March 24, 2022, by Matthew
The Most Unique UoNSU Society…
Lately, I’ve been attending one of the most unique societies at the University, the Medieval Combat Society. I (along with every fantasy/history nerd) have had it on my radar since I started my course. Two weeks ago, thanks to an invitation from a friend, I finally got the courage to give it a go.
I felt a lot of apprehension before my first session, but that feeling faded as I got kitted out in safety gear; medieval-style helmets and thick padded gloves are provided by the society. My first session began, as all other sessions I’ve attended have, with a warmup known as “the sixes”. “the sixes” are a set of six basic attacks and blocks. In my first session, we used wooden sticks for the warmup, but in later sessions I graduated to using a blunted sword.
Next, I was taught the basics of using a spear. I learnt how to hold the spear, the correct fighting stance, how to attack, and how to block. Then it was time to spar. This part of the session was really exciting. I tried my best to block my partner’s attacks, and even got in a few hits of my own from time to time.
I was then taught to use an axe and round shield. Fighting with a shield was a little more tricky than fighting with a spear, as it relies much more on being able to manoeuvre well.
The session finished with a set of line fights. These group training exercises are the most exciting aspect of the sessions. The group splits in two, forming two shield walls, with spearmen between shields. Then, the game begins, and each team has to try to outflank the other and split their shield wall. These exercises emphasise teamwork, with each person having to protect and stay close to their teammates. The line fights were the highlight of my first session, and I found other group games in later sessions just as fun.
Overall, I found my experience of the Medieval Combat Society brilliant. The sessions have a casual, light-hearted feel, and are a great form of exercise. I learnt a lot in just my first session, and found it incredibly gratifying. I’d recommend the society to anyone looking for a unique form of exercise, or anyone with an interest in medieval history.
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