People who want an athletic challenge, the chance to play characters from the Renaissance era and make some great friends may want to join the Royal Chessmen. This is a group that gets together every Sunday afternoon at TY Park.

The organization stages combats and gives combat performances at various events in Florida. Many of the events focus on pirates and early history.

“We love to put on staged combats and we perform at fairs throughout Florida,” said Richard Shellene, of the Chessmen.

One of the top performances of the groups is known as living chess games. Members will actually fight it out where a piece is on a chessboard.

“The fights we perform are theatrical and we choreograph them. Real fights would be over quickly and would not be theatrical,” said Shellene.

Some of the staged events have a historical background. There have been staged Viking raids. Now the group is working to recreate a conflict involving the merchants of a town versus the artistic community.

“I love being a part of this group. It helps me stay in shape and I have made a lot of friends over the years,” he said. “I have a background in martial arts. I love being a part of the exhibitions.

Kevin Mathis also loves being a part of the Royal Chessmen. “I am a member at Large and I like the recreation. I have made a lot friends and I love being a part of it. You can participate as much as you want to or can,” he said.

Ivette Figueroa considers it a nice hobby and likes the chance to play different characters and roles. She spends time teaching children how to participate in staged combats. “I love performing in the fairs. I also love the interactive games we participate in. This is a lot of fun,” she said.