Cooper Woo was helping his buddy Neal Stephenson write a book when their group of friends fell into the habit of modern sword fighting. The book, which would later be published as a serial novel called Mongoliad, was about a group of westerners that fought to save the world against barbaric hordes of Mongols so, naturally, the authors needed to be experts in the weaponry of the day.
It didn’t hurt that they were having a ton of fun. In his Slate article Sword Fight On A Hong Kong Rooftop from earlier this month Woo details how the venture went from a “sword-geek guild” where they laid into each other with sticks to an informal training session in Old Hong Kong. Here’s the video of Woo standing toe-to-toe with a man who called himself “Lancelot Chan.”
In Woo’s own words:
People in the taller, newer apartment buildings that surrounded Lancelot’s rooftop were standing in their windows watching the fight. I could see at least half a dozen figures silhouetted against the lights. Several of them flashed their lights on and off after Lancelot or I scored a great hit. The effect was crazy cool. We were sword fighting in a Chinese Thunderdome!