Atlantian Rapier Rules



These are the rules of rapier combat for the Kingdom of Atlantia, as set out in the Kingdom GreatBook of Laws (Acorn Red Tape Issue). The copy provided here is not the official copy; in case of dispute,the official source is the hard copy Acorn Red Tape Issue. The official version of the Red Tape Issue is available electronically at the Kingdom of Atlantia Web Page. The more official electronic version of these rules can be found at the Altantian Marshal's Website. The official numbering of the rules is based on that copy. This version is, however, easier to use, and more nicely formatted (Thanks, Melys!). It may be downloaded, printed and distributed freely, for the purpose of supporting the advance of the Art of Defence.

These rules have been updated (1/20/97) to reflect changes that became official as of the January issue of the Acorn. The additions are between [square brackets]; please read these rules carefully to be sure you are aware of these recent changes!

The Atlantian Rapier Rules of Combat are courtesy of Angharad Melys, Free Scholar.

 

A. Rapier Conventions of Combat

B. Rapier Combat Weapons Standards

C. Rapier Combat Armor Standards

D. Rapier Authorizations

E. Rules of the List


A. RAPIER CONVENTIONS OF COMBAT


1. DEFINITIONS

1.1

A Valid Blow is any thrust with positive force towards the opponent in line with the blade or any draw cut using at least 12" (about 1/3) of the blade. [At their option, schlager combatants may choose to acknowledge blows of other nature, for example, cuts or scratches as outlined in section 3A.1.2.7.]

1.2

To Draw Cut is to pull the blade away from the opponent while the blade maintains noticeable and constant pressure against the opponent. Push Cuts which are delivered by pushing the blade towards the opponent are not allowed.

1.3

To Win is to render one's opponent unable or disinclined to continue, for any reason. (See 2.7below)

1.4

Critical Areas are those which are especially vulnerable to valid draw cuts, and include areas where deep cuts threaten arteries, veins and vital organs, such as


2. CONVENTIONS

2.1

Target Area is the entire body. Fighters are considered to be fighting in a shirt and hosen or a skirt, and no blow may be discounted because of the actual clothing worn by the fighter.

2.2

A Killing Blow consists of any valid thrust to the head, neck, or torso; or a valid draw cut to any critical area. (See 1.4 above).

2.3

A Valid Blow (thrust or cut) to an arm or leg will cause the loss of the use of that limb.

2.4

A Valid Blow to a hand will cause the loss of that hand. The arm may still be used for parrying, but the hand may not grip, hold, or push.

2.5

A blade may be parried by the off (non-weapon) hand or arm, but the blade may not be grasped or trapped under any circumstance.

2.6

Fighters should realize that the blunt, flexible foil blades we use are far more likely to glance off the body or mask than the rigid, razor sharp rapier blades they represent. Any contact between the body and a blade would cause a cut or wound, even if the thrust or draw was insufficient to cause major injury. A fighter may withdraw because of a disabling wound, because of accumulated damage or blood loss, or because of any small scratch (depending upon the agreements previously made by the combatants) or upon the fighter's discretion, considering the state of medicine in period...

2.7

It is unlikely that most rapier combat in period was of the "fight to the death" variety. Fighters are encouraged to fight to some condition of victory other than death, using rules such as First- or Second-Blood to determine victory, and to make every effort to simulate the actual effects of wounds received, taking into account pain, loss of blood, etc. In period, duelists who had even a minor wound had to consider the odds of permanent disability, and so would be unlikely to continue all but the most dire of conflicts after being wounded.


B. RAPIER COMBAT WEAPONS STANDARDS

All weapons or devices to be used in the list shall be inspected by a Rapier Marshall for safety and compliance with the following rules prior to use.


1. RAPIERS

1.1

[The standard blade is a #5 practice foil or epee, or practice schlager. No other blades may be used, except that blades of these types of non-standard lengths may be used with the consent of the fighters and of the Rapier Marshall in Charge.]

1.2

Blades shall be in good condition, having a single gradual curve [(except for schlager blades which need no gradual curve)] and no cracks, kinks or multiple curves.

1.3

Epee or foil tips must be covered by a standard plastic or rubber foil tip, in good condition. [Schlager tips shall be ground so as to have no sharp edges, and be covered by a standard rubber/plastic archery birdblunt, with the end of the blunt covered by a coin or other metal disc (or the equivalent). In the case of all types of rapier, the tip shall be] securely fastened so as not to be dislodged during combat. [The use of a contrasting color of tape or adhesive that makes it obvious when a tip has been lost is strongly recommended.]

1.4

Guards may not have openings large enough to admit the point of a tipped blade in normal combat. All guards should be padded on the grip side.

1.5

Quillons shall be no longer than 12 inches, tip to tip. The ends may not be sharp or otherwise dangerous in combat. Quillons or guards designed to break blades are prohibited.

1.6

Pistol grips of all types are not period and are not allowed.


