The SCA: a view from middle school

What if we learned physics through weapons and armour? What if our physical education was through practice fighting with models of the same weapons and armour? What if we learned history from emulating history? I do many activities that other kids don’t do, including a more “full time” renaissance fair. The Society of Creative Anachronism(SCA) is dedicated to informing and teaching others about the world during the medieval era.

One thing I do is Youth combat, which is made to emulate Joust, which was not just about horseback riding and lances, but also just practice fighting in general. The way the base idea works is if you get hit on the head or the body, you’re dead. If you get hit on the arm, you lose that arm, and if you get hit above the knee, you lose that leg. I learned trough that, overtime, as people developed better armour and weapons, people would be given less and less mercy, as if you didn’t kill the other person first, then they would kill you. I also learned about a different way of fighting, hand to hand sarong fighting from indonesia and the philippines which relies on a scarf, belt, or other flexible piece of cloth. My mom learned how to make fabric and cord using 7 medieval techniques. My dad learned how to make a medieval “bender” tent. There are things for anyone who wants to join, if you want to learn how to cook food, fight, build, play games, or more. it’s also a good way to spend time with friends and family, as you can make some cool art, or weapon, or banner, or ring, or whatever you make, if there’s two or more people working on the same thing, together.

I also learned about physics from learning about weapons and armour. Celtic swords were heavy and unbalanced, not very useful for stabbing, but could swing strongly. From Celtic swords, Norman swords were lighter, more balanced, better at stabbing. Katanas were the bane of anyone foolish enough to get close – or not fast enough to get very far away to a samurai when unarmored, due to spreading out the force over the cut, and not one spot. Made as an stop all, end all solution to blades of all kinds, Plate armour was heavy, but good luck trying to kill the person in the armour with a bladed weapon. Due to the plates, you didn’t need a shield, and from that came the greatsword. To stop plates, there were the peasants, wielding mauls – giant hammers for wheat crops, useful for denting the armour. From that came double sided war hammers, half pick, half spiked hammer. It was an arms race, full of science the people using the weapons might not have fully understood, nor the builders. But it worked – and made some of the scariest weapons people had at that time, excluding war chariots. We don’t talk about the chariot, and definitely not the mongolian horses. Those are in their own category of weapons.

There are so many ways that people could use history to learn, not just about the past, but also about physics, languages, architecture, government, the arts, and even medicine.

Alaxandair wearing his shiny helmet.

Alaxandair helmed.

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