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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Club opts to go Medieval

    Hear ye, hear ye! The College of St. Felix chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism, an on-campus medieval group, practices chivalry and sword fighting.

    “”They are an eclectic, if not fun, bunch,”” said Curt Booth, a UA employee and SCA club advisor who is called Lord Fergus DeBotha for club meetings.

    Donning medieval garb, SCA members, or Barony of Tir Ysgithr, as they call themselves, participate in medieval reenactments. “”Barony of Tir Ysgithr”” is Gaelic for “”land of the Tusk,”” and the name follows the club’s mascot, the javelina, Booth said.

    Members wear medieval attire two to four times a month for “”Kingdom”” events and arts nights, Booth said.

    The time period they focus on spans from the Battle of Hastings in 1066, when William the Conqueror reigned in England, to the 1600s.

    The club meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m., Booth said. Their meeting location alternates every other week, from the Presidio Room on the fourth floor of the Student Union Memorial Center to Reid Park for fighting practice.

    The SCA began at the University of California, Berkeley in 1966 and is now an international organization that spans Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the United States, according to the society’s Web site.

    The organization is looking to expand to Asia and Africa eventually, Booth said.

    Club members are encouraged to buy a medieval costume, which can be made for about $50 or purchased for around $150, he added.

    Membership is free, though those who wish to participate in sword-fighting tournaments must sign up for different levels of membership, which can range in price from $10-35, according to the SCA Web site.

    “”It is surprising how incredibly colorful and enriched cultures were at this time,”” said Sara Lewis, UA alumna and president of SCA’s Tucson branch.

    The group hosts several events locally, nationally and internationally.

    It recently hosted the Torch Light Tourney to raise money for fighting practices, so the club can have lighting at Reid Park, said Mel Kemp, a Tucson resident and SCA member also known as Baron Ivan.

    SCA also hosts a weeklong event called Estrella Wars, in which members wear their costumes the entire time.

    Fighters can choose a style of combat from an era they particularly like, Booth said.

    Some dress up like the Spartan soldiers in the movie “”300,”” while others fight with rapiers, Kemp said.

    Several club members described the differences among the subgroups.

    The rapier group focuses on hand-to-hand combat using a narrow sword, whereas the Spartan group uses a team-combat method, with a tightly knit group holding up shields, members said.

    When fighting, all members have to wear several layers of armor. In addition, their blade tips are rounded to try to make it as safe as possible.

    Kemp said he joined SCA after being fascinated by the members’ role-playing and fighting performances.

    “”Honestly, it was the sword fighting (that drew me in),”” said Kemp, who said he met his wife through the club. “”I got to wear armor, learn how to use a sword and shield. I got to play the medieval knight.””

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