The Michigan Daily - Sunday, March 17, 1985 - Page 7
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Society for Creative Anachronism members David Hoornstra (left) and Jay Johnston battle it out Sunday in Regents Plaza. Members of the society assume personas from the Middle Ages. Hoornstra goes by the alias
Daibhidh MacLachlan and Johnston is called Ian Maclan.
NCE UPON A TIME IN A
HAMLET CALLED Anrl Arbor,
a chivalrous band of knights
gathered to test their skills in the
A former king stood by to offer
advise to the practicing warriors, last Sun-
day. An ilnexperienced knight stook on the
outskirts of the battle, waiting for his first
lesson in knightly swordmanship.
They are all part of the Middle Kingdom
and belong to Cynabar, the City's chapter of
the Society for Creative Anachronisms.
Their goal is to relive the romance, adven-
ture, and glory that was Camelot.
The warriors adopt alter egos that they say
enable them to better experience this period.
Jeff Skevington, a member of SCA, becomes
an 11th century Swede named Dag Thorgrim-
sson when he dons his armor and raises-his
"(It) looks nothing like it does in the movies
with Errol Flynn," Skevington says as
fighters begin to jab each other with their
Their armor consists of padding, leather
coats and helmets.
They start in acrouch, stick each other with
their weapons. Then the pace picks up, and
sooner or later, someone is "wounded" or
The practicing warriors are not jousting,
says Skevington. That requires horses. The
warriors are tilting - practicing sword to
These practice skirmishes are nothing like
long battles fought against enemy warriors
from other kingdoms. They last only a few
minutes, but warriors finish red-faced and
There are no judges or point systems. In-
stead each knight is on the honor system.
Warriors must signal if a blow from his op-
ponent's wooden sword is bold enough to
"wound" by dropping to his knees if he loses
his legs in the battle or fighting with only one
Not all of Cynabar's 30 members par-
ticipate in combat. There are also dancers,
musicians, singers, and craftsmen who help
recreate the Middle Ages. There are even
Joseph Radding, is a graphic artist when
he's in the 1980s. But take him back in time
about 700 years, and he becomes King Eliahu,
the Middle Kingdom's former ruler.
He calls his reign a "remarkable experien-
ce in education."
"I learned a lot, grew a lot from it. It was
very frying but it afforded me the opportunity
to have experiences I normally wouldn't have
He says his most memorable experience
was leading an army into a mock battle. After
emerging victorious, his subjects hoisted him
on their shoulders and shouted his name.
But last Sunday, while the warriors were
practicing, the former king wasn't at the head
of any major offensives. Instead, after the
seasoned warriors finished practice, he gave
an up-and-coming knight a lesson in martial
Wearing a fedora instead of a crown, the
former king taught the novice warrior how to
block a head blow and what stance to assume
when an enemy attacks.
But despite the group's ability to travel
back in time, it is still faced with modern con-
"Hey, I think this could use some more
Rust-o-lium," says one battler as he points to
his suit of armor.
Photographs by Dan Habib
Story by Nora Thorp
-Hoornstra adjusts his arming cap,
which absorbs some of the shock and
allows the helmet to slip on easier.
Ian Johnston, future king, keeps watch on the Society's battle props.
Ian has shown early signs 6f-an affection for the valor of battle; he is the
sword holder for his father Jay.
I . ...7 _ _ _ __ _ _-.u... A