The Kingdom Boffing Association describes themselves as “a regional advanced boffer combat group that provides a fun and safe way to enjoy padded melee games.” Formed in spring of 2010 in Auburn, the group is “dedicated to providing youth, teens and young adults a safe place to participate in a fun activity, that helps develop martial skill, encourages competitive play and promotes exercise. Members learn valuable life skills as well, including leadership, teamwork, decision making, sportsmanship, and confidence.”
Recently the Auburn Examiner spoke with Paul Davenport, one of the founding members of KBA, a local boffer weapon combat group here in Auburn. Before we get to the interview, a little background and terminology definition is needed. First, a boffer weapon refers to the construction of a padded weapon.
Boffer weapon construction typically involves a single piece of PVC pipe, with one layer of pipe foam around it, covered with duct tape. Such weapons are used in simulated battles called battle gaming and in some live-action role-playing games (LARPs). The members of KBA do not do any live-action role-play. They instead choose to focus on the simulated combat aspect of boffer weapons.
Auburn Examiner: Tell us a little bit about Kingdom Boffing Association, how did you guys get started?
Paul Davenport: We were all associated with a previous boffing group that kind of fell apart, so we decided to go ahead and start our own group. It took about six months to work on our rule book in 2009, during the winter. From there we just hit up the park and start trying to attract some of our friends and family members to go ahead and come down. It was slow going for about the first six months, but it built up quickly after that.
By 2012, we had about 30 members. Then I decided to take some time off from the group due to work and some other things. We’re back to rebuilding things up in the last couple of years. We’ve introduced our page program, which is a big deal for us. It’s something that has helped promote future growth for the group.
AE: Tell me a little bit about the Page Program.
PD: That is our youth program for ages three to 11, where we break things down into brackets by age. So your three, four and five-year-olds aren’t going to be fighting or participating with anyone in the ages of nine, ten, or 11. So we separate them so that the younger kids just have fun with it. Then as they progress, we’re looking to teach them the rules and have them, really adjust to the rules. What we’re trying to do is to keep fresh blood, new recruits coming in. But really, make sure that when we’re gone, as the adults, that there’s someone there to replace us. We saw [this] as a failing with past groups that we’ve been [a part of]. They didn’t have a contingency plan; they didn’t have people in place to replace them as they moved on, due to age, injury, or what have you. There was nothing really in place. We felt like if we had something like that, it would just make sure to keep our group going in the future.
Another big part of it is a lot of us became adults, we got married, we are in relationships, we all have kids. And a lot of people don’t want to go to the group, then have to watch their [kids]. It’s kind of like an interruption. Your responsibilities will pull you away from trying to enjoy yourself. So we made this program so that there would be an adult or several as it grows, they would make sure to watch those children. A lot of the parents get to go out there and have fun as well, while they get to share, and form with a common interest.
AE: So kind of like a built-in babysitter?
PD: That was originally the idea. We originally thought it would just be watching over the kids and make sure that they stayed safe. Then we decided hey if these kids are down there why don’t we go ahead and let them participate have fun and regulate it to where they don’t get hurt or anything serious happens. Then a lot of parents come down just to let their kids play now, so that’s honestly really good for our group.
AE: Tell me a little bit about the rules of the group, like weapon manufacturing, and such.
PD: We have a bunch listed in our rule book on our website. We make sure to train people properly on how to build a weapon from the base. We’ve been trying to do weapon-making parties for interested parties. I always encourage people to learn how to make their gear as it just keeps it budget-friendly for everybody. In our basic rules, we’re not like any of the national groups; we don’t have classes, we don’t have armor, we don’t have anything like that. It’s just contact based.
We don’t deal in light shots; we deal in what we call solid hits. What that should feel like is like a light smack on the shoulder, not hard enough not to hurt, but not super light where it’s kind of like ‘what just happened?’
Our hit locations are generally from wrist to shoulder, hip to ankle, and neck to waist. For arm shots, if you get hit there, you can’t use that arm anymore. If you have that arm against your body, it’ll carry through if you get hit there again. So, two shots to an arm generally kill a person, and these are very basic things.
We also have a 45-degree arc rule. You can’t just double-tap really quick. You must actually hit and then draw back and kind of hit again to be fair. Opponents have a chance of dodge and stuff. Your hands are invulnerable as long as they’re touching gear.
We go with a lock leg rule for lost legs. This means that you can either walk on your heel or stiffen your leg and drag it, but you can’t bend your knee. This is done to slow people down when they take a leg hit. If you get hit in the hips, both your legs are considered hit.
Anywhere on your torso is a kill shot. Headshots are not allowed. If you get hit in the head, you’re supposed to call hold, or somebody in your vicinity calls a hold. We need to make sure that that person is still good to go, that they’re not hurt. After that happens, we make sure to keep watch on the person, make sure the person is talking and then we’ll obviously get the medical treatment if needed.
We look at it as a sport. It’s a fun sport; nobody wants to get hurt or wants to be hit super hard. So that’s one of our other rules. You have to regulate yourself on what you’re doing. We’re all out there trying to have fun. So, if a person is hitting too hard or isn’t taking their shots, that’s cheating. We’ll get right on top of you about it, and if you don’t adjust, we’ll remove you from our group.
These are just basic examples of things. Our rule book is a little bit more in-depth.
AE: Where do you see the group going in the future, what plans do you have?
PD: Right now, we have more fields in development. We have Freeport in West Seattle at Lincoln Park. I would love to be a regional group. I don’t want to be national. We’ve talked about having a group anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour drive, that way they can easily get to each other.
I want to keep fields smaller so that they’re easier to manage. Personality conflicts are easier to handle. I’ve been a part of a group that was 100 people strong every Saturday. And the problem with that is, you get little cliques. You get groups, and the personalities are so thick and so deep, a lot of times it causes is too much conflict for the group to survive.
AE: It sounds like a really fun group. How can people contact the group?
PD: We have several ways to contact us. Our most popular is through the Facebook page. It’s just Kingdom Boffing Association. That also has a link tree link in the about section. If people want to visit our website or go to our YouTube channel and check that out, there’s a lot of videos up.
KBA groups meet on a weekly basis from 12pm-5pm at local parks.
Strifeland meets at Isaac Evans Park in Auburn, Washington
29627 Green River Rd SE, Auburn, WA 98092
Jormungandr meets at Twin Rivers Park in Arlington, Washington
WA-530, Arlington, WA 98223
Freeport meets at Lincoln Park in West Seattle, Washington
8011 Fauntleroy Way SW, Seattle, WA 98136
If you would like to listen to this interview in its entirety, check out Season 2 Episode 16 of Joshua’s show, Hazardous Verbal Waste, at hazardousverbal.com.
Joshua Northcutt is a resident of the Federal Way area of Washington State. Known as Shirochan in podcasting circles, Joshua hosts the Hazardous Verbal Waste Podcast. To hear more from Joshua you can check out his podcast website hazardousverbal.com, the Jnorth Media Facebook page, the HVW Podcast Fans Facebook page, Twitter @Tousisama, and Instagram @hazardousverbal. He can be reached at [email protected]