Kingdom of Atenveldt

Marshal / Fighter Handbook


Period Fencing / Rapier

Atenveldt Rapier Marshal’s Handbook

Issue 3, May, 2000



Document History

1 2/1/96 Gwylym ab Owain o Tatershal Original*

2 Giacomo Cavalli da Treviso Reviewer

3 Domenico Vincenzo di Calabria Reviewer

4 5/31/98 Jakob von Höhl Revision**

5 4/22/00 Selene O’Malley Revision***



* This document stems from many years of work done by prior rapier marshals. Especially the following should be

mentioned: Sir Morgil en Tauro Andune and Master Ioseph of Locksley.

** This revision is the result of input from the White Scarves, and other members of the Rapier community of Atenveldt, and is issued by the Office of the Kingdom Earl Marshal, Duke Arthur of Lockehaven.

*** This current revision is to update Kingdom standards to the new Corporate standards, written in conjunction with the Rapier Community within Atenveldt.







1. Introduction

2. Marshal’s Duties

3. Period Fencing (Rapier Combat)

3.1 Overview

3.2 Conventions of Period Fencing

3.3 Armor Standards

3.4 Weapon Standards

3.5 Marshal’s Information

A. Armor Inspection

B. Weapon Inspection

C. Marshaling Period Fencing

D. Authorization Criteria

3.6 Miscellaneous (Optional Rules, etc.,)


Appendix A


1. Introduction

These rules are a compendium of the rules under which rapier combat and marshaling activities are performed in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) in general, and in the Kingdom of Atenveldt in particular. The following information is in addition to the Period Fencing rules established by the Society Rapier Marshal. The rules in this document are applicable to all rapier combat (tourneys, wars, practices, demos, etc.,) that are run under the auspices of the SCA within the Kingdom of Atenveldt.

Rapier fighters visiting from outside the Kingdom of Atenveldt shall be accorded fighting privileges upon presentation of a valid SCA fighter’s authorization card, and explanation of the rules they will be expecting to do combat under. All rapier fighters relocating into the Kingdom of Atenveldt shall be re-authorized under the rules of Atenveldt delineated herein.

The Standards, Rules, and Conventions of this work shall become effective and enforceable upon its publication. The information covered in this work supersedes all previously published information on the subject of rapier combat within the Kingdom of Atenveldt.

Any observations, questions, or comments about this work should be directed, in writing, the Kingdom Marshal of Fence for consideration and comment.

Copies of this handbook may be freely made by members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, inc. for circulation to other members, so long as no changes to the contents are made.





Rex Atenveldtus Regina







Earl Marshal Kingdom Seneschal







Kingdom Marshal of Fence

May 31, AS XXXII Being 1998 in the Common Era

2. Marshal’s Duties

2.1 Overview

The Marshal’s Office is responsible for over-seeing fighting activities and ensuring that combat is being practiced within the rules of the SCA and with a minimum acceptable level of risk. Responsibilities include inspecting armor, weapons, and the fighting field, as well as enforcing the rules contained within this handbook. All marshals should follow the guidelines set forth in the Society Marshal’s Handbook.

This handbook is an addendum to the marshallate rules for the Kingdom of Atenveldt. This work applies only to Rapier Combat. General information on the workings of the Marshallate may be found in the Atenveldt Marshal’s Handbook, along with the rules governing any other types of combat done within this Kingdom.

The rapier marshallate is organized under the Kingdom Earl Marshal. Each respective rapier marshal (territorial, etc.,) reports directly to the next higher level rapier marshal as well as to their respective Knight Marshal. For example, a Baronial Rapier Marshal shall send monthly reports not only to the Kingdom Marshal of Fence, but also to the Knight Marshal in their barony.

It is the responsibility of the Kingdom Marshal of Fence to keep a roster of all warranted rapier marshals in the Kingdom. This report is sent quarterly to the Kingdom Earl Marshal. Each rapier marshal of a territory shall report monthly on rapier in their area. Marshals at Large shall report to the Kingdom Marshal of Fence quarterly or immediately if a problem arises. Three missed reports are grounds for dismissal (two for a Marshal at Large).

