Zero Tolerance

Brickbat: En Garde


Members of North Dakota State University's new fencing club say interest in the sport might increase if school officials would actually allow them to practice on campus. School officials refuse to let them bring their swords on campus, saying that would violate the school's no-weapons policy. The club currently practices at a nearby Lutheran school.

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  1. Colonel Blimp duels a German, who might be a Lutheran –

    1. False advertising! I watched six minutes expecting to see the kraut get shanked!
      Ok, I’ll admit the build-up was good…but still!

  2. “Do you ever do any fencing?”

    “Just a little when I was a kid. A couple watches here and there.”

  3. So long as they’re university students, this would be a great time for them to get their dueling scars –

    1. Fun thing was, after being kicked off campus, a bunch of us fencers had a house in the student neighborhood. Occasional backyard saber bouts, usually with just goggles. I didn’t get any substantial scars from it, but did bust a couple of lips.

    2. When I see or hear about people who willingly pick up duelling scars, I don’t think “what courage” I think “What a fucking idiot”.

    3. I am very proud of my dueling scar, even though it was acquired in a moment of unmasked semi-drunken dumbshititis. My opponent has a scar in very nearly the same location…awesome double kill that match.

  4. I think I mentioned this over a weekend thread.

    I had almost exactly the same experience at a state university, in the late 90’s/early 00’s. The club was mostly ignored, until the administration figured out we *actually* intended to fence. IIRC, they wouldn’t let us bring equipment into the rec center at all. If we pressed them on “these aren’t weapons”, they’d threaten to ban them from the dorms, too.

    We even sometimes ended up practicing at a nearby private college (think it was a generic Christian school, couldn’t find anything for sure, though).

    1. think it was a generic Christian school


      Bible-beaters violate the rights of others not to be offended or run through.

  5. I’m guessing their baseball team is screwed too, right?

    1. We brought up the same thing in my fencing days:

      Fencer: Can we keep baseball bats in the dorms?
      Bureaucrat: Of course! They aren’t weapons!
      Fencer: Seems like they’d hurt a person more than this foil.
      Bureaucrat: But baseball bats don’t *look* like weapons.

      Although I wouldn’t be shocked if the university bureaucrat set eventually comes around to getting baseball bats off campus, too.

      1. More people got injured playing Hockey at my school than did fencing or shooting arrows. I don’t think we had a baseball team.

  6. On one hand, this story broke last week.

    On the other hand, it allows me to ruminate on my college and remark – it taught Fencing and Archery as phys ed electives (You had to have two, but there were so many things that qualified that it was the least strenuous requirement). If you didn’t have your own blades, bows or protective gear, they had a stock to use.

    I could say “and this was New York too” but it’s an upstate school, so opinions may vary.

    1. I did kayaking, which was a load of fun, and tai chi for the non-strenuous part of the requirement.

      1. Are you saying that US universities require you to do PE as part of any degree?

        1. Don’t know if it’s all universities, but it was for mine. But they’re PE electives, not specific courses. Anything from that section of the course catalog works.

        2. Are you saying that US universities require you to do PE as part of any degree?

          Two electives had to be some sort of PE at mine too.
          Also, you couldn’t receive your undergrad degree until you passed a basic swimming and treading water test.

        3. It’s pretty common amongst public colleges; the Catholic colleges don’t seem to require it. They do make you take theology though, so there’s always a trade-off.

          1. Gosh. We don’t have any of that. Generally the only compulsory subjects are subjects at the core of your major.

            1. My Technical Degree had a humanities requirement. I filed a form to the effect of “I thought this other class qualified” to get out of the BS of low-rent Lib Arts instructors at a Technical school.

        4. Hell, I couldn’t get a degree from Rice University until I could stay alive in the deep end of the swimming pool for 10 minutes PLUS I had to have of year of “Introduction to All Kinds of Sports We Offer Intramurally”. Of course, that was back in the 60’s.

        5. At FSU I took bowling 1(credit hr), Volleyball (1 credit hour), Coaching Football (3 credit hours, natch), and Sports Geography (3 credit hours). I really miss college.

          1. How would you know what college is. It sounds like you went to YMCA summer camp.

  7. Fencing was a popular class at Florida when I was there. I remember seeing them practice on campus in some open area. No one cared.

    1. Obviously that was before 9/11, ProL. You know, when Everything Changed.

      1. Wouldn’t you think the change in emphasis after a shocking attack would be to teach and encourage people how to defend themselves?

