What turned out to be a six-week course taught at the Student Recreation Center, soon turned into a club. Students who took the class felt that the amount of time being offered was not enough for all the material being covered, they were eager to learn more.
“We can only cover so much in six weeks, so the student club was a natural choice,” said Jason Taylor, the instructor for the class and club.
The MSC is affiliated with the Historical European Martial Arts Alliance (HEMA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the study and research of European martial arts.
The MSC is also a part of Kron Martial Arts, a group within the alliance that provides instruction and organizational assistance to the club.
Alex Chmielewski, a first year political science student, found out about the club during Discoverfest.
“I was always interested in “The Legend of King Arthur” and it happens to be my favorite time period,” Chmielewski said. “So far, it’s been a blast learning all the steps and moves.”
The class and club are not the same.
The class is more like a beginner’s course and introduces the fundamentals of ancient German and Italian fencing. Students learn about the culture, society and martial heritage during the medieval time period. The class also covers methods of defense and the tactics of fencing with a longsword.
The club meeting is taught at a faster pace and is used as practice time for students to show off what they previously learned in class. Students are introduced to techniques and principles from the 1300s through the 1600s.
Swords are also available for students to practice with. Beginners use plastic or wooden swords and advanced students use blunt steel swords. Though not very sharp, all swords are made of the same materials of a real sword and weigh just as much.
Serious students are encouraged to buy their own equipment to free up the gear for new and prospective members to use.
Graduate student Ryan O’Connell has been in the class since 2009 and has been a member of the club since its inception in spring 2010.
“It’s definitely unique,” O’Connel said. “You can’t do this anywhere else.”
Taylor thinks it’s the expanse history of the subject matter that makes the club and class stand apart from the others on campus..
“Medieval swordsmanship is a reconstructed art, a martial art that researchers around the world are piecing back together from historical manuals designed to teach knights and warriors how to actually fight with the weapons of their time,” Taylor said. “The fact that we can be part of that research and reconstruction process is pretty cool.”
Source: Daily Titan