fighter practice

SCA Armored Combat and Heavy Weapons Fighting

One of the most popular aspects of the SCA is armored combat, also called Heavy Weapons Fighting.

This is a full-contact martial art based on the honor system.  Combatants face each other one-on-one, in teams, or even in large-scale wars.  Safety Officers, know as "Marshals", ensure that the combat is as safe as possible, and that participants meet established safety guidelines.


Weapons and Armor

Combatants use weapons made from rattan, a bamboo-like plant that does not splinter when it breaks.  Together with foam and rubber embellishments (and LOTS of duct tape), almost any medieval weapon can be created.  Common weapons includes swords, daggers, maces, axes, spears, and javelins.

Armor is made in a variety of styles using materials such as leather, metal, and cloth and must meet minimum safety standards.  We are interested in safe but thrilling combat.  Generally speaking, a combatant must have sufficient protection for his/her head, neck, groin, kidneys, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, and hands.

Heavy Fighting: A Newcomer's Perspective

By Hugh Fletcher

DING, the familiar sound of my helmet being hit. I hate being hit in the head because it means I left it open, again. Every practice is a new lesson of humility. I am practicing against figthers who have been doing this for a long time and I only have a bit more than a year of experience. But I love it. I work hard and practice my strikes. I am told I am getting better but it is hard to see against fighters of such renown.

The instruction is always clear and the fighter I fight against whether it is a thane, a knight, a duke, or a count is always helpful and never discouraging. I consider every fighter a teacher, someone who is there to show me the ropes and help me be the best fighter I can be. I fight to push myself and one day I hope to be able to fight toe to toe with these fighters. Until then it is practice and more practice.

I have never been good at sports I never had the drive to push myself beyond the normal P.E. activates of school. But fighting is different. It is me versus the other person, and somewhere deep inside I have this burning desire to show them, but more importantly myself, that I am just as good if not better than them. This is the spark of competition that was laying dormant in me for so long. I don’t know why fighting ignited the spark, perhaps it is the one on one aspect. I have no one to blame but myself so I push harder to be better. Perhaps I see myself with goals in the future and I know in order to reach these goals I have to be better then every other fighter out there. It is a long road but it is a fun one.

Every practice I strap on my armor I get this feeling of being complete. This is who I am. I am no longer a warehouse worker I am a fighter seeking to prove his mettle against the more experienced knights.  I am the mercenary who seeks to join this band and be a part of something bigger than who he is. I seek a chance to fight with honor and skill to the wonders of the crowd. Every bit is true and so much more. So I shout “Good!” and ready myself for the next time where I am able to get my shield or sword up in time to block that blow. I may not always block but every time is a lesson I will not forget and will love every moment of it.

This is why I fight and this is why I push myself.


To learn more about Outlands Heavy Weapons Fighting and Armored Combat, click here: Outlands Earl Marshal Home Page