2.2 Marshallate Qualifications for Rapier Combat.

A. The Kingdom Marshal of Fence shall determine who shall be authorized to be a rapier


B. A rapier marshal will:

1. Show proficiency or knowledge in all weapon combinations. The marshal does not have to be a

currently authorized fighter.

2. Have shown a consistent attitude for safety.

3. Have some knowledge of rapier history. It is preferred that a rapier marshal be able to

recognize the difference between period and modern techniques.

C. Once a person is a rapier marshal , they may recommend other qualified persons to the Earl Marshal

or Kingdom Marshal of Fence.

D. There shall be persons known as "Seconds".

1. The Second’s duty is to observe combat and advise the Marshal of the Field.

2. Second’s shall make sure that weapons, equipment, and combat do not endanger the Marshal,

combatants, bystanders, or any other persons present during combat.

3. Seconds shall be either marshals-in-training or authorized marshals knowledgeable in the


Please keep in mind that since this form of combat is a privilege and not a right, a Marshal has the power to recommend permanent cancellation of this privilege. Any rapier fighter who is deemed unsafe or who will not honorably accept blows will lose their privilege to fence within the SCA. Any rapier combatant who enters the lists with unsafe equipment will be barred from the lists until the problem has been corrected. See 3.5.C.2.

NOTE: Please refer to the Atenveldt Marshal’s Handbook for more information on the running of the marshallate (authorization, reports, terms, marshallate courts, etc.,)

3. Rapier Combat

3.1 Overview

SCA rapier competition is a privilege, and not a right. The use of steel prompts certain factors that must be maintained for the safety of all. Both Scholar and Master must abide by the rules of honor and for safety’s sake should abide by the rules set forth in this handbook. Only one form of combat will be addressed in this section: rapier fitted with a schlager blade and the optional dagger fitted with a flexidagger (type) blade.

3.2 Conventions of Period Fencing/Rapier Combat

A. Each rapier fighter shall maintain control over his or her temper at all times.

B. Any behavior that takes deliberate advantage of an opponent’s honor or safety-consciousness is prohibited.

C. Engaging in any SCA combat activity with the deliberate intent to inflict injury on an opponent is forbidden.

D. Rapier fighters may engage only when the Marshal of the Field has received verbal acknowledgment

of readiness from each rapier fighter and has instructed the rapier fighters to begin. The engagement will stop

when "hold" is called or when one of the combatants has been defeated.

E. Hold will be called by the marshals or combatants when safety is compromised, a rule has been violated,

or when a combatant has a question about a touch received. A safety issue could be, but is not limited

to, a combatant falling or becoming involved in a dangerous and uncontrolled motion, equipment

failure, or a rules violation. Marshals shall call a hold immediately should a weapon point be caught

(bound) in anything (hilt, armor, clothing, etc.,) and combatants will be aware that a hold is considered

to be automatically called if a point is caught. (See section 3.6 of this handbook for Optional Rules.)

F. Combat shall be done in the round, and with no body-to-body contact whatsoever.

G. In judging the effect of blows, a combatant is considered to be unarmored unless otherwise stated.

With the prior permission of the Marshal in Charge, the definition of "unarmored" may be modified

for a specific event, provided that the modification is equitable and safe, and is made known to the

participants of the lists in advance.

H. All blows in combat are struck with sufficient force to be felt during a thrust or a cut. Combatants

need only make their attacks felt through the clothing of the opponent. Use of excessive force is

grounds for loss of rapier privileges. It is recommended that combatants gauge sufficient blows

before combat begins (calibration).

I. All attacks shall be executed and counted as if from a real and fully sharpened weapon on an

unarmored surface. All areas of the body are valid targets.

J. A thrust to the head, throat, torso, or groin results in a victory. A cut to the head, throat, torso, armpit

(a hand’s breadth from the body), groin, inner thigh (a hand’s breath from the body) results in a

victory. Please remember: certain wounds, while not immediately disabling, will cause you to bleed to

death in a matter of seconds. This is enough time for a dramatic or overacted death. Olympic style

saber cuts/percussion hits are illegal, and will not be tolerated. A cut must be executed as a

draw or push of the blade’s edge to be disabling. The length of the cut should be at least three inches.

