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Friday, November 28, 2008

So What is Heavy Fighting

So yesterday I described (very) briefly what the SCA is, now you might wonder what Heavy Fighting is. Amongst the SCAdians Heavy Fighters are commonly referred to as "Stick Jocks" This is meant to be a slur, but personally I think its a great title. Heavy fighters are the armoured fighters of the SCA, we dress up in armour and bash each other with sticks. I'll lay out what happens and how we are armed as I understand it now.

The weapons of the SCA Heavy Fighter are length of Rattan of 1-1.5" diameter. For those of you who don't know what rattan is, it is solid bamboo, very hard chunk of wood. With the rattan you can make pretty much any weapon that was used in the middle ages except hinged or chained weapons such as nunchucks and ball and chains. Some common SCA weaponry:

Slashing Sword
This is your standard starter weapon for Stick Jocks. A simple length of tapped rattan with a hilt of some sort. Basket hilts are the most common because with a basket hilt it is legal to wear half gauntlets enstead of full gauntlets and are thus less restricting to hand movment.

Thrusting Sword
This is your basic sword with a thrusting tip added. A thrusting tip is a piece of close-cell foam tapped to the tip of the sword so you can include thrusts to your maneuvers. You are not allowed to train with a thrusting tip until you have authorized with Shield and hand weapon first.

Great Sword
A great sword is just a two handed beast of a sword. Think of the Scottish Claymores.

A mace is a basic bludgeoning weapon, usually with an large head, sometimes with points added for added effectiveness. I don't believe anyone in Trinovantia Nova uses a mace right now, but as I understand it it is a somewhat common weapon.

In the SCA a spear is similar to a great sword except it can be two handed or one handed depending on length and generally only has a thrusting tip, though you can add slashing blades to it as well. Since my personna is an irishman from around 700BC I would like to start using a shorter one handed spear with a shield to be accurate to my personna.

Pole Axe
A particularly useful weapon when fighting melee with a shield wall, the pole axe is a two handed axe with a really long handle. Useful for reaching over shield walls both friendly and enemy to strike down foes.

In the SCA there are certain armour requirements, beyond that it is up to you to do as you feel comfortable. The rules of armour are:
  • Helms:
    • Helms must be 16 Gage steel at a minimum
    • Face guards on the helm cannot have more than a one inch gap
    • When the front of the helm is pushed it cannot come in contact with your nose
    • Must have a chin strap
    • Must be padded with 1/2 inch closed-cell foam
  • Gorget (neck protection)
  • A cup (guys you really really really want to make sure on this one)
  • Kidneys must be protected
  • Hands must be protected
  • Elbows
  • Knees
Beyond that anything is optional, however I would recommend some chest protection and shoulder protection. On a first time out go with as much coverage as you can (and still move) and scale down from there for comfort as you improve if you find parts that are unnecessary.

I didn't include this in armour because really a shield is optional, although in starting out you must authorize (I'll explain that later) with shield and hand weapon before you can train in any other weapons. Your shield in tournament must be no larger then you can reach with both hands when the opposing edge is touching your chest. In melee your shield can be as large as you can carry thus enabling Roman style shield walls in combat recreation. You can go with heater (standard shield shape), or center boss (round shield with a metal bowl in the centre), or any other shield configuration that would work.

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