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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M Aggies guard Tyrece Radford (23) blocks Arkansas Razorbacks guard Tramon Mark (12) during Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
Free falling
February 20, 2024
Jace LaViolette (17) an Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle celebrating a home run during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
GALLERY: Baseball vs. UIW
February 20, 2024
Texas A&M Aggies guard Tyrece Radford (23) blocks Arkansas Razorbacks guard Tramon Mark (12) during Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
Free falling
February 20, 2024
Jace LaViolette (17) an Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle celebrating a home run during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
GALLERY: Baseball vs. UIW
February 20, 2024

Knights in shining armor

Tanner+Garza+--+THE+BATTALION%0ABradley+Wrinkle+%28right%29+fends+off+an+attack+from+Holly+Melende%2C+engineering+freshman+Mark+Dinhobl%2C+Aaron+Clark+and+biomedical+sciences+senior+Eric+Gardner.
Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION Bradley Wrinkle (right) fends off an attack from Holly Melende, engineering freshman Mark Dinhobl, Aaron Clark and biomedical sciences senior Eric Gardner.

Every week, the Society for Creative Anachronism turns Simpson Drill Field into a medieval battlefield, using swords and armor to practice chivalric combat.
The SCA is an international organization that offers participants an interactive take on medieval history.
College Station participants fall into the SCA region called the “Ansteorra Kingdom,” which stretches across Texas and Oklahoma. The region was founded in the mid 1970s and is one of 19 different SCA kingdoms worldwide.
Aside from recreating the arts of pre-17th century Europe, such as dancing, calligraphy, cooking, armoring, metalworking, carpentry and needlework, members also take pride in “chivalric” combat.
Robbin Foster, an archery coordinator for the SCA, said those who participate in the SCA have a love for exploring history.
Eric Gardner, biomedical science senior and treasurer of the SCA, said the organization is community-oriented and often becomes like a second family.
“I feel that many people join the SCA to experience the medieval era in a less superficial manner,” Gardner said. “We do actual combat and arts and science from that time, often the way they would have then. It is a fascinating era historically as well, so many people come for that as well.”
Foster said the SCA has had an impact on her life that goes beyond her time as a student.
“I found the SCA when I was in college at A&M back in ’88’ to ’93 and have gone on to use the skills I have learned in it to get jobs, all sorts of connections, and even met my husband through it,” Foster said.
Randle Winkle, better known in the SCA as “Sir Randle,” is a SCA “knight” from Rockdale, Texas. Winkle facilitates the SCA practice fighting on Simpson Drill Field, which they turn into a battleground every week.
“It’s a type of friendship and fellowship,” Winkle said. “We do historical based reenactments. We also have what we call arts and sciences, the making of all the period type-equipment and sewing and those things, as well as service. We do a lot of service — for example, we have contact with this university, and many other schools. We put on demos for men and women, all ages, from elementary to all the way to college.”
Winkle said SCA has a sort of “trial by combat” mentality where members move up in the SCA ranks by showing exceptional fighting skills.
Few members reach the position of “squire.” The squire performs certain duties, such as protecting the knight in battle and acts as a type of apprentice until knighthood, Winkle said.
“Being a knight in the SCA is about the knightly virtues and prowess,” Winkle said. “We have what’s called a belted circle, which is the circle of all the chivalry in Texas and Oklahoma and they vote you in as a member, and then the king ‘knights’ you.”
Although fighting is just one of the skills Gardner practices, he likes the combat portion the best.
“I personally enjoy fighting the most, its great stress relief and there is a huge sense of accomplishment when you beat a better opponent,” Gardner said. “The people involved in fighting are also usually the most enthusiastic, though this is of course not universally true.”
Gardner said the SCA has a unique niche.
“We are not the people at renaissance fair, we’re not scripted or anything, this is actually a contact sport,” he said “So we’re teaching each other sword technique, and then practicing to improve our actual skills. We are wearing metal and leather armor, wielding heavy bamboo like swords, which is made of rattan, so it’s a real impact sport.”
Gardner said he’s close to his fellow members who share like-minded interests.
“The organization, to me is a place to express a side of me that really can’t be expressed in many other areas of the modern world,” Gardner said. “A place to pound leather and metal into armor, to fight gloriously, to make something beautiful with my own hands and to do it all with a group of wonderful people.”

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