The Silicon Valley "Gentlemen's Fight Club" has just two rules: don't cripple your friend, and don't bring him to tears.
Other than that, anything goes in this Menlo Park garage where you can beat the snot out of your co-workers with fists, chairs, and Dust Busters. You're even allowed to talk about the fight club. In fact, the emotional connection this motley crew of techies feels toward each other seems to be one of the main draws.
"If I fight a guy three times, I'll help him move," another member states in an interview for 'Uppercut,' an installment for the California Is A Place documentary series by Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari. (See video below.)
As fighter Mike Tinkoff told Wired, "People want to think that we're these angry office workers that have no outlet and we come here and get all this aggression out. It's not like that."
However, some are dubious about the value of Ivy league-educated men complaining that how the the worst part of their jobs is getting a backache from sitting at the computer for too long. Helen A.S. Popkin writes on MSN's tech blog, "What you get in 'Uppercut' is 8:41 minutes of not entirely unsympathetic men whining about their privileged existence and the shame that comes from bearing injuries incurred from cubicle life — bad backs, carpal tunnel, etc." She also points out that one of the men in the video actually says, "I hit a guy in the face and I’m alive."
To some, 'Uppercut' may initially seems like a spoof on one of those high-contrast black and white documentaries about the difficulties of living in a place where people drive late-model Corollas. Why is talk of "serious injuries" juxtaposed over images of Yahoo! headquarters? Why are grown men hitting each other with keyboards?
If you think this sounds like the Chuck Palahniuk novel "Fight Club" (or film version starring Brad Pitt and Ed Norton) you're not alone. But Silicon Valley's fight club is no fiction. According to an article on MSNBC, it was started by software engineer Gints Klimanis in 2000, one year after the movie was released.
The Silicon Valley fighters may not make soap out of liposuctioned fat, like the fictional "Fight Club" fighters, but they appear to transcend their "cubicle" and "Merlot" lifestyles for a glimpse into a world where bruises are currency and where, as one member puts it, "You can have an ultimate loss."
Check out "Uppercut" (below) for a glimpse into the fight club of Silicon Valley.