Josh Jenne is the Co-Founder of Foam-Fighting.com that is promoting an incredibly fun sport called Foam Fighting. We had a short interview with him:
Sounds like a healthy sport idea - Foam-Fighting. How did you discover and decide to make it one of your founding projects?
I discovered it after watching the movie Role Models. I was sitting there and thought to myself, “that –does- look really fun! I wonder if they do it here in Vegas.” A quick trip to Google later and I discovered Barad’dun, which is the local foam fighting chapter. I introduced myself on the forums, built a weapon and a shield (which didn’t pass the safety rules) and showed up to their Saturday practice.
What makes the difference when players are dressed up when they are in a foam-fight?
As weird as it may sound, I think it makes us look a little more professional. We get a lot more people who watch and ask what we do when we are dressed up as opposed to when we are in a t-shirt and blue jeans. People fighting hard while dressed up simply looks better. The clothing we wear is called “garb” and I admit I hated the idea at first. However, it does look a lot better and the clothing flows nicely. We can work up quite a sweat when we fight and its best to be in athletic clothing, no matter what time period it’s from.
Is it an official 'fighting club' in Las Vegas where a community of people meet weekly to have fun together?
Absolutely! The sports of Dagorhir and Belegarth are spread throughout the United States. There are thousands of players split up by region. Las Vegas hosts a Dagorhir chapter called Barad’dun. We meet every Saturday for practice and duke it out. We have a set leadership who plans out the different games we will be playing ahead of time. These games can range anywhere from simple two team battles to capture the flag. The coolest thing about our club is that we are pretty involved outside of the Las Vegas region too. The west coast Dagorhir and Belegarth chapters host events where they invite fighters from all across the states to come together to fight. These are great opportunities to meet and fight other people, learn new fighting techniques, camp out and have a good time. Just last February we were in St. George Utah for an event called “War of Reckoning.” It was the third one they have ever hosted and was a lot of fun. Some events on the East Coast, like Ragnarok, can host as many as 1,000 people.
What makes you think this will be a good sport as compared to the other combat/fighting sport like MMA?
It’s fun, plain and simple. I mean, how many of us had stick swords when we were younger and fought each other? This is a lot like fencing, but with much more variety when it comes to weaponry. The games are a lot more varied and you can involve as many people as you want. When compared to other fighting sports, foam fighting requires just as much skill, speed, and coordination. Some of these fighters have been fighting for years, and can sweep multiple opponents by themselves with ease. The sport requires all sorts of techniques, zoning, and footwork. Some of the bigger guys have huge shields that they will put you on your back with. Some guys are ridiculously fast and will run circles around you. It’s really cool to see the different styles people have come up with. Foam fighting mixes not only combat techniques but teamwork techniques as well. Think about it—you have either large scale or small scale teams fighting each other with different kinds of weapons. Weapons tactics and teamwork are going to win out in the end. Ancient techniques such as the shield wall work. Flanking and outmaneuvering the other team is important too. I guess the sport has a lot of aspects of football in this regard. You have two lines of people brawling it out, skirmishers flanking the side, counter-skirmishers, archers, javelins flying through the air… It’s blessed chaos.
What are the frequently asked questions and misconception(s) about 'foam fighting'?
The most common misconception, about Dagorhir and Belegarth anyway, is that we are a Live Action Roleplay (LARP). Dagorhir and Belegarth do not have a class based system. There is no magic. There is no guy shouting “Fireball! Fireball!” while throwing bean bags at people. There is no hit point system. Every fighter takes damage the same based on the weapon they are being hit with. Some other foam fighting sports are LARPS, however, so I guess which one you participate in depends on your personal tastes. There is nothing preventing you from LARPing in Dagorhir, as far as I know. A lot of people have a battle persona and like to get into roleplay on the forums.