For Fighters - Combat Resources
Archery, Boffer, Light Combat and Siege Links
Medieval combat with swords, shields and armour is great fun, but like any sport, there are rules and regulations to ensure the safety of the players (and spectators).
The Rules of the Lists set out the Society's standards on weapons and armour, and how hard the fighters are allowed to hit each other. The SCA has a good safety record and we consider our sport safer than playing rugby; however, as with any sport, there is an inherent risk involved. We try to make participants aware of the dangers, and insist on responsible behaviour.
Most local groups offer some form of fighter training. See the Events Calendar for the next fighters' practice. A fighter must be authorized in order to fight in tourneys and wars. Authorization is done to confirm that the novice knows the rules of combat and is sufficiently skilled so that he or she will not be a danger to himself or to others on the field. Combat Authorisation Forms for adults and minors can be found here.
Fighters are responsible for obtaining their own armour and weapons. Some people make most of their armour, using metal, leather, or plastic, but most buy pieces, either new or used. Sub-standard equipment is not allowed, so before making any armour, or weapons you will need to contact the local knight marshal and get a copy of the safety standards and requirements.
The notes below about possible sources of SCA combat gear should not be regarded as endorsements of any of the suppliers noted. Always start by asking on the Southron Gaard Discussion list, just in case one of our members has some stock of what you are seeking, or can offer good, up-to-date advice about where to look.
- Leather for armour etc.: The most common source locally is Lapco, 93-97 Clarence St, Tel: 343 3892.
- Rattan for swords and pole weapons: Rattan Competitive Cane, Unit 21/80 Waltham Rd, tel 027 432 3911. The owner, Tony, is typically very helpful, and sells rattan for roughly $30 per 3-4m length; you can cut them on-site for transport if necessary. Typically you want poles in the 30-32mm diameter range. He can arrange couriering to other cities at very reasonable rates if you ask him to first cut poles to 2.4m or less.
- Fibre/"strapping" tape for arrows, swords etc. 3M catalogue number 8957NA for the 1" width. It can be bought at Shardlows in Saxon St, between Cashel and Tuam Sts, near (a little beyond) Fitzgerald Ave. In Australia, can be easily bought at Bunnings, Mitre 10 etc. for about $A9 a roll.
- Mesh for your helm (during combat archery): Coulter Wire Works, 63 Coleridge St Sydenham, Christchurch, Tel 366 0636. Always try for offcuts, or sometimes they have "near-new" mesh. Buying new should always be the last resort. If you end up in the offcuts section make sure that you have a good pair of gloves! Also take along a sample of legal mesh to make sure that they know what you are after.
- Rapier/fencing gear: Fencing masks and mundane jackets can be bought locally at Mainland Fencing Equipment, 30 Hillview Road, Phillipstown, Christchurch. firstname.lastname@example.org, 03 365 8281.
- Combat Archery blunts (Riverhaven Mk II): These are often available locally in small quantities, or from THL Emrys (below). Otherwise, you can import them for around $A1.10 each, plus postage, by contacting the Seneschal of either the Barony of River Haven, or the Barony of Politarchopolis. See this page for contact information for these groups.
- Period bows and other archery gear: THL Emrys Tudur, from the Barony of Ildhafn (Auckland) is frequently able to supply period-style bows, arrows, feathers, shafts, points and blunts, and often travels to these parts. You can contact him at: this address.
- General archery gear: Aim-Tru Archery, 34 Mowbray St, Waltham, Tel: 962 5920.
- Patterns for armour, helms etc. Probably the best online resource is Armour Archives, who also have excellent support forums. Other examples from Master Gwynfor Lwyd can be found here. And a set of resources for making the additional society minimum armour required for combat archery by August 2008 is accumulating here.
- You can directly order armour items from good SCA suppliers such as Tara Forge and Stonekeep Armoury. There are many other suppliers to be found on the Web but you need to be very sure their equipment is SCA-legal.
- Patterns for gambesons and the like may be found here and this site has basic armour patterns as well.
- General "stuff": A browse around the Super Shed recycling centre in Pages Rd can often turn up useful things at drastically low prices, and Terra Nova in Buchanans Rd, Hornby can help you source "waste" products with similar potential for taking on a new SCA life.
Lord Dieter is available to assist with any kind of armouring project -- creation, maintenance, repair... Tel: 03 360 0909.
Archery in the SCA takes two forms: target and combat. Target archery consists of target shoots with longbow, recurve or crossbow (not compound) at a series of standard ranges. Arrows must be wooden with feather fletching. The Barony participates in Inter-Kingdom Archery Competitions from time to time, and archery practices are held regularly (see the Events Calendar).
Combat archery usually mixes "heavy" fighters, armed with traditional SCA weaponry such as sword and shield, with archers, who are armed with bow and arrows or possibly siege weapons. Combat is typically held at camping events, such as Canterbury Faire, where different scenarios are used to mix the two fighting forms. There are important safety rules governing this sort of combat.
All fighters in combat involving archers must have legal mesh on their helm so that arrows cannot get through the bars. Bows for combat archery are permitted to pull no more than 30lbs at 28 inches for longbows and recurves; crossbows no more than 600 inch-pounds. Compound bows are not permitted, and you should not plan on travelling with a crossbow to Australian events.
Blunts on arrows must be the approved Kingdom standard, which is "Riverhaven Mk II" blunts. These must be securely taped to the arrow shaft -- gluing is discouraged and taping across the striking surface of the blunt is not permitted. Shafts must be wooden, no more than 8mm (5/16") diameter and bound in fibre tape.
For further detailed information, check out the materials available from the links referenced in the Archery box above.
Marshal and Lists Assistance
Marshals are responsible for overseeing the conduct of our martial arts activities, including but not limited to tournament lists, wars, combat archery and period fencing, as well as such related activities as target archery.
The Barony welcomes anyone interested in contributing to the safety and enjoyment of combat. Our Marshals are happy to take on MITs (Marshals In Training) to assist with our various combat forms. If you'd like to become an MIT, please contact the Baronial Marshal. NB: You do not have to be a fighter to become a Marshal!
Another important combat-related administration position is the Lists Officer, responsible for organising the fighting order in tournaments and recording the results. If you would like to assist with this by taking note of results, or acting as a runner between the marshals and the lists, contact the Lists Officer.
Some tourneys require you to have a "list-shield", a small wooden shield with your device, badge or other symbol. These are displayed on a list-tree to mark the progress of the tourney (see an example in this image from Midwinter Coronation 2007). A template for a correctly-sized list-shield, devised by Lord William de Wyke, may be found here.