slashes like men and thus the German aristocracy would be comprised of fellows who could endure hardship with a stern demeanour. With scars. The Wiki does a much better job than I can of explaining these matters. The scars are, apparently, important.

I came across Mensur fencing via the excellent film Royal Flash (sadly not available on Region 1 DVD) which uses it as part of its plot. The reason I mention it here is that I have begun a performance piece of sorts with my friend LaLa and we may incorporate Academic fencing into our antics.

Watch this space. Vintage images of Mensur fencing below.

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1 comment:

  1. As a member of a german academic Corps I can reassure you: We still strap on steampunk googles and lash at each others' faces today still.

    If you have any questions that may need answering: