POLICIES OF THE EARL MARSHAL OF ÆTHELMEARC


POLICIES FOR RAPIER



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  1. THESE POLICIES ARE IN ADDITION TO SOCIETY LAW AND POLICY. IN THE CASE OF ANY DISCERPANCY, SOCIETY POLICY TAKES PRECEDENCE.
  2. Armor Requirements
    1. Torso and Arm Armor
      1. The edges of any closure must overlap by at least 3 inches. The rest of the arm must be covered with abrasion resistant material.
    2. Gloves
      1. Gloves made of abrasion resistant material must overlap the wrist openings of the sleeves by at least 3 inches and cover any cuff opening.
      2. If gloves designed for electric equipment are used, the openings for wires must be secured shut.
    3. Groin/Breast Armor
      1. Additional breast armor for females is left to individual discretion; however, female fencers are strongly encouraged to employ additional breast protection.
    4. Lower Extremity Armor
      1. All portions of the lower extremities must be covered with at least abrasion resistant material.
      2. Spandex, cotton gauze, and nylon tights are unacceptable. If skin can be seen through the material, the material is too thin.
      3. Footwear must completely enclose the foot with a minimum of abrasion resistant material.
    5. Armor Testing
      1. For masks: Marshals have the right and responsibility to refuse any mask that they deem to be in danger of failing to protect against a hard thrust with an epee. Upon the wearer's request, a mask may be punch-tested with a commercial mask tester if this equipment is available. Marshals cannot require a punch test. A good field test if a punch tester is not available, is to push on the mesh with a thumb. If the mesh shows any flex, the mask is not strong enough.
  3. Weapons Specifications
    1. Rapiers
      1. Foil, epee, and saber bells are permitted on Light Rapiers. Bells with openings large enough to admit a standard, capped Light Rapier point must be blocked with rigid material. Quillons can be no longer than 12 inches from tip to tip. A Light Rapier with quillons that may trap and/or break a blade is cause for prohibiting the use of the blade.
      2. Before placing a tip on the blade, the point of a Heavy Rapier blade that was not manufactured with a safety tip shall be filed or cut down flat (the use of a filing wheel is NOT recommended!). Any sharp edges shall then be filed smooth.
      3. The tip of a Heavy Rapier blade shall be covered with a metal casing or washer and then covered with a rubber archery bird blunt. Padding may be used to hold the tip in place. Equivalent tips may be approved by the KMoF on a case-by-case basis. Standard foil and epee tips are not to be used as Heavy Rapier tips.
      4. The rubber tip of the Heavy Rapier must be taped to the blade itself with colored duct tape or woven cloth tape in a color that contrasts with the blade and the tip. Tool dip is not an acceptable substitute. The tape shall not cover the end of the rubber tip but shall leave enough showing that a marshal would be able to see if the rubber tip is wearing through.
      5. Open guards and hilts may be used with Heavy Rapiers so long as they present no sharp edges or protrusions that would present a hazard to the fencer or an opponent.
      6. Rapier blades may have a single gradual curve. Sharp bends or more than a single curve (S-curves) are cause for prohibiting the use of the blade.
      7. All rapier weapons shall be fought as light two-edged weapons with a point.
      8. All blades must be manufactured by a commercial supplier or an artisan approved by the Society Deputy Marshal for Rapier Combat and the Kingdom Marshal of Fence.
      9. All blades must be able to pass a flexibility test.
    2. Daggers
      1. The maximum allowable length for a dagger is 25 inches from pommel to tip.
      2. Bells, grips, and quillons shall follow the specifications for the class of blade with which they are being used.
      3. Standard thrusting daggers shall be commercial dagger blades as approved by the SRM, which will be capped as rapiers.
      4. Daggers score in the same manner as rapiers.
      5. Daggers may be used against both Heavy Rapiers and Light Rapiers.
    3. Parrying Objects
      1. Bucklers
        1. The allowable maximum area is 315 square inches (20 inches diameter circle).
        2. Bucklers shall be constructed of lightweight rigid material such as ¼ inch plywood.
        3. Buckler edges shall be covered to prevent splintering and may not be jagged or rough.
      2. Cloaks
        1. Cloak size, shape, and weight are left to the discretion of the user.
        2. Cloaks will be allowed to take multiple hits without being considered to have sustained ruinous damage to the fabric; however, if the marshal sees things getting out of hand, he or she may step in and advise the fencer that the cloak is no longer useful. A thrust or cut will penetrate a cloak and do damage to the fencer.
      3. Other Parrying Devices: Virtually any object may be used as a parry item, provided that the object poses no threat to the safety of the combatants and will not trap and/or break a blade. Marshal discretion regarding the safety of the parry item is the deciding factor as to whether or not it will be permitted into the list.
