I. General Rules

1 Goal

To facilitate the practice and study of historical armed combat in both Armored and Unarmored contexts while also fostering a deeper understanding of Medieval Tournament Culture and material culture. Two formats of Armored combat and one format of Unarmored are provided. The first format of Armored Combat being Au Plaisance and the second being De La Outrance. Plaisance combat is in short, counted blows making no distinction in the type of historical armor used, whereas De La Outrance is treated as “Armor as worn.” Unarmored combat is a representation of combat in normal clothing appropriate to the era.

2 Regarding Evoking An Historical Environment
        For the Host:
  • Historical deeds will be surrounded with AT LEAST a modicum of pageantry.
  • The fighting portion of the deed should have a formal opening and closure.
  • The combatants in each bout should be introduced before they fight.
  • Their weapons in use and any restrictions or modifications to the default rules should be announced.
  • The Marshals or Heralds will announce the results of each engagement clearly, and if the score is being kept, the score will be clearly explained.
  • The deed will be controlled and monitored by a chief marshal and such assistants as needed/desired under the direction of the host and/or presider.
3 Regarding Displaying The Reconstructed Arts
        General Competence:
  • We expect that combatants will have experience in executing the art which they study.
  • Combatants should have training in one or more medieval fighting arts, preferably with a focus on historical Armoured and or unarmoured combat as depicted in existing fight books and treatises and other representations in art such as literature and chronicle.
  • Combatants will be subject to an authorizing process.
  • Combatants will strive to stay within the parameters of the art which they study as judged by the marshals and other fighters.
  • Combatants will give and receive proper strikes, which will be detailed below.
4 Regarding The Chief Marshal’s Role:
  • In ALL deeds the chief marshal shall serve as referee, starting and ending bouts and counting well struck blows, calling each out as a fair blow in the case of ‘stop time’ bouts, or tracking them in continuous action bouts. The role of counting the blows may be delegated to allow the Chief Marshal to run the field.
  • Safety is of primary importance. All marshals shall act to ensure the safety of spectators, assistants, and combatants.
  • The chief marshal should check to confirm that all combatants are wearing appropriate protective gear and using appropriate weapons (see below).
  • The deed will be performed as paired matches (called a “bout”) fought to a conclusion.
  • The weapons used in a bout to be mutually agreed upon by the combatants, subject to the chief marshal’s approval, or they may be chosen by the host, or pre-set on conditions listed publicly in the announcement of the deed.
5 Regarding Chivalric Virtues And Good Sportsmanship
        We expect that:
  • All participants will hold themselves to the ideals of a chivalric person.
  • All participants will behave with courtesy and respect to all, participants, and spectators alike.
  • Combatants are responsible for acknowledging blows received and if they are “set” in a grapple.
  • As historical armor is highly effective at doing its job, Marshals may assist with scoring.
  • Play nicely and be polite in all cases; especially when you are hot and tired.
  • Do not argue over a call. Fight on.
  • Polite discussion after the bout will not reverse any results but may improve subsequent judging.
  • Each combatant will acknowledge good blows unrecognized by marshals.
  • Each combatant will call out a good blow if he/she feels it, whether the marshals call it or not.
  • Each combatant will deny any blows called upon their opponent which were not consistent with a fair and proper strike.
  • If you know that a blow you struck was not really on target or well structured, be chivalrous and deny the call. This is an exception to accepting whatever the marshal calls. Combatants are encouraged attend closely to the bouts of their companions in the deed that they may be properly informed when choosing the winner.


