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S. Aeppli





Joined: 16 Nov 2006

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu 16 Nov, 2006 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reenactors: What is reality?         Reply with quote

Greetings, I want to preface my remarks by stating I MEAN NO OFFENSE. I am interested in finding a group to spar with in blunt steel combat. The groups that I am finding seem to involve role playing and fantasy that goes beyond my willingness to commit. I have no problem with the discipline involved in the martial art, but the rigid social formant involving royalist roleplaying etc...well.
My question: Are ther groups that are more pragmatic or can someone with experience in entering SCA type events without belonging to a "kingdom"...ohh jeez I can barely even say that... WTF?! describe their experience.
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Sean Belair
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Joined: 08 Aug 2006

Posts: 147

PostPosted: Thu 16 Nov, 2006 7:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

are you looking for a western martial arts group or a living history group that takes a more serious approach to reenactment?
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 16 Nov, 2006 7:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Absolutely. My group only does the martial arts aspect. We are not part of a reenactment or LARP group. Where are you located? Maybe someone can help you find a local one.

Edit to add: Understand that by "spar with blunt steel", though, that any serious Western Martial Arts groups will not have you doing this for quite some time. There will be quite a lot of time developing much more basic techniques before you would be ready for this. Just an FYI.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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S. Aeppli





Joined: 16 Nov 2006

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu 16 Nov, 2006 7:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you gentlemen. I think I can reply to both responses. While I like the idea of putting together a set of repro Ottoman armor that is ancilliary to the process. I am familier with ARMA and just sent an email to a Beaumont, CA. contact (no response yet). I appreciate the caution about blunt steel combat and understand the need for training and vetting for safety and psychological reasons. I did fence epee in college but that was many years ago, and I found it far to restrained. Not lacking in skill but restrained.
If I may ask do ARMA members participate in SCA type events? Also what is the policy towards individuals with handicaps? My primary motivation is for the rigerous exercise and the mental acuity involved in martial sport. A long time avocation and degree in history make the historical research aspects or the reenactor groups of interest.
Thank you both for you replies.
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Eric Allen




Location: Texas
Joined: 04 Feb 2006

Posts: 207

PostPosted: Thu 16 Nov, 2006 8:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

S. Aeppli wrote:

If I may ask do ARMA members participate in SCA type events? Also what is the policy towards individuals with handicaps? My primary motivation is for the rigerous exercise and the mental acuity involved in martial sport. A long time avocation and degree in history make the historical research aspects or the reenactor groups of interest.
Thank you both for you replies.


Speaking as a neophyte ARMA-teer:
The ARMA approaches historical European swordsmanship from the point-of-view of a pure martial art independent of roleplay or reenactment of any sort. As such, do we participate in SCA-type events? Absolutely not (it doesn't mesh with what we do). Nor do we normally attend "tournaments" or other competitions. Some ARMA study-groups will do demos at renn-faires and such, but the focus is NEVER reenactment or "stage-fighting." You will see ARMA members dressed in simple "garb" when appropriate, but it is not the focus.
If by handicaps you mean some sort of physical disability, its kind of a case-by-case thing. We won't discriminate against someone with a handicap--but we probably won't go easy on them either.

For any and all ARMA querries: www.thearma.org. and the forums there. Lots of helpful folks.

the ARMA is not for everyone. The intense martial approach in particular tends to put people off. Others prefer different aspects Medieval and Renaissance arms and armor--such as reenactment or "living history." Others prefer fantasy or roleplay. All these aspects have their place, and there tends to be a group for everyone--you just have to find yours.
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Randall Pleasant




Location: Flower Mound, Texas
Joined: 24 Aug 2003

Posts: 333

PostPosted: Fri 17 Nov, 2006 9:48 am    Post subject: Re: Reenactors: What is reality?         Reply with quote

As Bill Grandy pointed out, don't expect to start sparring with blunts the minute you join a group. No matter how much experience and skill you say you have the members of a group will need time to get a feel for you and to ensure that you do indeed have the skill to fight with blunts without causing a major injury to yourself or another person.

