Galahad brings combat to Columbia

By Assistant Sports & Health Editor

The Renegades have added another team to their collective, bringing a new game and new opportunities to Columbia College.

The organization, called Galahad, was established Sept. 2 under the Belegarth Medieval Combat Society, in which participants fight with foam-padded weapons while wearing medieval and fantasy-themed clothes and gear.

Carleigh Fleming, a junior art+ design major student who started Galahad, said participants in the sport range from ages 16–50.

Fleming said everyone should join the group because it is a fun activity. She describes the process of the game as a never-ending battle.

“The heralds, which are equivalent to referees’, say ‘Weapons up,’ which means get ready and then they call ‘Lay on’ and the battle starts,” Fleming said. “When someone dies, they either sit or lie on the ground.”

She said there must be three points of contact and both feet and hands must lie on the field, indicating the death. Once everyone is dead, there is one winner and the battle starts again.

Brian Fong, junior audio arts & acoustics major, said the teams are required to use padded weapons that adhere to safety standards.

“Right now we have shields, swords and big two-handers, which we call red-weapons,” Fong said. “Players tape the end of the swords to identify what they can do.”

Green tape allows a player to stab another person with the sword, whereas red tape signifies that the sword can break shields, Fong said. Fights typically last for about three hours, he said.

“It’s really a physical activity that they do, and it’s a lot of fun whacking people with foam swords and [more],” said Mike Sempek, Student Athletics president.

The Renegades are excited that Galahad joined the athletics organization, he said. The process of how organizations were created in previous years has changed for this ac- ademic year, according to Sempek.

“Anything that is an outdoor or physical activity becomes part of the Renegades now,” Sempek said. “Since Galahad is technically a physical outdoor activity, they are now apart of us.”

Galahad and the Renegades connected at the Medieval Olympics, which were hosted by the Columbia Fitness Center last May at East-West University.

“We had a big fight with weapons and it gave [The Renegades as a whole] the chance to see who [Galahad] was and what they were all about…. They never really seemed to fit in anywhere else,” Sempek said.

During a field battle, shield men stand with spears and other accessible equipment, Fong said. Although Galahad has been associat- ed with LARPing, which stands for live action role-playing, the activity comes with minor contact.

“I think a lot of people assumed that we are all just running around and attacking people with foam swords,” Fong said. “We actually hit [each other] hard.”

Before traveling to New Jersey during the summer, Fong said he injured the ligaments in his thumb in a battle at Foster Beach in Edgewater.

“Accidents happen all the time,” Fong said. “You have to accept that you are going to be hit and that you’re going to have to hit others, as well. We are just a bunch of friendly people who happen to beat each other up.”

Fleming said she joined the team after a friend invited her to one of Belegarth’s practices two years ago.

“It did not feel like an exercise event even though the next day, I woke up covered in bruises and really felt sore, but I was like, ‘Man, I cannot wait until the next one.’”

The biggest thing will be getting students to come and participate, Sempek said.

“I’m excited because they are a strange organization,” he said. “I am glad to give them a opportunity.”