Thursday, August 22, 2013

Additional Peerage Proposal - request for commentary from the BOD

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Additional Peerage Proposal

The 2010 SCA Census showed strong levels of support for an additional peerage among those who responded to the survey. It also showed more support for a Rapier Peerage than for any other new order. Based on this and other feedback from the membership, the Board is considering the establishment of a new peerage and formed the Additional Peerage Exploratory Committee (APEC) to further explore the form that a new rapier peerage would take, as well as how the new peerage would impact the SCA’s governing documents.

The members of the committee included:
Tommy Conant (Sasha Gregor'evich Vilanov), Kingdom of Trimaris
Braddon Giles (Giles Leabrook), Kingdom of Lochac
Andrew Heinrich (Mateo Montero de Madrid), Kingdom of Ansteorra
Mark Kiel (Marcus Dundee), Kingdom of Trimaris
Matthew Mueller (Brannos O'Irongardail), The Middle Kingdom
Henrik Olsgaard (Henrik of Havn), Kingdom of the West
Matthew Parker (Saito Takauji), Kingdom of Calontir
Michael Perry (Kenric aet Essex), Kingdom of the East
Alissa Pyrich (Alys Mackyntoich), East Kingdom
Jay Rudin (Robin of Gilwell), Kingdom of Ansteorra
Jim Toscano (Giacomo Vincenti di Firenze), Kingdom of Atlantia
Salli Weston (Petranella Fitzallen of Weston), Kingdom of Northshield
William Wilson (Gwylym ab Owain), Kingdom of Atenveldt
Greg Wylie (Laertes McBride), Kingdom of Caid

At the July 2013 Board Meeting, the APEC proposed that the SCA Board of Directors create a new Patent-bearing Peerage Order parallel to the Chivalry, the Laurel and the Pelican. This Rapier Peerage would be for the related martial arts of rapier and all forms of cut & thrust in the SCA.

The Committee finalized a specific proposal, as well as a discussion of heraldic options, and a discussion of other issues involved. The APEC 7-2013 report recommended the creation of the new Peerage based on the following:

1. The definition of Peerage now accepted by many SCA members is more focused on rewarding excellence in Society activities in general than on the existing scheme of three Peerages.

2. The 2010 SCA Census showed strong levels of support for a peerage among those who responded to the survey. It also showed more support for a Rapier Peerage than for any other new order.

3. Many Rapier fighters have shown elite levels of martial expertise, leadership, service and honor on the Rapier field, comparable with the skills and comportment expected of peers. Many high-level Rapier fighters have already been awarded one of the existing peerages (usually the Pelican or the Laurel) for their contributions specifically to Rapier.

4. Many Crowns have people in their Kingdom that they believe are worthy of a peerage for their skills on the Rapier field, in addition to the other requisite Peerage qualities. They wish to elevate these people.

5. The varied top-level Rapier orders have demonstrated that there is a mission that can best be served by a body of elite Rapier fighters working in tandem with their Crowns. Some terminal-level rapier orders are often prevented from solving those problems because they do not have the imprimatur of a peerage.

6. Rapier has become a flourishing, vibrant and important component of the SCA’s activities, now found in one form or another in all kingdoms. A single SCA-wide Rapier Peerage will improve the practice of Rapier within the Society, thereby benefitting the Society overall.

7. The Rapier community needs a body that can solve problems, represent and maintain high standards, and communicate effectively with the Crown in the way that only peers can do. These problems often cross kingdom lines. There is therefore a strong need for a single SCA-wide order whose members are accepted in all kingdoms as leaders of the Rapier community.

8. Although individual kingdoms have adopted a variety of methods of recognizing top-level Rapier fighters, the existing kingdom-by-kingdom structure is not sufficient to the needs of the Society for the following reasons:

a) Existing armigerous and Grant level kingdom Rapier awards by nature and stature have a more fragile and less formal relationship with the Crown than those found among the peerages. Since not all existing kingdom Rapier awards carry the same degree of rank across kingdoms, this often prevents the Rapier community from addressing issues effectively across the Society.

b) Not all existing kingdom Rapier awards use the same standards for entry; again, this often impedes effective communications and problem-solving across kingdom lines.

The report from APEC also included a discussion of potential name, badge, and regalia for the Rapier Peerage. The related items that the Board of Directors has chosen to forward for broader review are:

1. Name: Order of the Masters of Defense. This name is patterned after the London Masters of Defense, a royally charted guild of teachers of fencing in England. The name is compatible with period naming practices for secular orders and is free of conflict with currently registered items in the SCA Ordinary and Armorial as of June 2013. The title for a member of the new Order would be Master or Mistress of Defense.

