Posted by: Ken Branson | April 11, 2011

Medieval Fighting Comes to Rutgers Day

Medieval Combat

The knights of Scarlet Cross will mix it up on Rutgers Day.

Ever since I saw Tony Curtis in The Black Shield of Falworth in 1954, I’ve harbored a secret wish to don armor and mix it up with a shield and broadsword. If you harbor a similar fantasy, you can satisfy it vicariously by watching members of the Scarlet Cross Medieval Re-Enactment Society clash on Voorhees Mall on Rutgers Day.

“The point is to recreate the feel of medieval combat,” said Dirk Kassner, a senior religious studies major from Tompkins Cove, N.Y.

There are 13 members of Scarlet Cross at Rutgers, including men and women. The knights fight with swords made of rattan, wrapped in cotton batting. The resulting weapon is still heavy enough to hurt, even through armor.

“The reason we wear armor is that you have to hit somebody hard enough that, if they had been hit with a steel weapon wearing period armor, they would have suffered some damage,” Kassner said.

Kassner’s inspiration came from Star Wars, which encouraged him and his friends to have at each other with light-saver sticks. “I thought, ‘What would happen if we used wooden swords that didn’t break on us after 20 minutes?'” he said. “And I always wondered what it would be like to really hit someone or be hit.”

You may not be able to feel it yourself on April 30, but you can see it up close.


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