    4. Projectile Weapons:
      1. Rubber band guns (RBGs), weapons firing a flexible round (rubber bands or surgical tubing), may be used in rapier melee combat only. Their use in melee will be at the discretion of the marshal-in-charge and may be subject to additional restrictions such as: limit to the number of shots per gun, limit to the number of guns per side, no gleaning of fired shots, or limit to the number of shots per fencer.
      2. The use of any projectile weapon is forbidden within formal rapier tournament lists (single combat) or in any situation where spectators cannot be separated from the potential line of fire by more than the effective range of the projectile weapons to be used.
      3. RBGs should mimic the appearance of period firearms, shall be constructed of wood and/or lightweight metals, and must conform to the rules restricting the construction of rigid parry items. Gun barrels large enough to admit the tipped end of a blade must be plugged. All RBGs and rounds must be inspected before use.
      4. Ammunition must be of entirely flexible material (i.e. no washers) except for the plastic connector used to hold the round together, which must be covered either by the round itself or by shrink tube in a manner that prevents the plastic from striking the target of the round.
      5. All hits from RBGs count as a thrust to the body part struck. If the round strikes a weapon or parrying device, both that weapon and the hand holding it are countered as lost. Accidental discharges of the gun count as per normal firing of the weapon.
      6. RBG bullets penetrate bucklers and soft non-rigid devices in a straight line (e.g. they are not bulletproof). Active marshalling shall be used to aid in the acknowledgement of hits.
      7. It shall be understood that fencing helms, large bucklers and heavy cloaks may impede accurate acknowledgement of RBG bullets. Active marshaling shall be used to aid in acknowledgement of hits. Ill-tempered behavior by either fencer shall not be tolerated.
      8. It is strongly recommended that RBGs only be used from outside of rapier engagement range (i.e. if you are close enough to kill them with a sword, use the sword).
      9. Due to the risk of being hit by stray rounds, marshals supervising RBG melees will wear eye protection such as protective goggles or their fencing mask so long as vision is unimpaired (i.e. can you still see a broken weapon) and they can be clearly distinguished from the combatants.
  4. Weapons Forms
    1. Rapier - The form shall consist of a single rapier. The fencer should use the empty hand for defense.
    2. Rapier and parrying object.
    3. Rapier and dagger.
    4. Case of rapiers - The form shall consist of two rapiers.
  5. Combat Conventions
    1. Fencing rules:
      1. Consistent excessive calibration shall be grounds for revocation or denial of authorization.
      2. Skirts are to be no longer than ankle length and not entangle the fencer's normal movement. Corseting, bum rolls, or anything that drastically changes the form of the body is prohibited. Clothing which prevents the wearer from accurately calling blows is prohibited.
      3. It is the responsibility of each fencer to determine what weapons his or her opponent is using and to resolve any questions about said weapons before combat.
      4. Any charging, running, hopping, or other attack where the fencer cannot immediately cease movement when a hold is called is strictly prohibited (example: a fleche).
      5. Draw cuts, push cuts, and tip cuts are all considered to be valid cuts. For a cut to be counted, there must be at least 6 inches (15 cm) of movement with the blade or travel of the tip against the target. Cuts that move across the entire width of a limb or the throat will count even if they are not 6 inches long. Whipping, hacking, and modern saber cuts are prohibited. With Heavy Rapier blades, cuts with the flat of the blade will not be counted as valid.
      6. Hold will not be called for dropped weapons unless it becomes a safety issue. A fencer who disarms his or her opponent will have the option of allowing the opponent to retrieve his or weapon or forcing the opponent to yield. A fencer who has been disarmed must abide by his or her opponent's decision.
      7. Parries with the empty hand while using single rapier are permitted and are not considered as wounding so long as the blade is not drawn, pushed, or thrust against the hand. Use of the open hand to push aside an opponents weapon hand is also allowed so long as the opponent is not grasped and contact only occurs on the hand just below the bell.
        1. Entrapping, "catching," or "placing" an opponent's weapon or parrying device in a position in which it is irretrievable through the use of the hand or any other object is prohibited.
        2. In Heavy Rapier, light blade grasping is permitted with the consent of both combatants for a maximum of 5 seconds. Torsion or movement of the blade within the grasp of the hand will result in loss of the hand.
      8. All fencing is to be done in the round.
      9. At the end of every tournament bout it is the list marshal's duty to ask each fencer if he/she is satisfied with the conduct of the bout.
    2. Use of Cut and Thrust weapons and parrying devices
      1. At all times cuts must be controlled and pulled sufficiently so as not to injure the opponent while still retaining the necessary contact and pressure to validate the cut. (Enough contact that a reasonable person could be expected to calibrate properly.)
      2. A thrust should be the lightest touch possible that a reasonable person could be able to tell that they were hit.
    3. Qualifications for Authorization
      1. The fencer will have clear understanding of the rules and armor requirements of SCA fencing and particularly of the SCA period fencing rules for Æthelmearc.
      2. The fencer poses no unnecessary risk of injury either to his opponent or to himself.
      3. The fencer can define and demonstrate some defensive capability (a minimum of two or three parries) including the use of the off hand for defense.
