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Choose your weapons! Kansas man requests trial by combat to settle dispute with ex-wife

By Josh Weiss
Uma Thurman and David Carradine in Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)

A man in Kansas is stumping for the return of the grand old days of dueling and samurai battles: He's asked an Iowa court to allow him to settle a dispute with his ex-wife via trial by combat. Cue that Game of Thrones theme now.

The Des Moines Register reports that David Ostrom, 40, has filed a motion seeking to meet his ex "on the field of battle where [he] will rend their souls from their corporal bodies."

As part of the defense put together by his legal team, Ostrom claims that his ex, Bridgette Ostrom, 38, "destroyed [him] legally." As such, he has asked the Iowa District Court in Shelby County to give him 12 weeks during which he plans forge katana and wakizashi swords. And nope, we're pretty sure he didn't accidentally walk through a time portal from feudal Japan.

Of course, it's all not as poker-faced as it seems: Ostrom admitted that the outlandish feudal rebuttal was in response to what he says is the "absurdity" proffered by his ex-wife's attorney, Matthew Hudson.  

"I think I've met Mr. Hudson's absurdity with my own absurdity," Ostrom said, per the Register.

"To this day, trial by combat has never been explicitly banned or restricted as a right in these United States," Ostrom reportedly said in the official court documents. "[It was used] as recently as 1818 in British Court."

Ostrom said he got the idea from a 2016 court case in which New York Supreme Court Justice Philip Minardo ruled that dueling had not been abolished in the United States. We should also mention that Ostrom admitted to having no experience with sword fighting and doesn't really believe the judge will sign off on his trial-by-combat motion.

No surprise, his ex-wife's attorney has filed an objection to the combat request — and corrected some of the grammar in it.

"Surely [Ostrom] meant 'corporeal' bodies which Merriam Webster defines as having, consisting of, or relating to, a physical material body," reportedly wrote the lawyer. "Although [Ostrom] and potential combatant do have souls to be rended, they respectfully request that the court not order this done ... It should be noted that just because the U.S. and Iowa constitutions do not specifically prohibit battling another person with a deadly katana sword, it does prohibit a court sitting in equity from ordering same."

Hudson also asked for Ostrom's visitation rights to be suspended until he undergoes a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation. Ostrom, meanwhile, disputed any concerns about his mental health, countering with:

"Respondent and counsel have proven themselves to be cravens by refusing to answer the call to battle, thus they should lose this motion by default."

The court has yet to issue a ruling either way.

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