Sport: The Swordsmen

The intricate, formal combat in Michigan State College's Jenison Field House seemed a far cry from the back-alley swordplay of François Villon or the duels-to-the-death of the Three Musketeers. The 20th-century field of honor was limited to the narrow boundaries of a long rubber mat, leaving little room for spectacular derring-do. Four judges and a director hovered around each bout to call the touches and check on fencing protocol. The undergraduates who crossed blades in the National Collegiate Fencing Championships last week could be sure no opponent would blind them with a handful of dust; no one would slip a sword...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!