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Re: [SCA-JML] Digest Number 1120

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  • John Cruz
    Greetings. As one of the affected Caidan fighters, I can give you plenty of information with regards to this issue. Until recently, Shinai (locally called
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 1, 2003
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      Greetings.

      As one of the affected Caidan fighters, I can give you plenty of
      information with regards to this issue.

      Until recently, Shinai (locally called Light Weapons, but many kingdoms use
      that term to describe Rapier combat) was legal in Caid. We understood we
      were the last kingdom to support it, and were doing so at a
      kingdom-discretionary level.

      Shortly before the afformentioned August deadline, a message was sent to
      the Deputy Kingdom Marshal for the form (Lady Locklyn Wick of Brindlemyr)
      announcing the Earl Marshals intention to eliminate the combat form within
      the kingdom. His reasons, as cited in his message, were (distilled
      version):

      There wasn't enough interest in the form in the kingdom.

      There were alleged liability potentials because the form wasn't directly
      supported in Corpora.

      There were concerns from the crown because of a certain degree of
      "non-period appearance".

      There were concerns form the Chivalry because the practice of the form was
      too unrealistic (i.e. forms not based on actual period combat)

      In addition to this, there were a score or so other small reasons
      presented. None of it seemed to add up (in the minds of most of the people
      who fought the form, and the MANY supportive members of the kingdom) to
      substantive reasons for killing the form, especially after clarification
      from the Society Marshal and the BOD indicated that the liability issue was
      non-existant.

      In July, at the "Crown Prints Prize" tournament, myself and several others
      were given an opportunity to present contrary arguments to fight against
      the dissolution of the style. At that time, we used documentation from
      sources such as Fiore, Talhoffer, Leichtenauer, et. al. to justify
      unarmored combat in period. (Just as a side note sure to irritate a few
      members of this list, only EUROPEAN documentation of unarmored combat was
      considered legitimate for the purpose of justifying a fighting style in the
      SCA. I could, naturally, provide a fair bit of documentation on the Asian
      front, but this was essentially branded "Out of Scope".)

      At any rate, we were persuasive. The Earl Marshal still felt that it was
      necessary to kill the extant style (we would have preferred to run in
      parallel for a bit, since this would have given our 80 or so remaining
      active fighters something to do while waiting), but was very interested in
      our proposal of re-creating the style from scratch using the above
      mentioned styles / sources. For the last 6 weeks, a handful of people
      (including myself) have been in the process of effectively creating a brand
      new fighting style, borrowing significantly from all previous styles.

      The style is labeled "Unarmored Combat", and is still very much an
      experimental form. We have our basis in the period fighting manuals as
      mentioned above, and essentially simulate "Blossfechten" (Shirtsleeves
      Fighting, or, fighting without armor; contrast with "Harneschfechten", or
      Harness Fighting, the armored stuff.) Weapons are constructed to emulate
      actual swords (i.e. they are not round, but actually have a similar profile
      as a legitimate sword would), including being a fair bit weightier than
      Shinai. Contact levels are still low-power, but are increased a bit from
      the "touch-kill" that was being used previously.

      The people involved have incorporated help from the Tattershawl School to
      get period combat training, and have been working their butts off to work
      up to a level of appearance and style that would favorably present the new
      form. (I've been a virtual hermit for the last 6 weeks, and have had to
      sew all new NON-Japanese garb for the purpose.)

      The net result has culminated in a demo of the new form at this weekend's
      Potrero War in Calafia. (Mundanely, San Diego county.) The demo seemed to
      be very well received by the nearly 200 people who showed up to watch it,
      and further work is now going into smoothing out the rough edges, getting
      more training out, etc. for further (possible) demonstration at Caid's
      Great Western War in October.

      If anyone is interested in more information on this topic, I'd be more than
      happy to provide all that I can.

      Yours in Service,

      --Lord Ishii Jinkuro Hideyasu



      > Message: 2
      > Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2003 22:54:56 -0400
      > From: Solveig <nostrand@...>
      > Subject: Re: To All Shinai fighters now disinherited from the SCA
      >
      > Noble Cousin!
      >
      > Greeints from Solveig! What is the exact status? You can work on
      > establishing
      > a separate marshalate.
      > --
      >
      > Your Humble Servant
      > Solveig Throndardottir
      > Amateur Scholar


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    • Solveig
      Noble Cousins! Greetings from Solveig! ... That clain is purest bull. There are lots of activities in the Society that are not directly mentioned in Corpora.
      Message 2 of 3 , Sep 1, 2003
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        Noble Cousins!

        Greetings from Solveig!

        >There were alleged liability potentials because the form wasn't directly
        >supported in Corpora.

        That clain is purest bull. There are lots of activities in the Society that
        are not directly mentioned in Corpora. Also, last I looked, the word rattan
        does not appear in Corpora. Lack of popular support is a genuine reason.
        However, citing the reason given above suggests that the real motive may have
        more to do with personal dislike.

