Safety first: Coach Mike Pederson tries to calm us down.
Disney Online organized a single-elimination ladder in which we could settle our editorial differences. Like most of the other journalists, I'd never fenced before. After quickly donning a canvas jacket, glove, and face mask, I nervously began my first match.
If there was any doubt, épée fencing takes much more endurance than activities in my usual day: sitting, typing, and answering the door for FedEx. I quickly scored four points -- one "touch" activates a light and counts as a point -- before exhausting myself. After losing a couple points, I finally scored the fifth needed to win the round and earn a break.
My second match was generally an inversion of the first; I got behind by a large margin, earned a couple points for my pride, then lost. While we were trying to jab each other with blunted swords, I didn't consider the likelihood of injury until I stabbed my opponent fairly hard in the chest -- much harder than needed to activate the light. So, I lived up to our motto at Joystiq, "to cause others pain even in loss." (Vlad has the original Latin phrase above his desk.) My opponent, Chris, later said that it didn't hurt much during the excitement of the match, but my strike caught up to him afterwards.
Nerd fight: What would Guybrush do?
Who was the fiercest journalist at the event? The tournament winner -- including cumulative points from a brief challenge within Pirates Online -- was IGN Vault Network's Richard Aihoshi. He was originally supposed to win a replica Pirates sword from the movie series, but our hosts decided to give all of us swords, very Oprah-like.
We at Joystiq figured that a life-sized sword would find a better home with one of our readers than it would mounted above my office mini-fridge. We'll soon announce a contest for you to become the keeper of an authentic Pirates of the Caribbean replica sword.