Rapier Marshal Handbook

Kingdom of Meridies
Rapier Combat
Marshal Handbook
A.S. L
25 September 2016

  1. The Marshal’s Office is responsible for overseeing fighting activities within the Kingdom of Meridies. Primarily, the Marshal’s Office is responsible for safety in the fighting arts within Meridies. The Marshal’s Office is responsible for inspecting armor, inspecting weapons and inspecting the fighting field. The Marshal’s Office is responsible for enforcing the rules contained in the Society Rapier Handbook and the Meridian Rapier Rules. They should also be familiar with the Meridian Marshal’s Handbook and rules of the list.
  2. The rapier marshalate is organized under the Kingdom Earl Marshal. The following Kingdom Level Offices exist for Rapier in Meridies: Kingdom Rapier Marshal (KRM), Deputy Kingdom Rapier Marshal/Reporting Deputy (DKRM), Rapier Authorization Card Deputy. Additional Marshal types are described in the “Types of Marshals” section.
  3. Process for selecting new Kingdom Level Officers for Rapier:
    1. Applications must be taken for DKRM and Authorization Card Deputy. If the current DKRM cannot take over as KRM, applications will also be taken for the KRM position.
    2. Applications will be taken one year prior to end of current officer’s term, unless an emergency replacement is required. In the case of a sudden vacancy, applications will be taken immediately to fill the position.
    3. Optimally, the KRM will be replaced by the DKRM. If this is not possible, see above.



  1. Earl Marshal: This person is responsible for all combat related activities in the Kingdom, including but not limited to Armored combat and Rapier combat. The Earl Marshal is responsible for warranting all of the senior Marshals in the Kingdom.
  2. Kingdom Rapier Marshal (KRM): This is the coordinator of all rapier and cut and thrust activities in the Kingdom during his or her two-year term in office. The Kingdom Rapier Marshal is also responsible for making sure that the rules and conventions for Rapier combat are followed. The KRM is in charge of all paperwork, oversight of the Kingdom’s rapier marshals, and discipline for those violating the rules of Rapier combat. The KRM shall appoint, per approval of the Earl Marshal, a DKRM and a Rapier Authorization Card Deputy. The KRM will report quarterly to the Society Rapier Marshal on the state of Rapier combat within the Kingdom of Meridies.
  3. Deputy Kingdom Rapier Marshal/Reporting Deputy (DKRM): It is the responsibility of the DKRM to assist the KRM with administrative duties and to collect all data required for reporting purposes.
  4. Rapier Authorization Card Deputy: It is the responsibility of the Rapier Authorization Card Deputy to issue Authorization Cards to qualified rapier fighters as necessary. It also falls upon this Officer to update the layout of Authorization Cards and arrange for new cards to be printed as needed. The Card Deputy should also keep records of all authorized rapier fighters (past and present) in the Kingdom.
  5. Marshal-At-Large (MAL): This is the first Marshal level in Meridies. In order to be a Marshal-At-Large, a fighter must have obtained their Advanced Authorization and must attend the Rapier Marshal 101 class. Marshals-At-Large may run practices and be the Marshal in Charge of Events. They may also be Group Marshals with the approval of the KRM. Marshals-At-Large are not required to report Quarterly.
  6. Warranted Marshals (WM): These are rapier marshals who, in addition to the normal duties, may also conduct Basic and Advanced Authorizations, teach both Rapier Marshal 101 and 102 classes, and may be Group Marshals without prior approval from the KRM. In order to become a Warranted Marshal, a fighter must be a Marshal-At-Large, attend the Rapier Marshal 102 class, and receive approval from the KRM. WM’s are required to send Quarterly Reports to the DKRM/Reporting Deputy. Failure to report for two consecutive Quarters is grounds for discipline up to and including loss of Warranted status.
  7. Group Rapier Marshal (GRM): Group Marshals exist as Shire/Baronial officers. They are to ensure that all safety and combat standards for rapier fighting are followed by their participants for all rapier activities sponsored by their Group. Without exception, whether Marshals-At-Large or Warranted Marshals, all Group Marshals are required to report for their Group every Quarter. Failure to report for two consecutive Quarters will result in sanctions for both the Marshal and the Group. These may include reduction of marshal level and suspension of *all* fighting activities for the Group including armored combat. Group Reports should be sent to the DKRM/Reporting Deputy. Courtesy copies may also be sent to the Group’s Knight Marshal and/or Seneschal.
  8. Cut and Thrust Marshal: These are marshals that are responsible for training and overseeing Cut and Thrust activities within the Kingdom of Meridies.
  9. Advanced Authorized Fighters: Anyone holding an Advanced Rapier Authorization may, under the direct supervision of a Marshal, assist in inspecting equipment, act as a line marshal for melees, or marshal individual bouts.



