Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rapier Moot at Pennsic 40, 8/8/2011

The moot got off to a much later start than hoped for, the weather made the Town Battle start late, and the rain returned for the start of the moot.  About 20 people were in the tent and participated or listened to the discussion.  Names are mentioned below, and best efforts are made to get their comments down correctly, my apologies for any errors in attribution and my thanks to Baroness Myfanwy for taking notes.

Eyrny’s Introduction
-          The KRMs will discuss how experiments will be set up, run, reported on, and proposed; and after that proposals for experiments will be accepted. 
-          Blades will also be discussed by the KRMs.  We’re going to determine a set of criteria for an acceptable blade, then Thomas de Castellan will be over-seeing the evaluation.

KWAR
-          KWAR is a Known World Academy of the Rapier, a weekend gathering of classes and tournaments and camaraderie.
-          Kai, from the Midrealm, said that he knows people interested in bidding on a KWAR for next year.  They felt the previous KWAR in Philadelphia, in conjunction with the Known World Costumers event, worked very well and had complimentary audiences.
-          Jethro, from the Outlands, would like to see another KWAR, and a couple more people agreed.
-          Most of the people had been at a KWAR before

Melee Rules
-          Anthony from the East and Atlantia commented that there is no Society wide rapier definition of lay-on.  He wondered if there were any plans to firm up the rules on engagement.
-          Eyrny responded that in a few months the KRMs will be reviewing all the existing rules to find areas that need clarification or tweaking, and this is something that will be discussed at that point.

Experiments on reduced armor
-          Emeline from the East asked if there have been any experiments on reduced armor.  She pointed out that as we use epees less often, we may need less stringent armor requirements.
-          Iago, from Ansteorra, said they proposed such an experiment and had it approved, but it failed because there was insufficient reporting on it. 
-          Iago also commented that when Aedan was Society Rapier Marshal he made the ruling that if a sleeve pops out of a glove it’s fine to just finish the fight, at the marshal’s discretion.
-          Iago then recounted an incident in which an untipped (or broken?) Deltin blade went through a leather glove, and through the fencer’s hand.  If a blade is sharp it will be very hard to stop.
-          Tenesco, from the Middle, was concerned that cuts are getting more aggressive, more likely to land with a thump, and with a draw on bare skin it could leave damage.
-          Wyllym, from Atenveldt, has asked to do this experiment before and would love to do so again.

Light rapier
-          Owen, from the East, asked if there was any thought of getting rid of light rapier.
-          Eyrny replied that it is a weapon form that is slowly dying out, but sees no need to hasten the process.
-          Connor, from Atlantia, would not want to see them removed, because in some kingdoms they are used by the youth rapier programs and adults need them to practice with the youths.

Youth Rapier
-          Jethro, from the Outlands, asked if there were going to be changes in allowing youth in rapier
-          Eyrny replied that the current age regulations are set by the BoD, and she has heard nothing about any changes.  Kingdoms can be more restrictive in whom they allow to fight.

Blade Grabbing
-          Illaria from Atlantia asked if there has been any discussion about blade grabbing.
-          Connor, from Atlantia, elaborated that blade grabbing is not done in a consistent fashion within Atlantia, and it’s not clear what is blade grabbing vs. wrestling.  Do we need to come up with better guidelines or definitions?
-          Eyrny responded that this can be reviewed during the KRMs rules review.

Incidental Contact
-          Wyllym, from Atenveldt, asked about fleeting vs. incidental contact.  He’d heard the Society Earl Marshal, Omarad, clarify that fighters shouldn’t be touching at all.
-          Connor, from Atlanita, highlighted that intentional vs. unintentional are different issues.
-          Wyllym, from Atenveldt, reported that his area has been using intentional hand to arm parries for many years, and they are considered fine as long as the fencer is not knocked off balance.
-          Eyrny commented that this issue has come up with previous Society Earl Marshals, and will be part of the rules review and discussed with the next Society Earl Marshal.
-          Anthony, from East/Atlantia, asked if it was OK to push a buckler out of the way, is that clear in the rules?
-          Kai, from the Midrealm, responded that it depends if it’s safe, or not.
-          Illaria, from Atlantia, said it can be safe sometimes, but it is a game changing moment.

