One of the ways that I spend my time is as an active member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Some may say that we're a bunch of freaks running around in silly clothes but in actuality the SCA is a non-profit educational reenactment group. Our focus is pre-17th century Europe but we do include cultures such as Asian and Middle Eastern that had contact with Europe. There are a great variety of activities that one can participate in, such as fighting with armor and rattan weapons, archery, fencing, research for arts and sciences and much more. Visit the SCAs homepage for more information.

Our rapier combat rules have similarities to classical (Olympic-style) fencing but is vastly different. A key difference is that we fence "in the round", which means that your movements aren't regulated to advancing and retreating in a straight line. Another difference is the use of weapons. Foil and epee are both considered "light weapons" and can be used against each other. There is also schlager, a heavier type of rapier weapon. Schlagers can only be used against each other. Classical fencers can use sabers whereas we're prohibited. But enough about the rules that we play by...

I started fencing in the spring of 1996. This was one of the best decisions I've made in my scadian life (the other big one was volunteering to retain for a particular set of Royalty during their first reign.... after two reigns with them, they are two of my closest friends in the SCA and the head of the household I belong to). As for the fencing, aside from being good physical and mental exercise this has given me a chance to become friends with people that I might not have otherwise. One of the key aspects of life in the SCA is the student/teacher relationship. In the fencing community, most of the kingdoms belong to the White Scarf treaty (this means that the best fencers can receive an award called the White Scarf from their King and Queen). A part of this "White Scarf" thing is their taking of cadets (students). I am cadeted to a Don (this is the title of a White Scarf) who lives near me. What this means is that I have someone to keep me from slacking off, to push me to be a better fencer and give me encouragement when I get my butt whupped on the field or in a tournament. Of course we also spend time together (usually sharing a bottle or two of red wine) just hanging out and talking. One of the things that he's known for is breaking tangs on his foils (the tang is the end of the blade that the grip and pommel screw onto). At last count, he's broken over 20. Many of the stories of how the tang broke are quite amusing so at some point there'll be a listing of these "no shit there I was when my tang broke" stories. I'll also see if I can dig up (or take) some decent pics of us and others fencing (or just lounging around on the field taking a break).