Sacred Wind members gather to fight to the "death" in the Barto Lawn
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Stress and college often go hand-in-hand, as students face like heavy homework loads, tuition and busy schedules. An essential part of a successful college career is knowing how to release that stress through a safe, healthy outlet.
Omar Freemire, a senior aviation management major, recognized that need for stress-relief during finals week and decided he wanted to do something for his community.
Freemire, armor-clad in a shining silver chest-plate, hosted a mini “boffering” session in front of the SURC last quarter.
Boffering, which is often confused with Live Action Role Playing (LARPing), is a sport that focuses on forms of combat. Participants wield a variety of weapons from swords to spears to throwing knives. The weapons consist of a pole for structure, foam covering the body—the part that people get hit with—and duct tape or fabric covering the foam.
When he first decided to create the event, Freemire simply stood in front of the SURC and challenged people to a duel. After that, he decided to have fellow students and friends Martin Ward, an undeclared freshman and Nathan Freeze, a freshman aviation management major, help him as his “squires”—people who help out their knights. Ward and Freeze’s duties include bringing the gear to the meet-ups, if Freemire can’t make it.
Together they decided to get a sign-up sheet to gauge interest, which gathered a turnout of over 200 people. Due to all of the student attention, Freemire decided he would start a CWU boffering club called Sacred Winds. With a week’s worth of time during spring break on his hands, Freemire did something productive and handmade all the club’s weapons.
Sacred Wind’s armory currently includes a few spears, javelins, swords and shields. “It was easy and it cost about $70 total,” Freemire said.
Boffering does have specific rules that promote safety, despite the focus on combat. If someone gets hit in the arm or leg, than that limb cannot be used for the rest of the fight. However, if a fighter gets hit in the neck or torso than they are dead and the round is over.
Headshots are not allowed at any time, which helps prevent the fighters from getting injured. There are no official referees, so fighters must be honest about the “injuries” that occur during the fights.There are a few other objectives to the boffering rather than just all-out fighting. There are one-on-one battles, two-on-two, group style or protect the king. However, regardless of the scenario, if someone gets hit with a foam sword and everyone laughs it off. Some students may hold reservations about participating in the sport, according to Freemire.
“It kind of falls into the nerd demographic,” Freemire said.
The members of Sacred Winds know it, but couldn’t care less. They are often laughing, smiling and swinging at each other without a care on the Barto lawn. When the group gets together, they choose their weapons and just go at it.
“More and more people keep showing up and the more people that show up, the more we get to enjoy it,” Ward said.
Sacred Winds is not recognized as an official club of CWU. There are papers to fill out, official rules to be written and the safety of students keeps CWU hesitant, Omar said.
Freemire and Ward aren’t worried though. They think they’ll easily be sanctioned when they decide to go forward in the process. Joining the group is easy and simple. It has a closed Facebook group for people to join and the members meet on the Barto lawn at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; however, the times can change depending on the members’ schedules.
“I think the longest we played out here was probably five hours,” Freemire said. “Everyone is welcome to join.”
Freemire is enjoying his last year at CWU and is not at all worried about the future of the club.
“It’s a cathartic experience and all the people here just enjoy being in each other’s company,” Freemire said.