A nice after-dinner stroll in the park with a broadsword.
If you happen to be walking past Crawford Oval, in Princess Park, on a Friday night you might want to prepare yourself - for battle.
Around two hundred armed, armour-clad, fantasy fuelled, Ye-Olde-obscenity screaming live-action-role-players descend for "The fastest growing sport in the world" (Inaccurate quote by unknown participant). The Players are battling it out to the temporary-death, over and over until the small hours of the night. The sport is Swordcraft.
I asked one player to explain Swordcraft and in his words "It's like playing knights with swords and bows and arrows and elves and spells and rules, but no rules, and like lord of the rings, but better." Which about sums it up, but it's better.
On first glance this group might seem unhinged - the armour, the weapons made of rubber, the costumes, the war cries - but on closer look I think that these guys have figured something out. They know how to have a good time and they don't care who laughs.
They call it Larp-ing, which stands for Live Action Role Playing and while some passers by laug behind their hands and point, I have nothing but respect for the group. Although, I have never participated myself, this group is refreshingly accepting of all who wish to join. They will approach anyone who is watching from the sidelines and invite them to come along next week or join in on the spot. Any group that recruits so openly, instead of coveting their membership, has my seal of approval.
For $2 you can walk in off the street, without booking, and start your very first sword craft battle, repeat customers/heroes will be charged $10.
In my opinion, as Princess Park in North Carlton is already a Mecca for fitness lovers - some calling it "The Tan of the North", with its never ending cycle of joggers/sprinters/walkers that line its radius with sweat - I like to think of Swordcraft as the newest fitness craze to hit Melbourne. You can leave your yoga mat at home, hang up your Bickram towel and leave your Zumba boots in the car, its time to dust off that broadsword and vanquish your foes - feel the burn.