  1. All Warranted and Group Marshals must report correctly and in a timely and consistent fashion. Failure to do so will result in sanctions up to and including the removal of the marshal from office and, in the case of a Group marshal, suspension of a group’s privilege to hold martial activities. Two consecutive missed reports is grounds for disciplinary action.
  2. Reports must be sent to the DKRM/Reporting Deputy at the conclusion of every quarter.

    1st quarter     due April 10
    2nd quarter   due July 10
    3rd quarter    due October 10
    4th quarter     due January 10

  3. The online reporting form is located at http://www.meridianrapier.org/marshal-information/quarterly-reporting/. Reports may also be emailed to the reporting deputy, but use of the online form is encouraged.
  4. C&T Marshals will report to the Kingdom Cut & Thrust Marshal at the conclusion of every quarter.



  1. Be a resident of Meridies.
  2. Hold a Meridian Advanced Rapier Authorization.
  3. Attend the class (101 or 102) appropriate to the level of marshalate you are seeking.
  4. For Warranted Marshals only, receive prior approval from the KRM. (NOTE: Marshals-At-Large who wish to serve as Group Marshals also require KRM approval.)
  5. The Kingdom Rapier Marshal has the authority to revoke or deny marshal status. Appeals may be made to the Kingdom Earl Marshal.
  6. Anyone who’s marshalate (of any type) is revoked or denied must be informed in writing.
  7. Marshals will remain so for as long as that a fighter holds a valid Meridian rapier authorization card (unless revoked for cause) and will be renewed along with the fighter’s authorization card.
  8. Any fighter with a marshal warrant from another kingdom who now resides in Meridies may seek approval from the KRM to have their marshal status transferred.



A Rapier Marshal is expected to:

  1. Show a consistent attitude for safety.
  2. Know and enforce the rules of Meridien Rapier
  3. Encourage Rapier activity throughout the kingdom.
  4. Demonstrate a knowledge of Rapier history.
  5. Recognize, use, and be able to teach realistic and period techniques.
  6. Organize and supervise rapier activities at events and practices.
  7. Report on all rapier activities participated in.


Armor Inspection must be done with all the armor on the body of the fighter who is going to wear it. It is not otherwise possible to get an accurate idea of what is covered and what is not, nor where gaps may occur as the fencer moves.
Punch testing need only be done when the armor is first used, and/or whenever the Marshal in charge feels an additional punch test is warranted. (Acceptable punch tests shall deliver a consistent force. Acceptable tests are noted in Appendix #1 of the Meridian Rapier Rules)
NOTE: All protective equipment shall be formally tested (including fabric and mask tests, as appropriate) at least once every two years. This is the responsibility of the fighter, but it is suggested that each local group have an annual “testing day” to assist in this.
The following general guidelines should be used when conducting armor inspection.

  1. Leg Armor: Check that the fighter’s legs are completely covered with an appropriate weight cloth.
  2. Groin: ASK a male fighter’s if he remembered his cup. Do not knee someone in the groin to check.
  3. Body: Check that the fighter’s body is completely covered in various positions (i.e. lunging, on one’s knees, etc.).
  4. Arm: Check that the fighter’s arms are covered completely and that they have the proper levels of puncture resistance on the sleeve and armpit.
  5. Hands and Wrists: Check that the fighter is wearing gloves with adequate coverage. Check to see if the sleeve is secure under the cuff (will not pull out).
  6. Neck and Head: Check that the neck is covered completely and that the neck protection (the gorget) and head protection will not gap as the fighter moves their head. Check that the welds in the mesh of the mask are not broken. Check that the back of the head is completely covered. Check that the fighter’s helmet or mask cannot be dislodged easily. The use of a drape versus a hood is acceptable provided the marshal cannot touch bare skin at any point around and under the drape. Check for sharp edges, broken or missing rivets, or other signs that the equipment is falling apart.

