Saturday, January 14, 2012

Evaluating Blades based on Flexibility

For the past few years we've allowed new blades into SCA combat based on a gut feel evaluation by the Society Rapier Marshal and trusted deputies.  But, the blades are not easily identifiable once sold; most makers have approved and not-approved blades and they don't put a model number next to their maker's mark.  We've also had very few injuries due to broken blades.

We are changing how we evaluate blades so that flexibility is the key component, and any marshal can determine whether the blade is acceptable with simple equipment on the field.

The final wording of the changes is not yet complete; the latest draft received some important critiques from the KRMs and deputies.  However, the important bits are this:

  • For light rapier, nothing changes.
  • For heavy rapier, blades must flex at least 1" (25 mm).
  • Dagger blades, and cut and thrust blades must flex at least 1/2" (12 mm).
Following the Appendix 1B Blade Flexibility test, however the 3 oz weight will become a 6 oz weight, so that it is somewhat easier to measure the amount of flex over the greater distance.

Based on the flexibility measurements submitted by many helpful people, this is not expected to remove any blades currently in use, and it will open our fields up to a variety of blades currently in happy use in WMA communities.  Kingdoms may still choose to enact rules that impose additional restrictions.

Next steps:
  • Determine final wording.
  • Discuss timeline for implementation with Society Earl Marshal

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