2. Badge: Three rapiers interlaced in pall inverted proper. This badge is intended to be representative of the various aspects of weaponry included in the new peerage.

3. Regalia: White or silver livery collar with badge of the Order depended from it. This form of regalia was in fashion throughout the later part of period, roughly contemporaneous with the appearance of swords identifiable as "rapiers." It is gender-neutral, and is intended to be easily visible on the field of combat, much like the regalia of Knights and Masters at Arms. Note that white or silver livery collars without the peerage badge pendant would not be in conflict.

The name and badge would require registration with the College of Arms. Additional heraldic protections, including the reservation of regalia, may also be necessary.

The summary of the required changes to Corpora if the additional peerage is implemented is as follows:

1. The definition of the Peerage in the Glossary would be expanded to include the new Rapier Peerage.

2. Section VIII.A.4 Patents of Arms would be expanded to include a section for the Rapier Peerage.

3. Section VIII.D.4 (Titles) would be amended to include the Rapier Peerage as using the titles Master/Mistress (and all alternative titles for Master/Mistress approved by the College of Heralds).

4. Section IX.C. "Rapier Fighting in the Society" would be removed, because an activity for which a peerage is awarded by the Society can no longer fairly be termed "ancillary." The existing Section IX.C would be replaced with a section that makes explicit that only Chivalric (rattan) combat can be used to select Crowns.

The Board of Directors is soliciting commentary from the membership on this proposal. Comments on this proposal are due by December 1, 2013. Please use the title "Additional Peerage Proposal" in the Subject line.

Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to:
SCA Inc.
Box 360789
Milpitas, CA 95036

You may also email

Monday, July 22, 2013

Eyrny's Retirement

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From:  <>
Date: Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 1:45 PM
Subject: [Announcements] Call for Applications - Office of Society
Rapier Marshal -

The Office of Society Rapier Marshal, a deputy to the Society Earl
Marshal, is open for applications. Please send resumes (modern, SCA
and rapier) to the the Society Earl Marshal at The
deadline for resumes is September 1, 2013.

Warmest thanks go to the outgoing Society Rapier Marshal Baroness
Eyrny for her service to the Rapier community and to the Society. Her
efforts leave the rapier community a stronger and more vibrant place.

As a side note, until the office is filled permenently, Don Tristan
von Heidleberg will be stepping in as interim Society Rapier Marshal
to handle any issues that arise.

Ritter Asoph Hearts, OP

Society Earl Marshal

Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to:
SCA Inc.
Box 360789
Milpitas,  CA 95036

You may also email

This announcement is an official informational release by the Society
for Creative Anachronism , Inc.  Permission is granted to reproduce
this announcement in its entirety in newsletters, websites and
electronic mailing lists.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Planning my Retirement

Please encourage anyone you think would make a good SRM to consider applying.


The Society Earl Marshal is currently seeking candidates for the position of Deputy Society Marshal for Rapier (DSMR).  Applications for the office will be accepted through August 15, 2013.

The DSMR's duties include the following:

- Supervision of all Kingdom rapier combat rules to ensure they adhere to current Society rules.
- Maintaining, updating and enforcing the Society rules for rapier combat.
- Acting as a resource for Kingdom Rapier Marshals (KRMs) and all rapier marshals throughout the Society.
- Acting as a resource for other Society and Kingdom officers for other combat disciplines when coordination is needed.
- Review and approval of experimental rapier combat proposals which Kingdoms may wish to explore
- Coordination of bids for the annual Known World Academy of the Rapier (KWAR).
- Administration of an electronic mailing list for KRMs.
- Regular reporting to the Society Earl Marshal and through him to the Board of Directors.

The successful candidate should have the following skills/competencies:

- Excellent communication skills: written, oral, and electronic.
- Ability to work with other Corporate, Society and Kingdom officers and deputies.
- Extensive familiarity with Society level armored and rapier combat rules.
- Strong knowledge of the differences in rapier "culture" between the various SCA kingdoms.
- Knowledge of current Society Rapier policies and issues currently facing SCA rapier combatants.
- Ability to meet deadlines.
- Familiarity with SCA Corporate and Kingdom structure.

As easy accessibility is a vital part of this office's responsibilities, and as the bulk of the management of the office is now done electronically, a reliable internet connection is also required.

The current Deputy Society Marshal for Rapier intends to step down after submitting the 4th quarter report on December 16th, 2013.

Please include a resume describing both SCA and modern experience, and references (SCA preferred).
Send resumes to and

Slight change to blade flexibility measurement process

In February 2012 changes were made to the blade flexibility test to improve it's ease of use.  The weight applied & the distance measured were doubled to make the acceptable range easier to see, and basic science said that doubling should not change what passes or fails.  Additional precision was added, specifying that the weight would be placed 1" from the tip, with the intention of reducing arguments about where to put the weight.

