Heavy Fighting

Garet fighting

Death Rides the Wind - Garet and Sir Cairacan fight.

Heavy Fighting, bluntly put, is people dressing up in armour and hitting each other with rattan doweling. It is a cross between a martial art, and simulated medieval combat. It is live fighting, and is not "staged," as there are no predetermined winners. As with other martial arts, we use rattan for our weaponry because it "fibres out" rather than splinters when broken. (the difference between being accidently speared by a jagged piece of wood, or being attacked by a broom)

The SCA has a currently 42-page book of heavy combat rules, known as the ABCs, most of it concerning the requirements for armouring, and the construction of weaponry. The rest deals with what areas of the body are considered legal targets, and what the outcome of a shot should count as. (A head or torso shot is a "death," a limb shot usually results in losing the use of that limb for the remainder of the fight.) The other major rule is that the person hit is the always the person to determine whether the shot was good, this is to prevent one person from just declaring that he's killed everyone.

Occasionally this policy results in "rhinoing" - a person with miraculous, rhino-thick skin claiming to be invincible from even the hardest shots, but generally those cases are weeded out by politely asking if the shot was good, and if they still refuse to take it, hitting them again, in the same spot, harder.

Our fighting mostly takes two forms - tournaments (tourneys) or wars. Tourneys are held with individual combatants engaging in one-on-one fights until one person is left. Tourneys might include "hold-over rules," (If you lost your left arm in the last round, you still don't have use of it in the next round) or two lives, or whatever.

Wars are usually annually held events, between branches, either barony against barony, principality against principality, or inter-kingdom. People arrive at a war, and determine which branch they are fighting for, they then form sides, and fight through several scenarios that are usually worked out in advance. Some examples include:

Open field battle
Combatants form battle lines on either side of the field, and fight in the middle of it. Variations include adding hay bale "terrain," or making it a "rez" (resurrection battle) which involves a "dead" combatant going back to a check-point to "resurrect."
Bridge or Ford battle
a narrow channel is mapped out across the center of the field with lines or hay bales signifying a bridge, combatants may only walk on the bridge, and will "drown" if they wind up in the water (heavy armour - you sink like a stone.) In some variations, knights can cross the river on their knees signifying they're on horseback.
Boat Battle
Sections of PVC pipe strung together on rope simulate boat hauls, which the combatants carry with them. Those carrying the hull may have a shield, but no weapon as they are "rowing." Combatants move across the field, carrying their boat, and attempt to ram or skirmish with the other boats. Variations include landing on a "distant" shore to become a field army once more.