CaidRapier.org

Your Information Source for Rapier Combat in the Kingdom of Caid


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Greetings!

Welcome to the new CaidRapier.org!  We hope that this we become a valuable resources of News, Information, and General Communication.  As information develops, you will be able to find it here, along with general Opinion articles, Educational Material, Shopping and more…

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Meet the MODs #2- Master Kelan McBride

Our interviewee this week has been many things– a premiere member of the Order of the White Scarf, a Pelican, the Baron of Dun Or. Given all that you might think you already know the whole story, or do you? Master Kelan McBride answers our questions.

Master Kelan

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What is your registered SCA name? Kelan McBride of Arainn

Do people usually call you something different? If so, what? Hey, you? Just Kelan.

How many years have you been playing? 27 in the SCA, about 20 in rapier. (My how the time flies.)

Did you start by playing rapier? If not, in what area of SCA combat/study did you first start? I started as an archer – we didn’t have rapier when I started.

 

Did you start playing in Caid? If not, where are you from? I started in Caid. I went to the first Collegium classes offered for rapier. I learned to make rapier armor and how to use my finger as a sword (there weren’t enough epees and foils to go around).

Outside of rapier, what is your favorite SCA activity? Golf – but if you mean in the SCA, I guess I’d have to say chatelaining. I like talking to people.

Why did you decide to pick up rapier fighting? As I said, I was an archer. There just aren’t that many tournaments for archers. When I saw rapier I realized I could do that (I am physically unable to do heavies) and be able to play at every Caidan event. It also gave me the ability to experience some of what happened on the heavies field – the one-on-one combat and the chivalry.

What is your preferred weapon form? Probably single sword. I was told a long time ago; get good at single and the rest will come along.

Who is your favorite historical sword master and why? I don’t have a favorite. I mix Capo Ferro, Giganti, and Morrozo as the fight proceeds.

How would you describe your fighting style? When I started out I was a mirror fighter; whatever my opponent did I mirrored. Now? I don’t fight much anymore. If I did I would be a defensive fighter staying at distance and looking for openings.

What was your favorite fight EVER and why (either tournament, melee, or pick-up)?There are so many “no kidding, there I was…” stories over 20 years, I’m not sure I could pick one. My favorite fights are those where I enjoyed the fight, win or lose, and we both walk off the field sharing a laugh.

What is the single best piece of advice that you would like to give to new fighters? Have fun. It is a game! Talk to your opponents and learn something from every fight. Be chivalrous and honest – it’s your honor on the line. I know that was more than one thing, but I believe they are all tied together.

What does being a Master of Defense mean to you? I’ve never really thought about this. When the White Scarf was introduced to Caid we treated it as kind of a pseudo-peerage. We looked for top fighters, but we also looked for those who would meet the peerage requirements of the Knights, Laurels, and Pelicans. If I had to pick a meaning for me it would an acknowledgment we did things more right than wrong. As with the Caidan White Scarf, it is not just an award, it is a job description. We don’t stop doing what we were doing once we are elevated. That’s just the beginning. Of course sometimes age and health get in the way, but I can still give advice.

What does being a peer of Caid mean to you? As I was a Caidan Pelican first, nothing changed. I am extremely honored to be recognized by Caid and can never really repay the confidence and support.

Are there any questions or feedback you’d like from the rapier populace? Don’t be afraid to come to the MoDs with questions. We watch what’s going on in the eric, but we don’t see everything. We need to know if things are going well or if changes need to be made. We need to know who the fighters see as the next MoD and who are the leaders. All questions and feedback are wanted and honored.

What is one SCA-related thing most rapier fighters in Caid probably don’t know about you? (can be fighting related or not– i.e. ‘I really hate fighting cloak’ or ‘my persona as originally constructed is actually Byzantine) I don’t like cloak/cape, my original persona was early Celtic (being an archer), and I’m not really left handed…

Anything else you’d like to add? I have really enjoyed my time in the SCA. But, like any other activity, you get out of it what you put into it. If your goal is to be a better fighter, you have to practice. If your goal is to make friends and have fun, just enjoy the game. Accolades come or they don’t, but our worth is not determined by the accolades. Your worth is in your friends and loved ones.

