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Round Shield

If you fight round shield in SCA Armored Combat you will probably need to make one at some point. Yes they can be bought but that is one of the more expensive ways to go about having one. You can actually make one fairly inexpensively and it will suffice for your fighting and training.

Start with a 3/4″ or 1/2″ piece of plywood. You don’t have to measure it to be perfect but it can help with balance and set up if it is. Make sure you don’t have any bad spots such as knots in the wood. These can weaken the shield. If you can not find a piece of wood without one, try to get the knot near the edge where you will not need it to be as strong. Cut a good size circle that you will be able to weild and will protect you. Of course if you have been fighting round shield prior to this, you will know about what you can use comfortably.

Once you cut out the shield you will need to find the center of it and cut a hole big enough for your shield boss to fit. This you should measure so you do not waste the wood. Measure twice and cut once. You can use either metal or plastic for your shield boss. These can be purchased at fighting events, online, or even at thrift stores if you use old dog bowls for the shield boss. And don’t laugh about the dog bowls, two of them together makes a solid center shield boss for protection.

You can also buy a handle in the same places you get the center boss. If you don’t want to do that or can’t wait, you can make one form a thin piece of flat steel. Cut it down so you can hold it easily, but cover it so a bare hand will be protected. You will have to connect the handle and center boss to the wood. Screws that fit just through everything with nuts are good. You can also get a special kind of wood nut called a T nut that will bit into the wood and is flat on one side. The actual screw will be hidden in this “wood” nut and then you have nothing to worry about sticking out. You will need longer ones to go through the handle and center boss than just around the center boss.

Lastly you have to cover the outer edge of the wood shield. The best thing I’ve found is water hose. The kind that is black and holes all through it to water a whole area at once. It is fairly inexpensive and each to work with. Measure your outer shield and cut your hose about 2″ longer. This way if you miss calculated, you should still have enough. If you calculated right you can overlap it. Drill small holes all the way around the shield and use zip ties to attach the hose to the wood. Make sure you cut the zip ties long ways so there are not sharp edges. Then test out your shield.

This is where I purchased my center boss and shield handle. They sell at Pennsic War or you can go in with other people who need to purchase the same items to cut down on shipping charges.

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Keeping Hydrated in the Heat in the SCA

admin on June 16th, 2008

Warm weather is upon us and summer is fast approaching. Depending on where you live, it can get very hot and miserable just being outside, let alone in heavy weapons or fencing gear. Practicing and fighting in the summer can be brutal if you are not careful and you can dehydrate yourself if you do not get enough fluids or electrolytes. So here’s what to do to stay in the fighting.

Dress in cotton layers if possible. Cotton will help get the sweat away from your body faster so you can cool off. You can also wear clothes made to pull the sweat away from your body. The most famous of this type of clothing is UnderArmor but Nike and Adidas also make clothes like this. Wear light colored clothes if possible. It will keep the sun from glaring down on your and making you even hotter as you just stand there.

Drink plenty of fluids in more frequency than normal. Water, gatorade, sqwincher, etc. If you don’t drink something with electrolytes in it like the gatorade or sqwincher, make sure you take electrolyte tablets or something with salt in it to help you out. Also I would recommend drinking a mixture as any one thing can make you sick in heat. Avoid milk, pop, or anything else carbonated. These can dehydrate you quickly and then you will not be able to fight anymore.

Take breaks often! Fighting too much or for extended periods of time can hurt you so that you may not be able to keep fighting. During a practice get there early and gear up quickly. Find someone to fight with and then take a break for ten or fifteen minutes to rest and get your strength back. Then fight again. Try and fight in shade if possible, this will help keep the sun off you as much as you can. No matter what kind of armor you wear, it is all hot once you have in on. The sun will just make it feel worse.

Wear cool clothes to and from practice. This will help cool your off faster when you get out of your fighting gear. Don’t overexert yourself just because you want to seem like you can fight all the time. You can make yourself sick and then you will not be able to fight at all. Above all remember that fighting in the heat is practice for those attending the Pennsic War in August.

SCA Spring Crown Tourney – Lutr Wins

admin on May 29th, 2008

Last week I posted about the lost of the current king and queen of the Midrealm. This week I have the priveledge to show the last fight that King Lutr won to become the king again.

