GOOD

We are entering the prime season for public park recreation: Across the nation, people are oiling their Frisbees and tightening up their cornhole sets (cornhole: it’s not what you think) for afternoons of barbecue and light sport. Or, in the case of a few gung-ho characters in my home city of Portland, Oregon: Girding for battle. Local practitioners of “mu ryu” martial arts have taken to gathering at parks for afternoons of lunging and stabbing. Mu ryu apparently means “no school,” and seems like a pretty heavy concept: "The flesh is the student. The sword is the teacher. The fight is the test.” But, hey, swords up!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjRZJ5INfp0


Some of the action looks pretty awesome, especially compared to hacky-sack.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5PaKzG_PG8

And who can’t appreciate a good knife fight in a park? It’s like we’re in West Side Story or something.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjuNFsWmx2k

Honestly, as someone who once engaged in a notably unsuccessful (but absurdly over-documented) fencing “career,” I can only admire the brio, enthusiasm, and raw skill these avocational blades display. From the looks of their blogroll, the Portland duellists are just one part of an international sword scene. I think we have just discovered the ultimate cure for summer boredom.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUjy1Mp1fTY

Image via Sworddueling.com.