Kelan_QC03

 


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Meet the MODs #1- Master Alexander Kallidokos

Greetings! I thought it might be nice to kick things off after a long absence with a fun interview series (or two). At least one new interview will be posted each week– enjoy!

Introducing…

Meet the MODs- Profiles of Caid’s Masters of Defense

We fight them (and are stabbed by them) regularly. But how well do we really know the MODs of Caid???? Here at Caidrapier.org we have the EXCLUSIVE on these fun, interesting, and somewhat surprising Masters of Defense. We sent identical interview questions to each of the current MODs and we will be profiling one each week.

To kick off the series we have Master Alexander Kallidokos– quiet, chivalrous to a fault, and pretty much impossible to kill when legged with a buckler. But did you know he actually joined the SCA on a completely different note?

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What is your registered SCA name? Alexander Kallidokos

Do people usually call you something different? If so, what? Nope!

How many years have you been playing? 34 or so…

Did you start by playing rapier? If not, in what area of SCA combat/study did you first start? Nope, started by singing. I thought fighters were insane people who liked baseball bats swung at them. Then I started Armored in ~1990 and then rapier in 1991-2.

Did you start playing in Caid? If not, where are you from? I attended my first event in Atenveldt in 1981 or so, but didn’t start with the SCA till I was in Caid in 1983.

Outside of rapier, what is your favorite SCA activity? Humm, singing and cooking are fun, as is period astronomy, but really, mostly I do rapier, now.

Why did you decide to pick up rapier fighting? For exercise and to be with friends when I did.

What is your preferred weapon form? Sword and whatever – NOT fish, maybe a Moose.

Who is your favorite historical sword master and why? Agrippa, but Saviolo and Silver have their place! Recently going more to Fabris with left-handed work.

How would you describe your fighting style? Nasty mishmash of timing and range.

What was your favorite fight EVER and why (either tournament, melee, or pick-up)?Queens champion – I’ll always remember the weakness of a V buckler.

What is the single best piece of advice that you would like to give to new fighters? It takes time – all the other things, practice, timing, coordination, being relaxed when fighting – if you put in the time, it’ll come.

What does being a Master of Defense mean to you? Being a representative for the community and trying to do it well.

What does being a peer of Caid mean to you? Being a peer is really a Society recognition – you’re not a peer of Caid, but of the society. If you’re made a peer, you hopefully can go anywhere and represent your Kingdom well.

Are there any questions or feedback you’d like from the rapier populace? Just recommendations!

What is one SCA-related thing most rapier fighters in Caid probably don’t know about you? (can be fighting related or not– i.e. ‘I really hate fighting cloak’ or ‘my persona as originally constructed is actually Byzantine) Humm – my persona as originally constructed is actually Byzantine! My original name was Alexander Kallikanzaros, because (long breath) I was born on Dec 25 which people then thought was too full of hubris, so as a newborn I was dropped on a mountain top to die. A friendly monk saved me, and my device came from that (A snow leopard[ermine lion, or me] on a hill in a snowstorm at night).

MastersofDefense_group2


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Have You Met…Edward the Pink?– Caid’s Newest Argent Blade

For our newest interview series in the pipeline, ‘Have You Met…’ we will be featuring interviews from a variety of the Caidan rapier populace– new rapier awardees, war bands, new fighters, and more!

Our first featured victim… I mean interviewee… in this series is THL Edward the Pink– deadly lefty and newest recipient of Caid’s Argent Blade grant level award.

Here’s the scoop!

Have You Met… Edward the Pink?

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THL Edward the Pink and Lady Adelais de la Jupe Cramoisie, Photo credit: Lee Varis, 2015

What is your registered SCA name? Edward the Pink

Why does everyone call you Edward the Pink? So… there was an unfortunate washing machine incident. Red doublet, white shirt. It was the morning of a tournament, and I was already running late, so there wasn’t time to do anything about it. I got tagged with the name at that point, and it just sorta stuck.

How long have you been playing? I first started playing around about 2003.

How would you describe your fighting style? I would describe my fighting style as Lefty Gunslinger. Being a left handed fencer, keeping my rapier low & outside changes all the angles of engagement, in a way that I am experienced with, and my opponent typically is not.