2. DAGGERS

2.1

Metal Flexi-blades obtained through modern fencing suppliers are the standard dagger blade. No other type of blade is allowed.

2.2

Dagger blades may be at most 18" long.

2.3

The blades, guards and quillons of daggers shall meet the same standards as rapiers, excepting that the curve in the dagger blade is recommended, not required. (See 1.2 - 1.6 above)


3. BUCKLERS

3.1

Bucklers shall be made of light weight materials (quarter-inch plywood or sole leather are good examples), and may be no larger than 18" in any direction.

3.2

Bucklers which can catch or trap blades shall not be used.

3.3

Bucklers shall be so made as to present no hazard (splintered edges, raised bolts, etc) to the bearer or his/her opponent.


4. SOFT PARRYING DEVICES

4.1

Soft parrying devices include (but are not limited to) cloaks, hats, gloves, and any other non-rigid articles that might be used for parrying in combat.

4.2

Soft parrying devices shall be recognizable as the original item.

4.3

Soft parrying devices may be weighted or stiffened with cloth or padding, but not with metal or any rigid material.

4.4

It is illegal to trap and hold a blade with a soft parrying device.


5. HARD PARRYING DEVICES

5.1

Hard parrying devices include (but are not limited to) scabbards, pistols, candlesticks, and any other rigid articles that might be used for parrying in combat.

5.2

Hard parrying devices may be constructed of any safe material. They may not have sharp corners, rough or splintered edges, holes that could admit the point of a tipped blade, or be too heavy or in any way dangerous.

5.3

It is illegal to use any hard parrying device to attack one's opponent, whether by slapping, striking, or thrusting.


6. OTHER WEAPONS

6.1

Mugs, bottles, fish, sausages, loaves of bread, and other strange weapons shall be inspected by a warranted Rapier Marshal and used only with the consent of all parties involved.

6.2

Soft materials such as cloth, foam, and tape are recommended for construction of improvised weapons.

6.3

No weapon may be thrown in rapier combat. Exceptions to this rule may be made on provisional basis for certain combat scenarios with the approval of the Rapier Marshal-in-Charge. All missile weapons used in such a scenario must be inspected and approved by the Rapier Marshal-in-Charge, and may be used only with the consent of all parties involved.


7. WEAPON FAMILIARITY

7.1

It is ultimately the responsibility of each fighter to resolve any questions about what weapons are being used before combat begins.


C. RAPIER COMBAT ARMOR STANDARDS

All combatants shall be inspected by a Rapier Marshall for safety and compliance with the following rules prior to engaging in combat.


1. DEFINITIONS

1.1

Impenetrable Material is material able to withstand four hard thrusts with a broken foil blade when placed on a penetrable surface, regardless of composition or number of layers. Four ounce leather or four layers of sturdy cloth normally will qualify as impenetrable; some brocades and other heavy fabrics may require only two layers to be considered impenetrable material, while it is probably impossible to use enough layers of gauze to achieve impenetrability. All "impenetrable" material should be tested in the above fashion.

1.2

Resistant Material is one layer of sturdy cloth that resists tearing under normal combat stresses.

1.3

Examples of Sturdy Cloth include: a single layer of trigger cloth, duck cloth, denim, most garment leathers, and many brocades.


2. GENERAL

2.1

Armor must have no gaps. No bare skin may show.

2.2

There must be no gaps through which a blade may penetrate so as to slide under layers of armor.

2.3

There must be at least three inches of overlap between any separate pieces of armor.

2.4

Additional protection (beyond what is described in these rules) such as breast cups, high-topped leather boots, et cetera may be worn so long as they do not interfere with normal blow acknowledgement.

2.5

Any protection or article of clothing that prevents a fighter from properly acknowledging blows will not be allowed.


3. HEAD

3.1

An FIE approved fencing mask (which meets the 12 kg punch test) or the equivalent shall be worn. The mask must cover at least the front and sides of the head. It must be securely fastened so that it can neither come off nor be significantly dislodged during combat.

3.2

All areas of the head and neck that are not covered by the mask must be covered with impenetrable material. One-piece hoods which cover the head and neck and extend to cover the upper chest are preferred. [In addition, fighters engaged in combat with schlagers shall wear rigid (20 ga steel or the equivalent) gorgets covering the throat from the mid-portion of the adam's apple to below the sternoclavicular joint.]


4. TORSO

4.1

The torso (chest, back, abdomen, and groin) must be covered with Impenetrable Material.

4.2

The armpits must be completely covered with ImpenetrableMaterial regardless of the combatant's position.

4.3

Any lace holes or button holes should be backed with a 3"-4" placket to prevent a blade sliding inside the torso protection.

4.4

The torso protection should be belted or otherwise closely fitted to prevent a blade sliding up from the bottom.

