Evolution of SCA

Gunnora Hallakarva gunnora at bga.com
Fri Dec 6 00:08:16 PST 1996

timo <dentim at mail.myriad.net> said:
I firmly belive that the level of fighting in the SCA will keep growing as
the  SCA does. Meaning no disrespect, but the *very early* knights of the
SCA fought a much different game than we do. Just look at track and field
records over the past 30 years the see how humans strive to increase their

I  had this question start kicking  around my  head  during Ren Faire.I saw
this photo album with events and people in it dateing back 10yrs or so. My
first impression was "wow,look at how different everything was". So to you,
the  people of Ansteorra, I pose a query, how has the SCA changed since you
joined?  THe level of authenticety,the fighting, the arts, or just the
"flavor" of  events. How have these changed? Are we getting better?

Heilsa, Timo (or should that be, "timo"?)

Fighting sure has changed.  When I started fighting, legal armor was: a
freon can helm, a gorget, a kidney belt, and soft elbo & knee pads, plus
groin armor for men.  If we couldn't tell if a blow to the head was good, we
took off our helms and looked at the dent.  No dent, no good.  Which tells
you that we were not hitting anywhere NEAR as hard... more sort of "counting
coup" as we were lightly armored and wanted to not limp too badly at work
come Monday.

As we became more authentic in armor, blow strength increased.  This has
been accellerated by the mentality of "damn, I keep getting hit in the (fill
in the blank with your favorite anatomical part)... I'd better make some
armor to go over it!"  Hrabia Jan strongly discouraged us on that count...
as he pointed out, if you keep getting hit in the (x) you'd better learn how
to defend your (x) properly.  Unfortunately, the new piece of armor is much
easier than learning the proper defense, and alas, that in its turn has led
to monumental rhinos.

Another diffreence is that everybody started fighting with round shields.
The general thought was that if you could use a round properly, you could
use any shield properly.  And people felt that the scutum (door-shields)
like most of the big fighters use now was an artifact for wars onlt.
Personally, I'd like to see fewer rectangles and more heaters, those being
more authentic for most of our period.  Yes, some folks would have to learn
something other than slot shots and defending against same.  The advantage
of not using a round, of course, is that your legs and fanny aren't black
and blue the first year you begin fighting.

Other changes are equally visible.  When Bjornsborg was putting together the
photo albums for our "Museum of Unnatural History" at our 20th Anniv.
Celebration, the evolution of change in Ansteorra became very clear.  In
1979-80, we had list ropes.  People were sitting around the list field on
blankets, spread on the ground.  We were drinking out of everything from an
odd pewter tankard here and there to plastic "tankards" with Dallas Cowboys
on the sides.  Costuming was heavy on converted prom dresses for women and
really nasty velour shag fake fur for the men. Armored fighters in the
background are wearing carpet armor held together with duct tape, sometimes
inadequately covered by a skimpy tabard.  Helms are converted compressor
tops with straight sides or converted army pot helms.

By five years later (1984-85),  the list ropes have gained little triangular
banners every few feet.  Most people on the sidelines have director's chairs
to sit in.  Everyone has a tankard of some sort to drink out of.  There are
now discernable cultural differences in people's clothing.  Colors not found
in nature have almost disappeared, the shag rug fake furs are gone, and
accessories have started to put in an appearance.  Armor on figures on the
listfield is much improved, with m,uch of it having some resemblance to
actual period armor.  No carpet armor is anywhere to be seen.

In another five years (1990), the list ropes are new, there are stencilled
and painted banners hanging from the ropes.  People's personal banners
flutter in the background.  Everywhere in the background are pavillions,
tavern tents and the like.  People are sitting under these shelters, often
on medieval-style chairs (although director's chairs still appear
frequently), and usually have a small table or two on which medieval food
and drink is often to be seen for snacking, served on wood, pewter or silver
platters.  Costumes are amazingly good, with really good period hats, shoes
and jewellry.  Armor in the background has stabilized at spun-metal top
helms (many made by Inman), with plate legs and sometimes arms, plus much in
the way of body armor.  Often fighter's surcoats are as gorgeous as the
clothing on the spectators.

What will we be like in another five or ten years?  I can hardly wait.

Wassail and God Jul,

Gunnora Hallakarva
Ek eigi visa (th)ik hversu o(dh)lask Lofstirrlauf-Kruna
heldr hversu na Hersis-A(dh)al

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