Every Sunday at 1 p.m., a group of students dress up in armor and do battle. The UCC Armored Arts club has an eight month tradition of studying and reenacting battles of yore. They meet in the martial arts room in the Phys. Ed. building on campus, and for some battles they meet at River Forks Park.
Evan Burns, the “Lord of the Canton” (vice-president) of the Club says, “If you don’t mind getting tossed around, it’s a lot of fun and you get to live out your dreams.” Burns also wanted to point out “people can learn the arts, and some can make money after learning how to make period or scenario type weapons and armor.”
Other than the opportunity to join a battle with full contact fighting, some education is involved. The club members participate in crafting some of their own weapons correct to the period and use. The club provides access to a master craftsman who can teach how to build items for use in battle and traditions. Art and history students are encouraged to join and apply their education to enrichment of the group.
Members who participate in combat can fight from different disciplines. The club offers training in a traditional style of fighting for on field combat. Senior members can teach new recruits techniques of Asian martial arts and 15th century German sword fighting. The group itself trains heavily as barbarian mercenaries.
While many are very capable of the hack and slash fighting style with dulled weapons, the club doesn’t teach it, but will refer you to someone who can. Some battles are fought with large sticks known as rattan fighting sticks that are made from a type of palm tree.
When the club fights with the rattan fighting sticks, they have to wear bulkier armor. “It’s like getting beat with a bat, so you need to be well protected,” Evan clarified.
For new members, the club has a few suits of armor that can be worn in battle along with the necessary weapons. For larger events, members can get a loaner from Empire Medieval Pursuits, an organization which works alongside with the club. Handmade armor is also accepted.
Persons who are interested in joining or have more questions should visit the official Armored Arts Club page at facebook.com/groups/cantonoftheolivedale