Armored Marshal 101 Class Outline

Last Modified: 2024-05-07 Revision: 83594b8

Introduction and Course Goals

The goal of the Armored 101 class is to provide individuals with the basic background required to begin a successful journey toward a marshal’s warrant. It is not an instruction in all rules of armored combat. This outline, in fact, assumes that the instructor and students are thoroughly familiar with the most recent edition of the Society Marshal’s Handbook and Kingdom Law as it relates to armored combat. When Armored 101 discusses specific rules, it should focus on those rules and standards that are relatively new, often confused or misapplied, or vary from Society norms. In addition, this course provides background in managing authorizations, interacting with combatants, and conducting inspections. It does not overlap with Field 201, also required of all marshals.

Prospective MITs are required to complete both Armored 101 and Field 201 before taking the field as MITs.

Please send comments to the Deputy Earl Marshal for Training.

Armor Standards and Inspections

How to Inspect

  • Remember, inspections are pass/fail first. Ensure that the fighter knows that he or she has passed or failed, and provide the reason for any failure. A fighter should be given the opportunity to remedy the failure and return to the marshal who failed the item for re-inspection.
  • If you wish to provide an opinion on an item, such as one that may be legal, but close to failure, be clear in your language so that the fighter understands that the information that you are offering is your opinion, not a requirement.
  • Conduct the inspection in the same order every time—this will help you avoid making errors
    • Have you signed in with the MOL?
    • Are you wearing groin protection?
    • Armor first, head to knees, then weapons
  • Helmet padding 0.5” closed-cell foam
    • Is it in good condition, non-compressed? If you have any reason at all to suspect that the padding does not comply with the standards, you must ask the fighter to remove the helm for inspection.
  • Helmet has no obvious cracked welds—look especially at the bar grill
  • Confirm that no rigid part of the helm comes in contact with the wearer’s body, particularly when pressure is applied to the front of the visor
  • Place your hand flat on the wearer’s visor and ask the fighter to lean forward with most of his/her weight on your hand. The helm should not shift in such a way that steel will touch the wearer.
  • Confirm that the helm has a chinstrap and that the fighter is wearing it. Regardless of the snugness of the fit, chinstrap use is required.


  • Don’t forget that .25” of closed cell foam or equivalent is required beneath a collar or aventail that comes in contact with larynx, cervical vertebrae, or 1st thoracic vertebra.
    • Padded gambeson is considered equivalent


  • No elbow cop is required if elbow is 4” or more from the shield edge during use.

Hand and wrist

  • Outer surfaces of hand to one inch above the wrist
  • Ice hockey glove use discouraged because of blatantly modern appearance
  • Shield alone is insufficient protection unless no part of a gloved hand is within 4” of the edge of shield when the hand is fully extended


  • Minimum of heavy leather worn over .25” closed cell foam or equivalent. The ZoomBang “Max Cov” Shirt is considered equivalent to this minimum.
  • Make sure armor covers the kidneys and floating ribs. While the right kidney tends to sit higher, your kidneys extend a couple of inches beneath the floating ribs.
    • Ask the fighter to raise their arms and reach around the fighter and check the area, or ask the fighter to turn around and check.


  • Knees should not rotate on fighter’s leg
    • Ask the fighter to bed at the knee and check that the knee covers the joint on both the interior and exterior of the joint
  • Making sure knees are visible or marked by some obvious pattern on the obscuring tunic or clothing
  • Footwear must provide “adequate protection and support for the terrain and activity of combat”
  • Footwear is covered by appearance rule


  • Edging to be constructed so as to minimize damage to rattan

Overall appearance 10’ rule

  • Intention is to improve the appearance of the field, not prevent people from playing
  • Fighter’s kit shall look medieval at a distance of 10’ or greater
  • In general, this means no obvious sports logos, fluorescent colors, etc.
  • Sports armor should be completely covered
  • Be especially polite and helpful in enforcement of this rule, but firm. This also applies to authorizing fighters. This is something that should be first addressed at the local practice level.
  • If an authorizing fighter does not meet this standard find out who is running their practice and talk to that marshal.

