Kansas Man Challenges Ex-Wife and Her Attorney to Sword Fight

I wonder what society would be like if we still allowed dueling.

Personally, I don’t believe violence is ever an answer to life's problems, unless one of those problems is "how do I stop this guy from punching me?" But other than that, I don't think we need to resort to fists, knives, and guns just to sort out differences of opinion. That's what insulting each other on Facebook is for.

But there's just something about dueling that makes me think this could be an interesting solution to so many problems. It could even help us avoid further problems in the future.

Take David Ostrom of Paola, Kansas, for example. He was recently on the losing end of a custody battle, so he asked an Iowa court for permission to fight his ex-wife, Bridgette, and her attorney, Matthew Hudson with Japanese samurai swords.

According to The Des Moines (Iowa) Register, Ostrom said in his filing that his wife "destroyed (him) legally." So he wanted to meet both Bridgette and Hudson "on the field of battle where I will rend their souls from their corporal bodies."

Yes, he said "corporal." Yes, that should be "corporeal."

And, as the Register article said, "Ostrom admitted to the misspelling but argued he has no history of mental issues."

I may be a stickler for spelling, but I'm not going to label every chronic mis-speller as being bat-crap crazy. Elitist much, Register?

If anything, Ostrom is crazy for asking the Iowa District Court to give him "12 weeks lead time" to "source or forge katana and wakizashi swords."

I mean, it'll take way more than 12 weeks just to learn how to forge these things. He's better off trying to buy a couple from eBay instead. I found several authentic katanas anywhere from $900 to $1400, although I did find one for $768.

Common sense says you should never trust your life to a $768 katana. Honestly, who does that?

Your dueling katana should be able to cut through meat better than an electric knife and cut through frozen food — or your opponent — as if it were melted butter. It should be able to cut through a tin can and still remain razor sharp.

Now how much would you pay? Don't answer, because there's more.

With every order of a dueling katana, you get a set of six matching steak knives, and a spiral slicer. Call now, operators are standing by!

Ostrom argued that since no one has specifically banned dueling in the U.S., he should be allowed to call out Bridgette and Hudson to solve their differences through trial by combat. He even said Hudson can stand in as his ex-wife's "champion," or replacement fighter. This was a common practice when duels were still fought. If you could not participate in a duel, you could ask a close friend to fill in for you while you stayed at home, pretending to be sick.

And it was a smart move for Ostrom to challenge Hudson instead of Bridgette. Since this is a custody battle, it would be kind of tough to explain to your kid that he has to live with you because you just beat his mom in a sword fight.

That could get awkward.

A few days later, Ostrom told the Des Moines Register that he's been frustrated with Hudson, and that's why he filed the motion. He said, "I think I've met Mr. Hudson's absurdity with my own absurdity."

Ever the lawyer, Hudson filed his own document opposing Ostrom's motion. And he busted Ostrom's chops a little by correcting his spelling.

"Surely (Ostrom) meant 'corporeal' bodies which Merriam Webster defines as having, consisting of, or relating to, a physical material body," Hudson wrote in his motion. "Although (Ostrom) and potential combatant do have souls to be rended, they respectfully request that the court not order this done."

Then Hudson asked the court to suspend Ostrom's visitation rights and order a psychological evaluation.

But Ostrom doesn't seem quite as bloodthirsty as Hudson is making him out to be. Ostrom said that if the duel were to actually take place, he would want to use a "blunted practice style" of sword.

However, Ostrom stabbed himself in the foot (figuratively, not literally) when he admitted that he doesn't have any experience with sword fighting, but that he wasn't counting on the judge to grant his request.

Which means this whole duel will probably end up like that episode of The Office where Michael Scott and Dwight Schrute fought at the karate dojo.

Maybe dueling isn't the answer then. Maybe they should do something safer and less likely to lead to death and dismemberment.

Like the chariot race from Ben Hur.

Photo credit: Utagawa Kunisawa (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

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