ARCH - History repeat itself

Sam Milligan padraig_ruad at
Wed Apr 11 08:17:21 PDT 2001

Willim said (in part):

>     Not quite,  the blunted business end means our arrows 
> don't stick and with the bounceback we suddenly have a new 
> Business End.  I'm sorry but I gaurantee you I can put a 1/4 
> inch shaft, Metal tip or not, through someone.  That unpadded 
> end WILL and HASdone damage to unarmored bits of people it 
> finds in its way.
>     We can try to eliminate bounce back but that translates badly.  Bounce back is caused because not all of the force of an arrow hit is tranferred with the initial hit and the arrow still has enough force left to fly off in another direction.  Eliminating bounceback means transferring the full force of the blow to the object hit.  That's gonna hurt.  To keep it from causing too much pain and bruising then we're left with lowering the poundage of our bows.  Probably to the point that we might as well have a sword and charge the enemy.  Not something many of us want to do.
>     Not quite,  most of the things a fighter gets into his 
> eyes at events are fairly easy to see and we can predict 
> their movement.  Kind of reduces the risk level.  If I get 
> jammed into that tree that's just been standing there all 
> it's life then it's at least partially my fault.  If I get 
> jammed in the eye by an arrow that came virtually out of no 
> where and hit someone 4 feet away before spiralling into me 
> then whose fault is it?  Yes,  I was distracted and if I 
> hadn't been probably could have moved out of the way but that 
> arrow was sent there intentionally, maybe not to spin out of 
> control and hit me but it was certainly sent there 
> intentionally.  Still let's have everyone where safety 
> glasses and it'll be a non-issue.
> What other options do we have?  Let's see, change to fix the 
> problem,  PROVE there is no problem, or What?  What can you 
> do to us?  BAN CA at SCA events... okay... I'll stop whining 
> and start on either fixing the problems or finding proof 
> there is no problem.

Sorry about the massive snippage Willim, but I wanted to address some specific points in what you wrote.

Speaking as a heavy fighter who is also an authorized combat archer, I have to say that I too am concerned with safety issues.  I want to play the game with the absolute munimum of injuries possible.  However, I know that every time I armor up and face an opponent or take part in a melee, there is a possibility that I am going to get hurt, perhaps seriously.  By signing the waiver section of the membership application form, and then by signing my blue membership card, I acknowledge this.

Can we make SCA combat in general safer, so that no one ever gets hurt?  Almost certainly.  But if we do so, most of us will simply stop fighting, for there will be no excitement, no adrenaline rush, no thrill of combat, no reason to do it at all.

Can we make issues like combat archery safer by requiring everyone to wear safety glasses?  Possibly.  Personally, I would intensely dislike having to wear safety glasses under my helm, as I sweat heavily in armor, and would be more than half blinded by the resulting fog on the glasses.  I feel this would prove more of a safety issue than the possibility of a bounced-back arrow or some other object getting in through my helm's grill.

I have been in numerous melees with combat archery, and have yet to experience or observe someone injured by the nock end of a combat arrow.  Doesn't mean it hasn't happened, but I've not seen it myself, nor do I know anyone who has spoken of seeing or experiencing such an injury.

I like having combat archery in melees - it adds a dimension of reality to the game (even if it is annoying to get taken out by an arrow or a bolt instead of in face-to-face fighting).  I don't want to see it made so safe that it won't make a difference if it's there or not.  I don't see that a real problem exists here - let's not fix what's not broken.

Just my 2 pence worth.

Nunc Est Bibendum
Politicians prefer unarmed peasants.

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