Rapier Trends

James Crouchet crouchet at infinity.ccsi.com
Wed May 10 15:25:26 PDT 1995

It occurred to me today, that I have seen folks separating fighting 
problems into 2 categories: Safety and Other. There is a third important 
category we must consider: Playability.

Blow calling, for instance, usually falls into this third category. If 
people will not call their blows the game is not workable. It only 
becomes an "Other" problem when it is caused by an attitude problem.

One should also be aware that blow calling can become a safety issue if 
the fighters get mad enough about it and began doing dangerous things.

So why does it matter? Because a marshal's job includes watching for 
safety and PLAYABILITY problems, not just safety. In my opinion a marshal 
has no business venturing into the Other relm *as a marshal*. For 
example, it would be inappropriate for a marshal to say, "You seem to have 
a bad attitude. Get off my field."  If he/she wants to talk to that 
fighter after the bout as an individual or refer the problem to someone 
more adapt at handling such problems, he or she should do so.

So that brings us back to blow calling. If a fighter is missing blows I 
think you should asses the situation: Was just one blow missed? Was it 
clearly good? Did their opponent react like he/she thought it was good? 
Use all this information to determine if you think the lack of blow 
calling is interfering with the progress of the fight, making it 
unplayable. If so, say something; correct the problem. If not, wait and 
handle it OFF the field as an Other problem. True, the wrong guy may win 
but remember, you cannot win the REAL prize in this game by ignoring your 

Now the rules currently say that unchivalrous behavior is illegal. Such
rules clearly venture into the relm of Other and that, in my opinion, is a
bad thing. 

Although this is not really the point, I think it is a mark of how poorly
considered such a rule is that it does not really mean what it says. For
instance, by the rules of chivalry if I defeat my opponent his arms and
armor belong to me. Also, I may refuse any fight with a person of higher
or lower rank than myself without penalty. I doubt this is what the
framers of this rule meant. 

But real questions of honor and courtesy are social problems and cannot
truly be resolved by referees. This is the job of the Dons, the Knights,
Kings, Queens, Barons, friends, cadets and squires, Lords and Ladies and
all those who strive to become one of these. I think we have done an
exceptionally poor job of dealing with these problems in recent years and
the result has been a marshallette stepping in and trying to deal with a
problem they are not equipped to deal with. 

It is time the Dons and the Knights took the lead on this once again. But 
that is not to say the rest of you do not have a job to do too. If a 
fighter carries your favor and behaves dishonorably he/she dishonors YOU. 
If members of your group are discourteous they bring down the reputation 
of your whole group. If a Don/Knight allows his cadet/squire to behave 
badly he too is dishonored. It is your duty to the fighter and to 
yourself to chide such a person if they behave badly, and to praise them 
when they do well. Any friend who will not point out when a fighter has 
dishonored himself is no true friend.

I say it is time we pulled honor out of the rule books and put it back in 
our hearts where it belongs. 

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