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German students fence for honour and discipline

10 September 2013 Last updated at 23:04 BST

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.