Belegarth Fighters Storm Debot Field
Emmitt Williams
The medieval combat re-enact­ment sport, Belegarth, has been a nationwide phenomenon since the 90s and has had a presence at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point since 2009.

Chris Johnson, a senior wildlife ecology major and the president of the Belegarth Club on campus, men­tions that Belegarth is a sport, not a role-playing game.

“The only benefit you gain on the field is an individual skill. You don’t start off with spells or abilities that would make it more of a LARP-type game,” Johnson said.

Johnson mentions that LARPing (live action role-playing) and Belegarth are both part of a similar community of games, but they do have their differences as well. The major difference would be this idea of role-playing versus raw physical contact.

“In a LARP, you’re more con­cerned with playing a character and having a persona you adopt on the field, whereas what we do is just fighting,” Johnson said.

Johnson mentions that any role-playing is optional or done off the field. Another difference between these two activities is the amount of physical contact that takes place in both games.

“We are also more heavy contact. In LARP there’s a touch system. We have rules for sufficient force. You actually have to hit someone hard enough,” said Johnson.

In addition to these differenc­es, there is a scholarship for any Belegarth student fighter in the coun­try. The Belegarth scholarship was created by David Barely Romanin. Romanin builds and sells equipment for Belegarth fighters and groups throughout the region, including Belegarth at UWSP. All of the profits from those sales go to funding the scholarship.

Physical education major and Vice President of the UWSP Belegarth Club Mel Mikul is a non-traditional student in her second year who has nothing but good things to say about Belegarth.

“I love it. It is also a great stress reliever, especially after a tough test or a long day. There’s nothing better than running around a field hitting your favorite buddies with swords for a few hours,” said Mikul.

Mikul said she thinks the schol­arship is a great opportunity for any fighter and that she will have to remember to apply herself.

The national board of directors for the support decides on the recipi­ents. The recipients receive a $500 scholarship. The deadline is January 5, 2013 and will be award the follow­ing fall semester.

Johnson mentions that he does not see Belegarth furthering his career as a wildlife biologist, but he has gained leadership skills and has become more athletic. He also men­tions that Belegarth does not stress discipline, like other fighting-related sports, but it is self-regulating.

“There have been a lot of people that have grown up in the game. Typically, if you act up on a three-day camping event, everyone gets to hit you the next day. It’s self-regulating,” Johnson said.