Policies of the East Kingdom Marshal of Fence

(Effective March 1, 2002)

  1. Age and other requirements
    1. Minimum Age - The minimum age for anyone participating in any official East Kingdom rapier activity, including regular local practices, will be 18 years of age, or the youth must provide proof that he/she is an emancipated minor.
    2. Medical Condition - Gentles having medical conditions which may affect or be affected by rapier combat must provide written permission from their physician before being allowed to participate.  Said documents must be put on file with their regional marshal.
  2. Armor Requirements

Note: No skin shall show anywhere on the fighter’s body, regardless of the position or stance of the fighter. Any armor that prevents its wearer from properly calibrating and acknowledging blows will be disallowed.

    1. Materials – The following terms will be used to define armor materials
      1. Abrasion resistant material: Material that will withstand normal combat stresses (such as being snagged by an unbroken blade) without tearing. Examples include (but are not limited to):
        1. Broadcloth
        2. A single layer of heavy poplin cloth (35% cotton, 65% polyester; "trigger" cloth)
        3. Sweat pants
        4. Opaque cotton, poly-cotton, or lycra/spandex mix tights

Nylon pantyhose and cotton gauze shirts are examples of unacceptable materials.

      1. Puncture resistant material: any fabric or combination of fabrics that will predictably withstand puncture. Examples include (but are not limited to):
        1. Four ounce (2mm) leather
        2. Four layers of heavy poplin cloth
        3. Ballistic nylon rated to at least 550 Newtons
        4. Commercial fencing clothing rated to at least 550 Newtons

These materials need only be tested at the marshal’s discretion. All other materials must be tested the first time the new armor is used, or if no marshal on the field knows if a given piece of armor has been tested. Kevlar is not an acceptable material, as it degrades rapidly.

Material requiring testing shall be tested by delivering a 1.5 joules force to the fabric sample using a dull, flat 5/32" diameter surface to deliver the force to the fabric with the sample or gear stretched firmly over a frame, so that nothing is under the test sample but air. Details on how to construct a tester to these specifications are provided in the East Kingdom Marshal’s Handbook for Rapier Combat.

All gear must be tested at least once every two years. Compliance is the responsibility of the fighter. It may be re-tested if there is concern that the gear may have lost protective ability due to age, wear and tear, or other factors.

      1. Rigid material: puncture resistant material that will not significantly flex, spread apart, or deform under a pressure of 12kg applied by a standard mask tester, repeatedly, to any single point. Examples of rigid material are:
        1. 22 gauge stainless steel (0.8 mm)
        2. 20 gauge mild steel (1.0 mm)
        3. 16 gauge aluminum, copper or brass (1.6 mm)
        4. one layer of heavy leather (8 oz., 4 mm)
    1. Head and Neck
      1. The front and top of the head must be covered by rigid material to below the jaw line and behind the ears. Standard 12kg fencing masks are known to meet this standard. If built to this standard, fencing helms are also acceptable.
      2. The face must be covered by either 12kg mesh (e.g. a standard fencing mask) or perforated metal. Such metal must not have holes larger than 1/8" (3 mm) in diameter, with a minimum offset of 3/16" (5 mm) and shall also meet the definition of rigid material.
      3. Masks and helms must be secured to the combatant so they cannot be easily removed or dislodged during combat. The combination of a snug fit and the spring tongue in a conventional mask is NOT sufficient, by itself, to secure the mask to the combatant.
      4. Masks and helms shall show no evidence of impending failure (e.g. rust, which weakens the metal involved, dents, or other defects). If there is concern about the face mesh of a modern fencing mask, it should be tested using a standard commercial 12kg mask punch. Marshals must be trained in the use of the mask punch before using it..
      5. The rest of the head and neck must be covered by at least puncture resistant material. The bib on a modern fencing mask is not sufficient by itself.
      6. If schlaeger is being used, additional throat protection is required; it shall consist of rigid material covering the entire throat and shall be backed by either puncture resistant material (such as a hood), one quarter inch (1/4", 6mm) open cell foam, or their equivalents. The cervical vertebrae shall also be protected by rigid material, provided by some combination of gorget, helm, and/or hood insert.
    2. Torso

The entire torso (the chest, back, abdomen, groin, and sides up to and including the armpits) must be covered with puncture resistant material. Acceptable minimum armpit protection is provided by a triangle extending from the armpit seam covering the lower half of the sleeve at the seam and extending down the inner/under arm, one third the distance to the combatant’s elbow.

