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2002-02-07 - 2:47 p.m.

OK, so some traffic from the Merry Rose got forwarded to the Rapier list and it pissed me off. I'm not easily angered, but I found some of the posts highly offensive. Since it is usually not a good idea to respond when irate, I figured I'd vent here some and then decide if I need to follow up. If you don't want to read ranting, click elsewhere....

This person is arguing that Armored Combat is more period than the rapier combat we recreate and that rapier detracts from the SCA as a whole. What a bunch of hogwash.... Both styles we recreate have limitations. The claim that the rapier equipment has no basis in period is not correct.

Practice Dagger- Late 16th C

These pictures document period practice weapons that are VERY close to the heavy rapier weapons. The dagger is a dead ringer for the flexi-daggers used. The practice rapier is quite close to the schlager and practice rapiers used today.

Practice Rapier - Late 16th C Practice Rapier Tip - Late 16th C

The comment about epees and foils being non-period has merit, but the heavy weapons are similarly modified from period usage. Most weapons were rebated steel. Some were whalebone or in rare instances, hardwood. Rattan is used for safety purposes. I'm all for that. Padding is totally inconsistent with period usage. Now, I'm not recommending getting rid of the padding as I like my larnyx and prefer to avoid concussions....I just find the whole argument ridiculous.

Basket Hilted Broadsword - South German, 1500

Also, the earliest I've managed to document basket hilts is 1500. Guess everyone not in full plate can't use them.... You'll also need to scratch all use of plastic in armor.... Not likely. And lose all of the stainless steel gear. And all helmets are going to be 16 gauge. Hope you like concussions....

If you really want truly period, I need to start digging up fireworks and breaking out black powder cannons. I can document them to around 1290s. Hope you don't mind getting a little singed while fighting....

As for the period styles, neither style allows grappling, which is a major component of all of the period manuals I've seen. And heavy combat doesn't allow hitting hands or the knee or below. That radically changes the target areas and hence the fighting styles.

As for the lack of cutting attacks for rapier, cut and thrust is currently in an experimental stage. I've watched a number of fights and been used as a practice dummy for determining armor requirements. Regardless, folks have fun playing with the thrust and drawcut rules, so why stop it? I'm all for maximum fun for all as long as they don't hurt anyone else.

Some arguments were levied that the rapier activities draws new people away from armored combat. My response to that is that new folks have free will. If you make armored combat fun for them and achievable, they will join up. Having people swinging hard enough in practices to bruise joints during a sword block is not fun. There are a number of times I've contemplated just hanging up my heavy armor because the work-to-fun ratio just wasn't there. The Rapier side has strived to make it fun and enjoyable. So, for now, I enjoy both. And I find they complement each other nicely. Fencing allows me to focus on footwork and endurance, and heavy fighting works on strength and cutting attacks. Trying to tell folks that you don't like their hobby and that they should find a new one is just rude.


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