[Ansteorra-rapier] Learning Rapier

Chris Zakes dontivar at gmail.com
Thu Apr 9 07:11:30 PDT 2009

At 08:05 AM 4/9/2009, you wrote:

>hello!  I am just getting interested in/started on learning rapier 
>fighting.  I just got a mask, but would like to know what else I 
>need.  I've talked to several people and heard many versions of what 
>should be worn, and I was wondering if somewhere there is an offical 
>list of requirements and regulations I could look at?  or does 
>anyone know for certain sure what it all is?  I'd appreciate anything.

As Gassion said, the basic requirements can be found in the Complete 
Participants Handbook 
but that will probably be a bit confusing if you're coming into this 
completely cold.

At a bare minimum, you will need a mask that will withstand a 12-kilo 
punch test, and "penetration resistant" armor on the back of your 
head (anything not covered by the mask) your throat, and your torso, 
down to the legs and including the armpits. "Penetration resistant" 
basically means that the fabric will not let a broken or untipped 
blade punch through it. We've got a gizmo called a "drop tester" 
which is used to test this, and I strongly recommend getting any 
fabric you want to make into armor tested *first* so you don't end up 
spending hours making a lovely new outfit only to discover that it 
won't pass the test.
Arms, legs, hands and feet will need "abrasion resistant" covering: 
any sturdy cloth that won't tear if it gets snagged by a blade during 
combat, but--since having a broken or untipped blade puncture an arm 
or leg is unlikely to be immediately life-threatening--it doesn't 
have to pass the drop-test.

Where do you live? Is there an SCA group close to you? Your best bet 
would probably be to talk to the local rapier marshal and see if they 
have any loaner gear you can try out to see what you like, not to 
mention talking to other fighters to see what they're using. It's 
fairly easy to make a basic T-tunic that's rapier-legal, but most 
rapier fighters prefer armor that looks more like a Renaissance 
doublet or something similar.

Another option, if you have more money than sewing skills is a place 
like http://linenarmor.com/ or you can buy an "undergarment" to wear 
under your regular clothes from Zen Warrior: 
http://www.zenwarriorarmory.com/catalog.php?category=63 down at the 
bottom of the page.

         -Tivar Moondragon

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