ARN - Bruising (was Double wide vs. Schlager)

Michael Tucker michaelt at
Wed Apr 14 14:46:59 PDT 1999

Hello, everyone:

chauncey_r_roschbach at wrote:
> I've been bruised and injured worse with a #5 epee than I ever have with
> schlager. However, it's not the weapon that is generally revealed to be
> unsafe so much as the fighter that wields it. That is not to say, however,
> that minor bruising is an indication of overly hard calibration or an
> unsafe fighter. In the end, what we do _is_ combat and a few minor bruises
> come with the territory.
> I'd suggest you check the fighters that are dishing the bruises. How do
> they hit with a #5? A foil? I'd also consider the source of the complaints.
> Just how fragile are they? Some of our fighters bruise if you look at them
> too hard others you couldn't mark if you used a 2x4. Take things on a case
> by case basis and use your best judgment.
> Yours,
> Lord Elyas MacCrae
> Cadet to Don Robert Michael McFarlan (called Horoun)
> Rapier Marshal of the Barony of the Stargate
> Ansteorra

Gasp! He *lives*! Hi, Elyas! :-)

Seriously, though, Elyas brings up an interesting point. I am new to SCA
fencing, but have been playing the "armored" game for... oh... about 10 years.

At my first "light" tournament, one of my most memorable moments came when
someone "skewered" me and *immediately* stopped fighting, gasping out "Oh! I'm
SO sorry! I didn't mean to hit you that hard! Are you hurt?" My first thought
was: "Huh? You've got to be kidding me! I've had big, corn-fed boys hit me as
hard as they can with 3 foot long, inch-and-a-half thick clubs, and you're
worried that *that* little poke *hurt* me?!" However, I could hear the genuine
concern in their voice, and see the genuine distress on their face, so I didn't
say that. I think I managed to say: "<choke> <gulp> Uh... no, I'm not hurt. That
was a good blow, but thank you for asking." before retiring from the field.

I giggle about that incident for months. But eventually, even *my* brain cells
occasionally act up, and it finally occurred to me that this was a subject of
serious, genuine concern among the rapier community... and obviously *not* among
the "stick jock" crowd. On the contrary, after practice we proudly show off our
foot long, 6 inch wide, technicolor creations in some kind of primitive bonding.
"There!" we seem to say, pointing to our bruises. "There is *proof* of my non-wimpiness!"

Anyway, I'm not sure what my point is... except, I suppose, to ask how the rest
of *you* feel about this issue. Clearly, if a few PSI of thrust are enough to
run someone through, then you should seldom leave much more than a dime-sized
"hickey" (and those, by accident). And, clearly, getting a full-out thrust in
the ribs from a non-flexible weapon *hurts* (and *can* result in a broken or
cracked rib). But, then, there is risk of injury (even serious injury) in
"heavy" combat as well. So, why the big cultural difference vis-a-vis bruising?

Michael Silverhands (Baron of Stargate, and newbie fencer)
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