Letter about gorgets...
- I've typed this letter up about possible changes to the gorget rules,
I'm going to send it to Albretch and the Society rapier marshal. What
do people think of the letter, any feed back from other marshals? Is
anyone else with me on not stopping a proposed rule change? If so let
me know, I can add you to the list of concerned marshals, OR send your
letter (which will have more impact).
I found out that it was going to be proposed that the rules on gorgets
be changed to require rigid protection all the way arround the neck
(the wording given to me was 95% coverage). The current rule is:
For heavy rapier and cut and thrust rapier, additional throat
protection is required; it shall consist of rigid material, as noted
above, covering the entire throat, and shall be backed by either
puncture resistant material (as a hood), one quarter inch (1/4") (6
mm) of open-cell foam, or their equivalents. The cervical vertebrae
shall also be protected by rigid material, provided by some
combination of gorget, helm, and/or hood insert.
I have been fencing with heavy rapier for 15 years in the SCA, and
participated in Cut and Thrust since the start of the experiment. And
I feel absolutely safe with only by throat and vertebrae having rigid
coverage. I find the sides of my neck are more than protected enough
by resistant material (in my case it is soft leather and a cowl). I
don't feel there is a large enough risk to the side of my neck to
require more protection. First the chance of being hit there is much
lower than say the throat. Second the risk to myself is much lower
(we are looking at tendons and muscles, not an airway and blood
vessels and veins like the throat).
As an engineer I don't see requiring rigid protection on the side of
the neck making any noticeable reduction in risk for SCA heavy rapier.
There are several other locations on the body where a hard hit, with
or without a tip will do more damage than the side of the neck, and
they are not covered with rigid protection, and they are far more
likely to be hit than the side of the neck. If SCA inc. does not feel
it necessary to increase protection elsewhere to reduce risk, than
there is no need to require additional protection on the neck.
From the description of what was going to be legal after the changes
the choice of legal gorgets goes down and options on design goes down
as well. In many ways it makes it much more difficult for a new
combatant to make their own gorgets and pretty much requires that
gorgets be made by professional or semi-professional armourers, or at
least people with access to a well stocked shops. This will create a
larger barrier to new people, and honestly we have a hard enough time
getting new SCA members, let alone rapier combatants.
When considering increasing the requirements for neck protection
1. Have there been any critical injuries to the side of a SCA heavy
rapier combatants neck?
2. What are trying to protect against? What kind of hit? How likely
is that hit? Is the risk only if there is a broken blade or is the
risk in normal combat? (I feel that rigid protection is necessary if
there is a risk of significant injury with a normal blunted and tipped
3. Does this truly reduce the risks associated with rapier combat?
Or does it just look like a significant reduction in risk?
4. How much will this inconvenient current participants (replacing
gorgets, changing their kit)? Does this create a larger barrier to
entry for participants?
Please consider all of this. When I was KRM of Ealdormere a previous
KRM gave me one piece of advice that I found very valuable and one of
the greatest guides on improving rapier in Ealdormere (and I have been
told I did make a significant impact and improvements). "Don't change
a rule for the sake of changing a rule. If nothing is gained by
changing it, then you are only losing opportunities."
I used this guideline, often, looking at what is really gained by a
rule change, versus what can be lost. It is amazing how often you can
realize a proposed rule change or policy change really is only placebo
that does nothing when you weigh things out first, and you can save a
lot of time, effort and stress not trying to changes things that don't
I feel nothing is really gained by changing the rules on neck
protection, we only lose opportunities and create larger barriers for
The Honourable Lord Wilhelm von Pottruff,
SCA Rapier Marshal
- On Wed, May 12, 2010 at 3:18 PM, M <menzinas@...> wrote:
>> > I can't go around strangling members of my Barony! For any reason. Even educational ones.hmm... oh yeah, both cards are blue!
>> You don't have to strangle him to death, just a little demonstration.
> That is the 'Society for Consenting Adults' not 'Society for Creative Anacronism' don't get them confused.
> How about a mythbuster's approch? Put the gorget(s) on a dummy and wack the dummy with a sword?While lots of dummys are available, finding a way to simulate the neck
underneath is harder.
> ps wanna wrestle?Sure :-) Though my impression is that you're learning to fight,
unlike judo which is very much a sport.