        >There were concerns from the crown because of a certain degree of
        >"non-period appearance".

        This sounds like a real reason. It is a bit of honest "ick phooey". Rattan
        doesn't look all that period either, but the crown is used to it.

        >There were concerns form the Chivalry because the practice of the form was
        >too unrealistic (i.e. forms not based on actual period combat)

        This is "not invented here". I donn't know what they were doing in Caid, but
        shinai is a practice form for real swords.

        >In July, at the "Crown Prints Prize" tournament, myself and several others
        >were given an opportunity to present contrary arguments to fight against
        >the dissolution of the style. At that time, we used documentation from
        >sources such as Fiore, Talhoffer, Leichtenauer, et. al. to justify
        >unarmored combat in period. (Just as a side note sure to irritate a few
        >members of this list, only EUROPEAN documentation of unarmored combat was
        >considered legitimate for the purpose of justifying a fighting style in the
        >SCA. I could, naturally, provide a fair bit of documentation on the Asian
        >front, but this was essentially branded "Out of Scope".)

        Odd. Weren't you using kendo armour?

        >The style is labeled "Unarmored Combat", and is still very much an
        >experimental form. We have our basis in the period fighting manuals as
        >mentioned above, and essentially simulate "Blossfechten" (Shirtsleeves
        >Fighting, or, fighting without armor; contrast with "Harneschfechten", or
        >Harness Fighting, the armored stuff.) Weapons are constructed to emulate
        >actual swords (i.e. they are not round, but actually have a similar profile
        >as a legitimate sword would), including being a fair bit weightier than
        >Shinai. Contact levels are still low-power, but are increased a bit from
        >the "touch-kill" that was being used previously.

        Again odd. Fencing evolved in Western Europe using a touch-kill system.
        --

        Your Humble Servant
        Solveig Throndardottir
        Amateur Scholar

        +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
        | Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D. | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM, CoS |
        | deMoivre Institute | Carolingia Statis Mentis Est |
        | mailto:nostrand@... | mailto:bnostran@... |
        +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
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      • John J Cruz
        Greetings, Solveig. ... There has always been a degree of resistance to the Shinai fighters in Caid. Icky politics and a perceived separatism of the
        Message 3 of 3 , Sep 2, 2003
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          Greetings, Solveig.

          --- In sca-jml@yahoogroups.com, Solveig <nostrand@a...> wrote:
          > Noble Cousins!
          >
          > Greetings from Solveig!
          >
          > >There were alleged liability potentials because the form wasn't
          > >directly supported in Corpora.
          >
          > That clain is purest bull. There are lots of activities in the
          > Society that are not directly mentioned in Corpora. Also, last I
          > looked, the word rattan does not appear in Corpora. Lack of popular
          > support is a genuine reason. However, citing the reason given
          > above suggests that the real motive may have more to do with
          > personal dislike.

          There has always been a degree of "resistance" to the Shinai fighters
          in Caid. Icky politics and a perceived "separatism" of the Shinai
          people was a constant problem for us. We're one of the
          most "volunteer oriented" groups in the kingdom, so by our nature we
          tend to provide our own marshals, water bearers, lists people, etc.
          Somehow, instead of this being perceived as a Good Thing(TM), it made
          us seperatist and "fringey". This could be coupled somewhat with the
          fact that, in years past, "Light Weapons" fighters tended to be
          entirely unrecognized at court (this has changed substantially in
          recent years, however), which led to many LW fighters not really
          bothering much with court and SCA Politics. Further "proof" of our
          separatism.

          > >There were concerns from the crown because of a certain degree of
          > >"non-period appearance".
          >
          > This sounds like a real reason. It is a bit of honest "ick phooey".
          > Rattan doesn't look all that period either, but the crown is used
          > to it.

          Well . . . there's an expression about Caid . . . "Welcome to Caid,
          now get dressed." As I understand it, Caid is one of the most fussy
          kingdoms about appearance.

          The kinds of things that we were being "pinged" for was having
          exposed protective gear (typically knee or elbow pads), lapses in
          garb realism (an occasional fighter wearing a karate gi or sweat
          pants or tennis shoes or modern looking work-boots) and so forth.
          Though the majority had at least "generic" European garb, some of
          the "I'm a ninja!" types would occasionally plague us, and you know
          the saying about bad apples.

          However, this was largely being remedied. We were working with our,
          uh, shall we say "less cooperative" members to get them dressed
          better. There were what I would call significant improvements right
          before the KEM's announcement.

          > >There were concerns form the Chivalry because the practice of the
          > >form was too unrealistic (i.e. forms not based on actual period
          > >combat)
          >
          > This is "not invented here". I donn't know what they were doing in
          > Caid, but shinai is a practice form for real swords.