On the sword blades tested, this made no significant difference, however, Lochac has demonstrated that on some dagger blades putting the weight 1" from the tip fails daggers that pass when the weight is placed closer to the end of the tip.

Thus, a slight but significant change has been made to the wording of the blade flexibility rule in the Corporate rules
To determine if a weapon meets the standard of being "reasonably flexible": Hold weapon parallel to the ground, supporting the handle against table or bench if necessary. Hang a 6-ounce weight (170 grams) one inch (25 mm) or less distance from the tip. If the blade of a dagger (out to 18 inches blade length) flexes at least 1/2 inch (12.5 mm) the blade is reasonably flexible. For a heavy rapier blade (18" or longer), the blade must flex at least 1 inch (25 mm). For use in cut and thrust rapier, the blade must flex at least 1/2 inch (12.5 mm). Any blade 18 inches or longer, being used in melee combat, must flex at least 1 inch (25 mm).

For kingdoms simply referencing the Corporate rules, this change is now in effect.  Kingdoms with the rules copied out may make adjustments at their discretion.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Rapier Peerage Committee Update

Quoting Don Robin of Gilwell: 

"It's done. The big project I've been working on since November is finished. The report of the Additional Peerage Exploratory Committee has been sent to the Board.

No, I can't tell you what it says - it's up to the Board to decide when it gets released. And nothing will happen for a long time. There will be commentary periods, etc. We didn't make a decision; we only made a recommendation.

But my part is complete. It's done.

My thanks to the rest of the committee - Mistress Alys, Duke Brannos, Master Giles, Master Giocomo, Master Gwylym, Duke Henrik, Prince Kenric, Master Laertes, Master Marcus, Baron Mateo, Countess Petronella, Master Sasha, and Lord Uji."

More updates when I have them.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Shiny New Toys!

Pennsic is coming!  For many people this is a rare opportunity to see all the new weapons in person, and buy  new toys.  It's exciting, and they're wonderful to play with.  But,


Don't take any Shiny New Toy (SNT) directly out into a tournament or melee.  YOU need an opportunity to get used to the SNT, to figure out how it handles, how lightly you can thrust with it, what it feels like when it cuts, and how far it reaches.

YES!  Go to the field!   Find a friend (brand new or long term) and tell them you have a SNT and would like to try it out.  Share the excitement!  Have a few passes with your friend, stop and chat about how the SNT feels, maybe even get the friend to use it on you, so you can feel the pointy end of your SNT.  Play some more, play with a few more friends.  Always get their feedback about how the bouts go.

Then you have the information you need to decide if you're ready to use your SNT against all your current and not-yet-met friends in a tournament or battle.  Let your SNT and your good judgement enhance your reputation, not leave you infamous.

Oh, and by the way, this applies to ROT too.

You know, that Rusty Old Tool that hides in your sword bag half the year, because it's good for melee, but not your favourite weapon?  The one you haven't practised with in ages.

Take out your ROT and warm it up with a few practise bouts.  Re-establish your old working relationship, so you remember how it moves.  Make sure you are ready to wield that ROT before you go into battle, so that your friends don't think poorly of you.

Make every battle, a happy battle!

Monday, March 18, 2013

2013 Q1 Report Summary, including new Youth Rapier Deputy

Quick stats on all authorized fighters and marshals can be found here.

Mistress Xandra Rozina Xiberras Galea, called Rozi, has been selected as my new Deputy for Youth Rapier.  She is in the process of contacting the Youth Rapier marshals in each kingdom that has one to discuss their current programs and the proposal for updating the Corporate Rapier Rules to include Youth Rapier.

Caid's spear experiment is going well and nearly complete.   A number of kingdoms are now experimenting with long hafted weapons.   Marshals are reminded that they can impose restrictions on battles they are running, such as limiting the length of a weapon allowed in the battle.

The reduced armour experiment has gone very well, and has resulted in no injuries. Participants are in favour of continuing. However, the timing of the experiment led to the time when the most people could participate happening during the coldest weather, and few additional people joined up. The experiment will be continued for another 6 months to get a better set of data during months when more people have reasons to participate. Trimaris is joining the experiment to provide additional data from a hot and humid area. Trimaris was chosen because of they have a very consistent and thorough record of reporting.

Thank you to the many marshals who reported on time, in every kingdom, to allow these results to be compiled.

