Steel Marshal 101 Class Outline

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


While marshalling armored steel combat has commonalities with rapier or rattan marshaling, the training will concentrate on safety to a higher degree because of the potential for injury from faulty equipment. MITs can expect to shadow experienced marshals at several events and demonstrate understanding of the rules, armor requirements, how to run tournaments, and how to control fights.

This document is a bare outline of training for this discipline and must be used in conjunction with a copy of the rules. Marshals in Training should have read the rules prior to attending this class to simplify discussions.

Inspection Duties

  1. A few tools will be required to complete inspections
    1. A small measuring tape and a thickness gauge
    2. A metal file
    3. A means of checking face grill opening
    4. A luggage or ‘fish’ scale
  2. Required armor (see rules for specifics)
    1. Helmet of appropriate material and thickness
      1. Must have a chin strap
      2. Padding must provide progressive give.
      3. Verify padding has not deteriorated to the point it is no longer effective
      4. Needs proper eye protection
      5. Must not have any protrusions or fit in such a way as parts of the metal can not come in contact with the head or face
    2. Appropriate arm armor
      1. Rigid elbow protection that covers the three points
      2. Rigid vambrace
      3. Rigid rerebrace protection (could be provided by shoulder armor)
      4. Rigid protection for collarbones and shoulders
      5. Clamshell style rigid gauntlets. Finger gauntlets may be allowed with the use of finger shields. A basket hilt and rigid demi-gauntlet is acceptable.
    3. Appropriate torso protection
      1. Rigid Neck/ throat/c-spine protection with padding
      2. Semi Rigid torso protection that can distribute strike
      3. Rigid protection over the Iliac crest (hip bone)
    4. Appropriate leg protection
      1. Rigid cuisses
      2. Rigid knee protection that covers the three points
      3. Rigid shin protection (greaves)
  3. Weapons and shields inspections
    1. There will be no sharp protrusions or edges that could cause injury
    2. Swords will be checked for burrs before and after each bout
    3. Guards on swords may not protrude more than 35MM past the gauntlet while being held.
    4. Slivers and burrs once noticed must be removed immediately with a file
    5. Verify the shields fall within the parameters set forth in the rules

Note: The use of modern materials is acceptable as long as they meet the requirements noted above and maintain a reasonable appearance of pre 16th century armor and clothing. Unlike HMB, IMCF and similar organizations we do not have an ‘authenticity test.’

Event Marshal

  1. Determine the tournament format(s) for the day
    1. Timed for most counted blows
    2. Count to X blows
    3. Gallery judged
    4. Other
  2. Arrange for MOL and Judge support (see note)
    1. Do you have the needed judges
    2. Do you have MOL support
    3. Do you have counters
  3. Coordinate MIC for appropriate field space with safety zones
  4. Ensure the materials for setting up the list are available
  5. Support assistant marshal(s), AKA Field Marshals, with armor and weapons inspections
  6. Ensure the list is set up per the rules
  7. File an event report for each day of fighting

Field Marshal

  1. Perform armor and weapons inspections.
  2. Call fighters to the field.
  3. Brief inspection of combatants armor and weapons as they take the field
    1. Make sure the fighter has legal hand protection.
    2. Make sure armor has not slipped or in some other way become compromised.
  4. Call judges and time keeper to the field as needed.
  5. Verify judges assigned to each fighter and they are prepared.
  6. Verify the time keeper is prepared.
  7. Start the bout with ‘Lay on’ or similar phrase in a manner that notifies the fighters, judges and time keeper (if used).
    1. Observe fight and fighters for
      1. proper use of weapons and shields
      2. illegal techniques
      3. armor/weapon failures
      4. combatants approaching and stepping over the list limit
  8. Watch for safety issues
    1. People straying into safety boundaries
    2. field hazards
    3. combatant exhaustion
    4. weather conditions (thunder/lightning),
  9. Track additional points or penalties as per rules
  10. Stop and recenter fighters if one should stray from the list boundaries.
  11. Stop the fight when the victory condition/time limit is reached
  12. Repeat if the fight is a multi-round fight.
  13. Ensure that the MOL is able to collect scores.

    Note: As field staff is being built for this discipline, marshals may participate in the tournaments as well as marshal. This exception will be rescinded once the available pool of marshals increases to above 15.

