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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Mon 16 Mar, 2015 7:56 pm    Post subject: Wierd musing         Reply with quote

In my four years in the SCA, I've seen a fair people gotten hit in the cup with rattan sticks, watched videos of people collapsing in pure agony after getting hit in the cup with a rubber war hammer, gotten kicked in the groin as a kid and felt, watched movies and TV series of people of people bleeding like slaughtered pigs after getting a their nuts ripped off, slide in between the legs, et.I've alsolook at various armour style across different periods on here and just musing. One of things that always strucks is the seeming lack of any sort of rigid protection in Western European armor for the groin until around the 1500s. Anyone can explain this? Why rigid groin protection is so seeming rare in armor throughout time?
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Mon 16 Mar, 2015 8:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Because shields and non-rigid armour work well enough?

As well as being protective, the armour needs to be not-too-inconvenient:
- If you have close-fitting rigid groin armour, can you walk all day in it?
- If you have stand-off rigid groin armour (e.g., a tonlet), can you walk all day in it, and sit down in it?
- Can you ride a horse with it?

Things like lamellar/brigandine skirts, plate tassets, mail skirts, etc work. Maybe not as well as the best possible protection, but not too bad. Well enough so that until civilian fashion dictates that armour should include a codpiece, why suffer the problems?

(Only remember one hard groin hit from SCA fighting. Two-handed axe. Didn't hurt, but it did take links off my mail skirt.)

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2015 7:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
Because shields and non-rigid armour work well enough?

As well as being protective, the armour needs to be not-too-inconvenient:
- If you have close-fitting rigid groin armour, can you walk all day in it?
- If you have stand-off rigid groin armour (e.g., a tonlet), can you walk all day in it, and sit down in it?
- Can you ride a horse with it?

Things like lamellar/brigandine skirts, plate tassets, mail skirts, etc work. Maybe not as well as the best possible protection, but not too bad. Well enough so that until civilian fashion dictates that armour should include a codpiece, why suffer the problems?

(Only remember one hard groin hit from SCA fighting. Two-handed axe. Didn't hurt, but it did take links off my mail skirt.)

Uhhhh, I've never worn a steel codpiece but I've walked around all day and sit all day wearing my cup several times and it has never bothered me. Also, I thought tonlet's were often designed with splits so you could ride a horse in it. Also, were you wearing a cup the day of the axe hit?
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Tom King




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2015 7:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In the Adrian Empire we're all "supposed" to wear cups, but in reality...

In short, it isn't an issue. the groin is one of the hardest places to hit, let alone successfully hit with a weapon. between the faulds and tassets of my breastplate and the cuisses my boys are quite protected. If there is an inherent problem in the SCA with groin strikes, it makes me wonder more why you guys keep aiming for the dick than why period armor "doesn't" protect the groin.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2015 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The hauberk and jack tended to cover the groin, didn't they? For rigid defenses, I'd look at how groin protection changed in relation to the development of more thrust-oriented weapons and techniques. The plate fauld covers down the hip joints, which would tend to protect the genitals from slashing attacks from above.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2015 10:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tom King wrote:
In the Adrian Empire we're all "supposed" to wear cups, but in reality...

In short, it isn't an issue. the groin is one of the hardest places to hit, let alone successfully hit with a weapon. between the faulds and tassets of my breastplate and the cuisses my boys are quite protected. If there is an inherent problem in the SCA with groin strikes, it makes me wonder more why you guys keep aiming for the dick than why period armor "doesn't" protect the groin.

From my experience, now one aims for the dick, it just incidentally lands there while poele try to perform other techinque and people try to avoid it.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2015 3:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip Dyer wrote:
Timo Nieminen wrote:
Because shields and non-rigid armour work well enough?

As well as being protective, the armour needs to be not-too-inconvenient:
- If you have close-fitting rigid groin armour, can you walk all day in it?
- If you have stand-off rigid groin armour (e.g., a tonlet), can you walk all day in it, and sit down in it?
- Can you ride a horse with it?

Things like lamellar/brigandine skirts, plate tassets, mail skirts, etc work. Maybe not as well as the best possible protection, but not too bad. Well enough so that until civilian fashion dictates that armour should include a codpiece, why suffer the problems?

(Only remember one hard groin hit from SCA fighting. Two-handed axe. Didn't hurt, but it did take links off my mail skirt.)

Uhhhh, I've never worn a steel codpiece but I've walked around all day and sit all day wearing my cup several times and it has never bothered me. Also, I thought tonlet's were often designed with splits so you could ride a horse in it. Also, were you wearing a cup the day of the axe hit?