Weapon Standards and Inspections

One-handed weapons

  • In addition to rattan, natural (refers to color) polypropylene rod exactly 1.25” in diameter is allowed
  • Weapon edges and thrusting tips must be marked in a color that gives sufficient contrast to the color of the outer layer of tape on the sword
  • In Atlantia, butt spike is allowed on a single-handed weapon if no rigid surface (including a gauntleted hand) is within 4” of the butt spike
  • Thrusting tip must be equal to or greater than diameter of shaft, at least .75” of material in front of rigid weapon tip, and provide at least .375” (3/8 of an inch) progressive give.
  • Make sure tips, baskets, quillons, etc. are secured
  • Lanyards or equivalent (baskets are not equivalent) are required on all non-hafted weapons used in one hand, not required on backup weapons

Great swords

  • Atlantia distinguishes great weapons from pole arms, while the Society does not
  • Weapons shall be constructed of rattan of not less than 1.25” in diameter
  • No more than 6’ in length
  • Period in appearance
  • Ricasso above the quillons is allowed if it is clearly marked as lacking a cutting edge.
  • Grip not to exceed 18” below quillons
  • Per Society rules, thrusting tips on weapons 7.5’ or shorter must be the diameter of the weapon or greater, have 1.5” of “resilient material,” and provide “progressively resistant give.”

Pole arms

  • Verify maximum length (7.5’)
  • Weapons shall be constructed of rattan of not less than 1.25” in diameter
  • Check compression of thrusting tips—2” in diameter or greater and progressive give
  • Make sure that rigid surface poles will still compress under sharp impact
  • Verify period in appearance
  • Make sure there is not excessive flex in the weapon. It should not be able to swing over a proper shield block and still hit the defender
  • Verify not excessively heavy (<6 lbs)


  • Fiberglass spears shall be constructed with pultruded fiberglass shafts with an outside diameter of no less than 1.25 inch and no greater than 1 5/16 inch
  • 2” home-made tips are legal
  • Mandrake tips at present are not legal on fiberglass spears
  • Take care when inspecting tips that they do not fold over and that they provide progressive give. A “legal” tip from, say, Ice Falcon, is not prima facie legal if it has no give.
  • Atlantian max spear length=9’; Society max spear length=12’

Dual-weapon use

  • If a two-weapon fighter with ungauntleted hands drops a weapon in a tournament fight, a hold must be called because the fighter is no longer properly armored. That fighter should be provided with a gauntlet or basket to protect the hand, but should not be allowed to reclaim his/her weapon without the expressed consent of the opponent.
  • It is the responsibility of the MiC to have a solution for the fighter such as a gauntlet or sword basket with rattan handle.

Offensive shields

  • Prohibited under Atlantian policy


Selecting an usher

  • Try to select a fighter with at least three years of experience
  • They should be unflappable in personality and controlled in their fighting
  • Confirm with the usher that they must be willing to be struck by the authorizing fighter, to deliberately leave openings
  • Best, but not required, to use a fighter from a group outside of the authorizing fighters group. (barony, shire)

Selecting marshals

  • Authorizing marshals should be experienced individuals who know armored combat well
  • They must be willing to let the authorizing fighter stand on his or her own merits and be willing to fail an individual
  • At least one marshal must be from a group outside of the authorizing fighter group. (barony, shire)


  • Authorizing fighter must have read the rules of the list and must demonstrate a command of them.
  • Marshals should not answer questions for fighters, nor provide hints
  • Authorizing fighter should be encouraged to demonstrate a point (of say, how to obtain engagement) if he/she cannot express the requirements clearly verbally
  • Authorizing fighter may not proceed to the fighting phases unless he or she has demonstrated a thorough knowledge of the rules of the list, particularly engagement and target zones.