A tip cut is considered a valid blow.

K. Attacks to limbs shall be considered disabling wounds. The exception is an attack to an area where a

major artery or vein would be cut, rendering the wound a killing blow (see ‘J’, this section).

L. Pommeling is not allowed.

M. If combatants lock, a hold shall be called to separate them. Wrestling is not allowed in the interest of


N. A thrust may be parried by the hand, arm, foot, etc. The blade may be parried at any point along its

length. If the hand alone is "injured", the arm may still be used to parry. If a combatant received a

thrust to the hand while the hand is pressed against a legal kill zone, then the thrust is considered to

be a killing blow. This is known as ‘stapling’.

O. A combatant may refuse combat with any weapon or any combination of weapons, or with any

opponent only if they deem combat to be unsafe or if they deem that the opponent is not accepting

right and true blows.

P. For the sake of calling blows, weapons shall be considered to be double-edged, and sharp from hilt to point.

Q. Rapier combat may consist of as many combatants as safe marshaling allows, as it represents 1) the formal duel, 2) military combat, and 3) street fights and bar brawls.

R. Marshals shall advise combatants as to their observation of blows.

S. A marshal may call a hold if a combatant is disarmed in a dangerous manner. If a combatant drops a weapon

to avoid being wounded or killed, they shall be warned that this is a dishonorable act.

T. Any loss of a rapier helm during combat immediately stops the fight and renders the combatant "dead". The

defective helm may not be used again until it has been inspected and if necessary modified (to the satisfaction of

the Marshal in Charge) to prevent reoccurrence.

U. A rapier fighter shall freeze, call for a hold, and strike no blow should they notice that the tip has come off

their own weapon, or that their own blade has been broken. In the case where an opponent’s tip has come

loose or the opponent’s blade has broken, a rapier fighter shall call for a hold, strike no further blows, and only

parry incoming blows.

V. An attack that is in motion when an attacker is hit by a faster counter-attack will count if it strikes the

counter-attacker without a change in direction and if the two hits are nearly simultaneous. This is known

as being in time.

W. If one combatant has lost both arms to wounds, while the other combatant(s) retains at least one arm able to

hold a weapon and has not received a killing blow, the disarmed combatant can be forced to yield.

X. If a combatant receives a wound to a leg, he or she must not use the injured leg as it would be too painful to

stress with use. NO ‘launching’ from the thighs. Circling a ‘legged’ opponent is not a chivalrous act in a duel

situation. Circling may be permitted in a melee situation.

  1. No combatant may attack another combatant from behind. In melees and other such combat scenarios, a

combatant may approach from behind, signal the other combatant by placing the rapier or dagger before his

vision (facemask), and loudly call ‘death from behind’ or similar. A properly delivered ‘death from behind’

is not to be parried, as the vocal call is the required courtesy in place of silent attacks from unseen opponents.

The receiver is dead as soon as the attacker’s blade is visible. If a melee scenario allows killing from behind, a fighter does so by laying the rapier blade over the opponent's shoulder, to at least a third of the blade, while calling "Dead, my lord" (or other short, courteous phrases) in a loud, clear voice. Reaching around the neck is forbidden. The opponent will be deemed "killed" from the instant the blade touches his shoulder and shall not attempt to spin, duck or dodge away. Note: If death from behind is not allowed in a given melee, a fighter who deliberately ignores an attacker behind them, or repeatedly maneuvers to keep their back to an attacker (thereby preventing any attack on them) may be considered misuse of the rules and obstructive behavior.

Z. At the conclusion of a bout, the marshal shall ask each combatant if they are satisfied. If satisfaction is not met,

the marshal will consult with the combatants as to the nature of the problem, and may allow the combat to be

re-fought. If a combatant does not take this opportunity to settle an immediate issue, the issue shall no longer

exist and will be dropped permanently.

3.3 Armor Standards

The following are the minimum standards for rapier armor. Groups within the Kingdom (Marches, Shires, Baronies, etc.) may have additional requirements.

