Strange sports: Armored fighters 'slay' opponents in mock combat

2011-02-26T00:00:00Z 2011-02-28T12:12:05Z Strange sports: Armored fighters 'slay' opponents in mock combatDONNA HEALY Of The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette
February 26, 2011 12:00 am  • 

The sport: Armored combat.

The thrill: Slay your opponent in mock medieval combat.

Who plays: Costumed in medieval clothing, members of the Society for Creative Anachronism often indulge in feasting, dancing and merrymaking.

Fighters mimic combat in

the Middle Ages, with pretend versions of rapiers, heavy swords and other weapons. They battle one-on-one or join mass warfare at regional gatherings, where hundreds of fighters take to the field.

The gear: Bamboo-like rattan is sheathed in duct tape to create heavy swords springy enough to absorb blows without snapping.

To keep the battles safe, fighters wear steel helmets along with leather and metal armor.

The gist: Fighters parry thrusts until one delivers a “killing blow” or until the opponent yields. Opponents are honor-bound to report “lethal blows.”

“It’s just who’s the toughest guy, but in the most chivalrous way,” said Jeffrey Ford, a marshal in charge of safety.

The cost: The gear varies greatly in quality and cost, but a fighter could easily spend $100 for a helmet and an equal amount for protective gear.

Some knights repurpose sports gear, while novices sometimes borrow gear. The Society for Creative Anachronism’s dues cost $35 a year.

To join the fun: The SCA chapter meets for its monthly business meeting on the third floor of the Parmly Billings Library at 7 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month.

Weather permitting in the spring, the fighters practice about 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoons by the Zimmerman Center in Pioneer Park.

More info: www.sca.org.

Contact Donna Healy at dhealy@billingsgazette.com or 657-1292.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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