ANST - Honor on the field

James Crouchet jtc at
Fri Aug 29 23:56:43 PDT 1997

Before I begin I will point out that honor is not a set of rules. If 
it were we would simply write them down, have every newcomer memorize 
them and then we would all be honorable.

Honor is a value and as such what is demanded of an honorable person 
varies depending on the situation. In one case honor might forbid 
retreat. In a different situation honor might require retreat.

It is in that spirit I answer the questions below. There may be many 
situations where my answers would be different.

> 1: Do you give an opponent choice of weapons?  Let's say you are
> paired with Joe Newcomer in the first round.  What about Sir
> Supercool? Do you insist on your favorite? Does it matter if
> you're Duke Hotottrot and he has no chance? Does it matter if he's
> the Duke?

In general, I will offer a newer fighter the choice of weapon but
negotiate it with a more experienced opponent, finding a choice that
sounds fun to both of us. Sometimes I will allow an opponent to
choose both his weapon and mine with no requirement that they match.
With a fighter who I feel is close to me in skill I will suggest
that we each take whatever we like and discover what that is on the
field. As you might guess, I really like mismatched weapons.

> 2: Do you give a point of honor to your opponent?  Arm or leg him,
> and would you give up your own? What if he's a superior fighter? 
> An inferior one? Would you want the same treatment? What if giving
> up an advantage *is* an advantage to you? What about giving an
> advantage to a less talented person to start the bout? (ie: fight
> offhanded against Joe Newcomer in his first tourney) Is that
> insulting to the other person?  What about accepting an advantage
> from a more talented person? 

I try to do what I feel honors us both. If I am fighting a very 
skilled opponent, I salute his skill by giving him as hard a fight as 
possible, keeping every advantage I might earn. If I am facing an 
opponent of less skill I will salute his courage by evening up the 
odds. Though it should not be the motivating factor, one's choices 
in such matters tends to reflect one's character, so I hope my 
choices say good things about me.

If a skilled opponent gives up an advantage I will salute him and I
have no qualms about letting him have his moment of glory, displaying
his generosity, courage and confidence before the crowd.

OTOH, if an opponent of small skill gives up an advantage that will 
clearly cost him the bout, I am not pleased with his presumption. 
Worse is the fighter who "automatically" gives up an earned advantage 
as though it were a rule or requirement. Whatever you do, know why 
and do it from the heart.

> 3.Do you *try* to win every bout?  Give 110%? Maybe only 75%? Does
> it dishonor your opponent (or yourself) to *not* try to the
> greatest of your ability? Is it ok to "throw" a bout? What if the
> person is very deserving of victory? What if they are new? Or your
> friend? 

I will oftimes adjust my fighting to fit the situation. A newer 
fighter will not face my trickiest tricks and most amazing 
combinations. After all, easy victories are not much fun and I always 
prefer a challenge. I will not parry more slowly, throw my blows 
poorly or deliberately allow myself to be defeated.

In some cases I may spot a big hole in the defense of a newer 
fighter. I may move in and kill them quickly in a way that makes the 
hole obvious. Once off the field I will point out what I did and make 
suggestions for improving their defense. 

On occasion I have been killed when I was studying my opponent from 
the point of view of a teacher. In some bouts my goal may be less to 
win than to teach. I may concentrate on an area that is not my best 
chance for victory by way of making a point that may help my opponent 
learn and improve.

> 4. Now to the odd one... Is it honorable to *want * to win? "huh?")
> I mean, everyone wants to win,(and have fun) but where do you draw
> the line? No one thinks it is a "good thing"(tm) to take *unfair*
> advantage of your most noble opponent, but  how you answer the
> first three points determines what you feel is a fair or an unfair
> advantage, and leads to your personal choice of "how bad do I want
> to win?".  From insisting on a specific weapons style to refusing
> to call blows is a VERY wide spectrum of "want".  Do you want to
> win enough to change your view on points 1,2, or 3? If it's the
> tourney of the Canton of Wayoutthere?  If it's your local group's
> event? If it's Crown? 

I don't like to brutalize others for my victory, so I often take
chances that may cost me a bout. Should I one-shot four newcomers
today just because I can? I think not. Nor would I intentionally
lose a bout as it would feel dishonest to me. I will give my
opponent a good fight if I can, whether that means fighting better
than I have ever fought before to test a champion or reducing my
selection of moves to give a young fighter a challenge. Part of my
job as a Don is to promote fencing, making it fun and exciting for
all who play, not just slay whoever steps onto the field with me.

Don Doré


To be removed from the Ansteorra mailing list, please send a message to
Majordomo at Ansteorra.ORG with the message body of "unsubscribe ansteorra".

More information about the Ansteorra mailing list