A cup alone is not enough. Perhaps against knees and shins, but not against pointy things - there are some large arteries there, and deflecting a point or edge into those arteries, with consequent quick fatality, would be undesirable. You need to keep sharp things away from the groin in general, not just away from the genitalia. So you want something like (a) Henry VIII's "spacesuit" armour groin protection, (b) a tonlet, or (c) mail voiders, a skirt, or some other flexible armour.

But a cup (or steel/iron cup-like armour) would help if it gets to wrestling. For tournament armour, it seems like a useful addition. For armour for war, if you wear your armour every day, and fight every few months, the trade-off between comfort and protection is different. SCA fighting is not the same as real battles, but estimating the groin hit rate by weapons for which rigid cup-like protection would provide real benefit from SCA fighting, it's under 1 hit per 100 days of fighting. I think skirt to stop sharp things, and not suffering daily discomfort to reduce that small risk, when the risk of dying in battle is much greater, is the way to go. You might like to investigate use of cups by police officers. Some wear, and most do not (except for riot duty).

(It isn't just comfort, but also fungus, due to moisture.)

Yes, when hit by the axe, I was wearing a box. As the armour standards dictate, one wears. Apart from the rules, SCA comfort vs protection is tournament-like, not war-like. I'd wear one for full-contact unarmed sparring, too.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Bjorn Hagstrom




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2015 4:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Don't forget that the default mean of transport for an armoured man is a horse!

Riding in rigid groin protection will either damage you or the saddle (saddles have always been pricey pieces of equipment to boot) So I have a distinct feeling that is why we see some steel cod pieces for exclusive suits of foot torney armour, but for field armour not so much.

There is nothing quite as sad as a one man conga-line...
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2015 5:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I recall seeing a tonlet armour that was designed for riding. Big cutout at the front (and, I assume, at the back) of the skirt. The cutout also meant it didn't protect the groin.

When it comes to equestrian armours, it's common to have no protection for the buttocks, for the inside thighs, for the back of the thighs. What's an exposed groin (or a mail-protected groin) compared to those gaps?

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2015 7:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
I recall seeing a tonlet armour that was designed for riding. Big cutout at the front (and, I assume, at the back) of the skirt. The cutout also meant it didn't protect the groin.

When it comes to equestrian armours, it's common to have no protection for the buttocks, for the inside thighs, for the back of the thighs. What's an exposed groin (or a mail-protected groin) compared to those gaps?

Butt medieval war saddles are designed to protect those areas, one of the functions on why they are so high and thick in order to protect from attacks from that area. Also, if you referring to armoring, horses,it is allot easier to armour man than a horse. I don't really think then mail of any flexible lower defense could be said to adquetely protect that area. If could always be lifted or bypassed if a person was able to duck low and stab upward, especially you outrange your opponent, say he is trying to attack you with a sword or axe and you are armed with a spear.http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manufacturing/text/viking_mail.htm Like here. How expensive and time consuming would it be to forge a cup of iron or steel, or made one out of leather, sew pocket in your trousers, braes?
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Tue 17 Mar, 2015 10:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, those areas aren't exposed when riding. But one is not always on one's horse. Men-at-arms might dismount to fight, or, when fighting mounted, their horses can be killed.

If you're worried about opponents lifting up flexible defences and stabbing underneath, either (a) don't let them do it, or (b) go for Henry VIII spacesuit groin protection. A cup is not enough against that kind of thing. You need to protect the whole groin area, not just the genitals. A cup doesn't protect enough. (a) is the practical solution for most people.

Where stabbing under groin armour will be a real problem is when wrestling. It will be a problem with flexible armour, with tonlets, and with cups. Which is an excellent reason to have "spacesuit" armour, if you can afford it, and only need to put it on for the tournament. Otherwise, some risk is acceptable on the battlefield.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Mar, 2015 5:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip Dyer wrote:
Tom King wrote:
In the Adrian Empire we're all "supposed" to wear cups, but in reality...

In short, it isn't an issue. the groin is one of the hardest places to hit, let alone successfully hit with a weapon. between the faulds and tassets of my breastplate and the cuisses my boys are quite protected. If there is an inherent problem in the SCA with groin strikes, it makes me wonder more why you guys keep aiming for the dick than why period armor "doesn't" protect the groin.

From my experience, now one aims for the dick, it just incidentally lands there while poele try to perform other techinque and people try to avoid it.


Then I'm willing to bet it's mostly because of a flaw in their technique. I'm not in the SCA myself but I have a hard time imagining how to get a "groin shot" in except if there's some huge mistake involved since all of the heavy fighting styles seem to protect that area very well (whether from intentional or from accidental hits).
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