    1. Hands

Hands shall be protected by gloves made of abrasion resistant material that overlap any sleeve openings. If gloves designed  for electric equipment are used, the openings for wires must be sewn shut.

    1. Groin/Breast

Male fighters shall wear rigid groin protection. Any ventilation holes large enough to admit a broken blade must be covered from the outside with at least puncture-resistant material. Females shall wear puncture resistant groin protection.  Additional breast armor for females is left to individual discretion.  However, female fighters are strongly encouraged to wear additional breast armor of at least ¼ inch resilient padding or an equivalent, such as modern fencing breast protectors, especially when using schlaeger.

    1. Legs and Arms

Abrasion resistant material is required on the arms (save as noted above) and legs and any other area not otherwise mentioned in these rules. Footwear must be worn, and must completely enclose the foot, including the toes.

  1. Weapon Specifications
    1. Rapiers
      1. Foil and epee blades are allowed. This is the "standard" blade in the East Kingdom.
      2. Foils and epees must be tipped with a tip that presents a blunt striking surface of at least 3/8 (9 mm) in diameter. Tips must be firmly taped or fastened in place (heat shrink for example). The tip must be of a color contrasting with the blade and the tip so that the tip's absence is readily apparent. The tape (or other tip fastener) must be of a color contrasting to the tip as well.
      3. Schlaegers are allowed. This designation includes oval cross-section schlaegers, diamond cross-section schlaegers, Del Tin blades, and other weapons deemed equivalent. Cast steel schlaegers are not permitted.
      4. Prior to having a tip applied, schlaegers must be cut or filed so that the tip is either cut flat, or rounded, with no sharp edges, or burrs. Schlaegers must be tipped with a tip that presents a blunt striking surface of at least ½" (12 mm) in diameter. This is most often done with an archery bird blunt of the appropriate diameter. A washer or metal casing shall be put in the end of the bird blunt or other tip to prevent the end of the blade from wearing through the tip. Tips must be firmly held in place as above with foil/epee tips.
      5. All rapiers shall be fought as light two-edged weapons with a point.
      6. Blades may have a single, gradual curve.  Sharp bends, or more than a single curve are cause for prohibiting the use of the blade.
    2. Daggers
      1. Flexi-daggers are the only allowable dagger in the East Kingdom.
      2. Daggers shall be tipped in the same manner as foils/epees. 
      3. Daggers score blows in the same manner as rapiers.
    3. Bucklers
      1. When being used with foils and epees, the allowable maximum area for a buckler is 315 square inches (1963 square centimeters, equivalent to a 20 in/50 cm diameter circle).  When being used with schlaeger blades, bucklers of a larger area and a period weight ("targets") are permitted.
      2. Bucklers shall be constructed of lightweight, rigid material, such as 1/4 inch plywood.
      3. Buckler edges shall be covered to prevent splintering, not jagged or rough.
      4. Striking with the buckler is strictly illegal.
    4. Cloaks
      1. Cloak size, shape, and weight are left to the discretion of the user, subject to the condition that it actually be wearable as a cloak.
      2. Hem weights are permitted, but shall be padded.  Rigid weights, such as bars, rods, chain, or strips of metal are prohibited.
      3. The cloak may be used to foul, but not entrap an opponent's weapon.  It may not be used against parts of the body.
      4. 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 fighter that the cloak is no longer useful.  A thrust or cut will penetrate a cloak and do damage to the fighter.
    5. Other parrying objects
      1. Virtually any object may be used as a parry item.  For instance, sword sheaths, riding crops, coiled whips, beer mugs, etc. may be used, provided that the object poses no threat to the safety of the combatants.
      2. 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. Devices that predictably cause entangling of an opponent or their equipment, either by design or repeated mishap, will be disallowed.
    6. For all weapons
      1. Sharp points, edges or corners are not allowed anywhere on any equipment.
      2. All equipment must be able to safely withstand combat stresses.
      3. Equipment that is likely to break a blade or damage other equipment is prohibited. Any equipment that has small rigid openings large enough to admit a rapier tip will not be used against foil/epee blades (e.g. small holes in bell guards, small openings in a cage or swept hilts, any design which has acute angles where a blade could easily be wedged and bent). Knuckle bows are deemed safe for use with foil/epee blades.
      4. Quillions can be no longer than 12 inches (30 cm) end to end.  The ends must be blunted and all edges rounded.  Quillions must be fixed in place. 
      5. Orthopedic (or "pistol") grips will not be used unless the fighter has approval for medical reasons, supported by documentation from their health care provider.
      6. Foil/epee blades may not be used against schlaeger blades. Daggers may be used against either type of blade.
