A call to arms, ancient battlefields

DEAN HUMPHREY/The Daily Sentinel—Trevor Lopez, center, works on his technique for combat during a gathering in Sherwood Park of enthusiasts for medieval times — not just the battles but also arts, crafts and other aspects of life in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance.

They lined up on the field of battle, weapons raised in fierce intimidation, gazing across the expanse at the armed warriors opposite them. Some leaned forward on the balls of their feet, ready and eager to engage.

“Lay on!” cried a battle master, and the combatants rushed forward, arms raised to deliver and deflect blows.

The thwack and thump of strikes to arms, chests, legs! The grunts as brave warriors fell to one knee but continued fighting! The muted clash of foam!

On this day, as on each Saturday at Sherwood Park, the willing anachronists of the Phoenix Rise Amtgard group and the Trilluminati Combat, Craft and Culture Society battled and learned and made merry together.

“That’s probably the biggest draw of all this,” explained Brandon Andersen, also known as Thor, reigning monarch of Phoenix Rise. “It’s the camaraderie you get, the friendship.”

The groups meet at 11 a.m. on Saturday to re-create the battle of eras past, as well as the arts and crafts, the sciences, the music, the literature and other elements of life in medieval and Renaissance times.

“Technically, we say we’re a 14th century medieval re-enactment group with fantasy elements,” Andersen said. “But there’s so much freedom and flexibility. If you can think of it, you can do it.”

So, within Phoenix Rise and Trilluminati there are vikings and samurai, peasants and warriors, fairies and fair maids. Most Saturdays, the groups’ members come in regalia specific to their live-action role playing personae — and generally, they help each other create what they wear.

“You don’t have to get dressed up,” said Phoenix Rise member Seth Cadman, also known as Shidub, “but that’s part of the fun.”

Another big part of the fun is combat practice. Swords are created from golf club shafts overlaid with swimming pool noodles and often wrapped in fabric. Shields are fashioned from foam and plywood.

“So, you feel it, but you don’t really get hurt,” said Krystal Pitney, known as Grim in Trilluminati.

The groups’ members share battle techniques — Amtgard, which is an international organization, has guidelines for battle — and practice each week with enthusiasm. They also teach each other the arts of the bygone eras and are known to break into self-composed epics and poems and songs.

It’s history with a twist, a living thing that inspires creativity and kinship, with battle cries rising and swords clashing.

For more information, go to lineageofnobunaga.weebly.com. Phoenix Rise and Trilluminati meet at 11 a.m. Saturday at Sherwood Park and newcomers are welcome.


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