What’s one concept in fighting you still struggle with/want to work with? What still needs work for me is single sword. When I first started training in rapier combat, I picked up an offhand weapon almost immediately. What I should have done is to become proficient with single sword first, and only then start integrating offhand items.

What would you like to achieve as an Argent Blade? What does being an Argent Blade mean to you? To me, being inducted into the Order of the Argent Blade generates a feeling of great pride at being deemed worthy by my peers. Of course, in my mind I can’t quite bring myself to believe that I actually am worthy. That means that what I hope to achieve as a member of the Order is to ensure that someone can point me out to a brand new SCA member, and say that he is an example of what a member of the rapier community *should* be.

Why do you enjoy playing in the SCA? What I enjoy most about playing in the SCA is the camaraderie. Sure, I could spend as much time training against a practice pell at home. But I’d much rather be spending that time with like minded members of our community.

Outside of rapier what is your favorite SCA activity/pastime? Once the rapier combat for the day has concluded, I go back to camp and become the resident Isles grill master. It is always entertaining to draw visitors from neighboring camps who come to ask if Edward has made his tri tip yet.

 


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Great Western War Scenarios

Greetings!

Since the scenarios on the Great Western War site get dumped every year as the page refreshes, I wanted to make sure the scenarios were listed somewhere for posterity. I will do my best to annotate these after the war to help future scenario-seekers.

As submitted to the Gatebook, here are the scenarios for Great Western War XIX (2016). Please remember, as always, scenarios are subject to change without notice. Enjoy!

Friday- 

Scenarios- Will start PROMPTLY at 11:30 am!

 

Scenario 0: Warm up / Mixer

Type: Kill them All

Special Rules: No DFB

 

This is the opportunity to meet and fight with folks you don’t usually get to! Form groups of 4 fighters consisting of no more than 2 fighters from any one Kingdom. Fight until only 1 group remains.

 

Scenario 1: Assault the Town

Type: Limited Resurrection

Special Rules: Limited Spears

 

An attacking army is marching on the town! It is up to the defenders to hold of the attackers for a given period of time (20 minutes or as specified by the MiC). Scenario will be run in each direction. A “town” consisting of at least 3 entries will be built. Both sides may have 1 rapier spear for every 15 fighters (minimum of 1, maximum of 3 spears per side). Each fighter in the attacking army can resurrect twice. The attacking army is considered to have been successful when either 3 attackers are alive approximately 5 feet inside the town entries or all defenders have been incapacitated (in the event less than 3 attackers are alive at the end).

 

Victory is either the defending army that keeps the attackers at bay the longest or (if neither attacking army is victorious) with the largest percentage of defenders alive at the end of the scenario.

 

Scenario 2: Control the Town

Type: Control Points / 30 minute resurrection

Special Rules: N/A

 

Multiple control points will be scattered through the town. Control the most points over the course of the scenario to claim victory. Control points will be counted at multiple intervals throughout the resurrection battle.

 

Scenario 3: March on the Castle

Type: Kill them all, open/broken field battle

Special Rules: RBGs

 

This scenario is optional, depending on the availability of the castle and time.

 

Standard open field battle but with RBGs (to get people used to them) if desired by the commanders of the opposing armies. 2 RBG rounds per 15 fighters of the opposing army (to limit total casualties). If desired, can rerun with unlimited RBGs just for fun. Last army standing (during initial run) will be declared the victor!

 

Scenario 4: Cross the Moat

Type: Bridge battle, kill them all

Special Rules: RBGs or spears

 

It is time to get to the castle. But in the way is a moat with only 2 (or 3, depending on total numbers) points at which you can cross. Scenario includes a single wide bridge with 1 or 2 small bridges for additional crossing locations (slight reconfiguration of the town assault scenario). Victory is to the side that is still standing at the end.

 

This scenario can be run with RBGs, spears, or both, at the discretion of the marshals and commanders. Numbers of either (or both) will be set at the Commanders’ meeting and updated as needed prior to the beginning of the scenario.

 

Scenario 5: Assault the Castle!

