Under the Knife: Medieval Club offers entertainment for the knights of Geneseo

Have you ever had the urge to make a pretzel, shoot a few arrows or create your own armor for protection in a heavy weapon combat tournament? If so, then the Geneseo Medieval Club is for you.

Founded by senior Jill Dunleavy, the organization won official recognition last year and has already accomplished a great deal. President Johannes Haensch, a senior history major, leads the student-run club with help from faculty advisor James McLean of the physics department.

The club associates itself with the Society for Creative Anachronism, an international organization centered on medieval heavy weapons combat reenactment, one of GMC's most popular focuses.

With the help of members from the local branch of SCA, GMC practices the martial art of heavy combat with historically accurate armor and blunted weapons. At weekly meetings and tournaments, SCA members indulge in a world of adrenaline-fueled chaos from an era gone by.

GMC understands, though, that fighting isn't for everyone. The club members also work on recreating and learning about other aspects of medieval times. Past events have included costume making and feasts. Members also have the opportunity to plan educational events focused on the Middle Ages and the early modern period.

To work off the pounds they put on after each delicious feast, members participate in archery or medieval-style fencing while wearing handmade tunics, samurai robes and peasant dresses.

While meetings are a ton of fun, GMC also works to better the community by educating the local area about this exhilarating time in history. GMC volunteered at Family Fun Night this past October and set up a kid-friendly medieval combat activity for the children of Geneseo Central Elementary School.

The club has also sponsored several successful field trips and lectures including an Upstate Escapes trip where students visited a medieval glass exhibit at the Corning Museum of Glass. The club also hosted a combination film screening and lecture about St. Francis of Assisi in partnership with medieval studies professor William Cook.

Members showcased their club with a performance of English country dancing at Perspective Engines in the spring of 2010. GMC now looks forward to moving onto to bigger and better things, such as the major role it will be playing in the 2012 Running GAGG convention, sponsored by the Geneseo Area Gaming Group. Additionally, GMC members will be showing off their skills in heavy weapons combat at the Student Organization Exposition on Feb. 2.

The Geneseo Medieval Club has so far provided an under-the-radar experience full of interesting activities that are both intellectually stimulating and fun. It shouldn't be long until others discover that this is the only club on campus where students can see a physics professor in tights, play Nerf axe and knife toss, chill out with nice people and recreate the fun times before indoor plumbing – all under one roof.

Currently, there's a GMC-sponsored feast in the works, and a meeting where members can make pretzels, ginger cookies and fish pie (yum!) is upcoming. GMC meets every Sunday from 2 - 5 p.m. at the Holcomb Campus School in the cafetorium. Feel free to join the GMC Facebook group for more information.