ansteorra V1 #29

Chris Walden cmwalden at
Sun May 7 17:11:12 PDT 1995

More of Antonio and friends on the 3 foot butcher knife:

>ansteorra                    Friday, 5 May 1995         Volume 01 : Number 029
>From: tmarsh at (Todd Marsh)

>With fewer authorizing marshals, we have a better chance of
>consistancy than we would have with lots of potential signers.  

Here is where you and I will rub one another.  That one word "consistency".
I think that great efforts have been made to codify and homogonize what we
do.  It is assumed that since we are "so big" now, that we will be unable to
work together without things being spelled out.  Now, I understand the need
for agreements on rules of play, safety standards, reporting standards.
Those are necessary.  It is not appropriate, however, to standardize and
codify honor or chivalry.  These are matters of a more, if you'll pardon the
expression, spiritual nature.  You cannot set down a set of rules for
something that is so internal and ethereal.  It must be grocked, not

>I am a local rapier marshal.  It is somewhat irritating that my armored
>counterpart can sign cards and I can't (but I think that's my problem, not
>the system's).  
Who's problem it is depends on who suffers.  If people are being prevented
from learning more about rapier combat because they are too far away from
the authorization machine, then they are suffering a great disservice.  If
it means that they will only have to be patient until their first tournament
until they are official, then this is not a problem.  I suppose my greatest
concern is that you, as Rapier Marshal, are responsible for the *vision* of
the rapier community in your area.  You have the greatest opportunity to see
what is going on and to guide the people for whom you are responsible.  But,
you are not officially qualified for this task.

>Every member of the marshalate would start as a junior marshal, and prove
>themselves to get "promoted".
Who will judge?

>So, you prefer the old days when all rapier fighters were good friends, and
>to become a Don/Dona you had to spend 40 hours in Tivar's living room
>discussing fencing, fighting styles and the meaning of life? :)  
You're damned right I prefer that.  And if that makes me less than modern,
I'm proud of it.  We joined the SCA, or at least I did, because we were
attracted to the history, the polite society.  We liked the idea of having
your word mean something.  We liked the idea of honor and respect as
foremost concerns.

Now if those things have become passe, then someone has dropped the ball,
big time.  If we have become "too big" for that sort of thing to work, then
something is terribly wrong.  I doubt seriously that our community has
surpassed the size of the gentle community in Rennaissance Europe.  I know
that they had less than pleasant sides to their community.  I know that
their system didn't always work.  Life doesn't always work.  But when we
start to design what we do, based on protecting (or being protected from)
the lowest common denominator, then many people who are truly noble in
spirit are suffering a great disservice.  And all of us suffer from that
because were it not for Tivar's living room and the people who experienced
that (alas I am not one), we would be a weak society in deed!

>If I was asked to authorize someone...
You described what I remember of the rosy good-old-days of yore.

>Making more authorizing marshals increases the odds of personal involvement.
Why would you not consider a White Scarf of Ansteorra qualified for this task?

I know that I'm ranting a little here, Llywelyn, but this is important.  Why
do you do this rather than sport fencing?  Is it the toys and the styles?
If so, why the SCA rather than the High Fantasy Society?  My answer to that
is there is more to what we do than exists in sport fencing.  And I feel
that the SCA offers a better quality vision than what one normally receives
from the fantasy groups.  (No offense intended to the fantasy folk, we just
aren't doing the same thing.)

Do you truly look with a knowing smile at Tivar and the old days.  Do you
see your own Don, a product of that time, as someone who is behind the
times?  I know that you do not.  I do not suggest that we have easy
solutions to the problems that we are facing.  And  I do think that making
new rules to further define things and make them easier to label and enforce
is an easy way.  The weak link in any system will be the men and women who
implement it.  If we make weak men and women, then the rules will do nothing
but flatten what we do into a shallow shadow.  I submit that we are better
than that.

I remain Yours, etc.
Antonio Bastiano
or cmwalden at

More information about the Ansteorra mailing list