Read the rest of this entry »

Some more info on SCA Heavy Weapons Armor

admin on April 25th, 2008

It might help to understand how armor works for Heavy Weapons to delve a little deeper into it.  Helms can be just about any shape and style that a fighter wants.  The big things about them is no big gaps for a rattan sword to get in between and actually hit someone in the face, a chin strap to keep it on, the minimum thickness, and padding.  Some people have very elaborate helms while others get a basic one they like.  Some have a front that flips up so they can take a drink during rest times without having to remove their helm.  Of course the front must be secured so it does not flip up during combat or practice as well.  Nothing can protrude from the helm that could harm someone.  You can have a pointed top helm and even have a neck cover on the back, but no spikes or such things that could harm a sword or person if they were knocked into the helm. Armor itself comes in three basic materials: steel, plastic, or leather.  Some people have suits made of one style only, while others mix and match as they see fit or their budget allows.  Some plastic armor has padding underneath to make it more comfortable or protect the wearer more.  Others wear it as is.  The exceptions would be shoulders, elbow, knees, kidneys, and wrists.  Leather armor must be stiff leather or have some form of padding underneath.  Steel is pretty much worn by itself but not everyone wears it that way either.  How it is “attached” to the body varies too.  Some armor ties on the sides, some on the front, some on the back.  Some armor uses straps that are attached to it to keep it on the body.  Other people use some form of rope to tie knots.  I have even seen something that had Velcro on the sides.   Plastic armor is definitely the cheapest to buy.   It can also be made if you are handy with a saw and can find a barrel.  Yes I said a barrel.  I don’t recommend just wearing the barrel without a covering or something to make it look less like a barrel.  If your armor is fitted together right, it can look like leather from a distance or even black, dull steel.  You can even make or buy a lamellar design to make it appear more period. I do recommend trying on armor before purchasing something.  If you have no limit on your budget that is not going to stop you from buying the most expensive items out there.  However if you are not comfortable in it, you will never fight in it and then you have wasted your money.  Different armor feels different on every person and if you can’t move in what you wear, you can’t fight.  And then what is the point?

SCA War Videos – Just How Big Are They?

admin on April 24th, 2008

Since two weeks ago I talked about SCA wars, I thought putting some videos up to show just how big they can be would be educational.

Pennsic 36 (2007)

When you get to a little over 3 minutes, watch for the fighter on the personal mobility scooter. Shows you that anyone can do this.

Estrella 24 (2008)

Gulf War 17 (2008)

This is a good one to see a lot of what goes on besides fighting at a war.

Great Western War 10 (2007)

Heavy Weapons SCA Helms

admin on April 17th, 2008

heah210801.jpgSCA heavy weapons helms are the most important part of your armor in combat.  While there are rules about the minimum to wear, this one protects your life more than any other piece you wear.  But helms are not all created equal.  In fact in the SCA the rules are the gauge and how the face is protected.  Beyond that, it is personal preference as to what it looks like. Some people where helms that have a front grill with bars going all the way down the front.  There does have to be a metal piece at the bottom for the helm to look complete so all the way down the front is not worn.  The bars can not be any more than one inch apart but how many or few is not a law.  There are even some fighters in the SCA who have partial bars going down.  These only go across the face or have a nose guard in the middle to protect the heavy weapons fighter’s nose.  Some fighters in the SCA have a helm made out of steel and other metals to give it a unique look.  The contrasting colors can let them create a design or “face” on the helm.  One guy I fight with even has his with just open blocks on the helm to allow air in.  It is created such that when he wears it, you think he is a very mean guy due to the expression on the mask.  Finding a helm can be interesting too. One that looks neat may not fit your head very well.  Or it’s possible as you fight in heavy weapons, it moves too much for your tastes.  Try on as many as possible to see what you like.  As people where they found their helms, who made it, or if they dislike anything about the one they currently wear.  Many people will let you put their SCA helm on so you can make an educated decision.  I was told this is the one decision you want to make right, although some people still purchase a new helm when they find something later they like better.Whatever you decide on an SCA heavy weapons helm, my suggestion is to purchase it first.  This is the most expensive, single piece of armor you will purchase at one time.  Get what you like and splurge for it that helm.  You will not regret it later.

War in the SCA is the biggest event you can ever attend.  There will be hundreds of thousands of people at one along with every kind of merchant you might desire.  War is usually between two kingdoms but members from other kingdoms can and do go to fight as well.  These are not only neighboring kingdoms either.  “Bribes” are made to get one kingdom to fight on the side of an SCA kingdom over another.  This can be as simple as 20 dozen cookies to three kegs of alcohol.  It is up to the kingdom being asked to fight as an ally to another to make their demands as mercenaries known.  So just how many SCA wars are there and what kingdoms to each involve? In all there are 5 SCA wars around the United States.  These are hosted in the kingdom of Atenveldt (Estrella War), Meridies (Gulf War), Calontir (Lilies War), Æthelmearc (Pennsic War), and Caid (Great Western War).  No two wars are held at the same time so any SCA member wishing to attend them all, may do so.  Estrella is the first, held in February.  Gulf War is held the following month in March.  After that the SCA members get a break until June when Lilies War happens.  Another small break happens until August when Pennsic War occurs.  And finally in October, the Great Western War happens. Atenveldt kingdom does not have a specific foe every year.  In May the invites kingdoms to be the Principle kingdoms.  Once one accepts that kingdom is a co-host for the SCA war.  There are two major kingdoms per side at Estrella and anyone else involved is a mercenary that can be “paid” to fight on one side or the other.  Gulf War, besides the hosting kingdom, includes Gleann Abhann, Ansteorra, and Trimaris of the 19 SCA kingdoms.  Calontir kingdom’s Lilies War is a themed war every year.  This gives them a reason to fight, other than just defense of their kingdom.   Pennsic is by far the largest war in the SCA with over ten thousand in attendance every year.  It is between the kingdoms of the East and Middle with anyone else joining as a mercenary on either side.  Pennsic is also a two week event, although most of the fighting happens in the second week.  This SCA war is also the oldest of them all, with 2008 being Pennsic 37.  If you want to meet the most people, Pennsic is the place to go. Wars are a unique experience since they have so much more to offer than any other event held in the SCA.  For many it is a time of non-stop partying and enjoying a hobby to the fullest.  For others a way to expand their horizons and learn things in the SCA.  But for anyone going, it will be a once in a lifetime experience since never again will those exact same members be at this one place all at once.

