SCA title: Lord
Years in the SCA: I spent seven years in, from my college years to the mid-2000’s, then left for a while. Five years ago, I bought a house 20 minutes from Cooper’s Lake, and decided that I couldn’t NOT go to Pennsic, and made my return to the SCA at Pennsic XLIII and have been playing ever since.
Where did you start, what was your first event?
I started when I met a group of college students having a fighter practice on the lawn across from my college dorm. They taught me a few things, shoved me into armor, and mostly, we just practiced against each other. That summer, one of the ringleaders of that group pulls up on my lawn, and says “Get in the car, we’re going to Pennsic.” And so I was sort of kidnapped to Pennsic XXX, and it was my first real SCA event.
What is your persona?
An Athenian Greek mercenary, philosopher, and storyteller.
Why did you pick this persona?
I am a longtime student of Greek battle tactics, strategy, history and mythology. The stories of Homer, and the ancient myths of the Gods of Olympus have always fascinated me, so much that I visited Athens in 2007, and toured many of the old battle and religious sites.
Do you have any group or household affiliations?
I fight with the Borderwatch of Aethelmearc. They are the fighting unit in my local shire of Hunter’s Home, and many of them have been gracious enough to help me raise my fighting game from “monkey with a stick” to “shield-man with some basic survival skills”
Tell us a little bit about your life outside the SCA.
I’m involved in a number of fraternal, civic, and public speaking organizations, and have contemplated a career in politics. In what can be laughably termed my “spare time”, I’m something of an amateur author and lyricist. I enjoy a good firearms shoot, or deer or bear hunt. I share my home with a wife who is also in the SCA, an old Japanese Chin named Toshi, a young German Shepherd named Tifa, and three cats named Gino, Sophia, and Jinx.
Mostly martial activities, with my primary being heavy fighting. However, rapier also has a place in my heart, as do archery and thrown weapons. I’ve been known to dabble in teaching, having taught several classes, mostly in basic skills like rattan weapon making, helmet padding and strapping, and armor repair. I’m hoping to add a class on exorcisms in period for next Pennsic, but I need to do more research before that one sees the light of day. I’m also something of a storyteller. I can tell a number of Greek myths and legends from rote memory, and if pressed, can come up with an original story told in persona, with a few minutes notice.
Tell us a little bit about your SCA experience (jobs, offices, duties, etc.).
I’ve never held an office in the SCA. Mostly I fight, and when I’m not engaged in martial activities, I try to find places to lend a hand where one is needed. When you don’t know what to do, or have some free time, ask who needs a hand. There’s always some place you could be helping.
When you started in the SCA what goals did you have?
When I started in the SCA as a college student, my only goal was to have fun. In the original group I was part of, we played for the better part of seven years, and as far as I know, not one of us was awarded so much as an AOA. Our entire group of college students didn’t know how to write award recommendations, and didn’t care. I’m pretty sure half of us weren’t paying members of the SCA, and the other half only were because we went to enough events that the discount was worth it. We were there to have a good time. Though all of that group, save myself, has drifted away from the society, when I returned, that was still my goal. Awards, honors and goals are great, but, honestly, If I’m not enjoying myself, and enjoying what I do in the SCA, then there is no reason for me to be here.
If I can be said to have a goal, it is to improve my martial prowess, to help the SCA grow, in both quantity and quality of members, to push, pull, and drag friends who have expressed an interest to their first practice or event, and to make newcomers feel welcomed, part of things, and wanting to stay, and come back. But above all, to have fun doing those things, and to help others have fun. Also, to stop being lazy, and write more award recommendations more often. As it stands, I average about two a reign, when it should be closer to a dozen.
If you could accomplish only one thing in the SCA in the next year, what would it be?
To get my martial prowess and skill to the level where I am consistently beating the fighters and fencers that were consistently better than I was when I put my armor back on five years ago, or first picked up an SCA rapier four years ago, but don’t practice as often as I do.
What advice would you give to a new person in the SCA, or if new yourself what question would you ask and who would you ask it of?
Try as many things as you can, to see what you enjoy doing. But try things several times, and see how much you enjoy certain parts of the hobby, and how many opportunities you have to engage in that hobby, or learn more about it before investing a significant amount of money into it. Because no matter what you enjoy within this hobby, it has the potential to get expensive quickly, and there are plenty of folks willing to let you learn a skill, and decide if its for you before you sink a lot of money into it. So don’t invest heavily in one portion of the hobby until you’re sure about it. Once you know that’s your thing, go for it, within reason. Also, meet people and try things. You never know who might become a friend, or what interest or skill you might learn just by going outside of your comfort zone a little.
If you magically woke up with an SCA talent you do not already have, what would it be?
That combination of knowledge, skill, muscle memory, mechanics and awareness that the best fighters and fencers all seem to have mastered. I suppose you’d call it the total package of martial prowess. I may get there someday, but it won’t be today, tomorrow, or next week.
While I would love to eventually receive the White Belt of knighthood, if that can be said to be a “goal” in the SCA, I hope to be able to achieve it by the time I turn 50. That gives me 12 years, though given where my skill stands now, it may take me 12 beyond that, and it may never happen. But having fun in pursuit of the goal is more important. So it’s possible, but as far as skill and prowess are concerned, I have a long way to go, and I understand that.
Please add additional comments as you see fit.
One thing I love to do, and I feel is a big part of my martial improvement is something I’ve adopted called the “six pass education”. When I fight someone I’ve never fought before, or someone I don’t fight on a regular basis at a practice or in pick-ups, I will ask for three passes, so we can see each other a few times. Then I will ask them where I can improve, or what I can do better. If they want the same, I will offer what I see. Then I try to apply that advice to the next three passes. Even if it doesn’t really “take” the first time, (or the second, or the fifteenth), I will often have my A-HA! moment six months later, when I get my brain and body on the same page, make the thing work, and go “That’s what they were talking about.” And you learn some nifty new things that way, and sometimes, pick up a tip in a style you don’t fight very often.
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