Of Honour and Honourable Quarrels

The Arte of Defense with Rapier

Amended 1992, 1993 by Lord Gwylym ap Owain o Tatershal

Approved 5 June 1993 by Elric and Larissa, King and Queen of Atenveldt.

Inspired by rules set forth by Morgil en Tauro Andune, KSCA and Master Ioseph of Locksley


Discourse most necessarie for all Gentlemen that have in regarde their honours touching the giving and receiving of the Lie, 
whereupon the Duello & the Combats in divers sortes doth insue and many other inconveniences, for lack only of the true 
knowledge of honor, and the contrarie: and the right understanding of wordes, which heere is plainly set downe, beginning 
                                                                     Vincento Saviolo

The Arte of Defense with Rapier 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 honour and for safety sake should abide by the rules set forth in this missive. Two forms of combat will be addressed: Rapier and Courtsword.

Note to Marshall:Due to the fact that this form of combat is a privilege and not a right, a Marshall has the power to recommend permanent cancellation of this privilege. Any duelist who is deemed unsafe or who will not honorably accept blows will lose their right and will no longer be called a Scholar of the Arte. Any duelist who enters the list with unsafe equipment will be barred from the list until the problem has been corrected.

The Arte of Defense with Rapier

Armor and Clothing

Weapons standards

Descriptions length (tip to hilt)  width    weight    cross section

35 inches 3/4 inch 9 oz oval

NOTE: Another common theatrical blade is called the Musketeer. Although stronger than an epee it is still prone to breakage.

The Arte of Defense with the Courtsword

The armor and clothing rules for rapier apply to Courtsword.

Weapons standards

General Rules of Combat and Honour

These rules apply to Rapier Combat. Any exceptions for Courtsword Combat are noted or the rules are outlined under Courtsword Combat should be used.

Optional Rules

Grappling of the Blade (Rapier only)

Armor as Worn

Counting of Wounds

Optional Rules for Wounding

Miscellaneous Optional Rules

The Authorization of Duelists

ALL duelists MUST demonstrate proficiency in the use of each weapon or combination of weapons PRIOR to being allowed to use them at ANY SCA tournament. This proficiency shall be judged by a Warranted Rapier Marshall. If the duelist is being observed by more than two Marshalls, a majority MUST agree on the combatant's proficiency. A list will be kept by the local Marshall, with copies being sent to the Principality and Kingdom Marshalls, of all authorized combatants within that local Marshall's sphere of responsibility. All other required notifications and paperwork shall be kept up to date by these Marshalls. ONLY A WARRANTED MARSHALL MAY SIGN AN AUTHORIZATION!

A duelist will present himself/herself, armed with the weapon(s) they wish to authorize with, to the Marshall. The Marshall shall then inspect the combatant's equipment, and if it meets the required standards, he/she will be introduced to his/her opponent. The opponent should be armed with a weapon or combination of weapons similar to that which is being authorized. The opponent MUST be an experienced Rapier and/or Courtsword duelist.

For the first few minutes, the duelists are asked to spar at full speed, acknowledging blows verbally, but not counting them. During this phase the Marshall and observers shall be getting an impression of the authorizing duelist's footwork, coordination, stance, and parries. Then, if the first portion of the bout has progressed satisfactorily, the duelists are instructed to proceed "as if it were a point of Honour," counting blows until one is defeated. During this time the new duelist's aggressiveness, reaction to blows, and ability to cope with stress is observed. This second phase may be repeated as often as needed.

After the bout, the Marshall, the experienced opponent, and any authorized observer shall confer to decide if the new duelist exhibits adequate performance in the minimum criteria for authorization, listed as follows:

A duelist must be authorized separately in the following weapons and combinations:

Any other combination including other parrying implements (scabbard, mug, etc)

The following are general rules for authorizing a duelist in the use of courtsword and rapier: