ANST - Honor and silence

James Crouchet jtc at
Fri Aug 22 18:15:11 PDT 1997

> >Marshals in Ansteorra don't call the blows.  Nor do they offer their 
> >opinion on the force of the blow, only on where it landed if asked. 

This is a lot more fast an loose on the Rapier field. Still, we DON'T 
tell someone he is dead.

I might comment that they seem to be having trouble calling blows.
Ask them to recalibrate. Issue warnings. Remove them from the field
if needed, but *I* would never "call" a blow for someone. <grin>

> >"You are expected to be an impartial witness to exactly what you saw 
> >happen during the fight...and to keep your mouth shut about it unless a 
> >safety hazard occurs or you are asked by the fighters."

Problem is out rules specifically state that not calling blows is 
against the rules. As marshals we are obligated to enforce those 
rules but we are not empowered to decide the winner of any particular 
contest. The solution seems to be as I described above; don't call 
the blows, but do let the fighter know even up to taking disciplinary 
action if that is what it takes to get his attention.

> Perhaps some of our tournaments and wars could
> be fought more cleanly if marshalls were occasionally allowed to at
> least ask, "Are you sure about that last blow?"

Gosh, I would not hesitate to do so. Does that make me a bad person? 
Really, I have asked, sometimes as a marshal and sometimes after the 
fight off the field as a Don. Sometimes they re-think it, sometimes 
they don't. A couple of times both fighters assured me that the blow 
was indeed too light or only hit sleeve. Ok, sometimes I am wrong. 
That is why I question rather than call missed blows. 

> It isn't always about honor.  It's about judgment.
> (Okay, *sometimes* it's about honor.  Nothing irritates me quite as
> much as hearing a fighter say, "Ow! Light."  Of course, in such a
> situation, the question of honor has already passed.)

Sometimes one, sometimes the other. And people are really weird
about it. Most kingdoms call rapier blows much lighter than
Ansteorra. I have heard some folks say that makes Ansteorrans
dishonorable, though we call according to our kingdom's rules.
Weirder yet, I have even heard this from some Ansteorrans.

> Fourth--and this is a side issue--in a melee with golf-tube arrows,
> ballista bolts, or catapult rocks, you really need the marshalls
> there to tell you when you've been hit.  A catapult rock or ballista
> bolt striking your shield won't register kinetically as a killing
> blow, and a direct hit with a golf-tube arrow always lacks
> authority.  You need an outside observer on hand to call the deaths
> in such cases.

Yes, melees are different, especially with missile weapons. I would 
think that telling someone they got hit with a missile weapon would 
only be reasonable there. Of course, what to do about it would still 
be up to the fighter.

> I agree with this idea in theory, but I don't see what's wrong with
> occasionally asking a fighter to re-evalute her initial judgment of
> a blow. This is a fast-paced game.  We often have inadequate
> opportunity to judge one blow before the next one is on its way.  

Yes, this is reasonable, but it is not the same as calling blows for 
someone else. 

> Don't get me wrong.  I've seldom (and never in a tournament) asked
> an opponent about the adequacy of a blow I delivered; I was raised
> on the same ideas Centurion Talen expressed in his post: 
> questioning an opponent impugn's her honor.  But does it?  I don't
> believe it should.

It's according. I once found a fencer with a towel wrapped around his 
neck under his mask because he was concerned that he would get 
chugged in the throat too hard. The result was that he could not feel 
a thing on his neck. Mechanical problem easily fixed.

Another time I did throw a fighter off the field, though he protested 
his innocence. We discussed it off the field and his story began to 
change. Soon he was telling me why we felt he had the right not to 
call his blows. Wow, I almost did not know what to say.

The bottom line is, if I am questioning your honor, never fear, I 
will make it abundantly clear. Till then just assume I am trying to 
figure our what is going on. 

Don Doré

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