By Jason Ulrich, Broadside Correspondent

Walking past one of the ballrooms in SUB II, spirited grunts, shoe squeaks and sword thrusts echo as two students engage each other in a sparring match using long swords.

Some people join clubs to share in their ethnicity, some to share in a foreign language, while others have a strictly political aim.

But there is one club on campus that puts all these aspects of modern society behind them for a couple of days out of the week. It is the George Mason Medieval Swordsmanship club, or GMMS for short.

The swordsmen practice in medieval weaponry, helping each other learn different styles and techniques from countries such as Germany and Italy.

Most of each meeting is made up of drills and sparring until “the desired result is met, or if something weirder is found,” says James Clark, club president and biology major. “We also laugh, joke and generally enjoy ourselves, even in the middle of a spar.”

Still limping into existence, this club normally meets in an aerobics room inside the Aquatic Center or a ballroom in SUB II on Wednesdays and Sundays from 3 to 6 p.m. History professor Samuel Collins is the faculty adviser to this rag-tag group.

According to history major and GMMS member Tim Hall, the weaponry that is used consists of wood and steel swords for slow and controlled fencing and drills, modified kendo shinais (a Japanese practice sword), and padded sword simulators are used for faster fencing with more intent.

The weapons used to spar are replicas of three different types of swords, originating in Europe between 1250-1600 C.E., much like the techniques used.

These techniques range from Dardi (Italian) to Sigmund Ringeck (German), though Clark stated that he “also mixes some Scottish Macbane and Portuguese Montante into [his] technique.”

Legitimate meetings for the club still seem to be few and far between, but on the sporadic occasion of group gatherings, the practice and sparring seem straight out of Braveheart.

With steel clanging and student-warriors losing and gaining ground by the second, this is a display of martial art not often seen, but deserving of an audience nonetheless.

Launched last semester, the club is currently one of the smallest Mason clubs with about 10 official members, though according to Clark, very few actually show up.

While the group’s growth seems severely delayed, with the exciting nature of the club, it should only be a matter of time before its numbers increase.