Germen men fencing
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German students fence for honour

German law student Nils Hempel is a member of one of the country's student fencing corps, which aim to build character under the blade of a sword.

Nils Hempel, 26, values his friends as much as any man but perhaps never more than when he is slashing at their faces with a sword.

A law student at Humboldt University from Bremen, he belongs to one of Germany's oldest all-male college fraternities, the Corps Marchia Berlin, in the German capital's well-heeled suburb of Dahlem.

Corps members may make up just a few per cent of Germany's student population but their alumni are over-represented among chief executives of the country's companies.

BBC News asked Mr Hempel why he and his fellow students cross swords in the mensur - a form of fencing much like a real duel - and was allowed to film the swordsmen in training.

  • 10 Sep
  • From the section Europe