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Proposed Rule Changes

Poster: teufel <teufel@erols.com>

   I am resending this at the request of a reader who felt that it should
have wider distribution.

Greetings to my fellow Atlantians!

        I have just recently gotten back from Pennsic, and feel that I
should pass along one of the discussion topics, and also see if I can stir
up the ants-nest a bit.
        During some of the long nights, my sword-brothers and I discussed
our various points of view on the proposed change of Atlantian weapon
standards that would allow 7 and 1/2 foot unpadded pole arms.
        Now, I have been fighting for awhile, and I remember when the Padded
Pole Arm standard for Atlantia was 7 1/2 feet.  I don't recall ever hearing
any complaints about excessive length then so I can not really say why the
maximum length was shortened to 6 feet.  Perhaps it was felt that the length
allowed too much power to be generated?
        So then, why is the proposed rule for UNpadded Pole Arms 7 1/2 feet?
I must admit, I really don't see that 1/4 inch of foam makes much of a
difference to the felt impact of a weapon.  But why is this rule being
proposed for a longer length?  Why not more of a standardization?
        The general feelings I came across were mixed at Pennsic.  Some felt
that unpadded Pole Arms were 'dangerous', some felt that there wasn't much
perceptible difference in the safety of an unpadded Pole Arm and a Great
Sword. My feelings on the subject are twofold.  First, the potential for
misuse of the weapon by so-called 'rule jockeys' is high.  But on the other
hand, it would finally allow me to not only recreate a true Zwei-Hander, but
also allow me to use more period techniques with my great sword.  Hmmmm...a
tough call.  But let us fall back on what the rules of SCA Combat say.
        First with the Fighter himself.  The 1994 edition of the Marshal's
Handbook requires that a fighter be familiar with the Rules of the List, the
Armor and Weapon Standards of both the SCA and his Kingdom, and the
Conventions of Combat of the SCA and his Kingdom.  The MH also requires that
the Fighter must demonstrate that he/she is able to function safely both to
themselves as well as their opponent.  So, if I want to be authorized in
Unpadded Pole Arm, I need to only know the rules and show that I am able to
fight safely.
        (Question as an aside.  How many authorizations have you seen that
only required that?  How many authorizations have you seen that required the
fighter to show a high level of skill with his weapon?  How many fighters
have you seen fail their authorization because the MIC felt the fighter was
'safe' but not skilled enough?)
        Second, the weapon itself.  The regulations require that the weapon
itself seem 'safe', and that the weapon meet the specific regulations.  It
shouldn't be too thin, flexible (or whippy), it should not be double-ended,
it should have a regulation thrusting tip, and shouldn't be too heavy.  A
padded Pole Arm needs to have 'some' progressively resistant give on its
striking surface; Atlantia requires only 1/4 inch.  Atlantia now allows a
maximum 6 foot length and 6 pound weight.
        The hypothetical situation for argument is this.  You have an
authorized fighter who is demonstrated that he is capable of being safe and
knows the rules.  You have two weapons, the first is a 6 foot Pole Arm that
weighs 4 pounds and has 1/2 inch of padding on one edge, the second weapon
is a 6 foot Pole Arm that weighs 4 pounds that has a single edge marked with
duct tape.  Is this fighter more safe with one of these weapons than with
the other?  Is this fighter capable of doing more harm with one of these
weapons than the other?  Is there anything we can do to prevent this fighter
from doing harm to his opponent?  Should we make those changes to prevent
all possible harm?
        The purpose of SCA Combat is to attempt to recreate the armored
fighting of Europe before the 17th Century.  It should be done as safely as
necessary.  Does this proposed change allow combat to be more accurately
recreated?  Does it create an unnecessary danger?
        My interpretation is this:  Heavy Weapons Combat is inherently
dangerous as are all full contact sports.  The weapons we use are capable of
doing great harm if misused.  Unpadded Pole Arms does not increase this
danger significantly.  Unpadded Pole Arms will significantly increase the
accuracy of our Combat recreation for certain styles in both looks and in
period usage (one example: Late period Great Sword/ZweiHander, and Pole Axe.
I personally have a German Zwei-Hand Sword that is in the Tower of London
Collection that I have wanted to recreate for years; this rule change would
finally allow it).  There are other Kingdoms we can look to for proof that
the addition of Unpadded Pole Arms has not significantly increased the
Injury Rate. There are other Kingdoms fighters and marshals that can relate
to use their experiences.  I do feel that there should be consistancy in the
length of Pole Arms; if 6 feet is considered sufficient for Pole Arms, then
have it that length for both padded and unpadded.

                Serving the Society,
                        Frederich Von Teufel

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