Baronial Monthly Tournament
The Barony of Southron Gaard hosts a Monthly Tournament on the first Sunday of each month, rain or shine! This is an event where we gather to watch our martial players test their skills against each other in our Big Three sports: heavy armoured combat and youth armoured combat, rapier combat, and target archery, to the delight of the crowd and our fair Baron and Baroness.
Monthly Tournaments are also an opportunity for the wider populace to gather with friends, wear the garb they have been hard at work on, picnic, work on projects, and generally enjoy the atmosphere of our Current Middle Ages. This tourney is typically held in or next to the Redwood Scout hall on Sturrocks Road in Christchurch, though occasionally it is held elsewhere. Information on site or scheduling changes is communicated via our facebook group and mailing list, the latter of which can be found under our Resources page.
(COVID update: currently, tournaments are only being held when weather allows this to be done outside – this is to ensure there is ample room for attendees to maintain physical distancing and other appropriate cautions)
What is a Tournament?
The SCA was born through a tournament, and ever since that inaugural event, they have remained an important part of SCA culture. The Royals of each Kingdom are chosen via tournament combat, the yearly Champions of our Barony are decided by tournament, and tournaments of all sorts are a staple spectacle at large events such as Canterbury Faire. For us in Southron Gaard, our Monthly Tourney is an amalgamation of up to four individual tourneys where we can enjoy the efforts our various martial players have been investing in their training. Our fighters in all fields fight for honour and chivalry, and often with the inspiration of a consort – this may be a romantic partner, a treasured friend, a newly-made acquaintance, or anything in between!
Our tourneys begin at 11am on the first Sunday of each month with a quick Court held by Their Excellencies the Baron and Baroness, where any important business is shared to the populace, before the tourney begins with one of the three martial combat varieties – youth armoured combat, heavy armoured combat, and rapier combat. While there are a number of formats a tourney may take, we most often hold a “round robin, best of three” style. What this means is that each fighter has a bout of three individual fights against every other fighter in their variety.
Whoever wins two or more fights wins the bout, and whoever wins the most bouts total wins the tourney! For all three combat varieties, there are a number of weapons our fighters may use so you could see a sword and shield vs an axe, a mace vs a glaive, a sword and dagger vs a katana, or all manner of combinations. Some tourneys will have a specified weapon style, or limited weapons choices, which will be announced in advance of the tourney itself. Unlike renaissance fairs or other such events, our fights are unscripted and unchoreographed, and so the outcome of each fight is always unknown!
After our three combat tourneys have been completed and their victors rewarded, we move over to the local school to begin the target archery tourney, which is a short walk through the park that our combat tourneys are held in. Rounds of archers are assembled – to ensure each archer has plenty of space on the line to draw their bows! – and there are usually a number of targets for the archers to shoot at to collect points. Typically, each archer is allowed six arrows per round, with three rounds of firing. Once all archers have completed all rounds, the points they have scored are tallied up to find our victor! This victor is then rewarded and our day is closed with another Court from Their Excellencies.
How do I join in?
Our Monthly Tourneys are an excellent way to get a snapshot of what the SCA is all about, so please don’t hesitate to come along! While garb is encouraged, this is by no means a requirement for newcomers, just bring yourselves – and perhaps a picnic or a project – and enjoy the day. Everything stars at 11am, but we encourage people to arrive earlier to get themselves set up. This also gives ample opportunity to meet others and have an interesting conversation or three before we get into things. If you contact our chatelaines before the tourney, we can know to keep an eye out for you and can help you meet people whose interests are similar to yours as well, but this too is not a requirement for attendance. In other words, come as you are!
If you are interested in getting involved with any of our martial activities, these tourneys are a great way to see them in action! Head on over to their respective pages under the Activities tab for a more in-depth look at what they entail, or feel free to have a chat to the Officers in charge of each style for more info on how to begin.
Want to hear the story of the first ever SCA tourney?