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Catalyst Symbol



Catalyst is a fighting unit of Western Belegarth composed of members striving to balance personal growth in sword play and everyday life. The ethos of Catalyst was founded by stewards wanting to evolve new generations of regional leaders. Bhakdar gathered the founding members at Western Wars 7 in the year 2010. Most members have played a part in founding or maintaining local realms, events, or trainings in the Pacific Northwest. Catalyst is interested in allying with friends of the group who share a passion for evolving their regions by improving themselves and their peers.

Unit Charter

cat·a·lyst: a person whose talk, enthusiasm, or energy causes others to be more friendly, enthusiastic, or energetic.

We focus on simple, proper principles to ensure long-term unit success:

1) Maintain balance between pursuing life dreams & sword-fighting

2) Contribute to local & regional sword-fighting culture through social leadership (event coordination, service, education, etc.)

3) Embody a truly local/regional unit ethos, intentionally blending a balanced, diverse, and moderate sized roster.

4) Encourage skill growth & skill diversity. Intentionally seek a mix of weapon specializations, leadership styles, and craft abilities. (battle command, weapon construction, garb, art, armor, music)

5) Actively contribute your gifts & abilities to Catalyst and Belegarth!

6) Be present at local practices, unit retreats & regional events!

7) Embrace the theme of Sacred Balance in our personal lives, in Belegarth, and in our garb and unit appearance

Motto: “Work hard, play hard, live your passion”

Stewardship Accomplishments

Catalyst and friends winning the Chaos Wars Banner in 2012

Catalysts focus on being agents of change and creative evolution in sword fighting. The group’s stewardship has included coordinating Western Wars, Chaos Wars, and regional 'War College' training events, stewarding realms including Babylon, TirNaNog, & Pyke, and co-founding House Valkyries, a national support & training group for feminine-identifying fighters.

The majority of Catalyst members have served as event coordinators, head marshals, realm leaders, cross-game ambassadors, or educators & combat trainers. Approximately half of Catalyst’s full members are awarded national orders recognizing their contributions to Belegarth culture:

Acorn- Order of the Gilded Owl (education), Order of the Open Tomb (Valkyries)

Bhakdar- Order of the Gilded Owl (combat education)

Huma- Order of the Raised Goblet (event service) * No longer a member of Belegarth MCS October 2023

Remy- Order of the Shining Tower (realm development- Pyke)

Rocca- Order of the Open Tomb (Valkyries)

Sipris- Order of the Gilded Owl, Order of the Open Tomb (Valkyries)

Milestones, Competitions, & Tournament Wins

Catalyst Founded 2010

Chaos Wars 2011 : Tank (fully armored) tournament- Samson, Sword & Board- Bhakdar, Non-monster Monster Garb- Satyr kits by Acorn & Rocca

Battle for the Ring Bel Bowl Champions 2012 (10 person; Allied with Forsaken)

Chaos Wars **Banner Winners 2012**

--> Jugging Tournament (5 person) & Field Entrance

--> 2 Man- Bhakdar & Sampson, Florentine- Sipris, Champion’s- Bhakdar, Tank- Bhakdar, Archery- Sampson & Plithug

Battle for the Ring Bel Bowl Champions 2013 (10 person)

Chaos Wars 2013 2 man- Bhakdar & Sampson, Red- Sampson, Florentine- Bhakdar, Single Sword- Bhakdar

Armageddon 2014 Sword & Board- Bhakdar

Battle for the Ring 2014 Alpha & Omega- Bhakdar & Steele

Chaos Wars 2014 Champion- Samson, Highlander- Delfino, 10 man- Allied with God Squad as ‘Godalyst’

Chaos Wars 2015 Huma served as Lead Event Coordinator

Chaos Wars 2016 Bardic Competition- Acorn & Rocca singing ‘Hello from the Yellow Side’, a parody about heralding

Chaos Wars 2017 -2nd Place for Banner-

--> Field Entrance Winners, Security Head McGee, Feast Head Remy, Marshal Head Bhakdar

Cultural Enrichment

Sampson continues competing years running in Battle of the Nations, an international competition of fully armored live steel fighting. This is some of the most rigorous and realistic combat to parallel historic warfare in a modern combat system. He is the most diversely cross-gamed Catalyst, having participated in Amtgard, Empire of Medieval Pursuits, Historical European Martial Arts, various steel-heavy combat groups, and Battle of Nations in addition to Belegarth.

