Posted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:19 pm Post subject: First time Rapier Fighter
I've been lurking and posting on the girls club for awhile now, but as an outsider who played Dagorhir and not the SCA. However just recently a few friends of mine have moved on to the SCA and I can't stay away
I'd like to start rapier fighting, I have been browsing the web and all the suggested links and sites on the main SCA website. So I have an idea of what I will need, however, I would really like to go to a practice and see alot of the gear in person so I know what I am really looking for. So I guess I'm asking what would you recommend I need at this first practice, I don't want to show up looking like a scrub who hasn't done her research. _________________ Miriel Du Lac
You don't really need to bring a lot of stuff, other than a jill, pants (not shorts), and a long-sleeved shirt. People tend to understand that you probably want to come and try things out before getting a bunch of equipment. If you have a pair of gloves you like (there needs to be an undefined "sufficient" overlap between the cuff of the glove and your sleeve), then wear that.
You don't have to have groin protection if you're female in all kingdoms. I've never worn one. I do have a plastic chest protector though that I wear.
I showed up to my first fencing practice with nothing. I actually think you really don't need anything when you go except the kind of stuff you can't buy, namely interest, a good attitude, willingness to listen and drive to do it. I could have a skewed look though because I didn't actually spar for probably 3 months after I started. I learned drills and footwork and my white scarf didn't let me spar until I had learned some fundamentals. _________________ It's not the most powerful animal that survives. It's the most efficient. -Georges St-Pierre
Isabella's advice is good. Ariadne's is more practical, but also good.
I am going to suggest that you also bring a notebook, and a couple of bottles of gatorade. If you can find the small bottles, that is even better, that way, you can share.
The notebook is so that you can write down the names and phone numbers of a couple of people with whom you click. You are pretty experienced in sword games, so I probably don't need to tell you this. A personal connection is pretty important at first. You want somebody you can actually get along with, and you can trust.
Welcome to the girls club!
(and thanks for all the help) _________________ Surf less, fight more
Hi, Mirelle, this is Flittie of Dagorhir (Guard unit of Aratari chapter) (Tibbie in the SCA). I retired from Dag fighting when I found that SCA rapier was a much better "fit" for me. I am thrilled that you want to try SCA rapier.
The standard loaner gear at an SCA rapier practice should include hoods, masks, doublets/fencing jackets, gorgets, and gloves. You should wear long pants with a normal waistline, a long-sleeved top (because some loaner jacket sleeves come only to the elbow) that overlaps the pants, and socks that come well above your ankles. Chest and groin protection are usually optional for women, but check your kingdom's rapier requirements (are you in Aethelmearc?). If you bring your own gloves, they need to have a long cuff (gauntlet) to overlap your sleeves.
The things that I had to get used to in my transition from Dag fighting to SCA rapier were the whole body being a legal target, not acting out deaths, using the empty hand as a defense, and the "magic switch" (of weapon when one loses a hand) being perfectly valid. Of course, the mask takes some getting used to.
Definitely bring water or sports drinks to practice.
I just always recommend going to a couple of practices and getting a feel for things before someone starts committing by spending a bunch of money. I've had probably a dozen people tell me they are interested over the years but not one of them is actually fighting now.
For the most part, what you should wear to practice depends a lot on the local fencing culture and your Kingdom's armor standards. Here in Atenveldt, I've never even seen a punch tester. I know they're out there, but I've never seen one used and the way that we inspect seems to be mostly based on common sense. Other Kingdoms I'm sure are more stringent and while we could argue about the actual rate of blade failure and all that you pretty much have to default to the way they do it in your Kingdom regardless. Kingdoms that do only 'heavy rapier' vs ones that have conventions for both heavy and light rapier are going to be different. That's why I recommend just showing up first and not worrying about what you're wearing. Personally I wouldn't bother spending money on some big heavy modern fencing jacket. If you really feel you need some extra breast protection the plastic boob protectors work great. But the people at your practice should be able to show you the kind of garb and fabric they're wearing as a guideline. A lot of people tend to over armor themselves to begin with just like heavy fighters I think because of some of the horror stories and worries about broken blades which are so few and far between as to be laughable, imo.