Incidental Contact

Over the past many years there have been discrepancies of interpretation of one fencer touching another.  When the subject recently reared up again, Master Aedan resurrected the following policy statement he made in January 2007 when he was Society Rapier Marshal.  I agree with him, and am re-publishing it here to try and spread the news to a wider audience.  As noted below, Kingdoms can have stricter requirements, this is the Corporate standard.

Incidental Contact
Such contact was permitted ever since I can remember.  Like many things, some Kingdoms used such hand on wrist, or arm on arm type contact as a matter of course.  Other kingdoms were more restrictive and did not allow
such contact.  The problem came when something caused the then SEM to make a quick decision and draw a strong "absolutely no contact" ruling.  The latest rules rewrite including some (I had hoped) clarifying language to restate what was permitted and bring things back to where they were traditionally.

So let's start with what is and is not allowed.  Then we'll talk about what you as a KRM can allow (or not) for your Kingdom.

Keep in mind that pretty much any action that is currently allowed in our rules can also be done in an unsafe manner.  We obviously allow thrusts. But we should all be comfortable with being able to distinguish between a
good thrust, a thrust that was too hard due to circumstances (and there was an attempt to correct it) and a thrust that is too hard because the fighter doesn't have sufficient control.

Let's say you and I are fighting single heavy rapier and examine some scenarios:

1) Hand on blade parry

This is an accepted practice.  Whether I simply stop your blade from moving sideways while voiding my body to actually moving your blade off line, this is all valid.  In fact, I can push your blade around pretty much as far as I
want, as long as I don't get sufficient travel of blade on hand to deliver a valid cut to my hand.  The other thing to look out for is if I move your blade back such that your hand has to contort to the point of potential injury.  This is especially a concern if you have a grip where fingers are looped over the quillion block.

I can perform similar parries using my forearm, shoulder, or whatever to move your blade around (can anyone say "head parry"?).  As long as you don't turn the blade edge on and give it enough travel for a valid cut, I am
"unharmed".  For some kingdoms, any amount of blade travel is sufficient, so this doesn't work so well.  Other kingdoms have a minimum draw length, so it is quiet feasible.

Note that I said nothing about grabbing the blade.  This is allowed for heavy and C&T rapier but some kingdoms do not allow it.

2) Hand on guard parry

If we close sufficiently, I can place my hand on your sword guard, quillons, pommel or whatever to hinder your blade movement or prevent a blow.  Just like closing strongly opens up the chance for an overly heavy blow, this
type of action opens up more possibility for smashing a finger or similar injuries.  But this is like saying "be aware that your opponent has long arms".  Note that I can *NOT* grip, grab, hold or in any other way grasp
your guard.  But let's say we've closed and you are placing your blade for a draw cut.  I can put my palm or the edge of my hand against your pommel or the underside of your bell to prevent you from drawing your blade.  I could also push sideways on your guard to lift your blade off my body, thus preventing the cut.

3) Blade on arm parry

Just lik you can put your arm on my blade to parry, I can put my blade on your arm (for example) to hinder or stop its movement.  Yes, I would hopefully immediately turn it into a draw cut, but the cut may not happen for any number of reasons.

4) Hand on wrist/forearm parry

This is similar to me trying to stop your blow by contacting your guard. I've simply placed my hand on your wrist or forearm instead.  Again, this should be an area of caution.  Just like using case of rapier, if I am not comfortable doing it, I shouldn't until I've trained more.  If I grab your wrist, it's grappling and I am at fault.  If I strike your wrist with force, it is wrong and I am at fault.  But I can again use my open palm or the edge or back of my hand to deflect your wrist or your arm motion.

Just like you judge a thrust as "good", "too hard but we were closing so I understand" or "that was too hard and we need to have a talk", you can quickly learn to distinguish between when placing your hand on my forearm to deflect or prevent a blow was "good", "be careful there" or "that was striking me and we need to have a talk".

5) Arm on arm parry

Just like you can use pretty much anything to parry a blade, you can use more than just your hand to parry or deflect an arm.  Again, if you do it too hard, you are striking your opponent and are in the wrong.  But in and of itself, the basic act is valid.

Any of the above type actions can (and usually are) done completely safely. It's when you start affecting the torso, head or legs that things become more likely to go wrong.  So if you and I were closing fast and we bumped shoulders while moving past each other, I would be ok with that.  If you placed your hand on my chest and pushed, I'd say that was unsafe.

I see this like blade grabbing.  This "fleeting contact" type stuff is allowed at Society level.  You have three options as a Kingdom.

1 - allow it as is

2 - don't allow it at all

3 - allow it only with express consent of both parties (like some folks agree to do blade grabbing or whether or not to take tip cuts or bleed out)

Hopefully this makes more sense now.  Let me know if you have further questions.