Our heavy fighting includes the use of Siege Engines as well as combat
Archery, when conditions permit. Heavy fighting encompasses both melee or
"battle" fighting as well as one on one "tournament" combat.
Both forms use the medieval "training swords" or wooden swords in the
foot combat mode - no hitting from horses. In all cases - safety first! The
regulations vary from Kingdom to Kingdom.
For information on the web, you can go to the Kingdom's
or the Society's website http://sca.org/chivarts.html.
To see fighters in action, there is weekly fighter
practice at the Barony of Cynnabar (Ann Arbor, MI) practice on Sunday
afternoons, with information at http://marshal.cynnabar.org/,
or the Barony of North Woods fighter practice (in Lansing, MI) at the field
behind Demonstration Hall (MSU Campus--Red Cedar and Chestnut Roads; just west
of Spartan Stadium) from 6 - 9 pm on Wednesdays, weather permitting.
Below taken from
Fighting in the SCA evolved from what happened when two armed knights were
unhorsed and had to fight on the ground. It resembles nothing so much as
medieval foot tournaments. There are two basic types of SCA fights: single
combat, and group or team battles, known as melees.
SCA fighting does have rules. The first, and most important rule, is that
each and every fighter on the field has honor. The fighter keeps faith with his
honor by accepting blows that would be killing or wounding (more about this a
The second basic principle is like the first; A fighter keeps faith with his
brother fighters by acknowledging his opponent's word -- if he says a blow was
too light to cause injury, then it was light.
Since we prefer that no one get hurt, SCA fighting is done with real armor
(made with leather, metal, padding, kydex, etc) and rattan swords. Rattan is
that bamboo-y stuff, only with a solid core, that furniture is made of. Rattan,
surprisingly enough, is springy enough to absorb some of the force of the blow
(although blows are *real solid*) and light enough to approximate a real steel
sword. Swords are made by wrapping rattan staffs with strapping tape, covering
them with duct tape for aesthetic reasons, and attaching some sort of crosspiece
Armor is much more complex -- some armor, being made of steel, rivets,
leather, etc, can take more than 40 hours per piece of armor (for example, a
gauntlet, or armored glove, with moving fingers and joints can take upwards of
75 hours to complete). There are several essential and required pieces of armor
-- a helm, and protection for the neck, cervical vertebrae, elbows, knees,
kidneys, hands, and groin. In addition, most SCA fighters wear chest, leg, arm
and forearm, and foot protection.
Before being allowed to participate in combat without close supervision, each
fighter is trained by senior fighters, known as "marshals." This
training aims at ensuring that the fighter is safe to himself or herself and to
others, and typically lasts a few months. As part of this training, the novice
fighter is taught how to recognize a "good" blow. Each fighter judges
whether blows received in combat strike hard enough to do injury through armor.
If the blow is "good" to an arm or leg, the fighter will give up use
of that limb; if the blow is good to the head or body, the fighter is
"dead," and falls to the ground, signaling that his opponent is
At the end of training, each fighter must prove to a panel of marshals that
he is competent to fight on his own. If the panel decides the fighter is safe
(not good, you understand, but unlikely to hurt him or herself or an opponent)
they authorized him or her to fight in tournaments. This process (from starting
to fight to being authorized) can take from a couple of months to a year or
For more information, see above.