Author: Master Brian de Moray, KRM
Last Modified: 2018-07-27
The Society Rapier Marshal (SRM) published an approved update to the society rapier rules. This update includes additional requirements for hand protection for those participating in Cut & Thrust. These rules will not be enforced until the start of Pennsic 2018 (July 27th, 2018). As such, you have a short period of time to bring your kit into compliance with the new rules.
Specifically, the rules have the following additional requirements:
For cut and thrust rapier, hands and wrists require additional protection from being struck by percussive blows: a. Areas of the backs of gloved hands, fingers and thumbs, to one inch above the wrist of both arms not protected by a hilt, parrying device, or rigid armor must, at a minimum, be protected by an additional layer of 1/4" open cell foam or equivalent resilient padding. b. If any combatant is using a two-handed weapon, all combatants in the bout must have rigid protection for areas listed in 2.D.v.a. Examples of acceptable protection include (but not limited to): i. Gauntlets or demi-gauntlets made of rigid material covering areas not protected by the weapon's guard. ii. Commercial products such as Koning gloves, SPES Heavy gloves or hockey gloves which satisfy these requirements. (Note: Blatantly modern gloves are discouraged at official events and practices without attempting to cover logos and modern materials.)
The wording could use work, but evidence collected from a society level shows a trend that needed addressed. In the last three years, 811 C&T combatants received 18 reported hand injuries. In contrast, 4159 heavy rapier combatants received 5 reported hand injuries in the same time period. Additionally, our kingdom accounts for 3 out of the 18 injuries reported in the last 3 years, and so our kingdom is not excluded from the trend that needs corrected.
When evaluating protection needed, please understand the additional protection is intended to address percussive blows, not thrusts.
Marshals inspecting C&T armor to follow these new rules will need to do the following:
For the purposes of the inspection, you will be using a true-edge, vertical, and direct falling cut. You can perform this with a dagger or sword.
The following pictures show a fighter holding a swept hilt rapier with a demi gauntlet, with the marshal striking from a 45 degree to the right in the 3 hand positions. A complete inspection would repeat the same checks being parallel and 45 degrees to the left of the blade.
This picture is showing a strike with the palm down, from 45 degrees to the right. In this picture, the guard and demi gauntlet are acceptable.
The second, palm up, 45 degrees to the right. In this picture, the guard and demi gauntlet are acceptable.
The third, thumb up, 45 degrees to the right. In this picture, the back of the thumb is exposed.
When facing a single handed weapon, this fighter would need to add the equivalent of 1/4” open cell foam to the exposed area on of their thumb. When facing a two-handed weapon, this fighter would need to add rigid component to the exposed area of their thumb.
The following are examples of appropriate armor for use when fighting with a two-handed weapon with appropriate fit. Other equipment may meet the above requirements.
The following are examples of appropriate armor for use when fighting with a one-handed weapon against another one handed weapon. Other equipment may meet the above requirements.
None of these examples of equipment is necessarily an endorsement of the product.
For those looking to make demi-gauntlets, the following patterns may help.
Society rapier rules define rigid materials with the following guidelines:
Rigid material: resistant material that will not significantly flex, spread apart, or deform under pressure of 12 Kg applied by a standard mask tester, 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 hardened heavy leather (8 ounce, 3.18 mm)