Conduct and Behavior Conventions
Rules enforce the safety of combat.
Conventions encourage the chivalry of the combat.
All fighters are expected to act in a chivalrous and honorable manner on the field of combat. This means that if you come at an opponent from behind, tap them on the shoulder and let them acknowledge you before skewering them. Take care that you are not putting them into harms way. If you are fighting someone far below your skill level, consider giving a point of honor and handicapping yourself to fight at their level. Other examples are out there, if you but think about it.
I. General Behavior
- The DRFC minimum armor and weapons standards are listed separately. Each fighter is fully responsible for the condition of his own equipment, and has the obligation to himself, his opponents, and the Marshallate to make sure that his equipment meets the standards outlined.
- Prior to combat at each event, all fighters are required to have their armor and weapons inspected by the marshals.
- Before returning to the field of combat after armor or weapon repairs, fighters are REQUIRED to have said repairs inspected by the marshals.
- Captain Marshal shall be the DRFC’s representative on the field or as delegated by Captain Marshal or President of Club or Executive Committee (in that order). Appeals made beyond this level may not be heard immediately, but be referred to final appeal by the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee’s ruling is FINAL.
II. Behavior on the Field
- All fighters shall obey the commands of the marshals or the field, or shall be removed from the field and subject to disciplinary action.
- The Captain Marshal reserves the right to pull authorization of any fighter at any time for just cause as he sees fit. This is subject to appeal by the Executive Committee, but the fighter is not allowed to fight until the issue is ruled upon.
- Disciplinary action may entail a verbal warning (for minor actions), up to removal from the list field or tournament site.
- Disciplinary action is at the discretion of the DRFC’s representative on the field.
- Grievances with the marshals on the field shall be resolved through established club procedure.
- If you are fighting a bout, and you have a problem with an opponent or the marshal, it is to be resolved while still on the field.
- After the fight is over, and the winner declared, it is over.
- The only time this is untrue is in the extreme case when the Executive Committee, in which case the fight is suspended until the issue can be resolved, must make a judgment.
- Fighters shall maintain control over their temper at all times.
- Striking an opponent with excessive force is expressly forbidden.
- Upon hearing the call "HOLD", all fighters shall immediately stop.
- Upon hearing the call "Center", combatants should immediately move back to the center of the field as instructed by the marshals. "Center" should be used with a hold.
- Any behavior that takes deliberate advantage of an opponents chivalry or safety consciousness, or that takes deliberate unfair advantage of an opponent, is prohibited.
- A fighter shall not deliberately strike a helpless opponent.
- Any fighter who obtains an unfair advantage by repeatedly becoming "helpless" (i.e., by falling down, losing his weapon, running out of bounds, etc.) may, after being duly warned by the marshal on the field, forfeit the fight at the third occurrence of such behavior. The onus of this is upon the marshals, not the opponent. However, the opponent may ask the marshals to let the fight continue.
- A fighter shall not deliberately crowd or confine an opponent on their knees.
III. The Use of Weapons and Shields
- Weapons shall be used in accordance with their design.
- Weapon types allowed: Foil, epee, saber, Schlager, shanai, dagger (flexi or ground foil type only). Some weapon types are limited to certain members or other participants with proper training, notably dagger, shanai and Schlager, are restricted due to the inherent extra dangers of these weapons.
- Shield types allowed: Small bucklers, cloaks, capes, and others as allowed by the Marshallate.
- All weapons must have a proper thrusting tip on them. The tip must be affixed so that it cannot be easily removed (e.g. when caught in cloth armor or cape and pulled). Exception: Shanai, no thrusting with this weapon. Saber, no tip is affixed to the blade design, due to the way the blade is assembled.
- The only weapon type allowing the use of both hands is shanai.
- The only slashing weapons are sabers. Pull cuts or push cuts are allowed with any weapon except foil. All weapons except shanai hit by thrusting. (Flick or tip cuts are allowed in Schlager & dagger.)
- The blade of a weapon may not be grasped at any time, nor may it be trapped in contact with the fighters’ body as a means of preventing the opponent’s use of the weapon. Exception: open finger guard block with epee/foil/saber and grasping blade in Schlager is allowed. Pulls on the hand are considered hits, however.
- A shield may be used to displace, deflect, interfere, or immobilize opponents’ weapon or shield, so long as such use does not endanger the safety of the combatants. Deliberately striking an opponent's head, limbs, or body with a shield is forbidden.
- Cloaks can be used to entangle or as a shield device. If used to entangle, all persons (combatants and marshals) must give extra car when checking blades (and watching blades on disengage) that the tips do not come off and a resultant failure be caused.
IV. Acknowledgement of Blows
- Calibration- fighters need to calibrate to the varied weapons used by DRFC.
- Calibration should take place before individual combat at tournaments whenever one or both of the fighters feel it necessary for accurate reenactment. Persons fighting with saber or foil should especially make their opponents aware, as the amount of bend necessary for a kill (i.e. accepted 1-1/2"-2" bend) takes only 400g in a saber (less than 1 lb.) to 550g on a foil (just over 1lb.) to over 900g on an epee (almost 2 lb.) to 1800 g on a Schlager (4+ lb.).
- Calibration should include a mask touch, torso, arm and leg with each weapon used by each fighter. In other words, if you are fighting sword and dagger, you should calibrate on each section with each weapon.
- Each fighter calibrates in with the other in turn. After both have calibrated, then fighting can commence at the direction of the Marshal in charge of the bout.
- During the Bout
- In the event that one fighter thinks a hit was scored against his opponent, but was not acknowledged, he may call a hold and ask the Marshal for opinion, and the Marshal may ask that one or both fighters re-calibrate at that time. Ultimately, though, the decision whether or not a hit landed falls upon the fighter being hit.
- In the (highly unlikely) event that a fighter is so non-chivalrous as to not take their hit, even when obviously hit by all who saw it, the best recourse is to not fight with that fighter again unless or until that fighter learns to take a hit. At tournament, the List mistress and the Executive Committee reserve the right to not award a win to someone who is that non-chivalrous and dishonest.
- When you get hit, DIE! Die Gloriously. Make a great death scene! This is where the playacting and having fun comes in. Simply touching the helmet to acknowledge a blow is ok for practice (I guess) but it is a lot more fun to die in a death thrall, grasping at the (imaginary!) hole in your chest.
V. After the Bout
- When the fight is over, it is over.
- Once you clear the field, you give up all rights to complain about what has happened.
- Regardless of how a fight comes out, and especially if you do not win, don’t let anyone catch you griping about anything your opponent may have done. If you feel you must speak, tell it to the Marshals or to a club officer or a Captain.
- Talent will be seen. You needed blow your opponent away to score points in the eyes of onlookers. Many of the best fighters have yet to win a tournament, but none take them lightly when they step out onto the list field.
- Tournaments are designed to demonstrate your skill and ability, nothing else. These things are sure to bring you notice if you commit them:
- Bulldozing your opponent off the field – strength and skill are not interchangeable.
- Hitting your opponent as though he was made of stone. Believe this: everyone bruises and one bad turn usually results in another!
- Grappling with your opponent – this is Rapier Combat, not All-Star Wrestling.
- Wild, uncontrolled attacks – if you insist on the Veg-O-Matic style of fighting, you won’t be allowed to play.
- If you won your bout, congratulations. Don’t brag about it.
- If you lose a bout, so what? There can be only one winner, and there are worse things you can lose. (Your temper, your Honor, your dignity, the respect of others, just to name a few)
- People make mistakes. They don’t all reason like you, and they don’t necessarily have the same sensitivity to touch as you do. Give them the benefit of the doubt.