4.5

A modern fencing jacket shall not be worn as the outer layer of a fighter's protection. Fighters and marshalls are reminded that modern fencing jackets are right or left handed -- one side has only a single layer of fabric.

4.6

Male fighters must wear rigid groin protection such as an athletic cup, adequately secured.

4.7

Female fighters should be aware that their breasts are in a favored target area. They are encouraged to take protective measures. As the amount of padding and protection needed varies with the individual, it is left to the fighter to see that she is adequately protected. Female fighters are also encouraged to have additional padded or resistant groin protection.


5. ARMS AND HANDS

5.1

Arms shall be covered with Resistant Material.

5.2

Hands and wrists must be covered with gauntlets made of leather or other Resistant Material. Leather work gloves are acceptable.

5.3

All gloves must have long cuffs overlapping the sleeves by at least 3".


6. FEET AND LEGS

6.1

Legs shall be covered with Resistant Material. A single layer of commercial tights or socks alone do not qualify as resistant material.

6.2

Fighters must wear closed-top boots or shoes on their feet. Boots are recommended. There can be no gap between the fighter's foot and leg covering regardless of the fighter's position. Footgear must give adequate traction.


D. RAPIER AUTHORIZATIONS


1.

No combatant may participate in any Rapier Combat in Atlantia unless that person has been properly authorized.

1.1

Any combatant who has allowed their authorization card to expire for a substantial period of time may be required to reauthorize.

1.2

One on one training of unauthorized fighters, under controlled conditions with the supervision of authorized fighters, is allowed.

2.

Authorizations may be conducted only at official events. An authorization team shall consist of one combatant (an authorized Rapier fighter, preferably an experienced one) and two warranted marshals. The two marshals may not be from the same local group.

3.

In order to authorize, a Rapier fighter must demonstrate the following:

3.1

Comprehension and application of the SCA Rules of the List, SCA Period Fencing Rules and Atlantian Rapier Combat Rules.

3.2

Ability to properly execute and acknowledge various valid blows.

3.3

Safe and competent execution of offense and defense during actual combat.

4.

No authorization is valid unless the Atlantian Kingdom Minister of the Lists receives a completed authorization card (not later than fourteen days after the date of the authorization).

5.

Visitors to Atlantia from other Kingdoms may participate in combat without authorizing, but shall first be instructed in the Atlantian Rapier Combat Rules.

5.1

Visitors will be expected to comply with Atlantian rules and conventions, including Atlantian armor and weapons standards.

5.2

Any combatant travelling to Atlantia who expects to reside in Atlantia for more than three months shall authorize in the normal manner prior to participating in Rapier Combat.

[5.3

Upon the successful completion of a basic authorization, rapier fighters are allowed the use of all list-legal rapier forms, excepting schlager. A separate authorization is required for schlager, and the Kingdom Minister of the Lists shall keep a listing of schlager authorized fighters, with such fighter's authorization cards showing their qualification to use this form.]


E. RULES OF THE LIST


1.

Engaging in rapier combat with the deliberate intent to inflict injury on an opponent is forbidden.

2.

Combatants shall maintain control over their tempers at all times.

3.

A combatant may decline any challenge without dishonor, and without specifying a reason. In a tournament this may result in forfeiture of the bout.

4.

Combatants may reject the use of a particular weapon by an opponent, should they deem the weapon unusually dangerous.

5.

All rapier combat is done in the round, not strip-style in a line. The one exception is if a combatant has been put on the ground (by the loss of a leg or foot, for example). In that case the mobile combatant may not corkscrew or require the grounded fighter to turn more than about 120 degrees.

6.

There shall be no combat between Rapier fighters and heavy weapons (armored SCA combat) fighters.

7.

Brawling tactics or deliberate and unsafe misuse of weapons will not be allowed. Examples include (but are not limited to):

8.

When a Hold is called, all fighting on the field shall cease immediately; fighters must assume a non-aggressive stance and not move unless directed to do so by a marshal.

9.

Hold shall be called whenever a marshal, fighter or spectator believes conditions warrant it. Such conditions include (but are not limited to):

10.

Combatants or marshals may request a calibration at any time during a Hold.

11.

A fighter is armed so long as at least one offensive weapon is retained. If a fighter is disarmed, their opponent has the option of allowing them to recover their weapon(s); otherwise, a disarmed fighter must yield.

12.

A marshal shall, as necessary, warn or remove from the field any fighter whose conduct is deemed unsafe or unchivalrous. Examples of unsafe conduct include (but are not limited to):

13.

At the end of each bout, before the Herald is called onto the field, the Marshals shall ask each fighter if they are satisfied with the conduct of the bout. If either combatant is dissatisfied with the conduct of the bout, they must state any grievances before walking off the field. Any fighter who leaves the field without stating grievances is declaring his/herself satisfied with the bout.


Webbed by Angharad Melys, Free Scholar.


Return to the Academie d'Espee



This page is theoretically maintained by Baron Aedan Aylwyn, Provost