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Creative Anachronism takes over park
Contestants duel Saturday in the tournament melee during the Barony of Fettburg championships at Northgate Park. - photo by HIME ROMERO
It was the hand-to-hand combat that drew Joe Klabouch to the Society for Creative Anachronism.

And five years after he joined the group that dedicates itself to researching and reenacting pre-17th Century European history, Klabouch – known in SCA circles as Vaklav – looms outside of the fighting ring at Northgate Park on Saturday with an intimidating frame that seems even larger thanks to thick armor and leather padding.

But make no mistake about the large combatant – it’s the honor and the ethics that make him proud to be a part of something that focuses on traits that he feels have gone by the wayside with progress.

“I definitely love the competitiveness of this, and it’s full force and full contact,” said the Yuba City resident. “At the same time, I enjoy the chivalry and the honor system that’s involved with this. Everybody here today in honorable and it’s getting harder and harder to find that in the world today.”

With nearly two dozen competitors donning traditional armor and garb, the thunderous sound of wooden swords against wooden shields and the metal and leather armor worn by combatants flooded the air.

And it was more than just a circle for fighting.

By 11 a.m. Saturday, the back corner of Northgate Park had been transformed into a Medieval village complete with scientific classes that delved into familiar history, an on-site scribe that create official documents in calligraphy and a tent for the Baron and Baroness of Fettburg – the local Barony represented during Saturday’s gathering.

According to Theiadora Groves – also known as Heather English – the gathering represented one of several that the Barony holds every year to give those who study and cherish the period represented the chance to come out and reenact their favorite time.

“I’ve been involved with this for 25 years,” said English. “I love the camaraderie you get to develop with the people, and the way that you look after one another at these events and throughout the year.

“Events like this and organizations like this bring back the sense of neighborhood, which is something that has kind of disappeared from society.”

While classes in heraldry and construction of period garb draw outsiders, it’s the hand-to-hand combat that really attracts onlookers and helps add to the rolls of the SCA.

“I’ve been involved with this for 11 years, and at the time I got involved I was studying eastern martial arts and I wanted to study early western European martial arts,” said Sir Gemini – a Knight who is also known as Gemini Asonte. “There was a learning curve involved with how to utilize the weapons, but as you learn you realize that the Code of the Samurai is similar to the Code of the Knight – it’s all about honor and service.

“This is a great hobby and it’s a family-friendly event. You do as much historical research as your brain can handle, and that really makes this interesting.”