News: SCA group welcomes newcomers
Story by Sgt. Samuel Northrup
HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas – A crowd gathered as two fighters circled each other with swords drawn, a tense look in their eyes. A clanging was heard as swords met. There was a fiery exchange of jabs and blows, swords glinting in the sunlight. Eventually there was a victor.
But this was no real sword fight. It was a mock sword fight between Michael Ruiz and Scot Eddy during a luncheon held by the Stronghold of Hellsgate, a Society for Creative Anachronism organization, at Carl Levin Park, Harker Heights, Aug. 31.
“There are two types of combat in the SCA: rapier combat and chivalric combat,” said Spc. Branden Buchmeier, an automated logistical specialist with A Company, 589th Brigade Support Battalion, 41st Fires Brigade. “Rapier combat is done with fencing weapons and is a fancier fighting style than chivalric.”
First Lt. Zane Fuller, an Armor Officer with HHC, 3-8 Cavalry Regiment, prefers chivalric fighting more than rapier fighting.
“The chivalric fighting is more up-armored because we are fighting with solid bamboo called rattan,” Fuller said. “You get more into your mass melee. With chivalric heavy fighting you have spearmen and form mass shield walls.”
SCA members not only practice fighting styles during these events, but also a wide range of other disciplines.
“We do brewing, calligraphy, armor making, dance, music, singing and leather work” said Joe Simmons, the Stronghold of Hellsgate president. “The bottom line is that if it was done in period between 600 and 1600 A.D., there is someone within the society who is researching, developing and doing it.”
Members can re-create something from the period on their own, but if they start getting into the art and science competitions they have to be period accurate. They have to conduct research and document the references for the techniques they use.
“There are always teaching and learning experiences in the SCA,” said Fuller. “You can ask people questions about anything and people are always there to help you out.”
“When I came into the SCA I thought Vikings did three things: rape, pillage and burn,” Buchmeier said. “I’ve learned that is a common misconception. Vikings were amazing artisans. Their gold and bead work is some of the best ever found.”
The stronghold recently added about 50 more people to its membership during Central Texas College’s Geekfest.
“I think what draws people to the SCA is the middle ages and the renaissance immersion-type environment,” said Simmons, a retired Army tanker. “With this group you become part of the society while learning the arts and sciences and fighting techniques.”
The Stronghold of Hell’s Gate meets every Thursday at 7 pm for social gatherings at Carl Levin Park and the third Wednesday of every month at 8 pm for arts and sciences at the Killeen Community Center.