Type: (Limited) Resurrection

Special Rules: RBGs and/or spears

 

Finally, you’ve made it! But now, you have to get through the gates of the castle! We will move to the castle for this scenario and the layout will be whatever the armored community has built for us. Each side will have resurrections, Unlimited for the attackers and 1 for the defenders. We will run it each direction. Victory will be to the attacking team that kills all of the defenders in the shortest amount of time.

 

Use of spears and RBGs will be negotiated at the commanders meeting and stated at the beginning of the scenario.

 

Saturday-

 

Armor Inspections and check in- 9:30 am

 

Please make sure your weapons and armor are inspected each day of scenarios since battle damage may occur.

 

Please also quickly check in with the marshal checkpoint so that we can accurately divide sides.

 

Scenarios will start PROMPTLY at 10am

 

Scenario 0.1: Masters of Defense against the Known World

Type: Kill them all (warm up)

Special Rules: No DFB

 

Time for the MoDs to show off their mad melee skills! At the MoDs discretion (if they are feeling a bit overwhelmed) they may invite the other Peers of the Realm on the field to join them.

 

Scenario 6: Collect the Loot!

Type: Resurrection

Special Rules: N/A

 

Ok, so you now control the castle and town. It’s time to loot the place! Collect the items and return them to your collection point. Scenario will be timed and the victor is the team with the most points at the end.

 

Scenario 7: Escape the Town

Type: Kill them all

Special Rules: RBGs

 

You’ve got the loot … now it’s time to get out of here and back home. But wait! The local militia has returned, this time with reinforcements! You’ll be lucky to get out alive!

 

The looters need to fight their way through the militia and get out of town with their lives. They will succeed if they get at least 3 fighters to the other side of the field and out of town. They get bonus points for any loot they can carry with them, but if the loot is dropped, it cannot be recovered. The looters will be armed with up to 10 RBG rounds (unlimited guns).

 

The scenario will be run with each side playing the looters. Victory will be determined first by the amount of loot that can be escaped with, and then by time if the loot is tied.

 

Scenario 8: Show Your Prowess

Type: Limited Resurrection

Special Rules: N/A

 

Now that the fighting has been concluded, it is time to find a new master for your Squad. Your army is out to show how well each of you can do individually as well as how well the army can do. This is an exhibition to see which unit (as well as Army) can find the best patron! So it’s up to each of the fighters to show how well they function as part of their unit.

 

Each fighter is given 3 tokens. Unit commanders (and overall commander) have special tokens. If you are killed (or rendered incapacitated) you must give (on request) one of your tokens to the person that killed you. If they get killed before they can make the request, oh well… After you have been killed you will kneel (freeze if you can’t kneel) in place for 10 seconds (or until you hand over a token), then return to the resurrection point if you still have tokens. If you run out of tokens, you must leave the field.

 

This scenario will be run for 30 minutes. At the end, the army with the most tokens will be declared victor. The unit (defined as no more than 8 people) with the most tokens will get bragging rights. Tokens from the unit commanders will be worth 3 regular tokens (but only count as a single token for a life).

 

Sunday-

 

Armor Inspections and check in- 11:00am

 

Scenarios- WILL start PROMPTLY at 11:30am

 

Scenario 0.2: Snowball melee!

Type: Resurrection (sort of)

Special Rules: No DFB

 

Initially, it’s every fighter for her or himself! But whoever you kill then joins your team! If a team leader is killed, EVERYONE on his or her team will join the new team (without being killed first). Just go to the res point and then join your new team. Scenario ends when everyone is on one team.

 

Scenario 9: Loot, Part 2

Type: Resurrection

Special Rules: N/A

 

Everyone heard a rumor that a Solingen Prize Sword is hidden in the town. I guess we’ll have to go find it! Resurrection points to be designated and scenario ends when the sword is found and turned in to the marshal.

 

10-15 foam swords each with different makers marks are scattered throughout the field. All fighters are shown a card showing the makers mark that is correct before each start. Each team is assigned a base first to bring the sword to the base wins. This scenario can be run with as many teams as desired (units, kingdoms, or sides) and as many times as desired.

 

Additional scenarios will be determined by any that were not run due to time on the previous days or that the commanders wish to run again.

 


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Gyldenholt Anniversary Highlights

June 11, 2016

The day was refreshingly gloomy for mid June in Caid. Set in a lovely park on a hillside in Gyldenholt, the populace gathered to wish the retiring Barons well, invest a new Baron and Baroness, honor members of the populace and, of course, make merry and stab each other in a friendly fashion upon the field.

