Posted on Feb 22, 2002

Prof. Joyce Madancy's class in East Asian Traditions will

have an unusual visitor in Friday morning's class _ a

samurai personified by Ryan Mackey '01, complete with armor

and weapons.

Mackey, a member of the area chapter of the Society

for Creative Anachronism, adopted the Japanese warrior

persona after learning about the SCA from Prof. James Adrian of

chemistry, himself a former member of the organization.

For Mackey, a European history major with a minor

in East Asian Studies, the samurai was in part an outgrowth of

his senior thesis in which he compared European and

Japanese feudalism.

European knights were motivated largely by

religion, whereas their counterparts in Japan were internally

motivated by allegiance to their warlords, he explains. The knights of

Europe went on the Crusades. The Japanese warriors invaded

North Korea. Like the knights, samurai were either born into the

fighting caste or demonstrated an affinity for battle.

Mackey meets regularly with other members of the

local chapter of the SCA, but not entirely out of a passion for

re-creating the Japanese warrior class. “I'm in it for the

sword fighting,” he admits. “But I try

to make things historically accurate.”

Mackey made his own suit of armor, which goes from his

neck to his thighs. He has a helmet (now on loan to another

SCA samurai) and weapons made of bamboo.

A student in the College's MAT program, Mackey is

doing his student teaching at Ballston Spa High School. The ninth

grade class he is teaching is about to embark on a unit on

feudalism, and Mackey plans to play the part for their benefit: “I hope to

bring this into the classroom,” he said. “This is the history of the

world we're talking about.”

Madancy's class meets Friday at 10:50 a.m. in Social

Sciences 014.