[Ansteorra-rapier] Rapier Melee practice

rolanda@cox-internet.com rolanda at cox-internet.com
Thu Sep 6 18:07:25 PDT 2001

> > Etienne
> > Who will next try to prove that up is down...
> I will not try to prove that up is down, left is starboard or white is red.
> But I do get serious about rapier melees only because I find them such a great form of fun. :o)
> Pieter

Disengage cloaking device; fire all weapons)
Well...to chime in from the sidelines , I have to agree with Etienne, Rapier melees are silly from a tactical standpoint, and non-historical from a documentation standpoint.
The fact that it's possible to devise tactics and strategy for rapier-wielders also doesn't lend it any credibility. Rapiers weren't *designed* for melee combat. Their whole point (pardon my pun) was for one-on-one use against a (basically) unarmored opponent. Using it for anything else is contrary to it's design. An example: I can devise a set of strategems using a front line of 55-gallon garbage cans, and a second rank of sewing machines...that doesn't make them appropriate as melee weapons (or as weapons at all, for that matter.)
If you *like* melee, and want to fight with weapons of war, then go get your breastplate, and your helm, and your pike (or sword and shield) and go to War. That's what they did in period. Every single (identifiable) period representation of sidearms with pikes or arqebusses/muskets shows heavy long/broad/backswords...the few remaining examples *could* be rapiers, but historical examples of heavy swords with the same hilts were common.
I know, I know..."But the Italians fought family wars"...yadda-yadda. Go back and look at the films and examples of the Chicago Mob gang wars of the 1920's, etc....do you see any recognizable stragegy or tactics? Nope. I suspect the same lack of planning applies here. These were not trained and cool-headed soldiers with a clear purpose; they were hot-blooded young punks looking to perform the equivilent of "busting a cap" on the neighbor gang. I think we can do better.
And please...for the dignity of those of us who still value the opinion of the Chivalric community....abandon the ridiculous and embarassing "boffer pike".

It's fun. Okay, for some folks, I guess it is. But let's not attempt to clothe it in propriety or respectability. As Heinlein said about writing: "It's not necessarily something to be ashamed of; but do it in private, and wash your hands afterwards."

There. I feel better.
(who didn't want Etienne to go down in flames by himself...)

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