After journeying from a great distance for this event, this humble chronicler could help but smile at the sight of the pavilions along the fighting erics, the multitude of brightly-colored banners, and the populace members greeting each other as they prepared for the day’s festivities. In a world that is in so many ways harsh and uncertain, it is greatly soothing to steal a few hours to enjoy the company of friends, applaud chivalry and grace, and enjoy the thrill of sportsmanlike combat.

At court there were many honors given, not the least of which was the induction of Donna Grace Lasrach into the Vanguard of Honor for her personification of chivalry and honor on the field. To me, the Vanguard of Honor is a symbol of the mindset that sets the SCA apart from competitive western martial arts—that the game is not purely about winning but is instead about winning well—with dignity, chivalry, and honor.

Although everyone attempted to make court as short as possible, it still went on for some time due to all the swearing ins, awards, announcements, presentations, and an outrageously silly Kiss concert featuring Don Todde, a number of painted fencing masks, and a kazoo. Despite the diversions however, the tournament got underway just after lunch.

The field was filled with challenging and fun fighters, each one of which would have been a pleasure to die to. The format was fought best two out of three with double elimination. This format, rarely seen in Caid, was a refreshing spin on a traditional form, allowing fighters a great number of fights and maintaining suspense for spectators as victories were tallied.

There were many great fights upon the field that day and, although your humble chronicler couldn’t stay until the end of the event, I was happy to see some magnificent fighting by all participants. I particularly enjoyed watching the fight between Donna Grace and Albert, a family feud, in which the loser had to feed the puppies that evening. My own favorite match was with Cassandre Loustaunau. We had not met on the tournament field since Queen’s Champion almost four years ago where I had won the match in semi-finals. She has a long memory, however, and she successfully sought her revenge at Gyldenholt!

Although I was not able to stay until the end of the day, it was reported that Kelly le Freug of Calafia bested Don Diego de Palma in a thrilling final match. Huzzah for Kelly, the new Champion of Gyldenholt! May the sun shine (and the rain fall, because Caid needs rain) on Gyldenholt for another year.

Long Live Caid!

Your humble chronicler,

Roisin ni Brian


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New Rapier Rules

Greetings Rapier Fighters!
 
The newest revision of the Caid Rapier Rules has been approved by the Earl Marshal and posted to the Kingdom Website.
 
We expect that they will be officially signed by Their Royal Majesties within the next few weeks, but are in effect AS OF NOW.
 
A changes only document can be found on the front page of the marshal site:
(Please note that in the Changes Only doc, some of the numbering is off, apologies, and the the changes are in purple, but in the full rules they are coded blue to match the kingdom specific clarifications)
 
Any Questions, Comments or Concerns can be directed to me via Private Message or Email – rapier@sca-caid.org
 
Special Thanks to everyone who provided feedback at meetings and public forums, and especially to my C&T Deputy (and Supervising Spear Marshal)THL Meala Caimbeul, as well as my Deputies, Brian Krinsley (M. Alexander Kallidokos), Boris Smersh (M. Oliver Dogberry), the Unarmored Deputy Marshal Scott Farrell (Sir Guillaume de la Belgique) and the SRM Greg Wylie (M. Laertes McBride) for helping get everything together.
 
YiS,
M. Lot Ramirez


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A Cutting Drill

By THLady Meala Caimbeul, Caid Cut & Thrust Marshal

Hello again. There was a quite successful Cut & Thrust workshop at Collegium Caidis, and I thought I’d share the drill we worked on.  It is fairly simple, but there are many options for adding complexity.

Short description:
Both partners are in a neutral third guard. They are just within measure, sword points crossed, but not much more. The active partner opens the line, inviting a thrust (if not a lunge) up the middle. As the passive partner thrusts, the active one cuts the thrust away, and returns a cut to the passive partner’s head.

Lesson one – the dissuasive cut. By delivering a good cut to the oncoming thrust the Active partner gains more time than if he simply gained the line by positioning, or sliding on the Passive partner’s blade.

