Fighting in the SCA evolved from what happened when two armed knights were unhorsed and had to fight on the ground. Armoured combat, or “heavy combat” as it is often called, is a modern interpretation of how armoured combatants would have fought, and we evolve our skills as our members research and practice. We use rattan weapons instead of steel. Rattan, surprisingly enough, is springy enough to absorb some of the force of the blow 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 or guard. Our members craft or buy armour to defined standards dictated by SCA rules. We do properly hit each other, so armour is important. Since we prefer that no one get hurt, SCA fighting is done with real armor (made with leather, metal, padding, kydex, etc.).
Official training sessions, as well as competitions, are supervised by trained people known as marshals. Armoured combat is practiced by men and women alike and we welcome everyone over 16 years of age. A great deal of skill in armoured combat in the SCA lies in technique rather than in strength or size. As a beginner, you will probably need to start with slow work, then borrow armour as you start to build up a basic set to fight in. Before being allowed to fight in tournaments, each fighter must prove to a panel of marshals that he or she is competent to fight on his or her own. If the panel decides the fighter is safe — that is, unlikely to hurt him- or herself or an opponent — they authorize him or her to fight in tournaments.
An essential part of training is also being 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 or her opponent is victorious.
Our day and weekend events will usually have an armoured combat tourney. Again, you must be authorised.
You can find out much more about Armoured combat in the SCA on the Insulae Draconis website.
Sounds great, how can I get started?
At the moment we offer heavy fighting classes in Limerick by arrangement.
Contact: Our Knight Marshal Lord Eplaheimr-Jin Unegen (Yann Coussot) | Email the Knight Marshal.