Entertainment & Events
Live Action Role Play – The Realm of Agador takes over Balboa Park
Contributor Armando Cordoba caught up with some LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) happening in Balboa Park, and finds out it’s much more than make-believe.
Some like basketball, some softball, still others like soccer, but how many people do you know that enjoy the battleground of the realm of Agador? As evidenced by the warriors on the Balboa Park battlefield, the realm amongst the Belgarth clan is not for the faint of heart.
Every Sunday the brave, valiant soldiers gather, adorned with their battle attire and weapon of choice. As the high sun hits 3 p.m., they anticipate the day of battle that lay ahead. They relish in the peaceful moments before battle, as they can be seen practicing their swift movements and combat strategy whilst dreaming of glory on the field of battle.
Soon after, the participants gather in the middle of the field. Conversing and greeting one another, there is an obvious camaraderie amongst the individuals. After a moment’s greeting, the teams are drawn. Each opposing side goes to adjacent ends of the field and then stands in wait for the event to commence. Finally, an individual yells to trigger the start, and the battle ensues.
Swinging their weapons viciously, and striking down those before them, one by one they begin to dwindle, until finally there is a victorious side. The skirmishes go on throughout the day, consisting of five-on-five, two-on-three, or even one-on-three. They are physical, limber and astonishing to watch.
What occurs each weekend in Balboa Park’s Morley Field doesn’t consist of spells, wizards, elves or any other form of mysticism. It is just straight combat, physical and brutal. The weapons that most of the individuals fight with are encased in a soft padded foam material in order to minimize the damage that is dealt upon contact. Despite this precaution, many of the participants still walked off with welts and bruises on their arms, legs, and even faces.
Amid the chaotic scenario of the battle, there are still rules that each participant must follow. Emilio Aviles, or “Outis of the Belgarth Clan”, explained the rules in full extent:
“If you are hit in the arm or leg, the result is you lose that limb and it is no longer functional. Shots to the head or the neck do not count, and slashes and stabs to the upper torso are definitely kill shots. If you lose a limb you can hobble around on one leg, or only use one arm to continue combat, if both limbs are lost on either side the result is a hypothetical death.”
The rules are established in order to ensure the closest possible realism they can conduct on the battlefield, which adds to the ambiance of the event.
Enthusiastically and passionately, Emilio re-iterated that this type of fighting is “straight combat that has full contact and is a little more realistic,” and it focuses more on speed than anything else. There are no imaginative aspects to it – it’s all straight- forward, realistic combat.
Soon after “Outis” thoroughly explained the rules, he began to explain much more in depth how popular this type of combat simulation was.
“There are many chapters throughout San Diego that are very deeply involved,” he said.
In Escondido, there is a chapter known as “Ampgard,” and they are like a brother clan that conducts the same type of battle, but only in a different region. He stressed the issue of geographic location as a determinant of what group you will be in. On occasion, they’ll meet together and have a battle with opposing clans.
With societies such as the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism), it is clear that this is not just some minor hobby. It is taken very seriously and is actually quite widespread throughout San Diego County and even the U.S.
More and more recognition can be seen for this type of combat throughout our culture. From “Recreation Nation” on Discovery Channel, to even Hollywood (as it’s used in the film Role Models), it is becoming a more and more recognized event. Its realism and ability to invoke a sense of an actual 17th century battle has contributed to its ever-growing popularity.
Maybe we should take notice of their example, as they have kept that inner child that so many of us have lost in the rat race of life. They were the ones who never allowed society to strip them of their imaginations.
Bravo, fellow brothers in arms. They have shown that it is okay to show a love for something that could be considered abstract and their passion and love has allowed it to thrive.