Kingdom of Meridies Youth Rapier Combat
Rules and Regulations
(Date of Origin Unknown)
I – INTRODUCTION
The purpose of this paper is to state the rules of engagement in Rapier in the Society for Creative Anachronism in the Kingdom of Meridies for students aged 14 through 17.
Youth Rapier is designed to offer the Youth of the Kingdom a second Martial Art. This Activity is related to the study of bated-blade combat from the 15th and 16th century. The goal of the program is teach various techniques and skills as taught in various Fencing Schools that were available to the serious sword student in the years leading up to the 17th century. This information has come down to us in various books and papers that have been translated and studied by numerous scholars.
These rules have also been designed with safety in mind. The safety of the student is always of paramount importance in designing any Martial Arts Program. Therefore, this program has been developed to closely follow the Adult Rapier rules.
The Parent and Youth should also be familiar with the standard Meridian Rapier Rules, of which this is a subset. It shall be the primary source of any rules of Safety. These rules may add extra precautions due to the age and nature of the participants.
II – PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES
The Kingdom of Meridies strongly believes in the right of the Parents. We believe that the parent has the right to know what is going on in their child’s life. Therefore, the parent or Legal Guardian must be within sight and sound anytime the Young Person is actively engaged on the field, whether it is at practice or a Tournament.
There must be a waiver on file with the Youth Rapier Marshal at every Practice and at every Tournament. This waiver must carry the signature of the Parent or Legal Guardian. There is a copy of the waiver at the end of these rules, as an example only. [Printable versions of this and other forms is downloadable from here
The Parent or Legal Guardian has the right to chose who shall teach their offspring in the art of Bated-blade work. Should conflict arise, it is strongly suggested that all remember we are examples to our Young, and to keep all conflict to a minimum and treat each other with full courtesy.
III – PROTECTIVE GEAR
In order of increasing resistance:
• 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:
• a single layer of heavy poplin cloth (35% cotton, 65% polyester; “trigger” cloth)
• sweat pants
• Opaque cotton, poly-cotton or lycra/spandex mix tights.
• Puncture-resistant material: any fabric or combination of fabrics that will predictably withstand puncture. Examples include, but are not limited to:
• Four-ounce (2 mm) leather;
• four layers of heavy poplin cloth;
• ballistic nylon rated to at least 550 Newtons.
• 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 new gear is used, or if no marshal on the field knows a given piece of gear to have been tested.
• Puncture-resistant material must be tested annually.
• Rigid Material: puncture-resistant material that will not significantly flex, spread apart, or deform under pressure of 12 Kg applied repeatedly to any single point. Examples of rigid material are:
• 22 gauge stainless steel (0.8 mm)
• 20 gauge mild steel (1.0 mm)
• 16 gauge aluminum, copper, or brass (1.6 mm)
• one layer of heavy leather (8 ounce, 4 mm)
The following are the Kingdom norms for protective gear. Individuals preferring more stringent protection are free to do so, but must weigh the benefits of more rigorous penetration coverage against the risks of heat illness, exhaustion, and stroke due to heavier or more confining gear.
HEAD AND NECK:
• The front and top of the head must be covered by rigid material to below the jaw line and behind the ears. Standard 12 kg fencing masks are known to meet this standard. If built to this standard, rapier combat helms are also acceptable.
• The face must be covered by either 12 kilogram 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.
• Masks and helms must be secured to the fighter, so that they cannot be easily removed or dislodged during combat. The combination of snug fit and the spring-tongue in a conventional fencing mask is NOT sufficient, by itself, to secure the mask to the fighter.
• Both modern fencing masks and rapier helms, when inspected, shall comply with the rigid material standard, provisions on facial coverage, and shall show no evidence of impending failure (e.g., rust which weakens the metal involved, dents or other defects which spread open mesh, broken weld points, etc). 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 doing the testing shall be trained in the use of the punch.
• The rest of the head and neck must be covered by at least puncture resistant material.
