Heavy combat is a unique art and sport. Lords and Ladies of our Society engage in full speed, full force, un-choreographed martial combat. Due to the nature of the armour and weapons, combatants come out of these brutal “deeds of arms” unscathed and ready to do it again. Nowhere else will you be able to enter into contests of skill with the raw intensity that you can in the SCA.
After safety, honor is the most important aspect of heavy list fighting. Our combat system is one based upon recognition of blows received. Victory is never taken, but rather it is given by the man-at-arms in recognizing the worthiness and skill of their opponent. This culture of combat is one of great justice and trust, for it places weight upon the honor and integrity of all involved.
Armour in the SCA is fashioned after historical examples and made of a variety of materials–metals, leather, and plastic–with modern equipment hidden as much as possible. Whether one chooses to portray a Norman cnight, a Saxon thegn, a Norse huscarl, a Byzantine cataphractos, an English esquire, or any other variety of man-at-arms is immaterial–in the SCA all of these coexist on the same battlefields and lists together.
Rattan–similar to a solid bamboo–is used to construct the wide array of weapons (sword, axe, spear, mace, poll-arm, the sword of war or great sword, dagger, and others) that are used by Armoured Fighters during combat. Instead of snapping and splintering, rattan fibers separate along the length. A worn out piece of rattan looks a lot like a broom. Most newer fighters choose to begin with sword and shield, but many branch out quickly into the use of one or more of these chivalric weapons, finding different pleasures and challenges.
Deeds of arms are conducted weekly, at practices, tournaments, melees, and wars. These are held inside and out, depending on the availability of an appropriate hall and the prevailing weather.
Combat & Target Archery
Crossbows & Drawn Bows.
This is where archers, dressed in the protective armor that heavy fighters wear, can get onto the battlefield and shoot at live combatants. Special equipment is used to prevent actual injury during combat. Large blunt heads for the arrows prevent them from penetrating helmets and the bow-strength utilized, helps to keep people safe on the field.
Combat archery is more akin to armored combat than to target archery, and is generally considered one of the many weapons forms used for that activity. Many fighting units specifically train combat archers to provide missile defense during siege warfare, or fight shoulder to shoulder with companies of heavy fighters in melees.
Rapier / Fencing
Safety and consideration for our fellow rapier fighters is a foremost concern in SCA rapier play, followed closely by the ideals of Honor, Courtesy, and Chivalry. We utilize various types of metal blades and modified modern fencing gear to recreate civilian combats from the late 1400′s down through the end of the SCA period, 1600 (such as Shakespeare chronicled in ‘Romeo and Juliet’).
We differ from Olympic style fencing in our use of slicing cuts, secondary weapons such as daggers, extra swords, cloaks and the like, and non-linear movement; we’re not restricted to back-and-forth movement found on a modern Olympic strip!
Hits are determined the same way in armoured combat, vis-a-vis the honor system based on recognition of the blows received. However, our blows are not struck with as nearly as much force as armoured combat.
- SCA Marshall’s Rapier Combat Page
- Kingdom of Caid – Rapier Marshall Website
- Kingdom of Caid – Rapier Combat Handbook – [PDF]
- Kingdom of Caid – Youth Rapier Combat Handbook (June 2019) – [PDF]
Maybe you just like throwing sharp, shiny objects? Thrown weapons are tomahawks, knives, spears, spikes, darts, and plenty of other items. The unique aspect of thrown weapons is that every weapon is unique; there are no set standards for size, shape, weight, etc.
Siege engines, trebuchets, onangers and ballistas; javelins, and more…