  1. Head protection shall cover the entire head. This may be a standard twelve (12) kilogram fencing mask

(commonly referred to as a 3-weapons mask) or another such helm that will not allow the penetration of a

bare schlager blade’s tip (or epee if you will be fighting inter-kingdom). For perforated steel face masks the

gauge should be no less than 16 gauge steel with the hole size being no greater than 1/8 inch with at least 50%

of the surface being metal. No expanded steel face masks. All non-standard masks and helmets must be

approved by the Marshal in Charge. The mask used shall be secured to the head in such a manner as to

prevent it’s becoming dislodged in combat. Masks and helms must be secured to the fighter, so that they cannot be easily removed or dislodged during combat. The combination of snug fit and the spring-tongue in a conventional fencing mask is NOT sufficient, by itself, to secure the mask to the fighter. All areas of the head not covered by the mask must be covered with the corporate minimum ‘impenetrable’ material. ‘Impenetrable’ material is defined as material able to withstand four (4) hard thrusts with a broken foil in the same location without penetration. Four (4) layers of trigger cloth or four (4) ounce leather are acceptable, all other materials must be tested. A ‘rapier helmet’ or some other hard protection for the back of the head is strongly recommended.

B. The throat shall be protected by a heavy padded collar or gorget, or its equivalent. A padded metal gorget is

recommended. Minimum neck protection shall consist of eighteen (18) gauge steel or eight (8) ounce leather

backed with at least 1/4 inch of padding. The cervical vertebrae shall also be protected by rigid material,

provided by some combination of gorget, helm, and/or hood insert.

C. The torso and neck must be covered with corporate impenetrable material (such as a doublet, jerkin, jacket). No

skin shall be exposed. A leather buff coat or doublet is recommended.

D. Female combatants shall wear breast protection. It should consist of a heavy leather or padding. Rigid

breast protection is strongly recommended. If a skirt is to be worn, it is required that pants/bloomers/leggings

be worn under the skirt to avoid the chance of skin being exposed. There must be a three (3) inch overlap

between the bottom of the skirt and the top of the combatant’s footwear.

E. An athletic cup or equivalent shall be worn by male combatants to protect the groin. If the groin cups have any

holes that could admit a broken point, the cup must be covered with ‘impenetrable’ material. It is strongly

recommended that female rapier fighters wear some sort of padded groin protection as well.

F. The arms and legs shall be covered with resistant material. Resistant material is defined as material that will

withstand normal combat stress without tearing. Nylon tights or stockings and cotton gauze shirts are not

acceptable materials. A tightly woven fabric that does not tear under normal combat stress is an acceptable

material (ex: trigger/champion cloth, heavy cotton twill). Elbow pads are suggested. Padding for the hips and

knees is suggested.

G. Acceptable minimum armpit coverage is provided by a triangle extending from the armpit seam, covering the

lower half of the sleeve at the seam, and extending down the inner/under arm, one-third the distance to the

fighter's elbow.

H. Leather gauntlets or their equivalent shall be worn on both of the hands, covering the entire wrist. Heavy

gauntlets with padded cuffs are recommended. Overlap between the end of the gauntlet cuff and the shirt

is required. This overlap shall not be less than three (3) inches, so as not to admit the opponent’s weapon to

an unarmored surface.

I. Footwear shall consist of a closed-toe shoe or boot that will withstand the stress of combat and cover the

entire foot. Ankle support and protection are important. High top boots with rubber soles are strongly


J. There must be no gaps in the armor. Bare skin must not be accessible at any point.

K. Rigid sternum protection is suggested.

L. To promote authenticity on the field, all armor shall be made to appear as realistic and authentic as possible.

Blatantly mundane articles should be covered up or disguised in some fashion.

  1. Kingdoms shall require all gear to have been formally tested (including fabric and mask tests, as appropriate) at least once every two years. Compliance is the responsibility of the individual fighter. Any protective gear may be formally tested if there is concern that the gear may have lost protective ability due to age, wear and tear, or other factors.