      7. Steel blades must be manufactured by commercial suppliers. Artisans desiring an exception must apply to the Kingdom Rapier Marshal and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
      8. Steel blades will not be altered by grinding, cutting, heating, hammering, or other actions that could significantly alter their temper, flexibility or durability. Normal combat stresses and blade care do not violate this rule. Exceptions are:
        1. The tang of the weapon may be altered.
        2. Schlaeger blades may be shortened so long as it does not make them too stiff.
      9. If doubt exists about a weapon's flexibility, an acceptable field test is: Hold weapon parallel to the ground, supporting handle against table or bench if necessary. Hang a 3 ounce weight (85 grams) just behind the tip. If the blade of a dagger (out to 18" blade length) flexes visibly (more than 1/4 inch <6 mm>), the blade is sufficiently flexible. For a rapier blade (greater than 18"), the flex must be 1/2 inch (12 mm).
      10. Any blade with kinks, sharp bends, or cracks shall not be used. Steel blades that develop these defects cannot be repaired and must be retired. Rapiers or flexi-daggers with "S" curves shall not be used unless they can be properly re-curved.
  2. Weapons Forms
    1. Rapier – The form shall consist of a single rapier, with the second hand empty.  The fighter may use the empty hand for defense.
    2. Case of Rapier – The form shall consist of two rapiers, one held in each hand.
    3. Rapier and Rigid Blocking Implement – The form shall consist of one rapier and one rigid blocking implement, such as buckler, mug, etc.  Daggers are excluded from this form.
    4. Rapier and Dagger – The form shall consist of one rapier and one dagger.
    5. Rapier and Non-Rigid Blocking Implement – The form shall consist of one rapier and one non-rigid blocking implement, such as a cloak, hat, etc.
    6. Schlaeger – The form covers the use of a schlaeger blade with secondaries. A fighter who is authorized in schlaeger may use schlaeger with any of the above forms he or she is authorized in.
  3. Rules
    1. All rapier combat must be supervised by a rapier marshal.
    2. All combatants, prior to every combat or practice, shall ensure their equipment is safe, in good working order, and has been inspected by a fencing marshal.
    3. Blows will be counted as though they were struck with a real blade, extremely sharp on point and edge. Any blow that would have penetrated the skin shall be counted a good blow. Any blow that strikes a mask, helm or gorget shall be counted as though it struck flesh. The maximum allowable pressure is that which would cause a bend of two inches in a standard #5 foil.
    4. All fighters are considered to be wearing cotton, linen, or wool street clothing of the period that these rules are intended to simulate.  Skirts are to be no longer than ankle length.  Corsetting, bum rolls, or anything that drastically changes the form of the body is prohibited.
    5. It is the responsibility of each fighter to determine what weapons his or her opponent is using and resolve any questions about them before combat.
    6. Any portion of the body is a legal target.
    7. A fleche or any other running attack is prohibited.
    8. Draw and push cuts should be performed by placement of the blade and then pulling/pushing.  Whipping, hacking, and modern saber cuts are prohibited.  Draw cuts, push cuts, and tip cuts are all considered valid cuts. When using schlaeger, cuts with the flat of the blade shall not be counted as legal cuts; only cuts with the edge of the blade shall be counted.
    9. Wrestling with an opponent, or any form of body-to-body contact is prohibited.
    10. Striking with any portion of the weapon other than the blade is prohibited, as are other street fighting techniques such as kicking, whipping with the cloak, chopping with the buckler edge, and grabbing or trapping an opponent's blade.
    11. A hold will not be called for dropped weapons so long as both combatants retain an offensive weapon.  If one combatant no longer has an offensive weapon, a hold will be called.  At that point, the fighter who retains an offensive weapon has the option to either (a) return the opponent's weapon and continue the bout or (b) declare the opponent disarmed and defeated, thus ending the bout.
    12. Behavior on the field
      1. All fighters shall obey the commands of the marshals overseeing the field, or be removed from the field and subject to further disciplinary action.
      2. Disagreements with the marshals overseeing the field shall be resolved through the established mechanisms of the East Kingdom Fencing Marshalate.
      3. Each fighter shall maintain control over his or her temper and behavior at all times
      4. Striking an opponent with excessive force, or with deliberate intent to injure, is forbidden.
      5. Upon hearing the call of "HOLD" all fighting shall immediately stop. The fighters shall freeze, check for hazards in their immediate vicinity, and then assume a non-threatening position with their weapons pointed away from their opponents.
      6. Conduct obstructive of normal rapier combat, such as consistent ignoring of blows, deliberate misuse of the rules (such as calling HOLD whenever pressed) is forbidden.
  4. Scoring

