Living in close proximity to large stone castles in the middle of green hills was a portal into another world for Matthew Stewart-Fulton.
“When I was 5 my family moved to England for a year, so I was surrounded by medieval aspects that left an impression on me as a child,” says Stewart-Fulton, a security officer within Housing Security and Safety Services.
Participating in various medieval festivals such as the Holly Renaissance Festival over the years, Stewart-Fulton also has been actively involved in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), a medieval re-enactment club.
“We re-create the past out of a personal interest and passion for an art or craft from the medieval time,” he says.
Encompassing a large number of interests, such as leatherworking, metalworking and calligraphy, members of SCA research things they find interesting that usually are no longer found in everyday life.
“It allows us to go out, explore, and have a lot of fun, but still lets us go back to our indoor plumbing, our air conditioning, our dentists and our doctors,” he says.
For Stewart-Fulton specifically, the SCA provides an avenue for him to pursue his interest in martial arts.
After being in a karate class at the age of 11, Stewart-Fulton has studied various martial arts including kung fu and Chinese martial arts. Over time his interest centered on European martial arts, causing a natural transition to his involvement with renaissance organizations.
“European martial arts was an opportunity to try something different. Instead of going out in a white uniform, barefoot, you put on 60 pounds of steel armor and hit someone with a stick,” says Stewart-Fulton, who has been involved with SCA for 12 years.
Stewart-Fulton doesn’t just seek new opportunities within his martial arts, but also in his professional field as well.
Over the last 25 years Stewart-Fulton has worked various jobs on campus as security at the hospital and tech support. Nine years ago, however, he returned to security work as a security officer at the residence halls of Alice Lloyd and Baits II.
“We provide a visible security presence in the dorms, and try to make sure students feel safe,” he says.
Included in ensuring safety of the residence halls, Stewart-Fulton does frequent rounds to check the building, and periodically performs random spot checks.
Even during the summer months or vacations when many students are not in the residence halls, Stewart-Fulton keeps a presence around the building and monitors it for maintenance or other problems.
While monitoring the building is an important aspect of his job, Stewart-Fulton finds the most enjoyable aspect of his job to be working with other people.
“We really try to be support to people in need and people in crisis situations when they occur,” says Stewart-Fulton, who received his master’s degree in social work at U-M two years ago.
Stewart-Fulton not only helps residents on campus, but also helps individuals who want to learn fencing, particularly 15th-century German fencing.
“I teach fencing the way the Germans were doing it a while ago, where they use slightly heavier weapons,” he says.
While Stewart-Fulton works as a security officer, he also continues to take martial arts classes and work with his martial artist friends to become better. “You can never learn it all. There’s just too much to know. So it’s an ongoing process of studying and refining,” Stewart-Fulton says.
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Matthew Stewart-Fulton, security officer for Housing Security and Safety Services, on medieval re-enactment: "It allows us to go out, explore, and have a lot of fun, but still let’s us go back to our indoor plumbing, our air conditioning, our dentists and our doctors."
“Off the Walls: Digital Pigment Ink Prints” by Judith Jacobs, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Gifts of Art Gallery, Taubman Health Center South Lobby, Floor 1, through April 8.