3.4 Weapon Standards

A. Olympic style fencing weapons (foils, epees, sabers) are barred from use in rapier combat.

B. Standard fencing guards may be used. Modern "pistol" grips may not be used. Guards may not have any

sharp edges or corners. Historically accurate guards are available commercially and are highly


C. Theatrical combat blades (schlagers) of the following description are available commercially. These blades are

the accepted standard for rapier combat in Atenveldt. Schlager blades are flexible enough to thrust with

safety, but are sturdy enough to not break in combat and thus lessen the concern of jagged and potentially

lethal broken blades. The schlager type (or equivalent) rapier blade (with oval or diamond cross-section) is REQUIRED.

Standard Length Width Cross-section

=34-38 inches 45 inches =3/4 inch Oval

=34-38 inches 45 inches =3/4 inch Diamond


Note: The edge must be nominally 1/16 inch. Less than this is considered too sharp. Blade length for normal combat shall be no more than 40.5 inches 45 inches and no less than 30.5 inches as measured from the ricasso/tang juncture (known as the ‘shoulder’). This is referred to as the Elizabethan Blade Length. Longer blades may be used upon submission of period documentation of the blade length to the Kingdom Marshal of Fence and their approval. Diamond cross-section blades must be checked carefully for the minimum edge. All blades must be inspected by the Marshal in Charge of equipment inspection at an event, and preferably by the Knight Marshal of your local area (or the nearest one if your area does not have a Knight Marshal).

D. The point of the weapon must have a firmly affixed archery "rabbit blunt" attached, with round edges and no

sharp areas. The actual metal point must not be able to penetrate the rabbit blunt. The rabbit blunt must be

at least 1/2 inch in diameter. All nicks in the blade must be ground down. Blades must be in good shape,

showing neither rust nor pit marks, nor more than one gradual bend.

E. The hilt and guard must be sufficient to protect the hand. "Cup/Bell" style hilts are encouraged as they

provide the best protection for the hand. "Cross" and "Swept" hilts may be used, but heavy leather gauntlets

are strongly recommended if this hilt style is used. Guards may not have any sharp edges or corners.

F. Daggers may be used both defensively and offensively, provided that the combatant can demonstrate to a

marshal that the weapon is safe for either or both purposes. All daggers must be fitted with a flexible dagger

blade. For daggers, the following shall apply:

1. The offensive blade must be Offensive blades of the flexi-dagger type (available from American Fencer

Supply, as well as other vendors) are allowed

2. DelTin style dagger blades (such as those made by Scottie armoury) are allowed.

3. Blades must be free of rust, pits, or any nicks which may substantially impair the strength or

flexibility of the blade.

4. The tip of the blade must be covered in the same method as a rapier tip.

5. The dagger must have a guard of some type, or quillions, or both.


  1. Bucklers may be used for defensive purposes only. They shall be padded or rimmed in such a way as to not
  2. damage blades. Bucklers shall be constructed of wood that is no thicker than one (1) inch, and may have a projected surface area no larger than twenty (20) inches thirty (30) inches in diameter. Bucklers may also be constructed of metal if the edge is designed or covered to prevent damage to blades. Bucklers need not be round so long as the total projected surface area is not more than three hundred fourteen (314) square inches seven hundred and eight (708) square inches. A shield of larger size may be used at the consent of the Kingdom Marshallate after submission of appropriate documentation to the periodicity of the shield.

  3. Offensive Bucklers must be constructed of soft, flexible materials to ensure the safety of combatants. The

design and construction of the buckler must be approved by the Marshal in Charge of the Field or the Kingdom Rapier Marshal. The use of offensive bucklers is to be at the consent of BOTH fighters involved.

H. Cloaks may be of any size, color, weight, or stiffness desired. They may be weighted so long as the weights are

padded to prevent injury. Cloaks may not have rods, strips of metal, wood, or other such material to stiffen

them. A cloak may be used both defensively and offensively, provided that the rapier fighter can demonstrate

that the cloak is safe for both purposes. This does not include covering the opponent’s head in any way, hitting

the opponent with it, or any such other physical action. Cloaks are used offensively to bat aside or bind an

opponent’s blade (not tip). Cloaks shall be constructed of cloth or leather. Note: cloaks should be

presentable if worn.

