Medieval combat with swords, shields and armour is exciting to watch or to take part in. You can fight in single combat to show who is best on the day, or fight in a group, where teamwork is needed to prevail. Like any sport, there are rules and regulations to ensure the safety of the players (and spectators).
The Lochac Fighters’ Handbook sets out the Kingdom standards on weapons and armour, and conventions of combat. The SCA has a good safety record and we consider our sport safer than playing rugby; however, as with any sport, there is an inherent risk involved. Participants are made aware of the safety requirements during training, and we insist on responsible (honourable) behaviour.
Most local groups offer some form of fighter training. See the Events Calendar for the next fighters’ practice in Southron Gaard. A fighter must be authorized in order to fight in tourneys and wars. Authorization is done to confirm that the novice knows the rules of combat and is sufficiently skilled so that he or she will not be a danger to themselves or to others on the field.
Combat Authorisation Forms for adults and minors can be found here. Once completed, they should be sent to the NZ Lists officer as soon as possible, at the address at the bottom of the form
Fighters are responsible for obtaining their own armour and weapons. Some people make most of their armour, using metal, leather, or plastic, but most buy pieces, either new or used. Armour is inspected at the beginning of every event, and sub-standard equipment is not allowed. So before making any armour, or weapons, you will need to contact the local group marshal and have a chat about your plans.
Marshals are responsible for overseeing the conduct of our martial arts activities, including tournaments, wars, melees, combat archery and period fencing, as well as related activities such as target archery.
The Barony welcomes anyone interested in contributing to the safety and enjoyment of combat. Our Marshals are happy to take on MITs (Marshals In Training) to assist with our various combat forms. If you’d like to become an MIT, please contact the Baronial Knight Marshal.
NB: You do not have to be a fighter to become a Marshal!
Other important combat-related administration roles are the Lists Officer, responsible for organising the fighting order in tournaments and recording the results, and the Heralds who introduce the fighters and announce the winner. If you would like to assist with this by taking note of results, or acting as a runner between the marshals and the lists, please chat to the lists officer, or the Marshal in Charge of the Tourney.
In SCA armoured combat, the effect of a blow received is judged on an honour system. The combatant receiving a blow from a SCA (rattan) weapon judges if they would have been uninjured, injured, or killed, had it been a historically real weapon against a light “default” armour that fighters are assumed to be wearing.
The effect a blow has on a combatant is determined by a body part target location system. If the head, neck or torso are hit with significant force, the combatant is deemed dead; if a leg is hit with significant force to disable it, the combatant must fight on their knees thereafter; and if an arm is hit, the combatant can no longer use it to hold a weapon or shield. A defeated combatant should die a dramatic death for good showmanship.
Certain combat moves and styles are prohibited for safety reasons; even if they would have occurred in real historical combat.
Recognition, in the form of Knighthoods, are awarded to those of sufficient prowess and chivalry. Anyone can be awarded a knighthood regardless of gender.