Thursday, February 19, 2009

Amtgard and the SCA

"What do you expect? It's not like we have professional safety certifications or references to ASTM standards here."

A discussion on Electric Samurai, an Amtgard discussion forum, about how to convince a university that Amtgard is not a liability risk

"Rattan-cored Siloflex or Siloflex equivalent weapons shall be constructed using tubular materials meeting ASTM standard D-2239 or the international equivalent, with a pressure rating of 160 PSI or greater, having at least a 1 1⁄4 inch (31.8 mm) diameter on the outside and at least 1/8 inch (3.2 mm) walls, and having an inner core of rattan that fills the interior of the tubular material entirely."

- The SCA combat rules handbook


While going around to some bars on Route 1 trying to sign people up for Amtgard, a bartender told me that there was another group of people who "dress up like knights and fight" at a church a couple blocks away on Mondays. I went there and found that they were, in fact, an SCA group. SCA stands for Society for Creative Anachronism, and it's the main medieval reenactment organization with a focus on historical accuracy. So you won't find any magical spells or monsters there. Instead they use weapons - and these weapons are very different than the ones in Amtgard.

For one thing, they are much heavier. They are usually made of rattan, a kind of wood, with no padding whatsoever (except on the front tips of thrusting weapons like spears.) This of course means that the weapons hurt a lot, so they have to wear lots of armor. Minimum armor requirements include armor that covers almost of your body, including a helmet. (The requirements are very detailed - see the SCA combat handbook, pages 10 to 12.) Even still, people get hurt a lot. Several fighters proudly showed me their battle wounds. One person even said that they had once been hit by a particularly hard blow in the shoulder. A few days later nothing was apparently wrong with his shoulder, but there was a discoloration going down the length of his forearm. What actually happened was that he had bled internally, and later had to get the blood sucked out with a syringe.

But anway, when I asked to fight, I was told that I woul dhave to spend about two months just learning "footwork" beore they would even let me gear up and actually fight someone. Then it would be a couple more months before they would let me fight in an actual battle (rather than just practice.) And then if I want to do combat archery there's yet another process I have to go through.

But getting back to the original reason I was there, I told them about LARP and they told me in no uncertain terms that they "don't do LARP." However there was one person who was interested so I gave them the information about the web site.

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