I. Other items may be used defensively, provided it can be demonstrated to be both safe and historically realistic

to the marshallate.

1. Defensive equipment is used for parrying offensive and defensive equipment. Defensive equipment

may not be used to dangerously trap & entangle the opponent’s equipment, nor be used against the

body of the opponent.

2. No defensive equipment may be thrown as part of the defensive technique with the exception of cloaks.

Cloaks may not be thrown at the opponent, but at the opponent’s weapon, to effect a parry or


3. Any deliberate contact with the opponent’s body (grappling, wrestling, tripping, and like action) is

strictly forbidden in the interest of safety.

J. Projectile weapons may not be used in rapier combat without prior approval of the Marshal in Charge. Projectile

weapons are allowed in melees ONLY. Currently allowed projectile weapons are: Rubber band guns and their

equivalents. Combat archery and mechanical replicas of period missile weapons will be approved on a case-by-

case basis by the Kingdom Marshal of Fence.

3.5 Marshal’s Information

A. Armor Inspection

Armor inspection must be done with all the armor on the body of the rapier fighter who is going to wear

it. It is not otherwise possible to get an accurate idea of what is covered and what is not, nor where gaps

may occur as the rapier fighter moves. The following general guidelines should be used when

conducting armor inspection:

1. Leg armor: Check that the rapier fighter’s legs are completely covered with appropriate material.

2. Groin: ASK a male rapier fighter if he remembered his cup.

3. Body: Check that the rapier fighter’s body is completely covered with appropriate material. ASK

Female rapier fighters if they are wearing breast protection.

4. Arms: Check that the rapier fighter’s arms are completely covered with appropriate material.

5. Hands and Wrists: Check that the rapier fighter is at least wearing light leather gloves and that they

do not readily allow access to bare skin where they meet the shirt.

6. Neck and Head: Check that the neck is completely covered and that the neck and head protection

will not gap (show readily accessible bare skin) as the rapier fighter moves. Check the mask’s welds

for breakage, make sure the back of the head is completely covered, and that the mask is not easily

dislodged. The mask must be one of the twelve (12) kilogram variety (or better) to be acceptable and

should be tested if a 12 kg punchtester is available.

B. Weapon Inspection

1. For rapiers and daggers the following must be verified:

the blade of the weapon is free of rust and/or severe nicks.

the blade has no more than one gradual curve to it and is not twisted.

the rubber tip on the blade is firmly attached, and that the blade cannot penetrate said tip.

the hilt of the weapon is firmly attached and is free from sharp edges or points.

daggers that are designed to entrap blades may be allowed with the marshal’s permission.

the blade was produced by a manufacturer known for quality (i.e. no truck spring blades).

2. For cloaks, verify that there are no holes that might entrap blades or any other illegal additions.

3. For bucklers, verify that the rim has no sharp edges. Check the entire piece for edges, broken/missing rivets,

protruding bolts, and any signs of excessive wear that might compromise safety.

C. Marshaling Period Fencing/Rapier Combat

1. There shall be no formal rapier list/combat (tournament, etc,) unless there is at least one authorized Rapier

Marshal and one Second observing the field. The Second or Seconds shall help observe combat and should

advise the Marshal of blows observed.

2. The Marshal shall have an informed opinion about a rapier fighter’s performance on the field with regard to

safety and adherence to the rules. If the Marshal observes a rapier fighter acting unsafe or in violation of

the rules of combat, and said fighter refuses to correct the issue, then the Marshal may elect to expel him/her

from the field. The Marshal may choose to revoke a rapier fighter’s authorization through SCA, Inc.

corporate procedure if he/she feels that a rapier fighter no longer meets minimum SCA standards of combat and

is unwilling to improve.

3. Period fencing Marshals should be aware of things specific to period fencing:

a. Any use of a buckler or any other rigid parrying device that may bring it into contact with an opponent’s


b. Unsafe cutting or thrusting techniques.

c. Loss of protective rubber tip on a weapon. A hold shall be called immediately, as this type of

equipment failure can be dangerous.

d. Armor failures of any sort are reasons for immediate holds.

e. A broken blade is reason for an immediate hold.

f. Any optional techniques the fighters have agreed upon (blade grabbing, offensive bucklers, etc.)