1 Goal:
        To facilitate the practice and study of historical armed combat in an unarmoured context.
        Striking Fair Blows:
  • Insufficiently delivered (weak and/or poorly structured) blows will not be counted as “fair blows.” A thrust should be felt with positive pressure on the recipient. Percussive cuts should move through a minimum of 45 Degrees of arc. Push and Draw cuts are made by placing and pulling the blade through the target for at least the length of ⅓ of the blade.
  • Combatants will understand that a deed of arms is an opportunity to display skill and honor, not a venue to display brute power or ruthlessness.
  • Excessive power in blows is brutality.
  • Striking an unresisting opponent after the marshal calls hold or the opponent has backed away to acknowledge a blow is improper and likely to be deemed ruthless.
  • All combatants recognize and acknowledge, regardless of their Armouring choices and prior training, that Armoured combat is a rough game that can result in injury. The choice to participate means that risk of injury has been voluntarily assumed.
2 Regarding Appropriate Equipment:
        Regarding Weapons:
        We expect that:
  • Weapons will be styled after historical models in materials and appearance within the bounds of safety.
        We acknowledge that:
  • Safety trumps authenticity. This is non-negotiable.
  • All weapons shall be of types and styles from within the period covered by the SMA. Weapons will represent known historical analogs. Any weapon from outside this period may be forbidden, limited, or altered by the marshals or host.
  • Sword and dagger blades should be steel, and purpose built for reenactment or HEMA type combat in an unarmoured context
  • Spear points should be thermoset or rubber and, in the opinion of the marshal and host, flexible and safe.
  • Butt spikes on spears and poleaxes should be rubber blunts.
  • Dagger, sword, and spear points shall be covered with a blunting cap such as hiking stick tips. Polymer daggers such as the ones made by Cold Steel are also acceptable.
  • The minimum size for a weapon tip or blunt is 3/8″ by 5/8″.
  • Spear and poleaxes should have hardwood shafts.
  • The weapons in use may vary from the recommended forms and materials at the discretion of the host/presider and any such deviations should be announced to prospective combatants before the deed.
3 Weapons Efficacy:
        The interaction of weapons and armour should follow the Weapon Efficacy conventions herein. The conventions for fair blows unarmoured shall be:
  • Daggers strike fair blows against an opponent with point, edge, and pommel.
  • Spears strike fair blows with the point and butt spike.
  • Swords strike fair blows with the point, edge, and pommel.
4 Protective Gear:
        We expect that:
  • Protective will be a best effort analog of historical clothing.
  • discrete additions or modern reinforcements may be required.
  • Combatants will have armour that fits well and is well maintained.
5 Requirements (include but are not limited to):
  • Modern Fencing Mask with rigid back of head protection, Armoured Helmets with full face protection as worn in Harness Combat.
  • Helmets should have a minimum 16-gauge skull and sides.
  • Visors must lock, latch, or be buckled or tied closed and may not be able to be opened with a blow to the base of the visor or any other part.
  • Any opening in the visor must not allow a 1/4″ x 1/2″ bar to enter unimpeded in such a way that the wearer’s face can be touched. Any other gaps in the helmet must not allow unimpeded access to the wearer by a 1/2″ square bar. Wider eye slots and other openings must be protected by perforated steel for safety. Pierced steel or perforated visors are acceptable.
  • Solid neck protection for cervical area, clavicles, and larynx protection will be worn, regardless of its historical suitability for the armour style chosen. This will preferably be of period form such as a plate gorget or bevor.
  • Neck protection may be impact resistant modern materials if such are concealed.
  • A maille aventail alone is insufficient to protect the front of the throat.
  • Rigid hand protection as used in HEMA competitions, Steel gauntlets either fingered or clamshell.
  • A torso and arm covering garment capable of resisting penetration of a broken blade. This will be at a minimum a 350 Newton Rated Fencing Jacket, a garment of 3 layers of tight weave linen or Shark Mail.
  • Safety trumps authenticity. Combatants are expected to wear modern elements of protection to provide a safety margin where historical kit does not.
  • Modern Requirements include:
  • Groin protection (an athletic cup or “box”) for men.
  • Solid chest protection for women. A modern plastic fencing plastron worn under the arming coat or gambeson is acceptable when the combatant is not wearing a formed steel or other breastplate.
  • Shields: Shield shall be made to the proper dimensions and weight of historical shields.
6 Combat Context:
  • No combatant will be compelled to fight with or against any weapon (or opponent) that he/she deems to pose an unacceptable risk.
  • If the issue is a weapon, the combatant may simply express the wish to “not fight with that.” Reasons need not be given. The combatants should choose a different weapon.
  • If the opponent is the issue, the declining combatant may do so by simply expressing a wish to “not have this fight.” Reasons need not be given. Other pairings should be found for the combatants.
  • Any combatant may, without reproof, request a limitation of targets/blows struck due to lack of or inadequate armour or due to concern for a pre-existing physical condition.
  • Bouts shall be completed when an appropriate conclusion is achieved. Herein is a list of historically based conclusions to deed of arms bouts.
7 Historically Based Scoring and Bout Conclusions:
  • The agreed upon number of fair blows have been struck. A “fair blow” is one which would score against the opponent with point, edge, or pommel. l. Five blows, in total, is a good number for well-paced bouts.
  • Combatants will acknowledge blows received and acknowledge if they have been “Set” in a grapple.
  • One combatant is driven from the field. If both combatants fall from the list at the same time, the bout is halted momentarily, and the combatants have returned to a standing position in the middle of the lists before combat resumes. If a combatant willfully leaves the lists, he/she is effectively calling for quarter and yields the bout to the opponent. This may be counted as ‘one fair blow’ or as a bout-ending victory.
  • One combatant is disarmed of his last weapon. This may be counted as ‘one fair blow’ or as a bout-ending victory.
  • Grappling is permissible by agreement of the fighters. Shoving and pushing are normal components of this form of combat and are baseline acceptable. Fighters may agree to fight to throws or to “Set” where one fighter believing they have structure to affect a throw will yell SET! The fighters will freeze in place and with the assistance of the marshals determine if a throw was possible. Fighters may agree to not grapple beyond the baseline pushing and shoving. Disarms are legal under all conditions. Seizing a weapon by hand is permissible to affect this. A blade that moves along the hand may be considered to have struck a fair blow as is grabbing a weapon tip.
  • One combatant is thrown to the ground with the other in clear control of the situation, such as by remaining standing (a follow up blow to the downed opponent is not necessary or desired). If both are carried to the ground and one combatant does not immediately establish a position of dominance, the bout is halted momentarily, and the combatants have returned to a standing position in the middle of the lists before combat resumes. This may be counted as ‘one fair blow’ or as a bout-ending victory.
  • Slipping or tripping is not considered a bout conclusion.
  • One combatant achieves a secure bind upon the other.
  • One Combatant is rendered unable to continue. This may come from injury, but it may also be declared if the chief marshal or the marshal in charge of the bout decides it is unsafe for a combatant to continue.
  • One combatant calls for quarter and yields the bout to his/her opponent.
  • Groups electing private conclave are encouraged to accept input from other fighters as to whom they considered deserving of praise.