The greatest fighter among us

25 Feb 2014 by gebhard, 3 Comments »

candlemas3I recently returned home from one of the largest tournament events in my Kingdom. The fighting was more intense than a crown tournament, to the winner glory! And no extra commitments.

About one hundred thirty fighters from six kingdoms came to test their mettle against Kings, Dukes, Counts and all manner of living legends of the list. So in participating, I saw the greatest fighters among us.

Knowing that such an important tournament was upon me, I prepared with my usual “Uber-tournament I-need-to-make-a-really-good-showing-for” pre-night routine by first setting my alarm to 4am (so that I could pick up Their Majesties and get us all to site by 9am), then going to bed at midnight, and finally, waking up every 40 minutes to make sure I hadn’t over slept the alarm.

Once I got to site, after a three hour drive and with less than three hours sleep, I did my warm ups, armored up, signed-up, got inspected, then stood around waiting to be called for my pool. Then, the tournament started.  Bows and honor had been paid, and it began. I ducked, I weaved, I threw shots like a madman and, in a blink of the eye, I was completely knocked out of the tournament.

I didn’t mind.  At a tournament like this, I knew someone with first name of “Your Grace” would win. It wouldn’t have been an unbelt fighter like myself.  All one could do was comport oneself with honor and have a good time. I hoped that is what I did during my short time on the list.

From the side lines, I watched some of the greatest fighters currently in the game spar off with grace and power at a level infrequently seen.

While I watched, a Lady I met at an event a few weeks ago, who has only been in the SCA six months, came to talk to me. As we talked, I learned she was very excited about getting to learn “how to fight”.

I thought that there was no better time than the present, so I grabbed my extra gear, and I walked with her outside. We worked through what I like to call my “Welcome to heavy fighting” lesson wherein I teach the basic shots, for which my students get to strike me in the head, often with much glee. After learning the basic blows, if they still seem interested, we put a helmet on them so they can receive a normal blow to make it sure it is something they don’t mind, before they spend weeks or months getting a kit together for themselves.

As I was teaching, a Landed Baroness came to join in. The opportunity to hit me head was too great to pass up. She too learned the basic shots and hit me harder in the head that any shot I took from a Duke or King that day.

Seeing what great fun it was to strike me in the head, our fair and most beautiful Princess also joined in on the games. She too learned to throw the basic shots and got to strike me in the head.

After our the fun, I returned to my seat to watch the tournament, to see who would win. The finals came down to the best of the best. Their names……. legendary.


And so on this day, I saw the greatest fighter who walks among us. I’ll tell you true who that is. It’s the person who puts on a helm and learns to throw a shot for the first time, the newbie who walks into the door of your local meeting or event and asks “How can I do this?”

These are the greatest fighters.  For without an influx of new energy, our game will wither and die out.

If being rapidly eliminated from an important tournament was the price to be paid so that I could be available to help teach a new fighter the basic shots, then it was an easy a price to pay. I hope they will take home what they have learned, and one day join our army. Or… Who knows, maybe one day win Crown.

What lasting value would winning the tournament have had other than to my ego?

However, the effect of putting new fighters on the list will change a Kingdom.



Top picture of Duke Ragnvaldr and King Nigil taken by: Chris Allswede
Bottom picture of Princess Amalie hitting Gebhard taken by: Sarah Giles

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  1. Sóma Hjalmarsdotter says:

    Well said my lord, Well said.

  2. anno says:

    i believe the guy that takes time out of his day to teach and let the newbie hit him in the head, ranks near the top of the list also

  3. Fred Hermann says:

    *Long slow clap*
    Well said!

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