  • Provide clear instruction to both the authorizing fighter and the user:
    • Phase 1 the usher is primarily defensive, and the authorizing fighter fighters to the best of his/her ability. Both fighters should call the location of a blow and whether it is light or good
    • Phase 2 the usher is expected to be much more active on offense. Both fighters should call the location of a blow and whether it is light or good
    • Phase 3, the usher and authorizing fighter fight as in phase two, but act out and acknowledge all blows as in a tournament
    • Phase 1 should be relatively brief—does the fighter show baseline competence and the ability to throw a telling blow
    • Phase 2 should be longer and include real pressure from the usher. The goal is to confirm that the authorizing fighter will not react to stress in an unsafe manner.
    • Phase 3 Authorizing fighter is expected to demonstrate correct behavior at the loss of a limb and the ability to “die” defensively as on a melee field.

Criteria for passing with Weapon and Shield

  • Authorizing fighter must be able to deliver a telling blow
  • Authorizing fighter must have sufficient defense that the usher is not striking him/her at will. Fighter should adjust defense to protect different parts of the body as blows are thrown to those areas
  • Authorizing fighter must behave and fight in such a fashion as to not be a danger to himself/herself or others
  • Examples of unacceptable behavior would include:
    • failing to stop on the call of Hold
    • cringing or dropping of defense when not in hold
    • striking the user repeatedly with a shield or something other than the striking surface of the weapon
    • The level of skill required and described above should be considered: “competence”

Criteria for authorizing with Spear

  • “Competence” as described above, plus a demonstration of the different force level required of blows to the face vs. blows to other parts of the body

Criteria for authorizing with Great Sword, Dual Weapon, Pole Arm

  • A higher standard applies as these weapons require a greater degree of skill to use with safety for the fighter and opponents
  • Authorizing fighter must demonstrate the ability to conduct attacks in series, incorporating multiple blows and/or feints
  • Authorizing fighter must demonstrate a defense capable of protecting against complex attacks such as described above
  • Must show control over the weapon and the power generated when throwing blows


  • It is the responsibility of the authorizing fighter to obtain all appropriate signatures on paperwork before the end of the event day

Injuries on the field

  • Marshals (generally speaking) are not physicians, but do have a responsibility to the safety of fighters under their management. Fighters should be allowed to monitor their own level of injury and gauge their ability to engage in combat activities. Some special cases, however, are mentioned below:

    Bloodborne pathogens

  • Fighters with freely flowing wounds must be removed from the field until the wounds can be dressed in such a way to prevent blood (or vomit) from coming into contact with other participants in the activities of the day
  • Marshals should seek to identify the root cause of any cut or bloody injury to confirm that the armor and weapons of the participants continue to meet Society standards


  • Fighters who are rendered unconscious may not return to the field that day and should be encouraged to seek professional medical care
  • Some signs and symptoms of a concussion are:
    • Blank stare, dazed look
    • Changes to balance, coordination, reaction time
    • Delayed or slowed spoken or physical responses
    • Disorientation (confused about time, date, location, game)
    • Loss of consciousness/blackout (occurs in less than 10% of cases)
    • Memory loss of event before, during, or after injury occurred
    • Slurred/unclear speech
    • Vomiting

MIT Program


  • Attempt to ensure a uniformity of training and experience among the marshallate such that rules are being enforced in the same way across the kingdom
  • Provide new marshals with the mental toolkit necessary to manage fights and uphold armor and weapons standards in potentially stressful situations
  • REMEMBER: MITs are NOT marshals and cannot, on their own, monitor fights, inspect weapons, or sign off on paperwork.

Role of mentor

  • Provide guidance and practical instruction to the MIT
  • Certify the competence of the MIT

Marshalling a fight

How to watch a fight

  • As the fighters are entering the list, visually inspect them to confirm that there is no obviously missing or defective armor.
  • A marshal should stand in a location relative to the fight that provides the maximum ability to view the fight this means as the fight moves you may need to move as well.
  • A marshal should be able to notify call hit location and whether a blow was delivered edge-on or flat. A marshal may NOT call whether a blow is good or not

Spectator management

  • Marshals must keep spectators and unarmored fighters outside of the safety zones around the outside of the list.

Showmanship and field presence

  • It is expected that marshals will adhere to the same period appearance rules as are required of fighters (preferably exceeding them)
  • Marshals should conduct themselves in a calm and chivalrous manner at all times
  • Marshal should identifiable to spectators and fighters as a marshal from a distance by wearing the badge of the office and having a marshal’s staff.