          The style, as practiced in Caid up until August 1, had some
          weaknesses, in appearance if not in fact. The so-called "Fairy Wand"
          or "Light-Saber duel" appearance, where very unrealistic shots could
          be used to win a bout, were a byproduct of nearly 20 years of
          evolution of the style within certain unrealistic constraints.
          Because the power of a blow had an upper limit (over-powerful blows
          were NOT allowed for safety reasons) and the shinai themselves were
          so light, there were a number of blows that under no circumstances
          would have been capable of causing a real "kill", but which were
          counted as such because of the "touch-kill" nature.

          In short, the sport evolved to take advantage of its strengths (very
          light weapons that could be moved in ridiculously fast and
          unrealistic manner) and its weaknesses (any touch, even one that
          couldn't possibly have caused real injury to an opponent, was
          considered good). I would say that this isn't unique to "Light
          Weapons" (Shinai) at all. I've seen every form adopt styles that
          work for their purposes but which, for whatever reason, would be less
          than realistic in real life. But it was too obvious in our case.

          > >In July, at the "Crown Prints Prize" tournament, myself and
          > >several others were given an opportunity to present contrary
          > >arguments to fight against the dissolution of the style. At that
          > >time, we used documentation from sources such as Fiore, Talhoffer,
          > >Leichtenauer, et. al. to justify unarmored combat in period.
          > >(Just as a side note sure to irritate a few members of this list,
          > >only EUROPEAN documentation of unarmored combat was considered
          > >legitimate for the purpose of justifying a fighting style in the
          > >SCA. I could, naturally, provide a fair bit of documentation on
          > >the Asian front, but this was essentially branded "Out of Scope".)
          >
          > Odd. Weren't you using kendo armour?

          No.

          Kendo armor is quite expensive. LW/Shinai has always striven to
          be "cheaper than Armor" to get involved with, and buying Kendo gear
          would be prohibitive to many of the younger / poorer participants.
          The protective gear requirements for LW/Shinai was basically a helmet
          (kendo or fencing), gloves, elbow and knee pads, groin protection
          and, for warfighting where archery was involved, semi-rigid back of
          the head and kidney protection. Again, this was a "touch sport", so
          the added protection offered by Kendo armor was redundant, and
          actually inclined to cause poor blow recognition in those who wore
          such.

          The average LW/Shinai fighter would spend less than $100 for a
          complete set of gear and a low-end size 39 shinai. This made it, by
          far, the cheapest form available, which brought a lot of newbies in
          who wanted to dip in a toe before going whole hog and buying into
          $300+ Heavy Weapons rigs.

          Also, a few years back it was decided that Caid would NOT support
          LW/Shinai if it was "Japan-centric". The marshalate at that time
          stated that they wanted us to be "more European". Thus Kendo armor
          would have tended to step away from that idea. Most of the
          participants are also European personae, which again seems to
          contradict Japanese armor.

          > >The style is labeled "Unarmored Combat", and is still very much an
          > >experimental form. We have our basis in the period fighting
          > >manuals as mentioned above, and essentially simulate
          > >"Blossfechten" (Shirtsleeves Fighting, or, fighting without armor;
          > >contrast with "Harneschfechten", or Harness Fighting, the armored
          > >stuff.) Weapons are constructed to emulate actual swords (i.e.
          > >they are not round, but actually have a similar profile as a
          > >legitimate sword would), including being a fair bit weightier than
          > >Shinai. Contact levels are still low-power, but are increased a
          > >bit from the "touch-kill" that was being used previously.
          >
          > Again odd. Fencing evolved in Western Europe using a touch-kill
          > system.

          Yes. But fencing as practiced by most of the world outside of the
          SCA still involves fighting in a linear fashion on a strip, with
          extremely light foils, etc. The "sport" evolution of fencing is past
          SCA Period for the most part. What's practiced (at least out here in
          Caid) by fencers is more Rapier and less Foil, not confined to
          a "strip", etc.

          Shinai combat in Caid evolved from three goals. 1) Lowest possible
          armor requirements. 2) Cheap, easy and relatviely safe for Newbies.
          3) Make it fun to do for the broadest range of people, including
          those with physical limitations that might make Heavy combat
          unavailable.

          Unfortunately, the style was never based on any one thing, and so
          elements were borrowed from Heavy combat, Kendo, Escrime, etc. and
          was perhaps an unrealistic fusion of those elements. The
          period "Fechtbuch" manuals were not available for consultation during
          the early and middle years of this combat form, either. So the style
          was almost entirely tailored to its conditions, rather taking a real
          style and making it practicable within the SCA.

          This is now changing. The new form takes full advantage of recent
          study of the I.33 (Tower Manuscript), Talhoffer, Codex Wallerstein,
          and other period fighting manuals to provide both justification for
          unarmored combat, AND a resource for training materials. After we've
          established the basic foothold, we'll expand this to include other
          (documentable!) fighting styles and weapons. And we're still not
          turning Japanese personae away, but for the time being we're asking
          that they train in the European techniques that we're researching.

          Sorry for the long rant, but I wanted to be as informative as
          possible.

          --Ishii Jinkuro Hideyasu
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