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
The Atlantian Rapier Rules of Combat are courtesy of Angharad Melys, Free Scholar.
A. Rapier Conventions
B. Rapier Combat
C. Rapier Combat Armor
E. Rules of the
1.1A 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
1.2To 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.
1.3To Win is to render one's opponent unable or
disinclined to continue, for any reason. (See 2.7below)
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
- the entire neck, especially at the front of the throat and the sides at
the jugular veins
- the brachial arteries, located on the inside of the upper arm between
shoulder and elbow
- the femoral arteries, located on the inside of the upper leg between groin
- the abdomen between the bottom of the rib cage and the pelvis
2.1Target 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.
2.2A 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).
2.3A Valid Blow (thrust or cut) to an arm or leg will cause the
loss of the use of that limb.
2.4A 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.
2.5A blade may be parried by the off (non-weapon) hand or arm, but the
blade may not be grasped or trapped under any circumstance.
2.6Fighters 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...
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.
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.
1.1[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.]
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.
1.3Epee 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
1.4Guards 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.
1.5Quillons 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.
1.6Pistol grips of all types are not period and are not allowed.
2.1Metal Flexi-blades obtained through modern fencing suppliers are the
standard dagger blade. No other type of blade is allowed.
2.2Dagger blades may be at most 18" long.
2.3The 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
3.1Bucklers 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
3.2Bucklers which can catch or trap blades shall not be used.
3.3Bucklers shall be so made as to present no hazard (splintered edges,
raised bolts, etc) to the bearer or his/her opponent.
4.1Soft parrying devices include (but are not limited to) cloaks, hats,
gloves, and any other non-rigid articles that might be used for parrying in
4.2Soft parrying devices shall be recognizable as the original item.
4.3Soft parrying devices may be weighted or stiffened with cloth or
padding, but not with metal or any rigid material.
4.4It is illegal to trap and hold a blade with a soft parrying device.
5.1Hard parrying devices include (but are not limited to) scabbards,
pistols, candlesticks, and any other rigid articles that might be used for
parrying in combat.
5.2Hard 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.
5.3It is illegal to use any hard parrying device to attack one's
opponent, whether by slapping, striking, or thrusting.
6.1Mugs, 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.
6.2Soft materials such as cloth, foam, and tape are recommended for
construction of improvised weapons.
6.3No 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.
7.1It is ultimately the responsibility of each fighter to resolve any
questions about what weapons are being used before combat begins.
All combatants shall be inspected by a Rapier Marshall for safety and
compliance with the following rules prior to engaging in combat.
1.1Impenetrable 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
1.2Resistant Material is one layer of sturdy cloth that resists
tearing under normal combat stresses.
1.3Examples of Sturdy Cloth include: a single layer of trigger
cloth, duck cloth, denim, most garment leathers, and many brocades.
2.1Armor must have no gaps. No bare skin may show.
2.2There must be no gaps through which a blade may penetrate so as to
slide under layers of armor.
2.3There must be at least three inches of overlap between any separate
pieces of armor.
2.4Additional 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.
2.5Any protection or article of clothing that prevents a fighter from
properly acknowledging blows will not be allowed.
3.1An 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.
3.2All 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.]
4.1The torso (chest, back, abdomen, and groin) must be covered with
4.2The armpits must be completely covered with
ImpenetrableMaterial regardless of the combatant's position.
4.3Any lace holes or button holes should be backed with a 3"-4" placket
to prevent a blade sliding inside the torso protection.
4.4The torso protection should be belted or otherwise closely fitted to
prevent a blade sliding up from the bottom.
4.5A 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.
4.6Male fighters must wear rigid groin protection such as an athletic
cup, adequately secured.
4.7Female 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.
5.1Arms shall be covered with Resistant Material.
5.2Hands and wrists must be covered with gauntlets made of leather or
other Resistant Material. Leather work gloves are acceptable.
5.3All gloves must have long cuffs overlapping the sleeves by at least
6.1Legs shall be covered with Resistant Material. A single layer
of commercial tights or socks alone do not qualify as resistant material.
6.2Fighters 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.
1.No combatant may participate in any Rapier Combat in Atlantia unless
that person has been properly authorized.
1.1Any combatant who has allowed their authorization card to expire for
a substantial period of time may be required to reauthorize.
1.2One 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
3.1Comprehension and application of the SCA Rules of the List, SCA
Period Fencing Rules and Atlantian Rapier Combat Rules.
3.2Ability to properly execute and acknowledge various valid blows.
3.3Safe and competent execution of offense and defense during actual
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
5.1Visitors will be expected to comply with Atlantian rules and
conventions, including Atlantian armor and weapons standards.
5.2Any 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.
[5.3Upon 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):
- Grasping, grappling, tripping, or striking the opponent with one's hand or
body. Incidental and fleeting contact is permissible.
- Whipping or chopping with the rapier, dagger, cloak, or buckler.
- Throwing a cloak over an opponent's face so as to blind the opponent.
- Striking with any part of the weapon not designed for it; or with any
buckler or parrying device not legal for thrusting.
- Deliberately trapping the blade in any fashion.
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
- A broken or unsafe weapon, armor, or other equipment.
- Violations of the rules of combat.
10.Combatants or marshals may request a calibration at any time during
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):
- Grasping or trapping to the body any portion of a bladed weapon.
- Striking with excessive force or from behind.
- Problems with acknowledgement of blows.
- Deliberate misuse of the Rules of Combat to gain advantage over an
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
Webbed by Angharad Melys, Free
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