D. Authorization Criteria for Period Fencing/Rapier Combat

There will be a single authorization for Period Fencing. A candidate must demonstrate safety in rapier combat

prior to being allowed to compete in any SCA tournament. This proficiency shall be judged by a Warranted

Marshal (or Warranted Rapier Marshal). If the candidate is being observed by more than two Marshals, then the

majority must agree on said candidate’s proficiency. A list shall be kept by the local marshal of all the authorized

rapier fighters within the marshal’s local sphere or responsibility. Only a Warranted Marshal shall sign a fighter’s authorization. In any list or practice, a rapier fighter is honor-bound to not use any weapon or combination thereof if they feel unsafe doing so.

Possible weapon combinations are:

Single rapier Single dagger

Single off-hand rapier Single off-hand dagger

Case of rapier Brace of dagger

Rapier and dagger

Rapier/dagger and buckler (or other rigid parrying device)

Rapier/dagger and cloak (or other non-rigid parrying device)

The following is a general outline for authorizing a rapier fighter. The standard authorization is done with single rapier. A rapier fighter is on their honor to inform the Marshal as to their ability to safely use other weapons.

1. Prior to authorizing, the candidate and the authorizing Marshal will complete a waiver for SCA combat-related

activities if the candidate has not already filled one out. If one has already filed, for example, when a fighter received their authorization in a different weapon form, then no new waiver is needed.

2. The candidate must present him/herself on the field in armor and with weapons for inspection. The armor must be inspected on the body to insure that the armor protects the combatant sufficiently (outlined in sect 3.3, Armor Standards). The weapons to be used must pass inspection as well (outlined in section 3.4, Weapon Standards). Any deficiencies must be corrected before the authorization may proceed.

3. The Marshal conducting the authorization shall ask the candidate questions regarding the rules of Period Fencing. These questions will allow the Marshal to verify that the candidate is familiar with the rules and understands the conventions he/she will be doing combat under. If the authorizing Marshal feels the candidate does not have sufficient grasp of the rules to conduct him/herself safely, then the authorization should fail at this point. The candidate should familiarize him/herself with the rules, and retest at a later date.

4. Both the experienced rapier fighter and the candidate should be armed with the weapon choice of the candidate.

5. The Marshal shall instruct the experienced rapier fighter and the candidate to fight an authorization bout. For the first few minutes of the bout, the candidate and the experienced rapier fighter shall fight at 1/2 to 3/4 speed, verbally acknowledging blows landed. At this time, both the Marshal and the experienced rapier fighter shall get an impression of the candidate’s abilities and behavior. Look for safe technique, ability to accurately call blows, and if the candidate attacks and defends in a safe manner. If this portion of the authorization is not satisfactorily completed, the authorization shall stop at this point, the candidate shall be advised of the problem(s) observed, and instructed as to how he/she may correct said problem(s).

6. At this time, the experienced rapier fighter and the candidate shall do combat in a tournament style - until one

is defeated. During this portion, the Marshal and the experienced rapier fighter (along with any seconds) shall observe the candidate’s control, reaction to blows, and ability to cope with pressure. A hold should be called at some point during this portion of the authorization. There does not need to be any particular reason for this other than to gauge the candidate’s reaction to the call.

7. After the bout, the Marshal, the experienced rapier fighter, and any Seconds shall confer to decide if the candidate exhibits adequate performance (safe) to earn authorization. Questions that should be considered at this point are:

a. Does the candidate know and apply the customs of SCA rapier combat?

b. Does the candidate exhibit safety on the field, both for him/herself and others (parry, attack, move safely)?

c. Are the candidate’s blows of excessive force?

d. Does the candidate lose his/her temper?

e. Is the candidate judging blows correctly? Immediately?

f. Is the response to a hold immediate? Is the response appropiate?

g. Is the candidate aware of the extreme potential danger of a broken blade?

h. Is the candidate in any way a danger to him/herself or others on the field?

