LANGJ at mail.syntron.com
Thu Jul 13 16:43:36 PDT 1995
I feel that perhaps it is a good point in the discussion of
tournaments and event ideals to inject the observations and
experiences of someone who has spent several years as a landed
baron, officer, and (sometimes) party animal.
We who preside and organize SCA events, are under no illusion that
our activities are a true reenactment of *any* medieval society.
We are attempting to conduct the activities of a synthesized
social structure. We might pause in reflection here to remember
that most of the people of ancient Europe were neither of noble or
gentle birth. The majority were farmers, whose very survival
depended on the land and its bounty. Most were ill clothed, ill
treated (often just plain ill), subject to the depredations of
bandits and barbarians, and the vagrancies of famine and war.
Half of their children did not live to see their first birthday.
I do not wish to experience a reenactment of a famine or plague
(Not that I haven't driven hundreds of miles to camp in rain and
mud, while eating tainted food), even though this might be a
more accurate "reenactment" scenario.
We conduct our tourneys in a far more egalitarian manner that
would have been conceivable in period (picture a tattered yeoman
in period challenging a duke to single combat).
We organize our tourneys with an idea of what we wish to achieve.
Crown Tourney is held to choose a Sovereign for the Kingdom.
Spectator enjoyment is strictly secondary. Queen's Champion
Tourney is held in the style of the Duello to choose a Champion
for Her Majesty. My Baronial Championship Tourney is held to
choose Champions for the Barony of Stargate. The function of all
of these type tourneys is to produce a clear "winner" who will
serve for the designated time.
The expressed purpose for the Squire's Invitational Tourney is to
showcase the talents of the journeyman fighters of the Kingdom.
It is intended as a "Belted/Scarved Circle with a Lab."
In any of these types of tournaments, the enjoyment of the
spectators is dependant on the sophistication of the watcher.
A "connoisseur" of the martial arts of the middle ages and
renaissance, will be able to enjoy the displays of martial skill
in any format.
There are tourney formats such as Tourney de Lyonnesse, and the
Tourney of the Nine Worthies, where there is a different focus.
There are winners in these type of tourneys, and their spectacle
is beyond price. Most important, they reward qualities beyond
skill at arms.
All of our tournament formats are based on at least a *perception*
of the preferences of those who will compete. This is the primary
consideration. A tourney is made, at least in part by skill
of those who compete. Personally, I take pride in the quality of
Stargate's tourneys. The number of my champions who have I have
later sworn fealty to as my Sovereign has increased the prestige of
*I* do not like to judge tourneys. I spend the day sitting in my
throne, or wandering around the list field, greeting my "guests,"
while dedicated martial artist practice their skills. *I* do not
feel "worthy" to select a winner. I am uncomfortable doing so.
There are ancillary functions organized for most tourneys. They
are essential to round out the event for those who do not compete
in the martial arts.
In general, I would recommend participation in the actualization of
tournaments. If you organize a tourney, you can have the greatest
level of impact on its format.
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