Chris Walden cmwalden at
Thu Jul 13 07:35:02 PDT 1995

I've had some problem finding information on how tournaments were actually
held, and tend to cheat and use Connor as my source for that.  But I can't
help but feel that our approach to them is hopelessly modern.  My
understanding of thinking in "period" was that they would find our
tournaments to be puzzling at best.  We pit the lowliest person agains
people of rank and status.  We typically rely on pure chance.  The nobility
typically has no hand in things except to give a pep talk and hand out the

A key phrase that I heard someone mention was "Who are we fighting for,
ourselves, or the crowd?"  I would approach this from a different point of
view.  Who's tournament is it?  Why is it being held.  In a Championship
tournament, I would expect the one's whose champion is being selected to
CHOOSE their champion from the list, regardless of whether he had won the
final fight.  I would also expect them to be able to take a fighter that we
would have typically considered to be eliminated (he yielded after a serious
wound twice) and ask him to fight some more so that they can continue to
consider him.  I tend to lean more toward the judged tournament.  They feel
more like what I would expect to find out of period thinking.  They tend to
select those that approach the ideal, rather than the circumstancial.

As far as Heraldry on the field is concerned, I think that our modern
approach has affected that as well.  The Herald in a tournament is primarily
there to replace the lighted scoreboard that we do not have.  It is
exhausting to do, and to listen to.  My favorite tournament as far as
heraldic brou-ha-ha was a Crown that was held here in Bryn Gwlad.  (I think
it was Crown.)  We had trumpets!  Between rounds Thomas of Tenby and another
whom I don't recall had long horns that were provided to them, and they
improvised fan fares to call attention at the beginning of each round (not
each fight).  For the final fight, the fighters were heralded in
appropriately, and the fanfare was a combination of all the fanfares that
they had used during the day.  It was very majestic and trés cool!

I wonder if we don't focus so much on fairness.  I wonder if it would be
appropriate to mix into our tourney season some things that not everyone
could do?  Maybe we should try to get different people involved in running
tournaments.  They tend to be run by people who know how they're supposed to
be done.  Maybe we should stick a marshal with someone who "knows what they
like" and see what we get.

The di Grassi tournament coming up at Bryn Gwlad Baronial for the rapier
fighters is very unconventional by current SCA trends.  But I think it sound
right for the setting.  I'll be very interested to see how it feels.

I remain Yours, etc.
Antonio Bastiano
or cmwalden at

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