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Man Requests Samurai Sword Fight With Ex-Wife To Settle Custody Battle


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A man is requesting that an Iowa court grant his motion for trial by combat in order to settle a custody battle dispute with his now ex-wife. 40-year-old, David Ostrom is claiming his ex-wife, Bridgette Ostrom, has 'legally destroyed him' in court documents obtained by the Des Moines Register

Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images

According to Ostrom himself, his requested motion stems from his frustrations with his ex-wife's attorney, Matthew J. Hudson. Ostrom has requested the Iowa District Court located in Shelby County provide him with a twelve-week notice so that both parties can obtain their katanas and traditional Japanese weaponry. Ostrom has also requested that his wife would be able to choose Hudson as a stand-in combatant or 'champion.' 

David Ostrom is quoted in court documents stating, "To this day, trial by combat has never been explicitly banned or restricted as a right in these United States. The frustrated father also added that this method of handling legal disputes was utilized 'as recently as 1818 in British Court.'

Bridgette Ostrom's attorney in Hudson was forced to argue that the result of said samurai sword combat could potentially lead to death which is a far more worse outcome than any property tax or custody decision left in the hands of the court. Court documents have Hudson on record stating, "Although [Ostrom] and potential combatants do have souls to be rended, they respectfully request that the court not order this done."

Hudson added, "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 took additional jabs at Ostrom the court suspend Ostrom's visitation rights so that he may be psychologically evaluated. 

The Des Moines Register reached out to David via telephone where he explained that he had come up with the idea of a swordfight after hearing a New York Supreme Court Justice acknowledge that duels had not been abolished during the case that took place in 2016. Ostrom closed out the conversation with the publication stating:

"If Mr. Hudson is willing to do it, I will meet him. I don't think he has the guts to do it." 

Mr. Ostrom's request is currently pending a final decision by the Shelby County court. With how bizarre the justice and political climate has been as of late there's no telling what the outcome of this motion may be.


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  • 2 years later...

It remains still unclear if Ostrom was serious or if he was using the motion as a way to delay the proceedings. Sword Encyclopedia says he was quite serious about it and had even provided the court with a list of potential sword experts who could serve as witnesses and referees during the proposed duel. Trial by combat was historically used to settle disputes, but it was abolished in England in 1819 and has not been used in the United States since. He also claimed that his ex-wife's attorney had been training in Indonesian Silat - a form of martial art that includes sword fighting - which gives her an 'unfair advantage .'If Ostrom's motion had been granted, it would have been interesting to see who would serve as his second or how the sword fight would take place. Nevertheless, resolving a custody dispute would certainly be an unprecedented way.

Edited by mURTYbOLS
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