Did you join the SCA and now your child wants to participate with you?  Do you fight in armored combat and they are trying to pick up your weapons and use them now?  Well what levels of SCA youth combat are there?  Actually there are only three levels before a child fights in full contact armored combat.  Rapier fighting does not have youth availability since the weapons are live with padding to cover the major sharp ends.  Youth combat is also referred to as boffer. The lowest level of youth combat is called the Children’s division and is for those ages 6-9.  At this level no face shots are allowed even though the weapons are very padded.  Cutting blows and body shots are touch only.  No actual arm swings are permitted since the child could get hurt.  Touch in SCA terms mean that the shot is not deflected by armor or weapons.  Even at this level armor is required and must be worn during any practice or combat fighting. The next level is for ages 10-13 and is known as the Youth division.  Here face shots are allowed but they are touch as in the children’s division.  Body thrusts are still touch only as well.  However in this SCA division cutting blows can have positive force.  For the SCA positive force is where there is a slight bounce or bend on the striking weapon when it connects with the opponent. At the final level, the Teen division, youths are almost too full contact armored combat since it is for ages 14-17.  At 18 they can move to adult armored contact if they desire and actually most do since it is the next natural step.  Face thrusts are still touch since even in the teen division youths are only required to wear a hard plastic helmet.  Body thrusts are now allowed positive force while cutting blows have moved to light armored force.  Light armored force is a shot that an adult would consider taking in armored combat.  Since the weapons are still very padded this does not have as much force as in full armored combat. Youths can join the SCA at any time and begin to fight at their age level.  Starting younger than someone else only gives that youth more knowledge and fight experience but not necessarily make them a better fighter.  It can also be a good way to positively involve a youth in an activity where they can be “destructive” without actually hurting anything or anyone.

What is required to fight in SCA fencing?

admin on April 10th, 2008

The rules for Rapier fencing in the SCA are standard for all kingdoms so that anyone can fight in any combat tournament, war, or melee there is.  Only the rules of which weapons are allowed can be different from one kingdom to the next.  So if you wanted to fight what would be required in SCA fencing? Before any fight or practice the fencer must inspect their equipment to insure it is in good order and safe to use against opponents.  An SCA member must be authorized to fight before they are allowed on a combat field against an opponent.  They must be authorized in the separate categories to fight in each one; light rapier, heavy rapier, and cut and thrust rapier. An SCA fencing fighter must listen to the attending marshal and at all times.  During a fight or practice, the person must acknowledge a blow.  Since in SCA rapier fighters are considered as wearing civil attire and not armor, even though they are in armor for protection, valid blows must be called when it would incapacitate the person hit.  Valid blows are to the head, neck, torso, inner groin, and armpit.  Arms and legs can receive valid blows but this only makes the person “lose” that limb and they can fight with the opposite hand or on the knees as if injured. When it comes to the weapons, no sharp edges, corners, or points are allowed.  Blades can be real but must be dull and tips covered in a way that the point will not be able to come through.  Rubber, leather, plastic with tape over them is the legal way to cover a tip.  The steel on an SCA blade must be flexible so it can withstand a hit.  Any hilt or cup on the blade must be dull so not sharp edges can harm a fencer during combat, even accidentally. Proper armor must be worn at all times in SCA fencing.  A puncture resistant shirt must be worn to protect the entire torso.  This includes commercial fencing shirts of at least Newtons and four layers of poplin cloth among other things.  A fencing helmet must be worn along with a gorget to protect the rest of the face and neck.  Boots for the feet must be worn, along with the arms and hands.  No gaps can appear between the hands and arms. All this is done with the safety of both fencers involved.  If the minimum requirements are not met, than a person will not be allowed to fight.  The SCA does not want to promote unsafe practices.  Due to the nature of weapons and style of fighting, only those 18 and older can compete in SCA rapier fencing.