In an often-dark storefront nestled in a Struck Street strip mall on Madison’s west side, there’s a surprising amount of action going on. Opponents are facing off with swords — not out of spite, but for sport. And art creeps into the fights.
Decked out in traditional white uniforms and large overhead masks, the opponents hold swords that aren’t pirate blades in the swashbuckling sense, but fencing foils — long, almost pencil-thin, with electrically charged, spring-loaded tips. They make a surprising sound as they strike each other — more clack than clang, not at all like in the movies. Within moments, one opponent has struck the other’s woven metal vest, or lamé, triggering a tally on the electronic scoreboard. They swiftly step apart, then face off again.