The SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) is an international, not-for-profit organization dedicated to recreating the time period between roughly 400 AD and 1650 AD 'as it should have been.' While we strive to be as period as possible, we avoid such things as early deaths. :)
I originally encountered the SCA on the campus of SUNY Binghamton, although I didn't realize what I'd stumbled onto at the time. Seeing people in armor fighting each other with wooden swords, and having a background in roleplaying, I guessed I was witnessing some kind of live-action Dungeons and Dragons game. However, the people I spoke to were quite friendly, and discussed the organization a bit.
A few years later, after moving to Potsdam, I ran into a few SCAdians (as we like to call ourselves) living and/or going to school in the area, and I decided to join the group. I've been a fairly active member ever since. The SCA website listed below can tell you where your nearest group is, if you find this kind of stuff to be of interest to you. I've personally found it to be a lot of fun (or I wouldn't still be in it, of course :) While my hometown was in the Canton of Northpass, and Potsdam was in the Shire of Northern Outpost, I'm now living in the Shire of Mountain Freehold.
BTW, we don't just do fighting. We also do things like medieval dance, fencing, heraldry (coats-of-arms type stuff), feasts, etc. If it's the fighting that gets your attention, cool. If you're more interested in other stuff, that's cool too. For what it's worth, Northern Outpost decided that me in armor (willingly) was a sign of the apocalypse, although I've considered fencing (which wouldn't count).
Here's a pic of me in garb, freshly moved from my front page (had trouble getting a good new pic)-
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