"In a forest clearing 16 miles from downtown Washington, scores of Vikings, knights and their ladies knocked lumps out of each other with three-pound rattan swords at the weekend and I swear it wasn't Monty Python," opens British journalist Elaine Monaghan in her tribute to the SCA.
"Americans have more of a tendency not to be moored to their extended families," said Dr Synthia Sydnor a professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Illinois, who has written about such groups. "There is not as much of a sense of continuity of family and generation as there is in many other parts of the world," she said. "People want to feel they're part of history. When you get in combat and engage in pseudo-medieval talk, you're a little person making an impact on history."