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Carlsbad group invites community to join their foam sword battles

Every Saturday at Poinsettia Park in Carlsbad, a battle goes down.

A foam-sword battle, that is.

“Basically we're a fantasy foam fighting ... the best way to describe it is, a pick up sport," said Brien Middaugh, the "duke" of the Siar Gaeta amtgard group.

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"Anybody can join, we welcome walk-ups all the time. You can show up, we have a whole bag of extra swords and you run around and fight and have a great time doing it," he said.  

Now, I want to be clear that I knew close to nothing about live action fantasy roleplaying, or amtgard, when I took on this story, but Middaugh broke it down for me.

“This is amtgard, the name of the sport. I am the duke of this small establishment. Only the duke of this park," he explained. "There are basically parks around the entire nation. Everyone has a manager depending on the size of the park. They can range anywhere from a baron, to a duke, to a king, if you're a big enough park.” 

A couple weeks ago, Middaugh went semi-viral when he posted on Reddit inviting anyone interested to come out and fight with them.

“It blew up. I think it got 100,000 views, 500 shares and here we are, people are coming out," Middaugh said. 

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Tania Thorne
/
KPBS
Players with the Siar Gaeta amtgard group begin a foam sword fighting battle at Poinsettia Park in Carlsbad, Calif. December 3, 2022.

Dalton Mahronic was one of the new players.

"It's my first time out here. I've always been interested in this stuff, Mahronic said. "Seems like a lot of fun. I said, 'Why not? Don't take yourself too seriously.'"

He said he will be returning not only for the fun, but also for the exercise, saying, "It's really fun to forget about the rest of the world and embrace your inner kid."

Other players we met had come out from Mira Mesa and Rancho Penasquitos to join in on the fun.

Middaugh said shows like "Game of Thrones" and "The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power" are striking a deeper curiosity into the fantasy world.

"This is a sport where everybody can come out... they can get some exercise, they can dress up in funny clothes, and not take things too seriously," Middaugh said. "You just come out and have fun. There are people who take it quite seriously, and great for them." 

No experience is needed to join Siar Gaeta on Saturdays and Middaugh says its great for beginners.

"Basically anybody can come out. We are absolutely inviting to any and all people. You gotta have a good attitude," he says. "Only thing you need - great shoes, comfortable clothes. We have all of the weapons, all the gear that you need. We can outfit you. Come out with a positive attitude and have fun fighting."

The group meets every Saturday at 1 p.m. in Poinsettia Park in Carlsbad,