Time With: Swordplay, anyone?

The Grant senior shares how his passion for live-action role playing helped him get through school.

Age: 17

Hobbies: Sword fighting and reading

Favorite childhood show: “Power Rangers Dino Thunder”

Favorite movie: “V for Vendetta”

Last book read: Henry V” by William Shakespeare

Preferred fighting style: Italian long sword under Fiore dei Leberi

How did you first get into fencing and kendo?

I was (in) fourth grade, eight or nine years old. I saw the movie “Role Models.” It’s about these two guys who got fired on the job, and they had to do community service. One of the kids is really frickin’ nerdy, and he’s into LARP.

How did your training begin?

It just so turned out that my neighbor and one of my closest friends at the time…she said, “I’m gonna put you under my wing.” She started teaching me. She was a brutal teacher. I had bruises under my knuckles and hands.

When was this?

This was while I lived in Walla Walla, Washington. I was hanging out with some friends, and we were digging though my garage, and we found some Nerf swords, and I was like, “Yo, you guys want to go at it?” And they were like, “Yeah!” I had a (Nerf) axe back at my home, and we just started beating the crap out of each other.

Did your interest in sword fighting grow from there?

I…made a club at my high school…It was never the biggest club. The biggest we ever got was about 40 people. But just imagine 40 people decking each other in the face with just Nerf swords and stuff.

How did you do that?

I started looking for classes. Ordering historical manuscripts on how to German long sword, Italian long sword, kendo, French fencing. I started getting into it, started getting better at it. There was only one person that I could ever say was like my rival.

What is his name?

Tony Pacheco. He’s my best friend.

Did he lead the club with you?

Funny thing, while I was making the club, I was thinking…I don’t want it to be like king and a council, president and vice president…I decided Power Rangers. So I was like, “Pick a color.” The Red Ranger’s in charge. There was a red, black, blue, green, yellow and white. We made uniforms and stuff; we went all in. It’s frickin’ hilarious. If it’s not funny, why do it?

So you were the Red Ranger. Who was your second in command?

Black ranger, that was Tony. Worst injury that I ever got was from him. It was a concussion.

How did that happen?

He made a thing…It was 8 feet long, almost 20 pounds. It was a wooden stick…Every time he would swing down I would block, and he just started swinging faster and faster and faster until my arm was getting tired, and I couldn’t bring the shield up fast enough, and he hits me in the head with the axe. All you hear is a thud, and I’m just out for like three seconds. I get up; there’s blood. I’m just like, “I need a minute.”

How did the club run?

It was mostly just tournaments to find out which ones of us were the best…It’s focused towards the nerdy group. To get them outside and enjoy the weather but also to provide a welcoming and supportive environment so they could have fun. It was a huge success. We were a nonprofit group. No one had to pay a thing. Everything was provided for them; as long as they had fun and weren’t jackasses, then everything went great.

How has it changed since you’ve left?

The club is still going on. I don’t think that it’s as successful as it was because there’s no reliable leadership…Tony has a job now. He was the only one that could have led it.

Do you have any plans to start a group at Grant?

I tried to start one this year. Grant (administrators) thought that it was too violent, which is totally understandable. They just don’t want it. I’ve been thinking about starting something on my own or maintaining connections with the group at my old school. As Tony put it, I’m still “the king behind the throne.” ◊

Joshua Webb

Joshua spent his first two years of high school at De La Salle North. Aside from photography and coding, he enjoys writing raps for a mix tape that he has been planning, playing drums, hanging out with friends, and helping people out. “In my future, I see myself owning a software company and giving back to the community I grew up in. Most of all, I want to be able to make a difference in the world while enjoying the people I’m around. Aside from meeting great people and learning new skills, I hope that as a member of Grant Magazine I can help the community.”

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