• Additional throat protection is also required. It shall consist of rigid material, as noted above, covering the entire throat, and shall be backed by either puncture resistant material (as a hood), one quarter inch (1/4″) (6 mm) of 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. An extension from the gorget that covers the collar bones is recommended, but not required.
TORSO AND OTHER “KILLING” ZONES
• The entire torso (the chest, back, abdomen, groin, and sides up to and including the armpits and shoulders) must be covered with puncture-resistant material.
• Male fighters shall wear rigid groin protection. Any ventilation holes large enough to admit a broken dagger blade must be covered from the outside with at least puncture-resistant material.
• Female fighters shall wear puncture resistant groin protection.
The parents are strongly urged to talk to their child’s doctor to see if any further personal body protection is advised.
ARMS AND LEGS
• Acceptable minimum armpit and shoulder coverage 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 fighter’s elbow.
• Hands shall be protected by gloves, made of abrasion resistant material, that overlap any sleeve openings as below. A strong cuff of at least 3 oz leather is strongly recommended (especially if using open or swept hilts), but not required.
• Feet shall be protected by boots, or shoes comprised of at least abrasion-resistant material. It is expected that blatantly modern footwear will be covered, in order to look more Period.
• Abrasion-resistant material is required on the rest of the arms, legs, and any area not otherwise mentioned in these rules.
• No skin shall be bared. There shall be a minimum two inches (2″) of overlap between separate pieces of protective clothing, regardless of the fighter’s stance or movements.
IV – WEAPONS AND PARRYING DEVICES
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.
BLADES: The following rapier blades are approved by the Society and Kingdom Marshal for use, at this time. This list will be updated as additional weapons are approved:
The following types of blades are used:
• Rapier blades:
• Oval bladed schlagers
• Diamond bladed schlagers
• Heavy Practice Rapiers
• Del Tin practice rapiers
• Hanwei practice blades
• Alchem SafeFlex rapiers*
• Alchem Schlager
• Angus Trim (AT 1691)
• Triplette rapier blade (T03)
• Triplette schlager blade (T01)
• The following dagger blades are approved: [18-20 inches tip to hilt]
• flexidaggers (including “schlager daggers” i.e. Black Tulip)
• SafeFlex daggers
• Scotty daggers
• Triplette daggers (T05)
• Angus Trim Daggers
• Darkwood (wideflex and Diamondflex
• Fiberglass blades are not allowed for any purpose.
• Rattan daggers are only allowed for parrying device.
* The curved blades from Alchem have NOT been approved at this time. They are currently under a Society experiment. They require written permission from the KRM to use.
All are subject to the following.
• Steel blades must be manufactured by commercial suppliers. Artisans desiring an exception must apply to the Deputy Society Marshal for Rapier Combat and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
• 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:
• The tang of the weapon may be altered.
• Rapier blades may be shortened so long as it does not make them too stiff.
• All steel blades must be reasonably flexible. Rigid steel “parrying-only” daggers such as those made from cut down blades will not be allowed.
• The edge must be nominally 1/16 inch. Less than this is considered too sharp. Diamond bladed schlagers must be checked carefully for the minimum edge.
• All blade ends must be capped with rubber, plastic, or leather.
• Tips will have a flat striking surface of at least 3/8 inch (9mm) diameter.
• Tips must be firmly taped or glued in place. The tip must be of a color contrasting with the blade so that the tip’s absence is readily apparent. If tape is used, it must contrast with both blade and tip.
• 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. Flexidaggers with “S” curves shall not be used unless they can be properly re-curved.
Weapons may use a hand guard such as a cup hilt, swept hilt or quillions and knucklebow. Quillions cannot extend more than 6 inches from each side of the blade. The ends of quillions must be blunt with a 1/4 inch minimum diameter.
Orthopedic (or “Pistol”) grips will not be used unless the fighter has written approval, from the Kingdom Rapier Marshal, for medical reasons, supported by documentation from their health care provider.
Rapiers with a blade length that is greater than 40 inches, or less than 34 inches, may be used only with opponent’s consent.
• Solid parrying devices will be made of sturdy, lightweight materials and will be resistant to breakage and splintering. Bucklers may be of any size; however, bucklers of greater than 16″ diameter (200 square inches) may be used only with opponent’s consent.