Weapon Inspection
Rapiers and daggers
Blades must conform to the Meridies section of the Society approved list of blades (appendix 5)

  1. Verify that the blade of the weapon is free of rust and that all risers in the blade have been smoothed down. Check the tape on the end of the blade to see if it is still firmly in place. If a fighter is asked to re-tape their weapon, it should be done immediately before any bouts are to be fought.
  2. Verify that the tip on the blade is firmly attached and that the blade has not penetrated the tip.
  3. Verify that the hilt of the weapon is securely attached and free of sharp edges and burrs.

Failed blades shall be marked by:

  1. Breaking the blade outright, or
  2. Spray painting the top third orange or other bright color , or
  3. Filing three deep grooves in the forte of the blade, each one an inch apart. Use a triangular file to leave a ‘V’ shaped notch in the blade.

Verify that cloaks have no rigid weights or any structural problems. Cloaks may not be soaked in water before a bout to weight them down.
Check the rim of the shield for sharp edges. Check the rest of the buckler for sharp edges, broken or missing rivets, protruding bolts and signs that the buckler is falling apart.
Check the miscellaneous defensive equipment for wear, sturdiness, and safety.


The following guidelines should be used when marshaling rapier combat. In addition to these criteria, the general marshaling criteria defined in the Meridian Marshals Handbook shall also apply.
There shall be NO Rapier combat (list, melee, fighter practice) unless there is at least one Rapier Marshal observing the Field.
The Marshal shall have ABSOLUTE say on any question regarding a fighter’s performance on the Field. If a fighter is cutting or thrusting improperly, or behaving in any way that is outside the Rules, Customs or Authorizations for Rapier Combat, then the Marshal may elect to expel him/her from the Field.
for any incidents where the marshal has to communicate with a fighter for any concerning behavior please fill out an “incident report”
Revocations of Authorizations
Any Marshal may revoke authorization for any weapon if he/she feels the duelist no longer meets minimum standards, and the duelist MUST re-authorize before using that weapon again. The combatant may appeal the decision. This revocation, and any appeal, must be done in writing, with copies sent to the respective event Marshal in Charge, DKRM and the KRM. The appeal process must be started within 60 days of the revocation.
Revocations may be appealed all the way to the KEM, following the standard chain of command.
Rapier Marshals should specifically be aware of, and be on the lookout for the following things that are unique to the marshaling of rapier combat, including but not limited to:

  1. Any use of a rigid parry device that might bring it into contact with the opponent’s body in a manner that could injure their opponent or themselves.
  2. Improper cutting and thrusting techniques.
  3. Loss of the tip on a weapon. If a tip comes loose, an immediate HOLD shall be called as this sort of equipment failure can be potentially dangerous.
  4. Broken Equipment. If a blade breaks, an immediate HOLD shall be called as this sort of equipment failure can be very serious.



  1. A Marshal’s Court may be called in the event of a dispute that can not be resolved on the field or if a particular fighter has violated the rules in such a way that a Court is warranted.
  2. Please see the SCA Marshal’s Handbook, Section XVIII., for details on Grievances and Sanctions.
  3. Chain of Command in Meridies:
  4. Marshal-At-Large
  5. Warranted Marshal
  6. Group Marshal / Marshal in Charge
  7. Deputy Kingdom Rapier Marshal
  8. Kingdom Rapier Marshal
  9. Kingdom Earl Marshal
  10. Crown of Meridies



  1. Review the Rules, Combat Etiquette, and Equipment Requirements with any new arrival.
  2. Provide basic instruction, where needed, in movement, pressure, point control, blow calling, etc. Do this with your own method taking as much time as you feel the student needs before recommending they attempt authorization.
  3. If needed, there is a Training Guideline at the end of this handbook.


NOTE: Please refer to the Meridies Marshal’s Handbook for more information on the running of the marshalate (authorization, reports, terms, marshalate courts).


This is a suggestion of how one might train newcomers in basic Rapier. Marshals are encouraged to instruct their students however they wish. This is just a guideline to get you started.
Topics that should be covered:

  1. Equipment Requirements, Rules of Combat, Etiquette and Attitude
  2. Care and Feeding of Equipment, Healthy Fighting
  3. Point control, Footwork, Stance
  4. Basic Parries, Open hand, Draw Cuts
  5. Calibration, Blow Calling
  6. Off Hand, Legless
  7. Authorization Procedure

NOTE: Almost every lesson involves: a discussion/seminar section, a combat training section, and a sparring section. These sections do not have to be conducted in this particular order at all. In fact it is sometimes more efficient to first engage in combat training for an hour or so and then cover the discussion/seminar material during a rest/water break.
Lesson 1: Equipment Requirements, Footwork, Point control, Stance (Does not require trainees to have equipment)

