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Fantasy and History Buffs Alike Can Gather Weekly at the Medieval Combat Club

Lexi Harbach

Deep in an ancient forest in a faraway land lie brave soldiers ready to vanquish their harshest enemies. They battle to the death with swords and spears at the ready.

This is not a scene out of a fantasy novel or a history book. This scene is created weekly at the FGCU Medieval Combat Club.

Though it may seem unfamiliar to many, the Medieval Combat Club was started by former student Ryan Fox 10 years ago. He wanted to generate interest around the passion he had for foam fighting on campus.

“I started getting involved with the club when I was teaching my girlfriend how to ballroom dance. We had walked out to the gazebo over on North Lake and saw people swinging foam swords and I remember looking at her with such excitement,” Club President Nathan D’Agostino said. “I have more interest in that than anything else.”

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D’Agostino has always been involved in combat sports, such as mixed martial arts (MMA), Kendo and other sword sports. Joining the Medieval Combat Club was a way to continue his passions inexpensively and have fun.

Kathyraine Coghill, the club’s vice president, has become increasingly passionate about the sport over her time in the club as well. In contrast to D’Agostino, Coghill had no prior experience or interest in fighting, but she did previously play sports.

D’Agostino said the specific sport that medieval combat exemplifies is called “Boffer.” There are many different game styles within Boffer that are played in competitions. The specific style the club uses is called Belegarth.

“It really all just depends on the different game modes,” D’Agostino said. “Ours is like the most simplistic of just, we’re just going to hit each other with foam sticks. We don’t have any of that complicated magic stuff or levels.”

The Boffer sport, or Belegarth, is played with fencing style rules. The player needs two points to win. When a player hits any limbs, they receive one point, and if they hit the opponent’s body, it is two points, whoever reaches two points first wins.

There’s a little bit of something for everyone in this sport.

With a name like Medieval Combat, it could be easy to assume that all this club does is fight. While that is a major component of what they do, there are also arts and science competitions. This is when the period-piece clothing they wear and weapons they fight with are made. In addition, role playing as medieval characters is also involved during competitions.

“We always welcome new people. Doesn’t matter what kind of background you have, doesn’t matter what you want to do. We welcome everybody from people who want to shoot bows to people who just want to swing a stick,” D’Agostino said.

These sticks can range from daggers, single handed swords, double handed swords, long swords and spears.

Oftentimes, players get into character and easily identify players on the field by choosing battle names.

“When you’re fighting on a field, you don’t want to be like ‘hey, John, watch out!’ and 15 guys turn,” Coghill said. “People choose battle names to, you know, express their personality but also to signify a lot of individuality.”

Within the Medieval Combat community, Coghill is known as Moose because moose are her favorite animal. D’Agostino is called Ash, as a play on the “Dark Souls” video game series character, Ashen One.

The Medieval Combat Club’s future looks bright as they prepare for many upcoming events in the next few months.

Their biggest and closest travel event was the Orc Wars in South Carolina from March 14 to March 17. They spent the weekend fully immersed in medieval times by fighting in tournaments and battles while also living in the woods for a weekend. There is also an event coming up in April, and an inner-collegiate league that is still in its early stages.

Last semester, they attended a major competition called Winter War. In that competition, D’Agostino finished as a semi-finalist for their great weapon tournament. The club also went to a national competition where D’Agostino was ranked 12th in the nation for their great weapon tournament.

D’Agostino takes pride in everything everyone does in the club. He and Coghill want to see the club grow and the passion for this sport rise.

“I want to see the progression of this sport, and I want to see how the sport can grow with the people in it,” Coghill said.

Students can become a member of the club through EagleLink. The Medieval Combat Club’s practices are every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Rec Field 1.

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