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Kevin Rush’s Love for Learning Led Him to Medieval Reenactment – ‘a Hobby With a Thousand Sub-Hobbies’

Published: March 6, 2023
Medieval reenactment

Even after 23 years of work at Methodist, desktop support engineer Kevin Rush never really has a typical day.

His team of four, which serves the 825 Building and several Methodist Physicians Clinic locations, has a variety of tasks, including keeping employees’ computers, laptops, printers and other equipment running smoothly. When employees file help tickets, Rush and his colleagues are there to lend a hand – traveling for in-person support, when necessary. 

“Every day is different,” Rush said. “I’m constantly learning new things. It might be a new piece of software, it might be a new piece of hardware or it might be a new process.”

His love for learning extends to some of his favorite hobbies – medieval reenactment and study through the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA).


Medieval reenactment
Kevin Rush enjoys studying historical European martial arts and fight manuals from the 1100s to the 1400s.

Learning From the Past

The SCA describes itself as “an inclusive community pursuing research and re-creation of pre-seventeenth century skills, arts, combat and culture. The lives of participants are enriched as we gain knowledge of history through activities, demonstrations and events.”

Rush first learned of the organization in high school. As a teen, he was an avid reader and enjoyed history. When he joined a friend for a few SCA events, he quickly fell in love. And he’s been involved ever since, even helping to start a chapter in Germany while stationed there with the Army.

“It’s a hobby with a thousand sub-hobbies,” Rush said. “If there was a skill used back then, there’s probably someone in the SCA who is researching and teaching it.”

Today, Rush and about 35 other people make up a local chapter known as the Barony of the Lonely Tower. It’s one of two chapters in Nebraska and 30 in the larger kingdom of Calontir, which encompasses Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and parts of Iowa and Arkansas. Worldwide, the SCA is made up of 20 kingdoms and over 30,000 paid members and over 60,000 participating members.


Medieval reenactment
A sporran, or belt pouch, that Kevin Rush created.

Passing on Unique Skills

Rush is currently focusing on historical European martial arts and fight manuals from the 1100s to the 1400s, and he’s enjoying rediscovering combatants’ footwork and sword work. But his interests are as varied as the skills studied and taught by other SCA members. 

For example, he competes in archery and has made his own bow, arrows and arrow bags; he's rebuilt a crossbow using bolts and strings he made; he's learned calligraphy and how to make inks; he brews beer; and he makes Irish medieval moccasins. 

Rush enjoys passing on that knowledge just as much as learning it himself. Teaching others, he said, is a way to honor previous generations.

“That’s part of the reason I like to continue teaching classes on some of the sword fighting techniques, how to brew, how to make your own shoes,” he said. “Those were skills that were really starting to disappear, and now there’s a renaissance with people wanting to learn how to do that kind of stuff.”

Members of the Barony of the Lonely Tower often meet weekly to practice fighting and archery, and to share in other interests. Regionally, there’s an event almost weekly.

Rush is especially looking forward to the nine-day Gulf Wars encampment in Mississippi in March. About 4,000 participants usually attend the event, which includes archery, sword fighting, workshops, dancing and even a page school for children. Medieval reenactment is a hobby for all ages, Rush said, and many families participate together. His wife enjoys costuming, cooking and needlework, and his son attended his first SCA event at 5 days old.

Another draw to events like the Gulf Wars is the small- and large-scale combat. The largest annual SCA event is Pennsic War and has about 10,000 participants, Rush said. But even the fighting has a learning component.

“During the tournaments and battles, you’ll fight with folks. And after the battle is over, you’ll talk about how things went. You’ll talk about technique and equipment. You might take down their name and email and correspond with them afterward,” he said.

Kevin Rush (fifth from left with round shield) participates in a steel sword battle at an SCA event.


Kevin Rush
Kevin Rush

More To Explore

As different as Rush’s professional and private worlds may seem, his involvement with the SCA has helped him excel at Methodist.

“I like to learn things, and I like to teach things, so there’s some cross-pollination there,” he said. “Teaching classes at the SCA gets me used to doing some public speaking, and that helps me in meetings here. It’s also helped as I’ve written knowledge-based articles at Methodist on how to fix things. I’ve also taught nurses how to maintain their laptops and those kinds of things.”

Decades after diving into the world of the SCA, Rush has no intention of letting up. He’s having too much fun with the “thousand sub-hobbies” waiting to be explored.

“It keeps your mind active,” he said. “And depending on what it is, it could be keeping your body active, too.”

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