McGee was featured in live spoken word theatre recounting his life transforming experiences through vagabonding and sword fighting. While yet unawarded a formal title to his stewardship, he has served extensively with security, weapon check, and several aspects of event coordination, all while evolving his fighting to Sword & Board semi-finals status and holding down the hit single 'Blackwater Sucks', a bardic sing-a-long classic. McGee's smile, diverse talents & interests, and infectious spirit of giving back to the culture embodies what it means to be a Catalyst.

Bhakdar earned the national Belegarth Scholarship circa 2011. He was a graduate student in clinical mental health at the time, leading therapy groups integrating martial arts principles, while also remaining an active trainer hosting War College events throughout Pacific Northwest swordfighting.

Sipris, Acorn, and Rocca presented as a formal panel at Geek Girl Con in Seattle, WA (circa 2014-15). They represented women warriors of foam combat games to a broader fantasy audience.

Acorn remains the lead owner/operator of The Shield Shop. The Shield Shop project bolsters foam craft & education particularly through all-foam construction and plasti-dip artwork applied to shields. Acorn is devoted to evolving the professional appearance of the game and finding creative ways to spread Belegarth sport culture 'to the masses'. She has been featured as an artist, warrior, and media icon for Belegarth through news articles, live news broadcasts, and national conventions.


Any member may be nominated or volunteer to serve as one of three Captains each year. They are responsible for completing the following areas of work or delegating people to do so:

• Warchief: Battle command, Tournaments, Trainings, Trials, Tactics, Classes

• Regent of Records: Event service, Retreats, Records, Meeting minutes, Event prep online

• Sultana of Swag: Art, Garb, Lore, Appearance, Online Resources, Wiki, Social Media

The Spiral

The spiral as a unifying symbol was developed by founding members of Catalyst. Several designs were submitted and a few combined to form the current symbol. One unique aspect of Catalyst as a unit is that there are no official colors. Catalyst spirals reflect the diversity of members as warriors, scholars, artists, teachers, and stewards. Every member is encouraged to use colors they prefer to make the unit symbol and belt flag reflect their own spirit, experience, and values.

Catalyst Hand Spiral. Super secret handshake of Catalyst members and allies.


The pursuit of membership entails active contribution to sword fighting culture in one’s local region. Catalyst maintains a gradual path of development for prospective members specifically to preserve the ethos and caliber we strive to maintain. If you see value in pursuing membership, the best way to do so is to 1) Develop relationships with the members and 2) Develop the qualities within you that you most want to contribute to sword fighting. We hope to foster relationships with people who share our core ethos and help them develop, regardless of whether membership is an appropriate path.

Catalysts, Catakins & Allies

Catalysts are full members who participate in votes and wear a spiral belt flag. Majority voting decides the course of most unit actions.
Catalyst and Allies at Western Wars 13. Photo courtesy of Coop
The Captains are accountable for moving forward their domain of unit business and delegate people to help. The Cataklusmos Trials exist to continue challenging members to excel in combat prowess & teamwork. At first an endurance trial marks individual entry into full membership, and most trials beyond that focus on developing high-caliber teamwork amongst the group. Team trials are also unique in that they often encourage friends from other units to be a part of the trial competition, as the peers & allies of Catalyst must also challenge us to grow so we do not become insular or stagnant.

