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Greg Mele
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Location: Chicago, IL USA
Joined: 20 Mar 2006

Posts: 356

PostPosted: Wed 04 May, 2011 1:09 pm    Post subject: CFAA Tournament at Lysts on the Lake         Reply with quote

This past weekend, two other members of the Chicago Swordplay and I were lucky enough to participate in Lysts on the Lake (www.texasjoust.com), held in Austin, Texas on the private estate of Richard Garriott, entrepreneur, astronaut and game designer, best known to computer gamers everywhere as “Lord British”, creator of the Ultima games.

Organized by Steve Hempel and A Plaisance, Ltd, This event was a rather large jousting competition, sanctioned by the International Jousting League. There were somewhere around 20 competitors, making this, I believe, the largest modern jousting event in North America. Certainly, I have never seen so many people fighting in an unscripted, mounted melee.

It was through Scott Wilson, owner of Darkwood Armoury and principle of the Southern Academy of Swordsmanship’s connection to the jousting community that we had an opportunity to add a HEMA component to the event - in the form of four public demonstrations of arms. Tenants for the Lyst ground combat were Scott Wilson, Dale Moss, Tim Delrie, and Caleb Hogg, all members of the Southern Academy of Swordmanship, and the newly formed Order of the Sword, Axe, and Spear. The Venants for this challenge were: Greg Mele, Nicole Allen, and Leo Lastre from the Chicago Swordplay Guild, Bob Charrette from the Forteza Historical Swordwork Guild, Christopher VaughnStrever from the Freifechters, and Hal Siegel of Therion Arms.

We fought all of the challenges using a version of rules first developed by AEMMA and the OMSG and then adapted and modified for the Fiore 600 event last fall. The basic combat conventions were as follows:

• All combatants challenged at Sword, Axe, Spear and Dagger;
• Fights were fought to five landed blows;
• For scoring points, plate was proof against a point or edge of anything less than a poleaxe, meaning that thrusts needed to be delivered into mail, articulations or unarmoured areas;
• Blows were considered good by landing solidly and causing “displacement” in the target area.
• The entire body was a target, grapples and throws were permitted, although judges could call a halt for safety;
• Besides the five blows, there were other possible victory conditions including: disarmed (combatants were not considered disarmed if they still wore their dagger); cast down (one person thrown to the ground, while the other remained standing); or if one fighter chose to yield for any reason (usually because he was caught in a joint lock, or could not fall safely).

There were two judges, one from each team, and each kept track of the blows being scored against the player from the other team. Combatants were allowed to call their own blows, but judges also called a halt if there were blows landing that were not felt – as was often the case with the dagger.We kept the fighting brisk but conservative, as this was certainly “experimental”, and some of the combatants had vastly different degrees of experience fighting in harness.

Pictures of the bouts and participants can be seen here:
http://azulox.zenfolio.com/p939013353

Scott had also designed a new dagger and sword blade meant specifically for armoured combat, as well as a flexible, steel spear blade that I am in *love* with.

The individual details of any one bout are not all that important here, but there are a few things I'd like to note:

1. I was extremely pleased at how clearly the audience got the difference in what they were seeing in both the foot and mounted combat from the usual Renaissance Faire/show combat, and how excited they were. The event was billed as a sporting event, not a "reenactment” or “Renaissance Festival", and I doubt that most attendees all understood the difference when they arrived, but they seemed to as they left, which game a great deal of food for thought on how to present historical material to an audience.

2. The event organizers were very receptive and want to create a larger WMA component to the event, with class days for foot combat and equestrian combat before the public event, and more displays during the event. If this event succeeds and grows, it will create a *public* venue to promote HEMA in a *chivalric* context, while still making it clear that this is a modern combat sport (jousting) and study of historical martial arts.

3. Finally, I would like to ask all of my brothers and sisters in arms to lift a cup to Scott Wilson of the SAS (and now the Order of the Sword, Axe and Spear): not only did Scott act as armouer at the event, but he made all of those weapons, finished his harness, made two suits of gothic harness *in the month leading up to the event*, and produced beautiful daggers to gift each of us with just before we fought our first encounters. He then went on to compete in all six jousts, the mounted skills at arms, and the mounted melee, meaning that not only was he "in arms" more than anyone at the event, but that in one day he literally was in harness from open of day until close, jousted, took third place in the mounted melee and fought with sword, spear, axe, dagger and wrestling, all in 90 degree weather. It is a feat of arms worthy of celebration!

So to my brother in arms, a big cheer and a tip of my hat!

Big thanks to Christopher VaughStrever, who acted as bout organizer and color commentator during the demonstrations.

I was also very happy to see old friends, like Christian Darce' and Dakao Dao, and reconnect with Jeff Basham, whom I have not seen since 2001! Jeff, I'm glad you're back.

My thanks to Scott Wilson for persuading us to drive 1200 miles, Steve Hempel for being receptive to the idea, and Richard Garriott, for be such an enthusiastic sponsor – lending us his land, his support, and on the third day even trying his hand with the lance, on horse and in harness. These three gentlemen made the first official CFAA event a very special weekend, and I hope to repeat it again in the future.

Best wishes,

Gregory Mele
"Bis vivit qui bene vivit"

Greg Mele
Chicago Swordplay Guild
www.chicagoswordplayguild.com

www.freelanceacademypress.com
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James Anderson III




Location: Charles Town, WV
Joined: 23 Jul 2010
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Posts: 92

PostPosted: Thu 05 May, 2011 2:28 pm    Post subject: Re: CFAA Tournament at Lysts on the Lake         Reply with quote

Greg Mele wrote:

3. Finally, I would like to ask all of my brothers and sisters in arms to lift a cup to Scott Wilson of the SAS (and now the Order of the Sword, Axe and Spear): not only did Scott act as armouer at the event, but he made all of those weapons, finished his harness, made two suits of gothic harness *in the month leading up to the event*, and produced beautiful daggers to gift each of us with just before we fought our first encounters. He then went on to compete in all six jousts, the mounted skills at arms, and the mounted melee, meaning that not only was he "in arms" more than anyone at the event, but that in one day he literally was in harness from open of day until close, jousted, took third place in the mounted melee and fought with sword, spear, axe, dagger and wrestling, all in 90 degree weather. It is a feat of arms worthy of celebration!


That sounds like an event in and of itself. Huzzah to all of the participants, and double huzzahs for Mr Wilson.

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Knight, Order of the Marshal
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Dustin R. Reagan





Joined: 09 May 2006

Posts: 264

PostPosted: Thu 05 May, 2011 3:46 pm    Post subject: Re: CFAA Tournament at Lysts on the Lake         Reply with quote

Greg Mele wrote:

Pictures of the bouts and participants can be seen here:
http://azulox.zenfolio.com/p939013353


That is some really excellent photography! Sounds like a really fun/exciting event, as well.
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