• Soft, non-rigid devices such as cloaks may be made of cloth, foam, leather and similar materials. They may be weighted with soft material such as rope or rolled cloth; they shall not be weighted with any rigid material, or with materials which are heavy enough to turn the device into a flail or impact weapon.
• Devices that would predictably cause entangling of an opponent, or their equipment, either by design or by repeated mishap, are not allowed.
• Offensive bucklers are not permitted.
An opponent may decline to face non-standard devices without forfeiting a bout.
V – BEHAVIOR ON THE FIELD
• All fighters shall obey the commands of the marshals overseeing the field, or be removed from the field and subject to subsequent disciplinary action.
• Disagreements with the marshals overseeing the field shall be resolved through the established mechanisms outlined in the Marshallate Procedures of the SCA, Inc.
• Each fighter shall maintain control over his or her temper and behavior at all times.
• Striking an opponent with excessive force, or with deliberate intent to injure, is forbidden.
• 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.
• Conduct obstructive of normal rapier combat, such as consistent ignoring of blows, deliberate misuse of the rules (such as calling HOLD whenever pressed), or the like, is forbidden.
USE OF WEAPONS AND PARRYING DEVICES
• Blows will be struck by:
• thrusting with the point of the blade (thrust); or
• sliding the edge of the blade by drawing (draw cut – min. 6 inches).
• Chopping or hacking blows are never permitted. Fast circular movements (such as moulinets) may, however, be used to place a blade for draw cuts.
• Parrying devices may be used to move, deflect, or immobilize an opponent’s weapon or parrying device in any manner, so long as such use does not endanger the safety of the combatants.
• Striking an opponent with any part of a weapon or parrying device not approved for that purpose is prohibited.
• Any combatant being disarmed, or dropping a weapon, must be able to draw another weapon from his/her person or yield. NO HOLD SHALL BE CALLED. His/her opponent may exploit an earned advantage with no loss of honor. [NOTE: It is chivalrous to allow one’s opponent the opportunity to retrieve a dropped weapon or secondary, but just as in armored combat, acts of chivalry are praiseworthy – NOT mandatory.]
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF BLOWS
• In judging blows, all fighters are presumed to be wearing common civil attire of the period, not armor.
• Tourneys may be held which define areas of the body as armored, and to what degree, so long as all the participants are made aware of these special conditions prior to the start of combat.
• In rapier combat, blows will be counted as though they were struck with a real rapier, 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.
• A good thrust or draw cut to the:
• inner groin (to the fighter’s hand width down the inner limb), or
• armpit (to the fighter’s inner hand width down the limb)
• Shall be judged incapacitating, rendering the fighter incapable of further combat.
• A good blow to the arm will disable the arm.
• A good blow to the hand shall render the hand useless; the rest of the arm may still be used to parry with a loose fist. Any additional hit to that hand will disable the arm.
• A good blow to the foot or leg will disable the leg. The fighter must then fight seated or standing on one leg.
• Parries may be performed with weapons, parrying devices, the gloved hand, or any other part of the body. Though the gloved hand may be used to parry an opponent’s blade and hilt, it shall not be used to push, grasp or strike an opponent.
• Fighters may choose to grasp, rather than parry the blades. If the blade that is grasped moves or twists in the grasping hand, that hand is deemed disabled. Grasping techniques shall be used only to immobilize a blade momentarily, NOT to bend it or wrest it from the opponent’s grip. Grasping techniques are restricted to the blade and may not be used on the hilt.
• If an effective blow is thrown (already in motion) before, or on, the same moment as an event that would stop a fight (a “HOLD” being called, the fighter being “killed” himself, etc.), the blow shall count. If the blow is thrown after the hold, killing blow, or other event, it shall not count.
VI – AUTHORIZATION
TO AUTHORIZE, one must:
• Be at least 16 years old and currently residing in Meridies. (age limit may be decreased to 14 after a one year experiment.)
• Read and be familiar with these rules.
