Legal combat on campus with daggers and swords

FAU students participate in foam-padded sword fights on campus


FAU students participate in medieval style foam combat. Joshua Stoughton | Contributing Writer

Joshua Stoughton, Contributing Writer

A girl armed with a sword unleashes a devastating melee attack on her opponent, who stumbles and falls to the ground on one knee. Sensing her victory is near at hand, she steps forward, raises her sword high above her head and gets stabbed in the stomach with a short dagger.

Both fighters are students here at FAU. Their foam sword fight took place on campus, and not only was it legal, it was also enjoyable.

“It was awesome. I felt like a video game character!” said freshman communication major Jennifer Ringhof after her first match. “It’s really good exercise too.”

The group who brought this event to FAU are known as the Foam Fighters. They are currently in the process of forming an official club on campus.

They practice in the courtyard east of the Wimberly Library every Thursday from 5 p.m until most of the members are too tired to continue, which usually takes about an hour.

The leader of the group is sophomore business major Nick Valencia. He has been interested in sword fighting ever since he saw “The Lord of the Rings” series.

He started the Foam Fighters two years ago and has made friends all over the United States because of it. Groups like his are known as Live Action Role Playing or LARP groups and they exist all over the world.

According to Kurt Lancaster’s book — “Warlocks and Warpdrive: Contemporary Fantasy Entertainments With Interactive and Virtual Environments” — the International Fantasy Gaming Society was formed in 1981 as a result of the growing popularity of the role-playing board game, Dungeons and Dragons.

The campus police were contacted and asked if they were concerned about students’ safety but have yet to comment. However, safety seems to be of the utmost concern to the group.

They have their own code of conduct. Like the knights of old, they obey their own laws of chivalry, i.e., no hits to the head or groin. 

Barnabe Callahan, a LARP enthusiast, has been competing in events for over five years. He explains the rules to everyone interested in participating and referees each match.

Several members of the group have given themselves nicknames such as Striker and Weasel. Some of the more dedicated members can be seen wearing old-fashioned clothing that matches the medieval style of their weaponry.

However, most of the people who participate wear modern clothing and do not have weapons of their own. So, the only thing a prospective member needs to bring to practice is a positive attitude.

Even students who choose not to participate still seem intrigued by the ferocious foam combat.

Senior political science major Rachel Quinn said, “Do you know who would be really good for this? Angry people because if I was having a really bad day I would love to LARP somebody up.”

Joshua Stoughton is a contributing writer with the University Press. To contact him on this or other stories he can be reached at [email protected].