Society for Creative Anachronism
Posted by themaddscientist on November 20, 2011
The Society for Creative Anachronism is an international organization that devotes itself to recreating Medieval time, from 600 to 1600. It’s a really fun organization that if you know anything about Medieval culture or sword-fighting, then you should definitely consider this group. We do a host of things such as sword fighting, fencing, leatherwork, music, and all these awesome events where you can craft a persona and be with a bunch of other people. For the record, when I mean people I mean men and women of all ages, it isn’t just a bunch of geeks talking about Dungeons and Dragons
My introduction into the SCA came with my sister, who had always wanted to be a member (even though I never miraculously heard about it from her) and who joined as an adult when she was going to Texas A&M in College Station. My sister and dad had already been going to the Texas Renaissance Festival so they already had an interest in Medieval culture. Eventually I started going and becoming interested, too, and since my dad is a violinist and my sister is a flutist I naturally heard a lot of music. The SCA has nothing to do with the Renaissance Festival, at least not directly, but that I would also recommend going to.
Naturally the first thing I heard about was something that they did every week in our area called “fighter practice” which translated to me as going out and hitting people with swords, and that is by far the most fun that you can have in the group. If you are 18 or older you get to put on historically accurate armor, and they’ll tell you all about it, take out half-inch thick shields and beat on each other with huge wooden swords. If you’re under that age, though, you get the next best thing: putting on padding and making swords out of pool noodles that are wrapped in duct tape. It sounds really stupid, but a few months ago we took my boy scout troop on an outing and they had a really fun time beating each other up (I still have to settle a score with someone). Along with that there is also fencing for all ages, although you’re not allowed to use real rapiers until you are, again, 18, but foils and epees (pardon my spelling) are still fun to use, even if they aren’t actual rapiers.
What I think is most worthy of not for this group is how safe it is. Our motto is that you’re not there to hurt your friends, only to kill them. They’ll walk you through everything when you go there, but everything that they do is as safe as can be. More people get injured in ballroom dancing than they do fencing or fighting with us. Unfortunately, that means no flails and no thrown weaponry, but there is still a lot of fun to be had taking out a sword or spear and charging someone. Even if you’re bad at it like I was for a long time, they’ll walk you through everything, and they’re a really nice bunch. You won’t find very many people in the SCA who are bad people.
Along with that there is music, a host of musical instruments you’ve never heard of, and dances to accompany a wild range of music. It’s hard really to pin a set style or set category on it because of copyright laws back then being non-existent, but from the Cantigas to English dances, there’s a lot to do. The dance usually aren’t that hard or complex but are surprisingly satisfying to do despite that. If you’ve never been to an SCA event, the thing to do is dance, and it’s okay if you don’t know them because, again, they’re really nice people and have had to work with all age groups for this.
In case you haven’t gotten the hint, you’re never going to find a better community than in the SCA. If you have any general interest in Medieval culture or swordfighting, or if all you know is what you heard from Monty Python, then definitely consider this group. You can see our kingdom page here and our barony page here, which will tell you all about the group, point you out to the SCA master website, and give maps and dates for when everything is happening and where. It’s a really fun group that I think anyone can have a lot of fun with, and take as seriously or as casually as you want. Membership isn’t necessary for many of the things you can do, but it does pay off to be a member of the group.