Lesson two – the return cut. Try to use the true edge and make the turn as abbreviated as possible. Deliver a good cut that connects with the middle of the blade.

Lesson for the Passive Partner – Good guard and thrust/lunge. Make sure your starting guard is as perfect as is it can be; your weight starts back, hand is extended, and your are pointing at, if not above your opponents head. Deliver the thrust or lunge as if it was your practice; start with your hand, include the body, and only step if you need to.

Advanced lessons
Timing and Distance. Start the drill out of measure and let the Passive partner approach. The Active partner will invite when he feels the Passive partner is at lunging distance and would have to take a step to make contact.  If Passive is not close enough the dissuasive cut will fail, if too close the thrust will land or there won’t be space for the return cut.

Keep them honest. Passive partner attempts the second intention as the Active person makes the return cut. If the Active partner does not make a good dissuasive cut, the passive partner can counter-attack. If the Return cut is not delivered from a protected place, there will be a double kill.

This drill can be done on both inside and outside the Active partner’s sword.

Good luck and happy cutting!


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More on Cutting

By THLady Meala Caimbeul, Caid Cut & Thrust Marshal

Cutting is a very basic thing. Most blades were designed to do it with only a modicum of direction from the operator. As you can see from the different diagrams, there is much similarity even among very different fencing manuals.

Sword cuts according to:

Achille Marozzo – 1536
AchilleMarozzo1536

Joachim Meÿer – ~1570
JoachimMeòer1570

Salvatore Fabris – 1606
SalvatoreFabris1606

Gérard Thibault – 1628
GÇrardThibault1628

I have found one of the foundations to a good cutting game is to cut from one guard to another traveling through a very specific middle guard. (To give proper credit, this is not my own concept; it is prescribed by a few masters in our time period.) That middle guard is called by more manuals than not, Long Point. It is formed by having your sword extended, mostly from the shoulder-line, with the tip higher than the guard, usually pointing at your opponent’s head. By moving through this position your cuts are forced to move from one plane to the other, from high to low, left to right, or even on the diagonals. Look again at the diagrams – these lines achieved easily when moving through this middle position.

(There are exceptions to everything, and this is meant as a basic lesson. But one must know the basics before one can deviate from them.)
Though this is a simple position, there are many subtleties that make it successful. In solo practice, and even in controlled partner drills, I recommend adding an artificial pause to check this guard and confirm you are forming it correctly. Another advantage of this brief pause it that even though this guard happens in the middle of a longer action, it is a neutral position; you can use it to change your plan or direction depending on the actions of your opponent.

• The body is mostly upright, if not leaning a bit forward from the hip.
• The arm is extended, pushing forward from the shoulder, but not locked.
• The sword point is higher than the guard; pointing at, if not slightly above, your opponent’s head.

Special note – because this is a middle guard, happening in the middle of a cut, I am not prescribing any specific foot positions. They will depend on the methods and guards you are using.

A good way to test this guard is to have an opponent attempt to cut at your center line from long measure. As they enter with the cut, your head and upper body should be well behind your guard, and your trunk should be just out of range. You might have to direct your strong toward the assault, but you should be pretty well defended in the middle.

Once you have a good idea of what this guard is, practice cutting from one guard to another, pausing in the middle to check your Long Point guard. Remember to keep your hands soft and let the sword to most of the work. You don’t need much additional power for a valid cut; you just need to direct and control the weapon’s path. As you practice, that pause can get smaller and smaller until it is almost imperceptible. But don’t let it completely disappear and start rushing your actions. I find having a position in the middle of a large action where you can change your mind is quite useful. In fact, another fun drill is to have a partner call out a starting guard, and just as you get to that middle guard, call out a second one for you to finish with.

Good luck and happy cutting!

