The Curious Case of the Extreme Sport Mensur | Summary and Q&A

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March 26, 2021
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Today I Found Out
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The Curious Case of the Extreme Sport Mensur

TL;DR

Mensur is a brutal form of fencing in German-speaking university societies, where participants take blows without fear or flinching to demonstrate courage and character.

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Key Insights

  • 💁 Mensur is a unique form of ritualized swordplay practiced in student corporations to reinforce the notion of a lifelong brotherhood.
  • 😘 The practice emphasizes demonstrating courage and character through enduring blows without fear or flinching.
  • 😨 Dueling scars, known as smites or schmiss, were considered a badge of honor and a sign of German character.
  • 😀 Mensur faced challenges throughout history but has survived and is still practiced today by student corporations.
  • ✌️ The popularity of mensur in Germany was attributed to extended peace, military reforms, and the opening of universities for the middle class.
  • 🤕 The German government previously banned mensur but it continued to be practiced secretly.
  • 🤕 The Nazi regime officially banned mensur due to its association with aristocratic student corporations.
  • ❓ Mensur reemerged after World War II but never regained its former popularity.

Transcript

the modern sport of classical fencing has come a long way from its origins in the 15th century practice of dueling over the past 600 years swords have become blunted protective equipment is increased and rules steadily codified to produce a safe formalized olympic sport in which serious injuries are rare but at the same time another more brutal for... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is mensur and where is it practiced?

Mensur is a formal duel between two individuals using sharpened sabers, practiced in student corporations in German-speaking countries and the Baltic states.

Q: What is the objective of mensur?

The objective of mensur is not to showcase swordsmanship but to demonstrate courage and character by taking blows without fear or flinching.

Q: What protective gear do participants wear during mensur?

Participants wear protective gear, including a long padded or chainmail shirt, throat protector, gauntlet, and metal goggles with a nose protector. Hits to the head are the only permitted blows.

Q: How did mensur survive throughout history despite challenges?

Mensur nearly disappeared at times but managed to adapt itself to changing times. It remained popular due to its association with honor, courage, and the ability to endure hardship.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Mensur is a form of ritualized swordplay unique to student corporations in German-speaking countries and the Baltic states.

  • Participants stand fixed and take blows from sharpened sabers without moving their feet, aiming to demonstrate courage rather than swordsmanship.

  • The practice of mensur has a long history, facing challenges to its existence throughout the years, but is still practiced today.

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