On a sunny Sunday afternoon in Williamsburg, grown men and women dressed themselves in various forms of cardboard armor consisting of pizza boxes, thrown-away fruit cartons and abandoned pinatas. The more fragile areas of the body were doubly protected with layers of duct tape and twine. Some opted for face guards, others chose minimal coverage in favor of more flexibility and agility.
To McCarren Park in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg they went. Under the shade of old oaks, they began a ritual dating back to… um…. the really old days. You know, the days when people gathered under old oak trees wearing armor and established the ground rules for mighty duels. Mighty, mighty duels.
- No poking.
- Don’t hit the face.
- Spectators will determine duel victors.
- If your tube breaks and hangs at a 45 degree angle, you’ve lost.
Cardboard tubes: childhood treasures known for their ability to quickly be imagined into walking sticks, mighty staffs, fishing poles, batons, telescopes, Lightsabers (complete with “Waaahr, waaaahr, waaaaahr” sound effects) and, of course, swords.
This is the brilliance of the Cardboard Tube Fighting League. By taking a little bit of childhood nostalgia, mixing it with the chutzpah of adulthood and costuming it in cardboard, the Cardboard Tube Fighting League has created an event that mingles perfectly with Brooklyn’s love of all things counter-culture.
As you can see in this clip above, everyone was in good spirits. Each thwack, whack and whump created a contagious giggle amongst the crowd. Favorites were established with each duel and spontaneous chants of “Go dragon! Go dragon!” or “Kid! Kid! Kid! Kid” would mix with the sounds of participant’s grunts and signature idioms. (One favorite was a participant dressed in Whoot! boxes. During the massive tube battle, he could be heard offering discounts on various electronic items interspersed with high-pitched “Whoot!”s.) In the end, the mighty Samurai Addie was declared the champion.
Addie is nine.
This segment and more will air on Brooklyn Review, Mondays and Thursdays at 1pm & 9pm; Fridays at 3pm & 11pm on Time Warner 56, Cablevision 69, RCN 84 and in all five boroughs on Verizon 44. You can also watch episodes on demand on the Brooklyn Review webpage or download your favorite segments and episodes on iTunes (keyword: “Brooklyn Review”).
Bonus cellphone pics from the event: