SCA wins fans in Thailand

Ii Toonishinokami Katsumori of the Palatine Barony of the Far West offers a report on a recent demo held in the Incipient Canton of Golden Playne, Thailand. (video)

Ii Toonishinokami Katsumori writes:

Greetings from the Palatine Barony of the Far West and the Incipient Canton of Golden Playne,

Over these past two days, while lamenting the fact that Crown tournament is so far away, the canton here has put together and hosted a wonderful demo and event at the prestigious Chulalongkorn University. On Friday, we had on display crafts from our artisans, while outside we had fighting, singing, and some historical marshal arts (including comparisons between the martial arts of east and west). There were Digby cakes to sample, clothing to try on, and a station where one could try their hand at calligraphy.  Outside, our warriors nearly ground themselves into the grassy dirt, fighting bout after bout (fortunately, this all started after about 4:30pm, so it was past the hottest part of the day).  We ended with a small court, to show some of our pageantry to those who had been gracious enough to stop by, including students and faculty of the university.

On the following day, we arrived at the "Ruen Thai" (Thai House) on the Chulalongkorn campus at approximately 09:30.  This used to be the house for the Princess when she would stay at Chulalongkorn University, and is now rented out for functions by the university. It is a traditional Thai style house, raised up off the ground, but with a courtyard above surrounded by three buildings (now housing small cultural displays, including museum pieces) and a sala, or open-air pavillion, set out over a pond.

A round-robin heavy tournament was held on the grass just in front of the house, which ended just as we began to lose the shade from the tree that towered over us. During the hottest part of the day, we sat around for a couple of hours enjoying drinks; some people went to grab lunch, while others lounged in the sala playing hnafl-tafl, chess, and xiangqi or making music. The latter part of the day saw some more fighting and historical martial arts (mostly German longsword from the Liechtenhauer tradition). Being the rainy season, it did start to cloud up and rain around 4:00 in the evening, so we sat under the eves in the courtyard and made music or told stories.

Dinner was catered to us--because of the rain, we ate in the sala, rather than in the courtyard, which turned out to be a wonderful venue. During dinner, we were entertained by performers: Cortes (soon to be Uesugi-dono) performed a feat of magic wherein he transmuted a spoon into a fork before our very eyes. Lord Saito Takauji told the story of Loki's gift and later performed a piece in homage to the late Master Mikal Hrafspa. Master Klement St. Christoph performed a wonderful piece of music--written for a consort but performed solo (alternating voice and recorder). William Wainwright demonstrated fire-spinning without the fire, and Lord Yohan Wolfe provided some dance from the Russian steppes (so those would be Russian steppe steps?).

We followed feast with a court, honoring those who had competed and won various competitions, as well as those who have given greatly of themselves to the barony and the SCA.  Finally, we ended with dancing in the courtyard, including a pavanne to "Belle Qui Tien Ma Vies", a galliard to the same, and then finishing up with the Horse's Bransle.

There should be pictures and video up, soon.

For any group looking in the barony to host a baronial event, might I recommend Baronial Birthday, as it is extremely low-pressure in comparison and a great time to just have fun; I hope we don't let this tradition die down again in the future.

-Ii Toonishinokami Katsumori

Videos from the demo are available on YouTube.