P.S. Don’t forget there is a Cut & Thrust Workshop at Collegium, May 17th – starting at 11:00 am
http://www.collegiumcaidis.org/2015/schedule.html
http://www.collegiumcaidis.org/2015/catalog.html#Rapier


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Darach Anniversary and the first elevation of the Order of Defense

By Lord Patrick of Lyondemere

Darachshire, Caid – A traditionally understated and joyous event became much larger on Saturday, the second day of A.S. 50, as the Shire and Kingdom welcomed the premieres of the recently created Order of Defense. Styled as “Masters of Defense”, Baron Alexander Kallidokos, Master Laertes McBride, and Don Colwyn Stagghorn were elevated to the peerage with much fanfare, pomp, a few tears, and of course, some shenanigans. Elevations occurred at opening court, with TRM Mansur and Eilidh, TRH Athanaric and Sigridr, and a large turnout including numerous members of the Order of the White Scarf, including a few seldom seen. The event was echoed around the Known World as every kingdom elevated their own Masters, who will share precedence as Premieres of the Order.
 
After some words from their Majesties and Highnesses, and various presentations and awards, the first Elevation was Don Alexander, who processed in with friends, family, and a seemingly endless list of awards and accolades that was both impressive and humbling. Alexander, resplendent in silver and sable, was welcomed into the Order in a moving ceremony that included eloquent and emotional recommendations from Duke Guillaume and Duchess Felinah, among others. Don Kallidokos asked to be dubbed with the sword of Don Kelan, Premiere of the Order of the White Scarf of Caid.
 
Following Alexander was Don Laertes, adding some levity by processing in with a dialogue between two heralds, one of whom was his young daughter, proud of her father but stern in her praise. His recommendations from the peerages including a heartfelt one from his Baroness of Altavia (ret.) Bridget, declaring him the most skillful rapier fighter she has ever known. Laertes, in his customary verdant splendor, was also the first to have been spoken for by a Master of Defense, in this case the freshly Masterful Alexander.
 
The third and final elevation (to the Order) of the day was Don Colwyn. Arriving with much fanfare (including the traditional heraldry that begins a tourney bout), preceded by Pretty Fairy Niko, and arriving on a chariot of his own creation in a glowing ensemble of azure, Don Stagghorn made what is recalled by many as the most amusing entrance of the day. The seldom serious but always genteel Don was lauded by many, including his daughter Duchess Cassandra, who declared him as being made of silliness and generosity, in perhaps unequal measure.
 
All three Masters were presented a collar and medallion representing the peerage, and cloaks with the peerage device. In between each elevation was a bardic interlude, a welcomed touch. As His Majesty himself stated (to paraphrase): ‘…this was a rare chance to see the establishment of a new peerage, and a once in a lifetime chance to see this peerage established…’ Many felt it was an honor to be in attendance, and many were also moved by the emotion and pageantry of the court.
 
Following the ceremonies, a team of heralds read new language regarding the rapier peerage, Order of the White Scarf, and associated changes into Kingdom law at an optional court.
 
After court, the new Masters went to be photographed and showered with gifts, and the many rapier fighters in attendance signed up for an impressively deep rapier list. The tournament format was a variation on the “Bear Pit”, with the victorious fighter holding the field and earning a point, with the vanquished leaving to inform the scorekeeper of the victor. Four matches were held simultaneously in two erics, with a seemingly endless line of fighters in waiting. At set intervals, the weapons format changed; first single-sword, then with dagger, followed by cloak, and finally buckler. The semifinalists were those four with the most impressive record in each category.
 
The Masters all acquitted themselves well, including Laertes holding his place for over a dozen matches in a row, with many fighters both scarfed and unscarfed putting together very respectable performances and maintaining a high energy and most importantly, very fun, tourney. In the end, Don Ian F. Duncanson was victorious over Don Michael Mallory, after winning his semifinal match from the ground.
 
In all, the event was a beautiful day in Darach, and a fitting beginning for the Order of Defense.
MastersofDefense_group2
Photo Courtesy of Brian Krinsley


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Cut & Thrust in a Nutshell

By THLady Meala Caimbeul, Caid Cut & Thrust Marshal

Those that know me know that a Cut & Thrust fight is just about my most favorite thing to do with a sword.  In a blatant attempt to get to do it more often, allow me to encapsulate what this art is, is not, and how you can get started.

By the book, Cut & Thrust is a type of rapier combat that incorporates percussive cutting and removes the push and pull (draw) cuts. It requires a little more armor to protect against these cuts, and does require a year of authorized rapier or unarmored experience, but those are not hard to accomplish. In standard rapier, to deliver a cut you must place and draw the edge along the target; this takes more time than driving a cut by turning the wrist. Cut & Thrust allows for single-time cuts, (as they are described in fighting manuals of the period) which are faster and more defensively sound.

