All in harness are worthy

18 Apr 2019 by gebhard, 1 Comment »
Image by: TwoRavens.org

The list field should be a place where all fighters are welcome regardless of whatever background they come from. When one group of fighters talks down to another, likely without knowing it, the result can lead to pushing fighters out of our sport.

Often this happens with the best of intentions.

I would like to ask fighters to take a moment to think about this situation and consider their role. This isn’t a call out. No single person is to blame.  We all are to blame to some extent, either by doing it or allowing it. Silence can often look like acceptance.

There’s a line between solicited advice or training, and biased opinion, and every fighter should question where he or she stands.

This is an issue that can affect anyone, yet it consistently affects specific groups of people, notably female fighters.

It’s time we start talking about this, so that our sport can be welcoming and encouraging to all fighters.


The Background Details

Let’s say there is a female fighter named Sue (made-up name for this example).  Sue has been doing well. The vast majority of knights she fights have no problem with her calibration.

Sue goes to an event and fights in a tournament. In the tournament, she has no problem getting most fighters, including knights to take her hits. In short, there is no problem with her calibration.

Then she will pull a fighter, often a new to mid-level fighter. We’ll call him Bob. Sue will hit Bob repeatedly. He always dismisses her shots as “light”. Eventually, Bob will strike Sue.   She takes the hit and leaves the field.

Please don’t jump to any conclusions yet..

The Rules

In the Armored Handbook Specifically, pg 40. Marshal’s Section >> VI. Tournament Field Procedures >> E. Conduct in the Lists and Judging Blow Acceptance Paragraph E

“It is the policy of the Middle Kingdom Marshallate that the first consideration in judging the effectiveness of blows should be cleanness, i.e., whether or not the weapon struck with the weapon’s effective area without being impeded, glancing, or being partially blocked by the defender’s shield or weapon.“

The Problem

When Sue gets to the side lines, she’ll have a dozen guys lined up to tell her how she’s not hitting hard enough, and to give her endless unsolicited advice about how to throw shots better, according to them.

Never does the issue come up that there might be a problem with Bob. Maybe his gear doesn’t fit right?  For a dozen innocent reasons something could be going wrong in his fight, his kit or training and he’s not feeling shots as he should. Instead by-standers choose to focus on the female fighter’s force generation.

If Bob was fighting Dave, would Dave be getting the same advice?

This is an example of passive sexism that needs to be removed from our game.

When you or your friend offer fighting advice, have you considered your possible bias?

Many years ago, a new female fighter once told me, she loved fighting because when she put on her helm, people no longer had gender. Everyone was a fighter and everyone on the list was worthy. Everyone should get to feel this way.

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One Comment

  1. wraith says:

    This was one of the reasons I ended up stopping fighting heavy years ago. I’m not a female combatant, but I encountered a ton of ‘your belt is the wrong color to land a blow on me’, or the war version, ‘your tabard is far too purple for me to take that shot’.

    When I noticed it had started to affect my own calibration upwards, I stepped back, had a long hard look at it, then sold my armor.

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