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PROPOSED for comment

Poster: Dan Mackison <DanM@skantech.com>

Despite the Pennsic furor, I am surprised that Duke Richard's request
for commentary on rule changes for heavy combat in the August Acorn has
sparked no discussion on the Merry Rose. I have numbered the proposed
changes for my commentary to follow.

I quote:
1) PROPOSED for comment: Fighters may authorize in the various weapon
forms in any order. While it may usually be a good training technique to
teach new fighters sword and shield as their first weapons form it is
not necessary to require that this be their first authorization. This
change would allow a fighter to authorize in any weapons form as their
first authorization. This would not change the nature of any
authorizations just the sequence.

2) PROPOSED for comment: All spears must be nine (9) feet long or less.
Twelve foot spears do not signigicantly add to our combat experience.
This rule change would level the playing field by limiting all spears to
nine feet and protect the investment of those who already have spears
but don't want to be put at a significant weapons disadvantage.

3) PROPOSED for comment: Unpadded polearms be allowed according to SCA
wide rules. This would allow polearms of up to seven feet long.
(end quote)

My Commentary
1) Although I don't see any problem with allowing two-weapon as an
initial authorization, I do object to this rule for two handed swords
and polearms for two reasons.  
First, occasionally at a practice I will be tossed about by fit young
men who has watched too many Conan movies and is unaware of the force a
six foot sword can generate. In addition, at present, many enthusiastic
fledgling fighters practice together among themselves during the week
away from experienced assistance. Usually, by the time they have
developed sufficient knowledge and skill to authorize in sword and
shield and are ready to take up a longer weapon, they train with better
skill and more control.  I fear that encouraging the use of a polearm or
great sword by a fledgling will result in more injuries and more serious
injuries in formal (and informal) practices.   
Second, as I believe the spirit of rules presently stand a fighter's
initial authorization is also his easiest. A general attitude of "as
long as he's safe" holds sway. No one wants to deny a bright-eyed
hopeful the opportunity to fight.  My initial authorization for great
sword was only passed on my third attempt.  Several years later, I
passed my polearm authorization on the first attempt without practicing
hard with a polearm (I hadn't practiced with one at all and had only
made the weapon the night before). I passed, to my shame, because I told
those involved in the authorizaion that if I did not pass my
authorization, I would not be able to fight. I had not brought a shield
to the tourney and great swords were not allowed in the particular
event.  In my first great sword authorization, years earlier, I had been
told that I needed to practice more and come back in a month or so. In
my first polearm authorization, I was told that I needed to practice
more and then authorized.
2) I know nothing of spears but did wonder how the length change can
both "not signigicantly add to our combat experience" and "level the
playing field".
3) Although I like this rule change quite a bit (I have accidently made
too many "pole-pillows"), I would like to see it in force only with an
appropriate increase in safety awareness. I would also vehemently
protest this rule change being used if the first proposed change passes.

My two cents worth,

| Dan Mackison                          | Occasionally   |
| dan.mackison@pobox.com                | known as       |
| http://www.geocities.com/Athens/1824/ | Thomas MacFinn |
+---------------------------------------+ and            |
| Hilda Jarvis                          | Vicountess     |
| hilda.jarvis@pobox.com                | Vincetta       |
| http://www.geocities.com/Paris/6400/  | duJarvain      |

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