Before each bout in a tournament, calibration between unfamiliar opponents will be mandatory.  Calibration is the exchange of blows between two fully armed and armored opponents, using the lightest touch that a fighter can reasonably be expected to feel.

In an attempt to diminish differences between rapier combat in the East Kingdom and in other areas of the Society, there will be two standards of blow calling defined below. A bout can use only one system and must be used by all participants in that combat. The decision as to which system will be used on a given day is left to the marshal in charge of the field, or at his/her discretion, to the individual fighters in the bout.

Any blow may be counted by the recipient as heavier than technically required if, in his or her opinion, it would have caused a more disabling wound.  However, no blow may be counted as less effective than the rules require.

East Kingdom Blow Calling

This is the standard blow calling system that has been used in the East Kingdom.

      1. A kill is considered to be
        1. one thrust to the torso, head, or neck
        2. one cut to the neck, groin, or the area below the ribcage and above the hip bone
        3. two cuts to other regions of the torso and the head.
      2. An arm, hand, leg or foot is rendered unusable after a single thrust or two cuts to it.  If an arm is lost, it cannot be used.  If a hand is lost, it may not be used and must remain limp.  If a leg or foot is lost, a fighter may continue standing on  the unwounded leg or may kneel.  If a fighter is thrust or cut twice to the hip joint or in the buttocks, or loses the use of both legs, the fighter must sit on the floor or ground and may not rise up on the leg muscles.  A hip or buttock is part of the leg on the same side (i.e., a thrust to the right hip disables the right leg).
      3. If a leg or foot has been disabled, the fighter may not use that leg or foot in any way that would require placing weight upon it, including moving on that leg or foot.
      4. A fighter is disabled if he or she loses the use of both hands.  In the case of a melee bout, the fighter shall be considered dead.
      5. While using single rapier and parrying with the empty hand, the empty hand is not wounded by cuts. It is still wounded by thrusts. (Mail gauntlet/mailed fist).
  1. Authorization

Before a fighter may participate in any tournament, he or she must become an authorized rapier fighter. To authorize, the candidate is examined by at least two rapier marshals to determine if the candidate is safe and minimally skilled in the arts of rapier combat, and has a grasp of the rules. The criteria for authorizing are as follows:

      1. The fighter will be familiar with the rules, customs and armor requirements of SCA rapier combat, and particularly of the Rapier Combat Rules for the East.
      2. The fighter poses no threat of injury either to his opponent or to himself.
      3. The fighter can define and demonstrate some defensive capability (a minimum of two or three parries).
      4. The fighter can define and demonstrate some offensive capability other than just a direct attack.
      5. All fighters must authorize in single rapier as their first weapons form.

Consult the Marshal’s Handbook for more details if needed.

  1. Schlaeger

Schlaeger is considered an advanced weapons form in the East Kingdom and there are rules specific to its authorization.

 

Authorization process for Schlaeger fencing.
            
