From Stray Genius
Information & Rules
Why dress up like a knight and fight with practice swords? About 35 years ago I was obsessed with trying that. When the chance came I took it, but I was concerned about how much it might hurt. The real question a new person should ask is if they will get upset if someone gives them a good hit and it does hurt.
The vibe of the combat in medieval sparring is different than boxing or martial arts. Particularly with regard to the competitive nature of the fights. Fighting as pretend knights is friendlier and (in my opinion) more fun. It's just not as serious. Consider the medieval fencer... how can anyone in tights, tall boots and a floppy feathered hat be taken seriously?
In this type of combat (knights with practice weapons) a person can learn to exchange blows in a casual and non-threatening environment. This teaches how to let the animal inside of us out to play (roughly) but not let the human we are - get offended or upset when attacked. This is useful experience in real life, where there may come a moment when our anger or pride might cause us to do something rash as a result of a perceived threat. This is a valuable life lesson anyone can learn with Mock Ancient Armored Combat - to let the beast out and be violent - but not threatening or being threatened. To temper our pride and ego when sparring. Consider that animals like lions, wolves, and bears (for example) play quite rough - and it's in the spirit of having fun. In our case the measure of being "tough" is to take a bump or blow and not get freaked out or upset.
If you want to feel what it's like to fight in armor in medieval times, this is the easiest way to do so (since you do not have to provide your own gear, for example). Mock (not accurate) combat of two opponents in ancient style with a referee using provided modern proxies for medieval gear (such as guards and pads, aluminum chain mail, and foam, plastic, or wood weapons) is free and fun. MAAC is not associated with any organization or enterprise, it is a non-profit volunteer activity for fun. The activity is organized and instructed by a host who also acts as a referee. Spectators are welcome but should be aware to stay clear of combat and attend in good faith (in the spirit of fun for everyone). The principle of MAAC is that it be fun.
The participants for sparring occur in the order the enrollment forms are signed, first come first to fight. When the participants have responded to the caller's request to spar, they perform a game of paper, rock, scissors. The winner gets first choice of gear and as a result chooses the fighting style of the match (which style both fighters will use - sword and shield, sword and dagger, or two handed weapons). If all participants have fought then the order of fighters continues as per the original order, as a matter of who is still present and wishes to fight.
Once the sparring has begun it is not stopped until a fighter wins by flags* (five), the duration of a match expires (five minutes, after which the winner is named based on superior number of flags, or a tie* occurs), or the following...
- A fighter forfeits by dropping his weapon(s), taking a knee, and yelling "forfeit" (the match ends).
- The caller (referee) yells "take a knee" - that there be a brief period of rest for one minute (both fighters retreat and rest for one minute after which the caller (referee) will restart the match. This only occurs if the caller determines that one or both of the fighters is exhausted to the point of being incapacitated, in distress, or abusive (since MAAC is all about having fun, a warning* is given to the abusive fighter).
- A fighter makes a hit (slash or stab) to an area of the opponent which is illegal* after which the referee will call "illegal" and a warning* is issued to the fighter who made the bad hit (if a fighter gets two warnings he loses and the match ends). At the call of "illegal" both fighters retreat immediately and wait until the match is restarted by the caller referee).
- An injury occurs which is marked by the call "injury" from the caller at which time both fighters immediately stop and the match ends (both fighters relinquish their gear).
The winner of a match may choose to stay and fight again, or relinquish his gear to the next participant. The primary measure of success for a fighter would be to retain his gear for multiple matches. If a participant loses he relinquishes his gear to the next participant for the following match.
The caller's calls are: (first name of combatant) "up" (indicating that participant come forward to spar), "begin" (start fighting), (helm crest color of fighter, such as red or gold) "wins", "tie" (match time runs out with equal flags), "take a knee" (calling for a one minute rest), "illegal" (pauses the match to issue a warning or end the match on second warning), and "injury" (ends the match).
- "flags" - a counted blow observed by the caller (at which time the caller will award a flag to the striker - this does not pause the match or have any other effect save calling a winner at five flags and ending the match). A blow is acknowledged by the caller by "red" or "gold" as per the color of the striker's helmet crest.
- "warning" - the caller will approach and instruct the offending fighter on appropriate behavior. Being abusive or striking an illegal* blow will result in a warning. Two warnings for a fighter ends the match with his loss.
- "illegal" - a blow that could injure and is considered too dangerous. Any stab not to the area below the armpits and above the belt of the torso. Stabbing can only be done to the lower torso. Any blow to the forearms or hands, or below the knee is illegal. Striking with a shield is also illegal.
- "tie" - if neither participant wishes to relinquish gear for the next fighter, a game of paper, rock, scissors occurs. The loser relinquishes his gear to the next participant for the following match.
Combatants must gauge their blows so that they are not too heavy or wild, especially stabs, as it will be no fun if a participant or participants actually get injured. The provided safety gear is padded shirt under chain-mail tunic, knee, shin, forearm, and elbow guards, hand gauntlets, and a full face helmet with chain-mail coif.
Participants and spectators may bring refreshments for themselves as desired. Bottled water will be provided for any combatants. Spectators are expected to provide their own seating (such as folding chairs), mat, or simply sit on the lawn. Smokers will smoke in a designated smoking area.
People who wish to spar must fill out and sign an enrollment & liability release form to participate. Any loaned gear must be returned before leaving the property. Anyone who does not follow the host's instructions and attend in good faith must leave as a matter of legal consequence (as determined by the host). There is no membership, no titles or champions, and no governing body save the host of a MAAC event on that day. In addition, the MAAC enrollment and release form only lasts the duration of the day of the event on which it is signed. Anyone may use the MAAC format - information and rules document - as long as the document is maintained in it's entirety including copyright.
Two sets of bokken (Kendo wood practice swords), two daggers, two swords, and two two-handed swords (all polypropylene except for the bokken), six helmets (two crusader, three Corynthian, one Roman), two chain mail tunics with coifs, two crusader tunics, two leather hand gauntlets, three sets of pads and guards (forearm, shin, and thigh guards, padded shirts, three sets so one fighter can prep while the other two fight), two crusader shields, two buckler shields, a practice dummy (outfitted with Roman armor and shield), brass gong, and a five minute fight timer sand glass.