At this point let me say that I don't speak for ARMA or any other ARMA members. Eric is correct that ARMA members do not take part in any SCA fighting or the tournaments of other groups. This is because we do things so very different from most other groups. For example, grappling is not allowed in the SCA but is a major part of ARMA training. Also, almost all of the sparring I saw at the recent WAMW 2006 event was basically unamoured fighting performed while wearing armour. ARMA members wear armour only when training in historical armour fighting methods, such as found in Fiore, Ringeck, etc. Thus, when engaging in unarmoured sparring with blunts we do not wear armour, rather we actually wear a minimum of protective equipment. Personally, I normally wear only a fensing mask, a cup, heavy gloves, and sometimes soccer shin guards. Some members will wear elbow and knee pads if they are going to engage in grappling. As might be expected, we do walk away with some nice bruises. However, since members are required to have a given level of skill and control before training and sparring with blunts (noramlly at least a year of training) we have never experience serious injury. While we don't knowingly engage in edge-on-edge blade actions for historical and martial reasons (this is not an attempt to debate the issue), it is also very important for us to not do so in blunt sparring because blade nicks will peel skin. Thus, all blunts are inspected, and file if required, before sparring.

Good luck in finding what you are looking for.

Ran Pleasant
ARMA DFW
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Allen Reed




Location: Northwest, IL
Joined: 19 Apr 2004

Posts: 78

PostPosted: Tue 21 Nov, 2006 12:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Reenactors: What is reality?         Reply with quote

S. Aeppli wrote:
Greetings, I want to preface my remarks by stating I MEAN NO OFFENSE. I am interested in finding a group to spar with in blunt steel combat. The groups that I am finding seem to involve role playing and fantasy that goes beyond my willingness to commit. I have no problem with the discipline involved in the martial art, but the rigid social formant involving royalist roleplaying etc...well.
My question: Are ther groups that are more pragmatic or can someone with experience in entering SCA type events without belonging to a "kingdom"...ohh jeez I can barely even say that... WTF?! describe their experience.


There are several types of SCA combat. Armored combat only allows the use of rattan for weapons.
Rapier combat uses steel replicas of rapiers of the late 16th and early 17th C. Cut and Thrust allows blunted steel weapons.

You do not have to "belong" to a kingdom to fight in the SCA. Though you _may_ have ot be member of the SCA to fight depending on where you live.

Allen
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Stephen Hand




Location: Hobart, Australia
Joined: 03 Oct 2004
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 226

PostPosted: Tue 21 Nov, 2006 3:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are a lot of western martial arts groups out there who practice swordsmanship based on historical manuals, and my advice is to shop around. If you are lucky enough to have more than one group in your area, visit all of them. You should also look at attending large western martial arts community events, such as the aforementioned Western Martial Arts Workshop, recently held in Texas. You mentioned California. There will be a big event in the San Francisco area early next year which you might wish to attend.

You should also look at some of the literature and videos that are becoming available. Places like Chivalry Bookshelf, Greenhill and Paladin are publishing some good quality material. This includes translations and analyses of old manuals.

Basically there are a lot of places where you can practice swordsmanship without having to dress up and pretend to be someone else. For that matter most re-enactment groups don't do the level of role playing that you seem to have encountered. Most re-enactment around the world consists of people essentially saying "I am Stephen Hand dressed as a medieval knight, doing some of the things a medieval knight might have done", not "I am Duke Frogmorton di wally de Honk, grand master of the order of the syphilitic marmoset etc." But in any case it sounds as if you're looking for a western martial arts group, not a re-enactment group. As I said, there are a lot of groups, with a wide range of quality and approaches and it pays to shop around. There is a good list of links to WMA groups on my organisation's website (see my sig line).

Good luck

Stephen Hand
Editor, Spada, Spada II
Author of English Swordsmanship, Medieval Sword and Shield

Stoccata School of Defence
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