The Ocho: Cardboard Tube Dueling
April 18, 2017
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Cardboard tube dueling is a simple sport founded on three basic principles. People need more ways to play and take themselves less seriously, events can be fun without the use of alcohol, and, most importantly, cardboard sword fighting is fun.
The cardboard tube fighting league (CTFL) is the main organizer of the sport, hosting many tournaments and battles worldwide. The goal of a duel is to be the last person with an unbroken tube. A broken tube is defined as broken into two or more pieces, or having a bend of over 45 degrees.
The CTFL was founded by Robert Easley in Seattle, Washington under the motto “Training elite militias of cardboard tube wielding ninjas.” The first event was held in July 2007, and in addition to the Seattle league, the CTFL has branches in San Francisco and DC. In 2008, the CTFL became an international organization by opening a branch in Sydney, Australia. Now the CTFL has branches in Belgium and the UK as well.
The rules are simple and self-explanatory. Duelists cannot block with their arms or legs, stabbing motions are forbidden, and tubes must be held at the ends instead of the middle. There is also no body slamming, and hits to the face are frowned upon and can result in an ejection from an event.
“I would train every day for eight hours in hard core, intensive cardboardsmanship,” said Elder.
CTFL events include battles and tournaments. Battles are team-based matches that end when all members of one team have broken tubes. Battles are popular because they allow people to duel alongside each other rather than against each other.
“I would bring water guns,” said junior Leo Lozano, “to weaken the structural integrity of the enemy’s swords.”
Tournaments are much longer and end with one winner rather than a whole team. An official CTFL tournament has 48 duelists. The first three rounds are one-on-one matches. The winners move on in the tournament, while the losers are knocked out. After three rounds, six duelists are left, so they fight in a “chaos match”. Chaos matches are three-person free-for-all duels where the winner is the last one with an unbroken tube. The winners of the chaos matches then duel in the final match to determine the tournament champion.
Tournament winners are rewarded with cardboard versions of historical and mythological weapons, including Excalibur and Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir.
“That sounds like the greatest thing in the world,” said sophomore Jackson Elder.