Catakins apprentice with Catalyst in pursuit of full membership. They are expected to attend retreats, events, and develop their unique contributions to the unit and western sword fighting. This is a period of collaborating closely with the group that lasts a minimum of one year and may last longer. Generally, Catalysts are seeking to recruit people into membership that have already developed a relationship with the group as an ally and are not actively affiliated with another fighting unit. The purpose of the Catakin phase is to allow everyone involved to determine if a good long-term fit exists. A Catakin approved for membership takes a Tail Trial to become a Catalyst.

Allies are friends of Catalyst who formalize their social connection with the group. Allies are welcome to fight and serve alongside Catalyst in pursuit of having a greater regional context to grow, train, and network within. Allies might consult with Catalysts to build their own unit, realm, group, title, persona, or house. For example, some allies stay connected with Catalyst while also having formed a local fighting unit or joined a regional house. Our approach is intentionally about connecting western warriors who are prime to grow from each other without pressuring anyone towards unit membership. Catalyst supports regional 'cross-pollination' by learning each other's arts, foam craft, sword styles, and stewardship practices. Alliances are one way we can promote an 'open source' atmosphere of sharing knowledge and resources. Along the way, we believe some allies will naturally go on to create their own thing and others may in time pursue full membership in Catalyst.

Cataclusmos Trials

Cataclusmos: A mythical beast of destruction that deals clytical damage

The Cataclusmos is a powerful mythical beast and the guardian spirit of Catalyst. The Cataclusmos Trials aim to provide Catalysts and prospective members with tangible goals in developing their foam fighting skill. Each trial is symbolically linked to a body part of the Cataclusmos and its corresponding natural element.

Body - Element - Format - Challenge

Tail - Earth - Circle of Death - Individual vs. Catalyst & Friends attendance

The warrior fights for 20 minutes of consistent battling within a community circle at a regional event. One one minute break for water or impairment is granted, stopping the 20 minute time clock. The fighter is pitted against 1v1's, 1v2's and in rare case's 1v3's or more. This is the entry trial for Catakins to formally join the unit as a full member. All founding members completed tail trials 2010-2011. The primary goal is to train such that one can persevere through consistent battle intensity and overcome mental or physical blocks against challenging opponents.

Scale - Water - Team Arena - Knock Out Style Squad Battles 2v2 - 4v4 Catalyst team vs. invited community challengers

Catalyst fighting in Bel Bowl at Battle for the Ring 2014

The scale trial tests a warrior's ability to work with a variety of team mates. The format is a 4 vs 4 'knockout' line in which the Catalyst team has 4-6 total members rotating vs. a large sampling of challenging opponents in the opposite rotation. As fighters die on either team in the 4 vs 4 matches, their deaths are counted and members from the respective sides step in to take the place of the fallen for the next bout. While the Catalyst team may only have a few fighters in their rotation, it forces them to fight more consistently, while the community group with a larger pool is able to take longer rest periods. Trial duration is a death limit on the Catalyst team. The Catalyst team must reach a specified kill count on the opposing team before running out of lives. The basic kill ratio goal set at CW XV was 2:1, taking place in a 4 vs 4 format going to 100 kills, in approx 30-45 minutes. Battles were fought until Catalyst had ~53 deaths to the opposing team's 107+.

Wings - Air - Field Kill Count as an individual or pair - 100 Kills in Mass Melee Battles in a 1 hour time limit

The aim of the Wings trial is to challenge an individual fighter to put down lots of damage on the enemy team in melee battles consistently over a time limit. Winning the trial involves accruing 100 kills in 1 hour of live combat during large field battles. Bhakdar was the first to earn his Wings at Oktoberfest 2011 on a battlefield exceeding 200 warriors. 100 kills were acquired in 56 minutes of live combat time. Samson and Huma earned their Wings as a pair at Chaos Wars 2014.


Included are the parts of the Cataklusmos 'body' that each member has earned through combat trials.
Founding members of Catalyst. (Left to right top: Huma, Acorn, Sare (resigned), Dangus, Sipris) Left to right bottom: Samson, Bhakdar)Missing: Rocca. July 2010




Resigned / Retired: Sare, Remy

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