Plungers on the melee field
-          At last Pennsic a unit brought a set of large shields into a rapier melee, and in response someone else brought a plunger that could suction onto the shield and pull it forward.  When the shield wielder’s arm was strapped to the shield, they were likely to be pulled off balance during this maneuver.
-          Connor, from Atlantia, expressed concern about the potential danger of shields being strapped on in these situations
-          Kai, from the Midrealm, expressed that it doesn’t matter if it’s a plunger or a hand, the person doing the maneuver should have control
-          Pug, from Ansteorra, countered that it does matter, it is easier to control the weight of a hand vs. the force of a plunger
-          Kai, from the Midrealm, said, what it boils down to is: it falls on me to use the weapon safely
-          Owen, from the East, said it was hard for the shield wielder to move the shield out of the grip of a hook if the shield is so big they can’t move it down.  He asked, are we playing an all out war, or are we playing rapier?
-          Pug said, armored combatants do it all the time
-          Malcolm, from the East, said, but they have armor
-          Connor, from Atlantia said, I sort of agree with Pug, but we should come up with a rule or should we leave it vague?
-          Tenesco, from the Middle, commented that pulling on a shield is the same as wrestling over a blade
-          Iago, from Ansteorra, asked how a suction cup was allowed on the field, what was the excuse?
-          Connor, from Atlantia, replied that they weren’t hitting people, it was parry device vs. parry device
-          Tenesco, from the Midrealm, said the Society rules say parry devices cannot be intentionally or unintentionally used to impede a person or equipment
-          Owen, from the East, countered that the rule says “weapon”
-          Malcolm, from the East, said it was just a one-time thing, it has ceased
-          Connor, from Atlantia, asked if we needed a rule about this, or if conventions would be fine
-          Iago, from Ansteorra, pointed out that once conventions are written down they are rules
-          Tenesco, from the Midrealm, asked if they would be rules for just Pennsic
-          Colin, from the Midrealm, pointed out that the conventions for Pennsic have to be agreed to by multiple kingdoms in negotiations
-          Owen, from the East, said it could be changed at the society level for interkingdom melees
-          Wyllym, from Atenveldt, said at Estrella he minimized the over-board shields by having conversations with the individuals who were using them, just to give them the friendly message that they were going overboard. 
-          Kai, from the Midrealm, said “We all know who ‘That Guy’ is; none of us want to be him.”  A lot of these issues could be addressed in training.
-          Colin, from the Midrealm, said we could have another meeting to discuss training issues.  We train marshals to be safety officers; they never get training in how to teach.
-          Colin, from the Midrealm, also commented that meetings such as the moot are good things for reminding us we are friends and can work on conventions together.
-          Pug, from Ansteorra, pointed out that the other cultural issue is that not every rapier fighter is part of the rapier community; some just pick up rapiers for war points.

Communications
-          Owen, from the East, said that communication is key.  As a local marshal he doesn’t hear enough of what is happening across the society.  He asked if there was any interest in a society wide forum or yahoo group.
-          Eyrny commented that RapierNet is a long standing email list for all rapier fighters, but it is fairly dead.  She is starting a blog for the SRM to share rapier news.
-          Kai, from the Midrealm, asked how often the KRMs talked.
-          Wyllym, from Atenveldt, said the KRMs have been able to connect and compare notes over the KRMs list.
-          Owen, from the East, said the common fencer doesn’t get to hear these things enough, please let us continue it outside of here.
-          Lisabeta, from the Middle, said each kingdom deputy needs to talk to the KRM who then sends information to Society.
-          Owen, from the East, said that communication should go both ways
-          Wyllym, from Atenveldt, said as KRM he has a list for his Atenveldt marshals, where they can all post reports and see what others are posting
-          Colin, from the Midrealm, suggested an electronic forum that would allow everyone to participate in discussions
-          A variety of people expressed appreciation and dislike about electronic forums, and most seem content if the board settings will send them an email for each new posting as well as replies on threads.  Colin was encouraged to set up such a forum.

Blow calling
-          Iago, of Ansteorra, reported that he’d had numerous participants in the Town Battle report poor blow calling, on both sides.  He’d also heard one of the marshals commenting that the blow calling was poor.  He pointed out that it is the marshal’s responsibility to take action when they see poor blow calling.  Marshals can’t always be the good guy.
-          Colin, from the Midrealm, agreed that we don’t necessarily report problems when we hear about it, but if problems aren’t reported the higher authorities can’t take any action to resolve a problem.  He pointed out that ANYONE can put in a report.
-          Wyllym, from Atenveldt, said that at Estrella he ensures every marshal has a notebook and pen to write down the details of incidents, including the names or descriptions of those who need to be spoken to later.
-          Owen, from the East, said that a few years ago, when someone did something egregiously bad, he took the person’s helm and had them come to the marshal’s court to collect it.
-          There was some general feeling that this would not generally go over well.
-          Suggestions of writing down medallion numbers or taking the inspection sticker off the mask were made.

Updates on the Trimaris ban on Hanwei blades

The confusion over whether the blade was a Hanwei or not is resolved, it WAS a Hanwei blade.  It was a Hanwei oval cross-section schlager practical rapier blade, 37", OH1061, manufactured in Dalian, China.

The KRM Trimaris posted this update this morning:
After continued delibrations with my Earl Marshall, Duke Thorstenn, I am announcing that the ban on Hanwei with the Makers Mark of "Made in Dalian China" in Trimaris will be lifted by Rapier Tourney Time Saturday at Labor Day Coronation event. Everyone is invited to a meeting under the big oak tree at the rapier field immediately after coronation court. Duke Thorstenn encourages everyone to participate in this meeting. Everyone bring your swords and prepare to be a part of the short brainstorming session, we will discuss how best to test these blades at weapons inspection among other things.
Aibinn ingen Artain / Navah
Trimaris KRM



Edited to match Hanwei's description of the blade.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Broken Hanwei blade at Pennsic

This past week at Pennsic there was a broken blade.  Most evidence says it was a Hanwei blade, but there's a small chance it was from a different, Chinese manufacturer.  This blade broke into 5 pieces, with flat ends showing a lot of crystallization (evidenced by the sparkles).  No injuries occurred.

Trimaris has currently banned all Hanwei blades for all Trimaran fencers, with discussions to occur at Trimaris Coronation, first weekend of September.

These blades are NOT banned at the Society level.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions

Since taking on this role, the two questions that have come to me most often are
1) When will new blades be approved?
2) Can I experiment with ______ ?

After Pennsic I will work with the Kingdom Rapier Marshals to create a framework for running an experiment.  We'll discuss the results expected from an experiment; how data can be generated, gathered, and reported; and how to evaluate the results.  New blades will be discussed as a specific type of experiment, and we'll determine criteria for evaluating a new blade.  I will also be designating a deputy to oversee blades being evaluated.

Once these pieces are in place, I will welcome proposals for experiments and new blades to be evaluated.