This past weekend was the last local event until Pennsic War for the Middle Kingdom of the SCA. I attended it and of course since it is one of the last events before the war, there are no tourneys. It is all melee practice to gear up for war so the Middle Kingdom will win at Pennsic. Let me just say that since I have never been in a melee, practice or actual fight, it was a new experience.
Most of the fighters were from North Oaken or South Oaken. This is above the barony in the kingdoms. There were other fighters from other areas that are still in our kingdom. It was decided that we would be split into North and South versus each other and the other fighters could choose their side. Of course it was split so that we were as even as possible. Everyone on South Oaken had red duct tape put on the front and back of their helm so everyone could tell friend from foe during the fighting.
We were put in lines with weapon and shield fighters in the front. I had been told originally that since I had not even practiced melee combat to find someone I trusted and stand behind them so I was second line. That did not work out for me as I fight shield and sword. So first line I was. Luckily it was between two experienced fighters, one of which I even know. We received our instructions on where we were to go and then waited for both sides to be ready.
You are told to keep moving in melee combat. Hit the person in front of you and move past them. Let the second line finish them off, very different from one on one combat. First round we moved to the left to flank them. I swung but missed (I think, it’s very chaotic when you are actually fighting against a lot of people at once) and took a pole arm to the helm. Fall down and make sure my shield is over me to protect myself in case there is still fighting around me. The dead are told to get up as the fighting moves away from them and once the battle was over we do it again.
We had two more rounds. Second one was the same as the first, go to the left and flank them. But this time we were told to stay close together. We needed to as part of how I died was I lost everyone in my group in the confusion. We got a little farther that time and again I took a head shot. Although I know I at least hit someone that round. The third round we changed tactics and we were going to the right flank and to kill everyone there. This seemed more difficult as that is where the North Oaken side put their pole arms and spears. This was difficult for me, even being short. Another head shot and I think it was from more than one person this time.
After the third round we took a break. I got out of gear at this point because it was so hot and I am not used to fighting in the humidity, that I had to or I would have passed out. It was somewhat scary going toward so many people at once and not really knowing where to swing or watch out where a hit was coming from. It was fun, however, and I will do it again. The most interesting thing was being told by one of my friends, who was my backup with a pole arm himself, to make sure I swung. Apparently many new fighters forget to.