Bright Ideas and True Confessions: How and What to Do and Why


Tips of Chivalrous Behavior (or, Give them a break)

The following article is by His Grace, Duke Koris Natterhelm, a knight since April 1975, a member of the Order of the Pelican since May 1979, twice king of Atenveldt, and a former Earl Marshal. It was originally published in Southwind, February XVII (1983). Duke Koris started in Ansteorra and was knighted there when it was a part of Atenveldt. He has lived in the Outlands for over a dozen years. [1]

There are certain inherent problems involved in learning to fight, not the least of which is finding someone to train you in the ettiquette involved in tourney combat. The following tips are not rules, but conventions which within the concept of the dream in the SCA constitute acceptable behavior on the field.

  • Sign your waivers.
  • Be ready for your fights, never keep your opponent waiting.
  • If your name is difficult for others to pronounce, tell the herald on duty on the field the correct pronunciation before your combat is announced.
  • You are fighting for your lady and will be called on to acknowledge her presence; locate her before you take the field.
  • If you don't wear armor on your shield arm have some ready in case you lose an arm.
  • Find a buddy - get someone to assist and someone who assists you. That way neither of you will have to leave an opponent waiting on the field while you get another weapon, duct tape, put a shield away, etc.
  • It is your option as a chivalrous fighter to give up any earned advantage. (example: if you take your opponent's leg you can choose to join him on the ground.)
  • Be courteous to the marshals on the field. They are there for your benefit.
  • If in the course of a fight you become angry at your foe, ask for a break to cool off. Anger has no place on the field of honor.
  • If you feel you have landed a good blow which your opponent does not acknowledge ask him about it. (example: Was that too light?)
  • Marshals should never venture an opinion about a blow unless asked, so if you want an opinion ask for one.
  • If you strike your foe with an illegal blow (below the knee, etc.) apologize for your error.
  • If you notice that a portion of your opponent's armor has slipped or come loose call "hold" and allow him to adjust it.
  • Grant your defeated opponent some acknowledgement of his skill.
  • Before leaving the field acknowledge the presence of the royalty watching you, win or lose.
  • Never handle another's armor or weapons without first obtaining their permission.
  • If you borrow a sword and break it replace it as soon as possible.
  • If a lady has granted you a favor to carry in the tournament, return it to her, graciously, at the conclusion of the lists; it is not yours to keep.

When you take the field of honor you put not only your skill at arms and your sense of chivalry to the test, you also are the representative of your lady and of the Crown. Your conduct therefore reflects not only on yourself, but also upon them. Be careful. Courtesy is the one thing demanded by the SCA from its members. Practice it and the current middle ages will remain a haven forever.

Koris Natterhelm, KSCA



[1] As of the original publication date, so tack a few more years on that. - Webmistress
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