Summary of the Rapier Moot at Winter War
Here is a summary of what was discussed at the Rapier Moot held at Winter
War, March 7 AS XLIII in the Shire of Trinovantia Nova.
The moot began after the conclusion of the final rapier tourney and was
attended by around 12 fencers. There were four topics on my Agenda. First,
was the way in which periodic testing is handled. Second, was the way we
handle line engagements in melees in rapier combat. The third item was in
regards to a request from the KEM on how to easily identify minor combatants
on the list, especially for first responders. Finally I wished to discuss
the possibility of holding a KWAR in Ealdormere. What follows are not exact
minutes, but a summary of what was discussed based on my notes from the
I want to note from the start that the discussions at this moot, and any
other moot I run, are by no means binding. The moot is a forum for fencers
in Ealdormere to express there opinions on various issues so I have an idea
of what people think of those issues. It is by no means the only forum and
people are more than welcomed to express their opinion on the e-rapier list
or to me in private. If I feel change is needed I will take all of the
opinions expressed to me into account before I act.
Topic 1: Periodic Testing of Armour
I reviewed the rules for Periodic testing of armour, noting that it had been
expressed to me that penalty for not keeping one's card up to date, i.e.
having to reauthorize in all forms if the card expired, was too harsh. It
was confirmed that periodic testing is required under the Ealdormere and
Society rules. The general consensus seemed to be that the system as it
currently stands is working and that it is the responsibility of individual
fencers to make sure their cards are up to date. The means of renewing the
card within the two year timeframe were deemed adequate though there were
circumstances that could make it difficult to renew in some cases. This can
be addressed by communication with the KRM/Minister of the Lists and
extensions can be allowed within reason. I noted that I am hoping to hold
further moots to get more fencers opinions on this issue.
Topic 2: Line Engagements in Rapier Melees
I reviewed the relevant section of the rapier rules (V5) on melee combat in
rapier which are as follows:
6. MELEE: Melee combats present special challenges to all involved.
Society norms are as below:
A. In melees, fighters are engaged with all opponents immediately upon
the call to lay on.
B. Fighters may strike any opponent with any legal blow if they are
within the 180 degree arc of the opponent's front. A fighter who approaches
an opponent from behind shall not deliver a blow until he is within that
frontal arc. A fighter may never deliberately strike an opponent from
C. Killing from behind is allowed if it has been announced beforehand.
The Society norm for "death from behind" in melees shall be: If a melee
scenario allows killing from behind, a fighter does so by laying the rapier
blade over the opponent's shoulder, to at least a third of the blade, while
calling "Dead, my lord" (or other short, courteous phrases) in a loud, clear
voice. Reaching around the neck is forbidden. The opponent will be deemed
"killed" from the instant the blade touches his shoulder and shall not
attempt to spin, duck or dodge away.
i. Note: If death from behind is not allowed in a given melee, a
fighter who deliberately ignores an attacker behind them, or repeatedly
maneuvers to keep their back to an attacker (thereby preventing any attack
on them) may be considered misuse of the rules and obstructive behaviour.
ii. Daggers may also be used, but care must be taken not to punch or
strike the fighter with the guard or quillons of the dagger when so used.
D. In special scenario melees (e.g., bridge or town battles),
additional restrictions may be imposed by the marshals as needed.
E. Cut and thrust rapier may not be used in melee.
I noted that concepts from armoured combat often creep into discussions of
melee combat and cause confusion. By the current rules a fencer does NOT
have to make eye contact with an opponent and have them acknowledge in order
to engage, they merely have to enter "the 180 degree arc of the opponent's
front". As a convention I'm defining "front" as a line drawn through the
points of the shoulders, with the direction the torso (not the head or legs)
is facing being "front". There was agreement on this clarification. I then
reviewed the rules for "Death from Behind" and noted that a kill occurred as
soon as the blade made contact, not when the attacker finished declaring
their opponent dead.
Topic 3: Identifying Minors on the List
There is a move at Society level to come up with some means of quickly
identifying minors who are below the age of medical consent on the list
field should accident or injury occur. The SEM, the DSRM and the KEM have
all asked for input on finding a way of doing this. I asked for ideas that I
could submit to the KEM for discussion. It was noted that the medical age of
consent in Ontario was 16 so only 14 and 15 year olds would have to be
identified. An identifying mark on the fencers mask was discussed but as
masks often get switched around it is not the most effective method. Other
methods of identification brought up where: belt favours, a full tabard, and
one or two elasticised scrunchies on the arms of the fencer. Belt favours
are problematic because lots of people wear all sorts of different belt
favours and the minor one may be hard to pick out. Tabards were not popular
as they would cover up pretty garb. The scrunchie idea seemed to be popular
and one on each arm was suggested as the fencer may be lying on one arm and
the first responder may not be able to see the identifier. This was
confirmed by a discussion with several chiurgeons after the Moot who thought
the scrunchies were a good idea, especially if they were brightly coloured
(neon green being one suggestion). These ideas will be forwarded to the KEM.
Topic 4: KWAR 2010 in Ealdormere
The Known World Academy of the Rapier (KWAR) is a society level event
intended to allow fencers from all over the KW to get together in order to
participate in various tourneys and attend classes, some given by the
foremost experts on Western Martial Arts (WMA) in the world. A number of
fencers hadn't heard of KWAR before. It was noted that KWAR would be an
immense undertaking for the rapier community of Ealdormere and would require
the full cooperation/approval of the Kingdom. Ideal sites would include
cities close to the US border and/or close to an international airport.
Toronto and Sarnia were two places discussed as were several other cities
like Kingston, Ottawa, and Hamilton. No consensus was reached on location,
but Lady Jocelyn will be looking into venues in the Toronto area. Types of
venues were discussed including hotels and university campuses. Lady Jocelyn
agreed to take point on the KWAR effort with myself acting as tourney
co-ordinator with the possibility of Giovanni acting as class co-ordinator
based on prior communication. Lady Jocelyn also gave details of the KWAR she
had attended last year. The time frame for such an event was discussed with
Lady Jocelyn suggesting the month of November being the best. KWAR cannot
conflict with Pennsic or Kingdom Coronations. It was noted that last year's
KWAR bid by the Midrealm was online in the Resources section of the E_Rapier
Yahoo group. The general consensus of those attending the moot was that the
process of putting together a bid should go forward but that a lot of work
would be involved that would require the help of the rapier community as a
whole. It was also suggested that we consult with the organizers of Known
World Dance in order to see what went well or didn't work for them.
The floor was then opened up for other issues but nothing further was
brought forward and the meeting was concluded.
If anyone wishes to discuss the moot topics, or has anything to add that I
might have missed from the discussion, please feel free to post it. I am
always looking for comments from the rapier community on these and any other
issues of interest.
Yours in Service
THL Albrecht Stampfer, OTH, OCK
Kingdom Rapier Marshal, Ealdormere