        1. In the 21st Century?
          No. Sadly, no.

        2. That would be the rational response, which is why we, as a nation, went bugfuck nuts instead. Joking aside the effect of 9/11 on the national psyche was, imo, to blow up anything approaching rational risk-benefit analysis. As tragic as 9/11 was to a nation of 300 million and staggering wealth it was not some mortal blow to the country. That we inflicted upon ourselves. When you add that freakout to the process that was underway already due to the moral panic of School Shootings you get what we have today. A world I’m glad I’m not the one growing up in. I think every generation feels that way to a degree, but man, mine might really have a point there.

        3. Seriously?! You must be taken to an education camp to be properly trained.

    2. I did it in HS and freshman year of college. It’s a fun sport, but so chock full of freaks/geeks, it lost its appeal.

  8. Went to a private college. We didn’t have fencing, but we DID have a gun club. Used to teach hunter’s safety.

    Now you can’t even bring caffeinated pop on campus, much less a beer, MUCH less a gun.

    Pussies….plus, no fun. I’m glad I grew up when I did – it was dangerous, instructive and utterly enjoyable. I marvel that my son (just completed his frehsman year in college) has figured out how to have fun in such a restrictive environment – I admire his and his friends creativity and adaptability. But am sad they’ll never experience a 26-keg party in their fraternity house (on a 1100 student campus) like we did…

    1. But am sad they’ll never experience a 26-keg party in their fraternity house (on a 1100 student campus) like we did

      That doesn’t actually sound like it’d be any fun.

    2. I’m glad I grew up when I did

      Dude, for real. Just the inventory of martial arts weapons I possessed and trained with by the age of 14 would probably have me on a watch list , removed from my home, or expelled from school in these more enlightened times. My friends and I practiced freaking everywhere. Playgrounds, backyards, churchyards, the alley behind the house, the school football field, the world was our dojo. I’d probably be killed trying that shit these days.

  9. Wouldn’t you think the change in emphasis after a shocking attack would be to teach and encourage people how to defend themselves?


  10. NDSU’s Police and Safety Office Director Ray Boyer cited the school’s policy manual and Code of Student Behavior, saying … :
    “They are deemed weapons, and as such, possession or use on University owned or controlled property is prohibited,” he says.

    Here’s the NDSU Code of Student Behavior.

    It states: “Unauthorized possession, display or use of weapons
    on university owned or controlled property, including in
    personal vehicles, are prohibited, unless permission for
    possession and/or use has been granted by an appropriate university official.

    Emphasis added.
    *** rising intonation ***
    I think I see a way to deal with the fencing club dilemma.

    It also states: “Any objects may be considered weapons when used
    to inflict or threaten infliction of bodily injury or property damage.”

    Gee, I hope nobody threatens to push anybody down any *stairs* at NDSU, because, you know ….

    1. I got pushed down the stairs one time when I was at cooking school in Denver. After a female fellow student mentioned she was a vegetarian, I asked “How do you keep a boyfriend if you don’t eat meat?” She was not amused, so she shoved me down some stairs. Didn’t get hurt. Just a couple bruises. It was totally worth it.

    2. Weren’t stairs already outlawed by the Americans with Disabilities Act?

      Also, granting permission for possession would mean excercising judgement and taking responsibility, and no university official will ever do that.

      1. There is no “e” in “judgment”.

        1. Seem’s you understanded me just fine any-ways.

          1. @ sarcasmic: Funny how the voluntary herbivores forget, from time to time, that humans are animals, too, and hurt and kill us!

            I went to a Jesuit Uni with both Navy and Army ROTC. I had buddies in both. They were on the rifle teams, and took me to the range in the basement of the gym the basketballers used for practice. There, they taught me how to shoot, and basic gun safety. They may have been breaking a rule by letting a civilian shoot, but I was considering applying for a ROTC scholarship at the time.

  11. I don’t get it.

    I had 4 semesters worth of jui jitsu (various weapons including sword), archery and riflery.

    Half of the cars/trucks in the parking lot had shotguns in them in full view.


  12. I really feel bad for the kids on the track team. You know, the shot putters, javelin, discus and hammer throwers. Those implements are all weapons. And I mean legitimate weapons.

    Of course, university administrators would actually have to have studied history, like academics used to do, to know this. Or they could have watched any movie on Ancient Greek warfare.

  13. My head hurts just thinking about the insanity of today’s educators and bureaucrats.

  14. Not sure if it was clear, these aren’t weapons. They’re blunt, not sharp, the worst danger (and it’s not “dangerous” unless people are stupid enough not to wear protective equipment) when fencing is if a blade breaks (then the fractured edge is sharp).

    1. Like e-cigarettes, the fact that they look like the thing banned is enough to cause freak out among the edublobbists.

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