If all goes well and the candidate received his/her authorization, explain to the newly authorized rapier fighter that he/she is responsible for mailing his/her paperwork (a copy - one of the many they should make and keep with them) to the Minister of the Marshallate Rolls to acquire a fighter’s Authorization Card. Upon receipt of the

paperwork (which should include a copy of the signed waiver), the office-holder should issue said card to the fighter. Remind the fighter that this card (or a copy of the paperwork needed to get the card) must be presented to enter the list of any tournament. Generally speaking, without the signed paperwork, he/she will not be able to fight. The newly-authorized rapier fighter should make numerous copies of their paperwork and keep two on hand at all times, just in case.

3.6 Miscellaneous

1. Dropping weapons: Any combatant being disarmed or dropping a weapon, must be able to draw secondary weapon from their person or yield the field. No hold shall be called unless an unsafe situation occurs. His/her opponent may exploit an earned advantage with no loss of Honor whatsoever. Note: it is honorable and chivalrous to allow one’s opponent the opportunity to retrieve a dropped weapon or secondary.

2. Optional Rules for Armor As Worn

Combat shall be conducted with the idea that armor would be "proof" against rapier attacks. Only "real" armor shall be counted as "proof". Armor (excluding helmets) constructed out of modern lightweight materials such as plastics shall not be considered proof, as it affords unfair advantages to the wearer. A solid thrust to an unarmored surface is considered to have pierced the armor, while cuts have no affect upon an armored surface. This option may be used in official lists if it is announced as such, and the combatants agree.

3. Optional Rules for Wounds

Cheek cuts may be called if an exceptionally light blow to the cheek is made. The cheek cut is considered a wound, while a thrust to the cheek is considered a kill.

Equally light cuts to the scalp may be considered a non-lethal wound if the blade skates off a blade or parrying device. The combatants must both agree to the force necessary to make a killing blow. It must be noted that scalp wounds bleed profusely, and in relatively little time would hamper the combatant. Head wounds are also more than mildly uncomfortable, again hampering the combatant in short order. If the wound would cause blood flow into the eyes, it should be counted as a victory.

Light thrusts to the arms or legs may be considered light wounds. Under this rule, it would require 2-3 light touches (thrusts) to disable a limb, or one of a force agreed upon by the two combatants prior to the bout.

Note: none of the optional rules beyond ‘Armor As Worn’ should be considered for combats of more than two rapier fighters, as these additions could breed hostility in a melee situation.

4. Optional Rules for Alternate Weapons:

a. Only like blades versus like blades (schlager vs. schlager, epee vs. epee, fiberglass vs. fiberglass, and foil vs. foil). There shall be no schlager vs. epee or foil.

Any documentable (period style w/examples) weapons/parrying objects that a rapier fighter wishes to use must be passed on a per item basis by the territorial Marshal of the area in which the rapier fighter lives, or the Kingdom Marshal of Fence. The rapier fighter should provide the documentation for an unusual item to the Marshal prior to its construction so the rapier fighter does not spend time and money on something that may not be allowed.

  1. When a combatant is armed with a rapier of length outside of the Elizabethan Blade Length, then that combatant’s opponent has the right to refuse to fight the combatant without yielding the field. If the fight is refused the combatant with the non Elizabethan Blade Length rapier must obtain an appropriate length rapier or yield the fight.

6. Upon consent of both fighters and the marshal of the field, fighters may choose to grasp, rather than parry, their opponent’s blade. If the blade that is grasped moves or twists in the grasping hand, that hand is deemed disabled. Grasping techniques shall be used only to immobilize a blade, not to bend it or wrest it from the opponent's grip. It is highly recommended that this be only used once a fighter has mastered the basics of rapier combat and will NOT be allowed to unauthorised fighters.

Appendix A


The following are provided for the Marshallate and the Minister of the Marshallate Rolls to use:

a. Tournament Report Form

b. Injury Report Form

c. Waiver and Informed Consent to Participate

d. Minors Waiver and Informed Consent to Participate

e. Medical Authorization for Minors

f. Initial Authorization Form

g. Additional Authorization Form

h. Marshal In Training Form

i. Marshal’s Agreement to Serve

j. Monthly Report Form (sample)

k. Hold Harmless Agreement