Heavy Combat or Rattan Stick Fighting is a unique art and sport. Lords and Ladies of our Society engage in full speed, full force, un-choreographed martial combat. Due to the nature of the armour and weapons, combatants come out of these brutal “deeds of arms” unscathed and ready to do it again.
After safety, honor is the most important aspect of heavy list fighting. Our combat system is one based upon recognition of blows received. Victory is never taken, but rather it is given in recognizing the worthiness and skill of their opponent. This culture of combat is one of great justice and trust, for it places weight upon the honor and integrity of all involved.
Armour in the SCA is fashioned after historical examples and made of a variety of materials–metals, leather, and plastic–with modern equipment hidden as much as possible. Whether one chooses to portray a Norman knight, a Saxon thegn, a Norse huscarl, a Byzantine cataphractos, an English esquire, or any other variety of man-at-arms is immaterial–in the SCA all of these coexist on the same battlefields and lists together.
Rattan (a solid variety bamboo) is used to construct the wide array of weapons (sword, axe, spear, mace, poll-arm, the sword of war or great sword, dagger, and others) that are used by Armoured Fighters during combat. Instead of snapping and splintering, rattan fibers separate along the length. By using this for weapons, it ensures greater safety for combatants. The brooming effect prevent splinters from being created, but the weight and movement replicates the feel and movement of a real weapon.
Deeds of arms are conducted weekly, at practices, tournaments, melees, and wars. These are held inside and out, depending on the availability of an appropriate hall and the prevailing weather.
Referrences for Armored Combat
Here are some helpful links for the armored combatant:
Midrealm Armored Mashal’s Page – The main site for fighting in the midrealm
Armour Archive – an on-line Journal devoted to teaching people how to make armour
Legio Draconis – A large fighting household