1.  The fencer must first authorize in single epee/foil.
2. The authorization bout will include all weapons forms in which the fencer is currently authorized, these forms will be fought with schlaeger blades.
3. Any future authorizations will include bouts fought with both Epee/Foil and Schlaeger and the fencer must demonstrate competence and safety with both forms to pass the authorization.

  1. Melee Rules:
    1. It is both unsafe and unchivalrous to attack and strike an opponent who is unaware of your presence. It is therefore not allowed. A fighter must obtain engagement before attacking an opponent in melee. "Engagement" is obtained when the opponent has acknowledged your presence verbally, by a nod, a light beat to the blade, he turns to face you, or has in some other way demonstrated awareness of your presence. It is important to bear the intent of this rule in mind – your opponent must be aware of your presence. Fighters manipulating these rules to remain within the letter of the rule but not the intent will be sanctioned.
    2. A fighter may not deliver a blow while behind his/her opponent. ("Behind" is defined by a 180 degree arc in front of the opponent.) However, if an opponent has engaged you and then turned his back, he may be struck unless he has moved out of range. At that point contact has been broken and he must be re-engaged. "Out-of-range" is defined by the distance a fighter can attack with a single action of footwork (a single lunge, advance, or cross-step).
    3. If combatants are fighting in a line, they are considered engaged with all fighters in the other line.
    4. At the discretion of the marshal in charge, killing from behind may be allowed. It must be announced beforehand. If a melee scenario allows killing from behind, a fighter does so by laying the rapier blade over the opponent's shoulder, to at least a third of the blade, while calling "Dead, my lord" (or other short, courteous phrases) in a loud, clear voice. Reaching around the neck is forbidden. The opponent will be deemed "killed" from the instant the blade touches his shoulder and shall not attempt to spin, duck or dodge away. Note: If death from behind is not allowed in a given melee, a fighter who deliberately ignores an attacker behind them, or repeatedly maneuvers to keep their back to an attacker (thereby preventing any attack on them) may be considered guilty of misuse of the rules and obstructive behavior.
    5. Weapons may be bound from behind by other weapons.
    6. Running from place to place in a melee is permitted.  Running attacks are prohibited.  Charging a line or an individual is prohibited.
    7. All disabled fencers should remove themselves from the melee field or die defensively, depending on the conditions of the field.

X.  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, a limit to the number of guns per side, no gleaning or a limit to the number of shots per fencer.
2. The use of any projectile weapon is forbidden within formal rapier tournament lists (single combat).
3. The use of RBGs is forbidden 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.
4. RBGs should mimic the appearance of period firearms and must conform to the rules restricting the construction of rigid parry items.
5. Ammunition must be of entirely flexible material (i.e. no washers), except for the plastic connectors 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.
6.  All RBGs and rounds must be inspected before use.
7. All shots fired from RBGs count as a thrust to the body part struck. If the round strikes a weapon or parrying device, then both that weapon and the hand holding it are lost. Accidental discharges of the gun count as per normal.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. Due to the risk of being hit by stray rounds, marshals supervising RBG melees will wear eye protection such as protective goggles or close fitting glasses that provide coverage for the full orbit of the eye socket, especially from the side.
For example: shop safety glasses, wrap around sun-glasses, mountain/sailing glasses with side blinders, etc).

Appendix

Society Standard Blow Calling

This is the essentially the blow calling system defined in Society rules (with a few details clarified). It is included in these rules so fighters will become familiar with the standard as it will often be used at events that include a significant number of fighters from other kingdoms.

      1. A valid cut is a draw, tip or push cut with at least six inches (6 in, 15cm) of travel. This can be travel of a part of the blade over the opponent’s body, or a movement of six inches of blade across the same area of an opponent’s body.
      2. A good thrust or cut to the head, neck, torso, inner groin (to the fighter's hand width down the inner limb), or armpit (to the fighter's hand width down the inner limb) shall be judged incapacitating, rendering the fighter incapable of further combat.
      3. A good thrust or cut to the arm will disable the arm. A good thrust or cut to the hand shall render the hand useless. The disabled hand may still be used to parry if left limp.
      4. A good thrust or cut to the foot or leg will disable the leg. The fighter must then fight kneeling, sitting, or standing on one leg.