  1. Review current armor and weapon requirements, including unusual circumstances (e.g. drapes, bassinet helms, skirts etc.)
  2. Demonstrate proper foot positioning and run footwork drills, including basic steps (advance, retreat, forward pass, reverse pass, lateral steps, lunge, lunge recovers, etc.)
  3. Test point control, using own masked body as target, (still and in motion). If trainee is inexperienced then teach point work drills. Emphasize pinpoint precision and the proper pressure for a touch to be good.
  4. Teach basic stances and suggest various uses for each. Demonstrate how they can be combined when using a second weapon.


Lesson 2: Rules of Combat, Basic Parries, Blow Calling, Directed Sparring

  1. Review current rules of combat: What is a good blow. How to treat a legless opponent. What to do if a “Hold!” is called. What happens if you are touched here? etc.
  2. Teach the basic blade, off hand and quillon parries. Demonstrate uses for each.
  3. Arm your trainees and demonstrate good blows to various regions of their body (including mask, boots, groin, arteries, etc.) Familiarize them with receiving draw cuts as well. Teach them how to differentiate between a disabling shoulder shot and a killing shoulder shot. Basically provide a hands on application of the rules of combat already discussed. Make sure they understand how little pressure is required.
  4. Spar with each of your trainees individually. Do not let them spar amongst themselves yet. Only with yourself or other marshals. (If an unusually large class, you could use some of the more experienced authorized fighters present as sparring partners.) Focus on combining footwork, point control, parrying, and blow calling. Have them call their blows; they need not lose arms or drop to their legs. Use only thrusts, no draw cuts, yet.


Lesson 3: Etiquette and Attitude, Open hand, Draw Cuts, Calibration, Free Sparring

  1. Review appropriate combat etiquette: Communication between combatants at all times. Listen to the Marshals. What is a salute? (History and examples) etc. Also, remind them that it is not required to give an injured opponent time to change hands or drop to the ground; however, if one chooses to do so, one should wait until their opponent is ready to proceed. Discuss acts of chivalry. They are not as expected with Rapier as they are with Rattan. In fact, some rapier fighters consider acts of chivalry to be insulting. It is a practice that should never be viewed as compulsory, but still has a valuable place in rapier combat.
  2. Briefly define some of the terms one is likely to hear at a tourney.
  3. Discuss the various ways personal attitude can have an effect on safety.
  4. Discuss the various ways presentational attitude can be employed for entertainment, while still maintaining an underlying decorum that breeds safety and good sport. These are the skills that make rapier combat such a pleasure. It is always better to upstage your opponent than to beat him. A victor will be a statistic. A showman will be remembered.
  5. Arm your trainees and teach basic use of the open hand for parrying: You may have to have them fight Double Open Hand against your Single Rapier or Case before they get it. Another approach is to put something in their open hand (e.g. buckler) for a while, then take it away again. Eventually, they will get it.
  6. Teach how to deliver good draw cuts: proper pressure, length of the blade, along the edge, etc. Test their effectiveness on yourself.
  7. Once your trainees have both of these concepts down, show them how (using the open hand for simple binds) they can combine them to create effective up close attacks.
  8. Conduct directed sparring as before, but now focusing on this day’s material. Once they have got it, let them engage in some free sparring with experienced fighters.


Lesson 4: Care and Feeding of Equipment and Self, Off Hand & Legless, Free Sparring

  1. Review basic health concerns related to rapier combat: rest, water, light meals. It is not good to fight on an empty stomach. Also, a healthy frame of mind is essential for safety and full enjoyment. Headaches and even foul moods can be distracting and debilitating and lead to accidents. Rage is never appropriate on the field and can lead to loss of privilege.
  2. Suggest regular maintenance for armor and weaponry: a simple rub down of all weapons after every day of use, inspecting for nicks. A good cleaning every month or so and after every day in the rain. Armor should also be inspected off the body regularly looking for weaknesses in the cloth and breaking seems. Bucklers, cloaks, etc.
  3. Arm your trainees and teach them to fight with the rapier in their off hand. They should get accustomed to doing this both with an open hand and without.
  4. Instruct them in the various techniques of legless combat.
  5. Teach them how to do simple calibrations and allow them to spar amongst themselves. They should now begin to play out complete bouts, losing injured limbs, etc.
  6. Review what they are likely to encounter during their authorization procedure.