Rapier Marshal Meeting - Unevent 2019

Author: Master Brian de Moray, KRM

Last Modified: 2019-12-11

Revision: fc83eda



  • 94 active marshals
  • 23 MITs.
  • 2 Youth rapier marshals


  • 159 light rapier (16% increase)
  • 416 rapier (22% increase)
  • 109 C&T (20% increase)


  • 98 reports (7% decrease)
  • Only 4 event reports are missing
  • All submitted reports are reviewed
    • Submit a report for any problem/concern relating to rapier combat.
    • If it’s not reported, we can’t look into it.
  • The goal for reporting is to track trends, address concerns, and improve rapier. NOT to punish.


  • Whiplash, stiff neck,
  • 4x Concussion like symtoms (mild-headache following day, dissiness)
  • Minor abrasions from tips “Grabbing” skin
  • 2x Minor abrasion from finger being pinched between sword & guard
  • Minor abrasion from strike with an untipped sword
  • Minor abrasion from attempted parry with dagger that ended up having fingers impact weapon
  • Twisted knee
  • Multiple cases of heat exhaustion
  • Low-grade muscle tear from combat-archery with rapier
  • Torn muscle in the leg from tripping while moving off the field
  • Broken finger & sprain from thrust through guard and hit fingers

Equipment Failures

  • Multiple Cup failures. “Fell out”
  • Multiple blades broken at tang
  • Multiple darkwood tip blow-throughs
  • Multiple tips removed due to tape failure
  • Tip tape covering whole tip
  • Tip tape color matching tip
  • One “bird-blunt” tip failed (old tip, noticed between bouts)
  • Chip strap failed
  • Garments failed due to sewing issues (splitting at seems)
  • Shirts without gussets
  • Armor never been punch-tested
  • Glove torn due to tip getting entangled in glove

Discussion Topics

MOL interaction

  • Marshals must present their authorization card to the MOLs upon signing in to marshal a given activity.

Concussion Training

  • All particpants, both fighters and marshals, should take concussion training.
  • Signs and symptoms could be delayed, and might not even appear until mentally challenged.
  • Current research shows helmets do NOT prevent concussions.
  • Please take this free class from the University of Michigan’s Neuroscience department

Marshal’s Court

  • At the end of every activity (tourney, melee, etc), RMIC must gather all supporting marshals together and discuss the activity.
  • Identify and work through any identified issues.
  • Interact with fighters involved in said issues.
  • Write everything down, include it in the event report.
  • The RMIC must attempt ot resolve all issues that day, and report what actions were taken for any issues.

Your safety is your concern

  • We advocate “don’t hit your opponent hard.”
  • We advocate “take care of your opponents, they are your friends”
  • Plenty of positive examples:
    • A fighter trips, not attacking them as they get back up
    • Warning your opponent that they are about to back into a fence/tree
  • Handful of bad examples:
    • Abusing your opponent’s good will by charging them without concern for your own safety.
    • “I might get hit excessively, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take.”

Upcoming Kingdom Policy Changes

  1. Aligning category names
    • Current: Light rapier, heavy rapier, and C&T rapier
    • Proposed: Light rapier, Rapier, and Cut & Thrust
  2. Requiring seperate auths for two-handed weapons
    • Proposed:
      • Seperate authorization for two-handed weapons in rapier and Cut & Thrust
    • Why:
      • Historically, there have been extensive problems with two-handed weapons
      • Demonstrably different skill
      • Aligning with many other communities (and the armored community in Atlantia)
  3. Push cuts by default
    • Current: opt-in
    • Proposed: out-out
    • Why
      • Minimal observable difference
      • Limited risk in practice
      • Used within and outside of the SCA by novices and experts alike with no perceived additional issues
  4. Minimum length of draw cuts
    • Current: 8” of minimal travel
    • Proposed: remove minimal travel
    • Why
      • Society removing limit
      • Multiple places that 12” draw would not be effective (draw cut to the ribs)
      • Multiple places that 2” draw could be fatal (femoral arteries)
      • In practice, Atlantians make their own judgement call for efficacy

Latest Society Rules Draft

  • Out for public comment since late October
  • Expect this to go forwards with minimal changes

Changes from Society that will impact us

  • Grips can now be more than 1/3rd the length of the weapon.
    • Multiple previously banned weapons are now allowed (See: Katanas)
  • An opponent’s front is now defined by two things:
    • position of their shoulders
    • AND reasonably be seen by their opponent
  • Only “drop-tester” is valid for testing puncture resistant materials
    • Removes “Broken-foil” test
    • Darkwood sells a pre-made “kit”
    • Groups are encouraged to keep a “group-owned” tester
  • “Projectile equipment” now has detailed rules
    • Equipment construction, draw strength, line of fire, etc
    • Proposing that projectile equipment should role up under “combat archery with rapier” warrants and authorizations
  • Cloaks can now be thrown, targetting opponent’s arm or weapon (but not head)
    • I tried and observed this action within the WMA community with participants from the beginner to expert capabilities.
    • No inherently large change to the game or safety
  • Parry-only daggers are no longer banned
    • All blades must still be legal, but things like wooden daggers used only for parrying are no longer banned.
  • Fighters hit in the legs are now allowed to move about on their knees.
    • Historically, we have allowed “knee walk into engagement”, but this isn’t codified in policy.
    • No safety issue with knee walking.
    • Leaving the policy as is, and let the community decide how to proceed.
    • Marshals can add limits if they see fit
  • C&T Leg shots are no longer disabling
    • Allows knee fighting in C&T
    • Receiver can still determine a leg-shot is “disabling”
  • C&T melee is now allowed
    • Our participation had positive and extremely negative experiences
    • Intend to allow, but monitor carefully
    • Request a minimum ratio of at least 1 marshal to every 5 participants and detailed reporting

Changes once Society rules are approved

  1. Allowing rubber-headed spears
    • Current: Spears are banned
    • Proposed: Rubber-headed spears are allowed with auth (steel-tipped spears still banned)
    • Why
      • 9’ total length, rattan shaft, characteristics of the tip defined in society rules
      • Multiple people indicated interest
      • Multiple reported positive experiences at multiple inter-kingdom events (Gulfwars, Pennsic, etc)
      • Addresses multiple concerns from “steel-headed” spears.

Changes up for discussion

  1. Tip cuts
    • Current: opt-in
    • Proposed: opt-out
    • Discussion:
      • “Good” tip cuts are lethal in practice
      • “Bad” tip cuts are wouldn’t slice the skin of an apple
      • Significantly complex issue whenever members of our community travel to neighboring kingdoms, as we are not trained to deal with these blows.
      • PURELY cultural issue, NOT safety
    • Proposed:
      • Coordinated dissemination and demonstration of “good” and “bad” tip cuts
      • Work with marshals at large events to demonstrate and “required to accept” for the activity
      • Intent to move to an “opt-out” rather than “opt-in”