16 Sep


picketwiretracks_wiki_-cm195902Part of my childhood was spent near Denver, Colorado. While it’s been a very long time, and I no longer remember exactly where, I recall there is a highway along the foothills where as you drive you’ll pass a giant footprints in the side of the hill.  Growing up, I loved dinosaurs and seeing their footprints made them seem like something only recently gone as you heard so much about them, much like WWII, The beatles or Woodstock.

I would often wonder what was it like in their day (the dinosaurs, not woodstock). If I were to go back to their day, could I make it? If they were here now, what could we learn from them? Did they have zebra stripes? Were they blue and hot pink? Fun things for a young man to think about.

I find this an interesting thing about how we keep of track of time. There is what I can remember, and everything before that falls into the same lump of “before my time”.  When looking at a footprint, it’s hard to get a feeling for just how long ago was it left behind.

A short time ago, I was at an event.  Talk turned to events “before my time”.  It seems some old film of early tournaments had surfaced. “I could have won crown then, and you, and you, and anyone. They didn’t throw off side shots then and barely moved.” Read More »

9 Sep

Tournament Of Chivalry

Image3I used to dread TOCs. Some years ago, I skipped a lot of them. Before I get into how I stopped being afraid and learned to love the TOC, I should cover a little history about them.

Before the Tournament Of Chivalry, Unbelts had to gain renown (word fame or name fame) throughout the fighting community if they wished to be considered for Knighthood. This was problematic in the early years of the Middle Kingdom when it could be several hour’s drive to the nearest knight.

The most significant thing an Unbelt could do to gain renown was to fight in Crown Tournament.  The King and Queen invited a list of worthy fighters, and that list was published for all to see in our newsletter, The Pale. Read More »

3 Sep

What are people saying: about you?

Image5Renown (Name Fame or Word Fame) is perhaps the currency of everyone in the SCA (and maybe in life as well). If I asked, what is it people say about you? What would the answer be? Read More »

26 Aug

Winning Renown

joustEveryone wants to be a winner,  After all winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. In our culture, we have a become accustomed to a winner-take-all attitude. It hasn’t always been this way.  In the SCA, this isn’t really our collective attitude. It is something often seen in sports, games and Business Weekly.  Any time I do run across it in our sport, it seems as out of place as a pink lawn chair at a Rose Tournament.

In period, all deeds of arms came at some risk to your person. Without modern medicine, even a small cut, or a sprain could escalate to the point it would end your career or your life. Those bold enough risk their very person for a cause were worthy of admiration. Taking part in such deeds built your renown (word fame or name fame).  This resulted in accolades and appreciation by your local authorities and/or crown.  Renown led to promotions, lands, or better marriages.  More comes to those of high renown. Those who do more are more worthy.

How was renown built in period? Let’s take a brief look at a period example. Read More »

19 Aug

Only in the SCA

driving_with_an_avilDuring Pennsic, my Knight, Count Cellach and I bumped into two very awesome people I got to know during the reign, Sir Byron and Sir Ariella of Aethelmearc. We talked with them at the food court.  Before Pennsic, Sir Byron had had suffered a minor injury to his foot when he accidentally knocked his anvil over.

I shook my head. “Yea, I hate it when that happens”, I said. “Well, that because you’re in the SCA,” he said. When he was explaining the injury to his family, one of them asked. “Did the Road Runner get away?”. Normal people do not have anvils, much less knock them over.

This is one of many little things I often take for granted that sounds funny in the modern world, but is common place for all of us in the SCA. One of the many great things we do is to provide opportunities for people to step outside their comfort zone to try something new. Read More »

12 Aug

Happy New Year!

balloonsWhen I was young, I would always try my hardest to stay up on New Year’s Eve for the ball to the drop. I didn’t make it very often, but if I did, I would cheer, then pass out shortly after. The next day, I might be asked something about resolutions. I didn’t really understand the importance of saying I decided to make a change. I just wanted to stay up late and eat junk food. Many of my first resolutions were to stay up until midnight on New Year’s. The new year always had an air of excitement around it. I feel that same excitement today….

I’ve returned home from another Pennsic.  Overly tired, I’ve unloaded the trailer and the van into the living room where the totes will sit and slowly be picked over in the weeks to come to be re-inventoried and re-organized.
Read More »

29 Jul

Welcome Home

pennsic_campThe Pennsic War is the single largest SCA event. Ten to fifteen thousand people come together for two weeks of the year in what is deemed the most of everything the SCA has to offer.

One of the many things I’m impressed with about Pennsic lies in watching it come together.  Nearly overnight, a grass field becomes a thriving city.

The first night everyone camps together on the battlefield. This is referred to as Zero Night. The cars stream in from all over the country and set up side by side. This year, like many others, as I walked through the rows of cars, people would greet me with a hug, and the phrase “Welcome Home”. It’s always been fun for me to think of Pennsic as Home, and those other 50 weeks of the year as somewhere I’m only visiting. Read More »

22 Jul

The most wonderful time of the year!

Image7As the happy time of the year draws nigh and all thoughts and dreams turn to Pennsic, I find myself doing the most traditional activities of the season. I can see from watching my social media feeds that many of us are also celebrating this time of year in the same fashion, that is, staying up late into the night trying to finish that last piece of garb, or building a new shower.

If you’re taking a break from those last minute boot repairs or stitching the canvas of your pavilion back together, let me regale you with a tale from the book of great Pennsic tales of the past. Read More »

15 Jul

The Future of Honorable Combat

futureWhat makes our sport different than nearly every other martial art is that it is the recipient who must call a shot “good”.

Of course, this isn’t without it’s downside. In theory, someone could decided to “never” take a hit. In a recent conversation with a friend, I was asked if I thought modern equipment such as body sensors could help eliminate this problem. I think some highly competitive people don’t care for the idea of a “subjective” resolution to a fight.

After I shook the visions of cyborg samurai warriors running around the lists at Pennsic only to be chased down by a man in lanskennect with a laser eye and a robotic arm, I started to focus on what such an implementation, assuming it was even possible, would mean. Read More »

8 Jul

Getting too old for this…

95c617480bfbd94fe619d1fc3a3ea60dI was recently out with some friends at lunch, and the World Cup soccer games were on all the mega sized LCD screens around the restaurant.

Over the explanation about how kicking the ball over the uprights (or goal as they called it) does not result in a field goal, and the fact there is no two point conversion. Someone mentioned that soccer players are normally in their early 20’s, and by 30 they “become too weak and slow to continuing playing the game” and are forced into retirement.

I’m quite bit a older than that, and I’m very much stronger, thinner and faster than I ever was at 30. The SCA is pretty much the reason why, you get a lot stronger being a warrior rather than playing one in a MMO. Read More »

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