Senft: Real fight clubs are all guts, no glory

Fight Club is an awesome movie. It has a great plotline, some classic lines and Brad Pitt frequently sporting sleeveless tanks. What more could you ask for? But recently, when you hear those two words, chances are the person you are speaking to is not talking about the movie. There are those people who don't seem to understand that not everything created in Hollywood is worth emulating.

Fight clubs are quickly becoming a very real thing that should have stayed in the movies. As if men needed another chance to act macho. But the real problem is that not only is participating in an underground fight club an unnecessary show of "manly" strength, it is also stupid and dangerous.

In December, a student at Binghamton University died in his dorm room after a poorly aimed blow to the head during a fight-club meeting. A lot of guys get away with it by calling it a "boxing club" and thereby making it sound like a more structured, acceptable activity. But unlike boxing, fight clubs are lacking one important element: rules.

Other than the fact that one is supposed to let up when his opponent appears to be in distress, rogue punches, choking, kicking, wrestling and sometimes even the use of makeshift weapons are all fair game. With no one to referee, and only a group of other adrenaline-high males cheering them on, no one is paying attention to where the blows are falling.

Hits to the chest and stomach can easily result in broken ribs and undetectable internal bleeding, hits to the groin can render an opponent almost defenseless and hits to certain parts of the head, namely the temples, can prove fatal.So what's the appeal?

It's not like these guys hate each other and are looking to act on it. In most cases, it's a group of friends getting together in the same way that you might plan a party when your parents are away - only they beat the crap out of each other. I can only guess that they see it as a stress reliever, a way to release everything they build up day to day - apparently the gym or normal sports don't do it for them.

Plus, it isn't technically illegal. You can look up fight clubs on Google or YouTube and find news stories done on local fight clubs, complete with video clips and quotes from the members. Unless someone ends up in the hospital or decides to file assault charges, there is no reason the police even know the club exists.

Maybe I just don't get it because I'm female. Maybe the need to acquire bruises and broken teeth in order to be considered successful is a guy thing. Whatever it is, it shouldn't be happening and I can only wonder how many more people have to get killed before something is done about it. These aren't gang members or low-lifes we're talking about; these are college students, white-collar workers, sons and husbands, and I can only hope that the next wrong hit to show up in the news isn't a face I recognize.

Amanda Senft is a sophomore English major, and if you disagree with her opinions, she will fight you.