It’s time to talk about another hobby of mine that is a particular favorite. Fortunate for me, this hobby could be one that might save my life…assuming we go through a zombie apocalypse…and assuming I run out of ammunition or the skill for close range headshots. The picture is probably a good indication of what I’m going to talk about. I belong to a medieval reenactment group. “Lame” you might be thinking; but consider Michonne from The Walking Dead. Now get a whole formation of Michonnes in armor and with shields with a bunch of Daryl Dixons in back with bows and crossbows; now that’s awesome.
We fight in everything from individual combat to groups of thousands in tight shield wall formations. While we all have real weapons and practice everything from axe and spear throwing to traditional archery, all of our armored combat is done with sticks made from rattan. For those of you unfamiliar with the material, it is like bamboo but solid. We don’t hang out and fight with the foam sword fighters and LARPers. Most of our fighters have made their own armor and equipment, which is stylized according to specific locales and time periods from 500 to 1500 AD.
The zombie application is immense. Not only is this a great work out; but how much good could a shield wall with swords and axes backed up by pike and spearmen do against a zombie horde…once again assuming you have no ammunition and the apocalypse has occurred. While many flight in plate armor or lamellar, I have a preference for chainmail; my shirt alone has over 30,000 links and each is set with a dome headed rivet. This armor would do amazing against possible zombie bites, even if it is heavy as hell.
That’s me on the far right with the red and white striped shield. At this point I had taken most of my armor off aside from my chainmail shirt when the word went around that we had to get a picture. My brother, also in chainmail, is the guy with the black and red shield in back.
I am moderately obsessed with zombies; primarily in the George Romero fashion. I love the fact that I have the weapons and armor to deal with these nasty buggers at close range. If there are thousands of them then that’s another story, so I’m glad I have plenty of buddies who do the same thing. If you like history, and you like zombies; medieval combat reenactment might be something for you. Check out groups like the SCA (society for creative anachronism), the ACL (armored combat league), or the battle of the nations. There are also many schools of training for Asian weapons and armored combat but I’m not as familiar with them.
If you are curious, I have picked up many many nasty deep bruises and injuries, but my bones have stayed intact so far.