Upon Completion of Tournament

  1. Check field for discarded armor, weapons, tools, etc.
  2. File Steel Marshal Activity report:
    1. Document any injuries
    2. Document any fighter safety/behavior issues
    3. Document armor failures (Include picture, age and maker information)
    4. Document weapons failures (include picture, age and maker information


  1. Selecting an usher
    1. Try to select a fighter with at least three years of experience if possible.
    2. They should be unflappable in personality and controlled in their fighting.
    3. Confirm with the willingness of the to be struck by the authorizing fighter and to deliberately leave openings.
    4. Best, but not required, to use a fighter from a group outside of the authorizing fighters group. (barony, shire)
  2. Selecting marshals
    1. There should be two authorizing marshals who are experienced individuals who know steel combat well.
    2. They must be willing to let the authorizing fighter stand on his or her own merits and be willing to fail the individual.
    3. At least one marshal should be from a group outside of the authorizing fighter group (This can be waived if impractical during the early building phase of this discipline.)
  3. Questions
    1. Authorizing fighter must have read the rules of the list and must demonstrate a command of them.
    2. Marshals should not answer questions for fighters, nor provide hints
    3. Authorizing fighter should be encouraged to demonstrate a point (of say, how to obtain engagement) if he/she cannot express the requirements clearly verbally
    4. The 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.
  4. Phases
    1. Provide clear instruction to both the authorizing fighter and the usher.
      1. Phase 1- Ushers are primarily defensive, and the authorizing fighters fights to the best of their ability. These will be judged by the flurry with judging and marshal feedback as to quality of blows and safety. A flurry is defined as an active period of uninterrupted blows in continual sequence. Phase 1 should be relatively brief—do fighters show baseline competence and the technical ability to throw a blow.
      2. Phase 2- Ushers will be much more active on offense. Also judged by the flurry with judging and marshal feedback as to quality and safety. Phase 2 should be longer and include real pressure from ushers. The goal is to confirm that authorizing fighters will not react to stress in an unsafe manner.
      3. Phase 3- Ushers and authorizing fighters shall fight a full tournament bout for 60 seconds with judging and marshal input at the conclusion of the bout. In phase 3 authorizing fighters are expected to demonstrate correct behavior and safety as they tire.
  5. Criteria for passing with Arming Sword/Shield or Longsword
    1. Authorizing fighters must be able to deliver a blow with correct technique.
    2. Authorizing fighters must have sufficient defense that ushers do not strike them at will. Fighters should adjust defense to protect different parts of the body as blows are thrown to those areas.
    3. Authorizing fighters must behave and fight in such a fashion as to not be a danger to themselves or others.
    4. The fighters’ equipment is also being judged. If the fighter is hurt or deems themselves hurt by an otherwise lawful strike the fighter’s equipment shall be deemed inadequate and the authorization halted.
    5. Examples of unacceptable behavior would include:
      1. failing to stop on the call of Hold
      2. cringing or dropping of defense when not in hold
      3. striking the user repeatedly with a shield or something other than the striking surface of the weapon
    6. The level of skill required and described above should be considered: “competence.”
  6. Paperwork: It is the responsibility of authorizing fighters 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:

  1. Bloodborne pathogens
    1. 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.
    2. 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 SCA and Kingdom standards.
  2. Concussions
    1. Fighters who are rendered unconscious may not return to the field that day and should be encouraged to seek professional medical care.
    2. Some signs and symptoms of a concussion are:
      1. Blank stare, dazed look
      2. Changes to balance, coordination, reaction time
      3. Delayed or slowed spoken or physical responses
      4. Disorientation (confused about time, date, location, game)
      5. Loss of consciousness/blackout (occurs in less than 10% of cases)
      6. Memory loss of event trauma before, during, or after injury occurred
      7. Slurred/unclear speech
      8. Vomiting

Training Requirement for Steel Marshal 101

  1. Trainees must complete a Steel Marshal 101 class.
  2. Trainees must complete an MIT experience. Trainees need to complete an observation period of at least 4 events, one of which is outside of their “region” in Atlantia, under the mentorship of an experienced steel marshal/mentor. This period will include training in all duties required for a tournament. More experience may be required at the discretion of the training marshal/mentor, Deputy Marshal of Steel Combat or Kingdom Earl Marshal.
  3. Role of mentors:
    1. Provide guidance and practical instruction to MITs.
    2. Certify the competence of MITs.

REMEMBER: MITs are NOT marshals and cannot, on their own, monitor fights, inspect weapons, or sign off on paperwork.

Purpose of this program

  1. To ensure a uniformity of training and experience among the marshallate such that rules are being enforced in the same way across the kingdom.
  2. Provide new marshals with the mental toolkit necessary to manage fights and uphold armor and weapons standards in potentially stressful situations.