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A foreigner's thoughts on blow force, chivalry, etc.

Poster: alairia@juno.com (L. Z. Morgan)

My good friends of Atlantia,

I wish to offer some information on how we do things in Alaira, not
because I think we have the whole thing figured out, or because there is
an exact parallel, but just in hopes that our customs might provide seeds
for thoughts.

On the subject of communication between fighters:

We have three levels of action that a Marshall can take in Alairia in
response to a bad blow, illegal behavior, or any other matter concerning
safety and legality on the field.  Please note that our tournaments are
judged, with 10 points max alloted for technical skill, 10 points max
for performance, and two points added for winning the bout.  (Points can
also be subtracted as follows:  "Rhino-hiding"--not going down when
you've been killed, subtract 1-3 points, judge's call.  Note that we
adjust the number of hits needed to "kill" based on armor worn.  For a
"Caution", -1, for a Warning -2, for delay of tourney, -1, MOL's call.) 

That said, we have a Caution, which is given by a Marshall at tourney or
practice.  This says "you goofed, pay attention to this problem."  This
is for dangerous shots (face/throat thrusts, groin shots, etc.) or blows
too hard.
 A Warning says "you goofed again, or goofed in a way you should have been able to prevent" another hard shot of the same type, dangerous lack of
blade control, or losing one's temper.  BTW, two cautions or a caution
and a warning expel a fighter from a tourney.

Most important, we have something called "Notice."  A fighter can be
"given notice" by the Marhsal or his opponent, and a Knight will often
take on the responsibility for his squire.  It is not a penalty
siutation, but a mechanism for providing feedback.  Because it is
formalized, we tend not to have as much defensiveness.  It is routine,
so it is not threatening.  Any fighter, any time, can go up to anther
and say "I thought your thrusts were a little hard." or "You need to
watch blows below my knees." (Remember, we're using steel--safety is very important.) In its most formal context, the Marshal can say "I'm giving
you notice that a lot of your shots are too close to the knee." Or whatever.

This has given rise to an even more useful unwritten custom.  When two
fighters come off the field, you will often hear one ask the other, "Any
problems with my blows?"  A senior fighter can ask this to maintain his
edge, or as a gentle way to lead into correction and teaching for the
junior fighter. This example makes it easy for junior fighters just
learning to ask without embarrasment how their fight went.

On Bragging about pounding newbies:

Our system is again not so prone to this, because we are a judged
fighting system.  If you pounbd a newbie just because you can, the fight
is over so quickly that you can't get much performance score, and your
own chance of victory suffers.  (I pulled it off once by beating a guy while carrying on a conversation with the King and barely looking at him,
parrying out of the corner of my eye, but I was particularly "in the
zone" that day...)  Also, chivalric behavior adds to your performance score.   We reward, and honor, fighters who are good enough to help a
lesser fighter look good, on the idea that this adds to the overall
quality of the tournament for every fighter, and for the spectators.

In this environment, such talk as was ascribed to Atlantian Knights would
be considered mere hyperbole--we'd know you'd have to be stupid to want
to really spoil a fight that way...

It works for us.

Offered in friendship,

Lyon FilsHenri
Princeps Aulerius
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