• Have some nominal training in schlager combat (With supervision from a Meridian Youth Rapier Marshal).
• Parent or Legal Guardian must sign an acknowledgement of participation in Combat, as well as a Youth Combat waiver .
• Complete and Pass an Authorization Procedure officiated by a warranted Authorization Marshal and one Youth Rapier Marshal. This procedure will have two parts.
• A Brief Verbal Quiz to ensure that the candidate is familiar with the rules.
• Directed Combat with an authorized fighter to demonstrate safe use of the equipment and practical application of the rules.
• After the authorization procedure is completed and the candidate satisfies the requirements, the forms are completed and sent to the Authorization Card Deputy. The fighter will then be issued a card listing his/her authorizations. All cards must be signed by the Authorization Card Deputy, an R/PRM, or the KRM ONLY!
• If the candidate is not a member of the SCA, then in addition to having a waiver on file with his/her Group Rapier Marshal and the Authorization Card Deputy, a $10.00 fee will be assessed for the fighter card, (the same as with heavy fighting authorization cards). This is a one time fee.
• A copy of the completed authorization form, signed by the Authorizing Marshals, will serve as proof of authorization until the fighter receives his/her card.
• All additional authorizations can be noted on the Authorization Card.
• RAPIER: (to include offhand)
• DAGGER: (to include single Dagger and combined with Rapier)
• RIGID PARRY: (Buckler, Cane, Tankard, etc)
• SOFT PARRY: (Cloak, Hat, Puppet, etc.)
A combatant may use any combination of weapons he or she has authorizations for. (e.g. If you are authorized in both SOFT PARRY and DAGGER, then you may fight with Cloak & Dagger.)
• CASE: (two weapons of similar length) is a separate authorization. (Note: in order to fight with Case of Daggers, one must be authorized in both CASE and DAGGER.)
The RAPIER authorization must be completed first before any others are attempted. The other four may be done in any order the candidate chooses. The five authorizations may be attempted months apart or on the same day, providing there is ample time and the candidate has the energy.
• ADULT-FIGHTER AUTHORIZED: This gives the youth permission to fight against Adults at events, in tournaments and melees. This must be approved by the Parent and an authorization process. Only ages 16 and up may participate in melees.
VI – AUTHORIZATION AT AGE 18
When the student turns 18, the student shall contact the Kingdom Rapier Marshal. The Kingdom Rapier Marshal shall inform the area Authorization Marshal, and instruct them to do the following;
Consult with the Youth Rapier Marshal who is most familiar with the student.
• If it is felt that the student is competent to perform on an adult level with all of the forms that the student authorized in on the Youth Rapier Level, then the student will be awarded an adult-level card.
• If the YR Marshal feels that the student is lacking in an area, then the student will need to authorize formally according to the adult rules for that form.
VII – MARSHALLATE
The Youth Rapier Marshallate shall be comprised of those adults who are first, full adult Rapier Marshals, who have proven themselves to be knowledgeable in the art of Rapier, trustworthy and capable of working with the Youth of the Kingdom, in teaching the Youth the way of the blade. Their duties will not only include teaching and leading by example, but also the safety of the fighters at all times. If at any time the parents of the youth have questions or concerns, it is desired that first, they talk with the local Youth Rapier Marshal. If there is further need, then the Kingdom Youth Rapier Marshal should be contacted. Above this person, there is the Deputy Kingdom Rapier Marshal for Youth, then the Kingdom Rapier Marshal who is deputy to the Earl Marshal.
VIII – CHARGE FROM THE MARSHALLATE:
The Arte of Defense with Rapier is a privilege and not a right. Therefore, a marshal has the power and responsibility to recommend temporary or permanent cancellation of this privilege if the offending fighter behaves in an unsafe manner. Both scholar and master must abide by the rules of honor and the rules set forth in this handbook. Only one form of combat will be addressed: Rapier.
These rules are designed to promote safe rapier combat. However, no matter how clear or accurate, rules cannot replace common sense, good judgment, and concern for the participants. If a question arises when applying these standards, choose the answer that promotes the greatest degree of safety for all participants.