These cuts do land with percussion, but do not have to be of a higher calibration than any standard heavy rapier blow.  That is, you don’t have to hit hard. It is the percussion that makes these cuts seem harder. Trust me, you need no extra force to deliver a valid percussive cut; the sword wants to make this action, you just have to direct it.

Not all Heavy Rapiers are designed to deliver these cuts. The schlager-style blades, with almost no taper from shoulder to tip, are not permitted in Cut & Thrust. (This taper helps prevent the blade from breaking in cutting situations.) Yes, there are heavier blades for Cut & Thrust only, but you don’t need them to play.  Most Heavy Rapiers that we use are perfectly suitable for Cut & Thrust.

There is also some additional required armor (and some that we recommend.) All of which can be purchased commercially; SPES makes a great back-of-the-head insert, and there are many options for elbow pads. I carry an extra set of elbows and a spare back-of-the-head insert in my kit; if you want to practice Cut & Thrust, I’m happy to provide the armor. (Also, you don’t need the armor to practice cuts on a pell, or participate in drills or other controlled and directed practice.) We also recommend heavier than standard gloves, especially when using the more open weapons that don’t cover the fingers or wrist.

And now the thing that makes Cut & Thrust different from Heavy Rapier – Percussive Cutting.  This can seem very intimidating; it often looks like we are wheeling swords at one another and should be leaving bruises and welts with every landed blow. But as I said above, you don’t need to hit harder for a valid blow. You do need to land a “controlled, well-intentioned blow, delivered with the striking edge of the sword with proper mechanics so to have been able to cleave the target.” These cuts are the result of circular motion, and are led with the hand (instead of the point.) While tip cuts are perfectly valid, most Cut & Thrust blows are delivered a little farther down toward the middle of the weapon.

When I teach cutting, I often use the example of cutting firewood with an axe. The arching motion, and the way one sends the weapon away from the body are some of the keys to good cutting technique. Least you think you must wind your sword to the top of your head to make a good cut, starting the arc at the shoulder; it is just as valid to cut from the wrist, transcribing a much smaller arc, and making a much faster attack.

Think of your average rapier play, your opponent is pointing a sword at you and initiates a lunge. You move your hand and dissuade the oncoming point, but now your point is off-line so you don’t have a ready thrust. To deliver a draw cut you’ll have to get closer, place the edge on the target, then pull or push the edge to finish the cut. In a Cut & Thrust bout, you are allowed to take that off-line point and, by turning the wrist, deliver a cut that will land much sooner that the draw, it will also be delivered at an angle that will keep you safer than the lateral draw cut.

The advantage of these cuts is first that you are defended by the nature of blade position and movement. Second, since you don’t have to place the blade first, they are faster than draw cuts. Icing on the cake is that these cuts are the ones described in pre-1650 fighting manuals, being able to perform them in the time described can allow for more historically-based combat
(Knowledge of historic rapier is not required for Cut & Thrust.)

One of the hurdles most fencers encounter when learning to cut is the tendency to “gather in” when they cut.  Good cuts are made on an arc that extends out from the body and (usually) through a guard most masters call Long Point. When one is accustomed to draw cuts, the habit is there to pull your hand in, toward your body in an attempt to absorb some of the kinetic energy.  While the instinct to not hurt your opponent is a good one, collapsing your guard in this way is more likely to result in a sloppy and invalid cut, and you being undefended while in range of your opponent.

The other way newer cutters attempt to compensate for the perceived excessive force is by ceasing to control the cut around the apex. When a thrust is about to land hard, many of us train to loosen our grip and stop pushing in order to take some of the power away from the attack. Applying that same technique to cutting can result in a sloppy blow that lands hard, but is not, in reality, a good cut.  The key to a good cut is control, from when it is initiated all the way through to contact. By keeping control of the weapon, and guiding it all the way through the cut, you will be able to better control the force you send into your opponent.

If you want more information, and some practical experience, I invite you to attend the Cut & Thrust workshop offered at Colligium Caidus at 11:00 am on Sunday, May 17th. (http://www.collegiumcaidis.org/2015/schedule.html)