I usually wear my plastic boob guard, a silk under t shirt and a light long coat or single layer long sleeved shirt. The silk undershirt satisfies all of Atenveldt's requirements for punch tests and layers of the torso and armpit areas. Then I wear comfy cavalier type pants and tall boots. And of course gloves. _________________ It's not the most powerful animal that survives. It's the most efficient. -Georges St-Pierre
Thanks all for the info, I'm really excited about trying this. I fully intend on giving it a bunch of practices before I spend a load of cash on it, I've learned my lesson the hard way with that
I'm good on the gloves thankfully, I have a nice pair of leather gloves that have a long cuff. A friend is going to let me use his mask and blade.
I would love to do heavy as well but medical issues I have (kidney failure and hopefully soon a second transplant), it would be very irresponsible of me to try. So I can't wait to get into the SCA with some awesome fencing _________________ Miriel Du Lac
If you get involved enough that you want your own rapier armor, keep in mind that Renaissance-era garb isn't mandatory. I know people in my kingdom who fence in Norse, Japanese, or Dark Ages British kit.
If you wanted to use your Dagorhir garb, you could get a fencing-legal undervest from Zen Warrior Armory to wear under your Dag garb.
Isabella: Atenveldt armor inspection sounds much like that of Atlantia. Punch testers and drop testers are seldom used here in northern Atlantia. Regarding a silk undershirt, however, doesn't it tend to get degraded by sweat? Or does your sweat evaporate too quickly in your climate to damage silk? How well does the silk stand up to repeated washing? Does the silk wick away sweat?
With the East Coast summer humidity, when a garment gets soaked in sweat, it stays wet for many hours. When I'm at an event in summer, my linen shirt is sopping and heavy after a few hours, since it wicks the sweat away from my skin.
I don't get to wear mine often enough to have really noticed it degrading or anything but it's so dry here that it's dry after not long anyway. I think though that even in a higher humidity climate it would still dry relatively quickly compared to other fabrics because it's so light weight. I'd have to test it out but I'd be surprised if a light weight silk shirt didn't dry pretty rapidly if hung up and let to air out.
Still, it's a small price to pay even if you did have to replace it after you wore it out every couple of years or even every year, to not have to wear some really bulky modern garment or layers and layers of other fabrics. I got really tired of heavy doublets and crap because it gets so hot here. When y white scarf was still alive and I was going to practice in her group every week, we'd be fighting in 110 degree heat or more well after the sun went down. _________________ It's not the most powerful animal that survives. It's the most efficient. -Georges St-Pierre
Ehh my dag gear is far to simple to wear for SCA, it's a very light cotton tunic, and black trousers. It was made to fit under my armor and I never bothered making it fancy because it was pretty much hidden under my armor.
I'm actually thinking of either a late 14th or early 15th century French kit, and keeping my name. I'm excited about doing the research and making a bunch of awesome sets of garb and gear. _________________ Miriel Du Lac
I have a quick question and I thought it best just to ask on the original thread I've started.
I have a kidney dialysis fistula on my left wrist and forearm, it would be bad if it got damaged, I'm thinking of making a light leather bracer to wear over it when I fence just for safety. I was wondering if you as people more knowledgeable, would think that I might have an issue with it (rule wise). _________________ Miriel Du Lac
It would probably be a good idea just to keep it from getting damaged or prevent injury or whatever. You could also fight with a buckler offhand. I think it would be a lot less likely to get hit if you were using a buckler just from the angles involved. But a leather vambrace would probably do the trick. It might be something you want to discuss with your doctor too. I know there are some guys who fight heavy with pic lines and such, they just wear rigid armor over the top. _________________ It's not the most powerful animal that survives. It's the most efficient. -Georges St-Pierre
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