      4. The fencer can define and demonstrate some offensive capability other than just a direct attack.
      5. All fencers must authorize in single Light Rapier as their first weapons form. After that, authorizations for other weapons forms may be attempted in any order.
        1. A fencer’s authorization in Heavy Rapier must consist of bouting using single Heavy Rapier, as well as bouting using any other weapons forms in which the fencer is already authorized using Light Rapier.
        2. Once a fencer has authorized in Heavy Rapier, all subsequent authorizations that he/she attempts must be conducted with both heavy and Light Rapiers.
      6. Two warranted Æthelmearc rapier marshals must be present to qualify a fencer, one of which must be from a group other the fencer's home group.
      7. Separate qualifications are necessary for: Single Light Rapier, Single Heavy Rapier, Rapier and Parrying Object, Rapier & Dagger, and Case of Rapiers.
      8. In order to authorize in the use of Heavy Rapier blades, a fencer must demonstrate:
        1. A thorough understanding of the rules of fence of the SCA and of the Kingdom of Æthelmearc including all specific rules relating to Heavy Rapier use.
        2. The ability to use Heavy Rapier blades safely and competently so as not to present a danger to one's self or one's opponent.
        3. The ability to define and demonstrate adequate offensive and defensive capability.
        4. The ability to demonstrate acceptable calibration both in the giving and receiving of blows.
      9. A participant must be at least 16 years of age in order to participate in adult rapier.
    4. Scoring
      1. Before each round in a tournament, calibration between unfamiliar opponents will be mandatory.
      2. An arm, hand, leg, or foot is rendered unusable after a thrust or cut to it. If an arm or hand is lost, it cannot be used. If a leg or foot is lost, the combatant must kneel or sit. A hip or buttock is part of the leg on the same side. The combatant may not rise up or use the muscles of the injured leg but may pull himself along using only arms or hands.
      3. Lost limbs may not be used in a defensive manner in any way, shape, or form. Blows that strike a lost limb that would have contacted the body are to be counted as having struck the body.
      4. Any blow may be counted by the recipient as more damaging than technically required if it in his or her opinion would have caused a disabling wound. No blow may be counted as less effective than the above rules require.
    5. Marshaling
      1. The Kingdom Marshallate shall institute such standards and procedures for authorizing participation in fencing at SCA events and for the warranting of fencing marshals as shall be deemed necessary.
      2. Marshals shall be thoroughly versed in the SCA period fencing rules of the Society and of Æthelmearc and shall practice and enforce such rules during any SCA fencing activity. Marshals shall read the Kingdom newsletter to keep abreast of any changes in law or policy and must have a current copy of the Kingdom Policies of Fence.
      3. Marshals shall be specifically trained and warranted as per the rules of fence of the Kingdom of Æthelmearc and shall be qualified in a minimum of three weapons forms.
      4. The Kingdom Marshal retains the sole authority for inspecting and allowing the use of materials other than those specified in these rules.
      5. Marshals shall thoroughly inspect and test weapons and equipment for compliance with SCA and Kingdom standards prior to allowing their use. Weapons and armor inspection must occur at every practice and every tournament.
      6. Before tournaments, marshals must mark in a distinctive fashion weapons that either pass or fail inspection. Note that marshals may not destroy or confiscate a weapon that fails inspection.
      7. All bouts shall have at least one warranted fencing marshal present and attentive.
      8. The marshals watching a bout have absolute say on a fencer's conduct on the field and may summarily eject any fencer who is guilty of misconduct or unsafe behavior.
      9. As representatives of the SCA, all fencing marshals are required to maintain current paid membership in the SCA.
      10. Marshal warrants shall be renewed annually on the anniversary date of membership renewal.
  6. Melee Rules.
    1. A melee is defined as any bout involving three or more fencers. The following rules are in addition to the rules for a standard list.
    2. Fighters may strike any opponent with any legal blow if they are within a 180-degree arc of the opponent's face (i.e. can see their eyes) and the opponent is aware of their presence. If not within the 180-degree frontal arc, the attacker must gain recognition from their opponent before initiating an attack. Recognition is defined as any communication either visual, verbal, or responsive action that clearly denotes the awareness of the presence of an actively challenging opponent.
    3. A fencer may bind or foul an opponent's weapons without having recognition.
    4. All defeated fencers must remove themselves from the melee field with their weapons visibly gripped by the blade or raised visibly overhead.
    5. Death From Behind:
      1. The attacker must come to a full stop behind the opponent before laying on his/her blade and must finish the aforementioned courteous phrase before moving on to conclude the Death From Behind action.
    6. All participants in a Heavy Rapier melee should be authorized in Heavy Rapier. At the discretion of the marshal in charge, fencers who are not authorized in Heavy Rapier may be allowed to participate using a dagger only if the fencer is authorized in rapier and dagger in Light Rapier.