Saturday, July 28, 2007

Vannes at Pennsic

At Pennsic, Tuesday, August 7
12 Noon, Blue List, Battlefield, Three Hours
Historic Combat Series - The Challenges at Vannes (Counted Blow Tourney with shortened Lances)

This combat will be run the Company of St. Michael, and is inspired by a deed of arms in 1381 described by Froissart. Combatants will be divided into two teams, French and English. We suggest that if you fought in the Combat of the Thirty that you retain your nationality from that encounter. Each combatant from one side will offer a challenge with terms to the other side, and a champion from the other will accept those terms, or offer different terms. The default encounter is five strokes with lance on foot, five with axe, five with sword and five with dagger. Matched pairs of each of these weapons, including tapered rattan lances eight feet in length, suitable for combat on foot, will be available. Read more about the deed of arms here.

Each exchange of blows with a particular weapon will continue until one or the other champion has struck the specified number of blows, the judges stop the fight, or a champion is unable to continue. If the number of blows is accomplished the champions will take up the next weapon, and so on until the enterprise is complete.

A champion is unable to continue if he is struck five good blows according to the custom of the Society in the course of the enterprise, or falls or becomes disarmed, or is crippled or incapacitated as described below. A champion whose weapon breaks is not considered disarmed, and the fight will halt while he replaces it.

Plate is proof against all thrusts except a thrust to a faceplate or plate visor, which counts as a good blow. Breastplates, coats of plate, brigandine and cuirasses are also proof against all cuts to the areas they cover. Good two handed blows to any other plate protection, and good single handed blows to a helmet count as a good blow.

Solid cuts and thrusts to areas protected only by mail count as a good blow.

Other or no protection counts any cut as a good blow. For areas with this level of protection a thrust to the torso is incapacitating and a thrust to the limbs is crippling.

Thrusts to a barred visor are incapacitating. Cuts to a barred visor are crippling.

Champions should not act out wounds other than crippling or incapacitation. An incapacitated champion is lucky to be alive, and should watch the remainder of the enterprise from a chair or litter and consider suitable alms to the church.

Heavy hardened leather and other suitably covered rigid protection will generally count as plate, with debatable cases to be decided by the discretion of the judges. The judges will, as far as seems practical, attempt to match opponents with similar levels of protection like against like, and harness from the same period like against like.

Although there is no mention of this in accounts of Vannes, in later deeds of arms a champion that was unable to continue not infrequently paid a ransom or forfeit to the other. Pairs of champions may make such arrangements by mutual consent prior to their combat.

The reasoning behind the rules is discussed here and here.

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