The Kingdom of Esperance in the Adrian Empire, is an offshoot off the SCA tree. This is a group of re-enactors, folks who love to immerse themselves in medieval life, from the crafts of sewing and cooking, to swordsmithing and armorers, to sword fighting and jousting. They don't just reserach it, they live it, not everyday, but most weekends. Although, in a minute, I'll point out that this "living it" might be more important than you think.
For those who are thinking Renaissance Faire, this is a step up from that. First, this is medieval and the Ren Fair crowd is...well, Renaissancy. Along with whatever fantasy thing someone wishes to interjet. Some Ren Fair folk are serious about it but then there are many who come to the fairs who just like to wear costumes. Re-enactors are serious about their research and often give talks on the subject to schools and to the community.
You can tell, because you seldom see them wearing mail bikinis. Just sayin'.
I'm a member of this group, mostly in name only since I never get to any of their gatherings. Their events always seem to collide with my events. But today, serendipity got me there to their gathering in Yorba Linda.
Today they were having a tournament. Let meexplain. Usually, when one thinks "tournament," one ultimately thinks "jousting." But a joust and a tournament are two different things. One can have a joust during a tournament but not a tournament during a joust. Simply, a joust is mounted battle between two knights, and a tournament is combat--for fun--on the ground between two knights, three, four, more, or an all out melee between opposing armies. Get the picture?
I was happy to find the park and see the pennants flying and pavillions raised. Ladies in garb were off to the side whilst knights fought in a roped off area.
I have met some of the participants before (they have come to my launches, doing a little spinning. Not on a bike, but the old-fashioned way with a wheel and wool). But they would happily greet anyone warmly who is interested. The ladies were busy doing some judging of their own: cookery, sewing, knitting, and the like. I tasted some of their fare and examined the costumes. Wonderful, all.
But of course, I came to see the combat. Hits are measured by two judges in the ring. The knights come together quickly and are parted just as quickly so that judgments can be made. It was a little less polite in the Middle Ages, when it wasn't hits that counted but when a knight couldn't take getting whacked anymore and yielded or was injured.
I talked to Sir Josh (left) about the armor he wore. He wasn't wearing mail beneath it since the blows he would receive were far from life-threatening, but I was impressed nonetheless as he made his armor himself. Many of he knights wear a combination of bought pieces and locally (in the group) made pieces or pieces they made themselves. And just like the olden days, it had to be sized to fit you.
I also briefly talked to the ladies, and Lady Julianne explained that the oldest participating member they had was in his eighties and the youngest was her own son, eight years old, who served as a squire to his father. He wouldn't get to pick up his own sword until he was thirteen.
I wondered if kids raised in this environment would rebel as a teen, but might later come back when they were older. She agreed that this was the case in many instances. But also pointed out, that the children raised in this chivalric code were also more polite children out in the world, taking to heart what they learned in this unusual home environment. Children also excell in eye hand coordination as they learn different crafts at home, often intricate work like learning to tie cords for use on clothing, rather than using a joy stick on the latest X-Box.
It was a lovely day and I hope to see these hard-working folk again at what they love best. When I do I'll certainly report back to you on it.