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Killing-Blow-art - 8/22/04


"The Killing Blow Dilemma; A Modest Suggestion for Its Partial Resolution" by Lord Daniel Raoul le Vascon.


NOTE: See also the files: 12thC-Hole-art, marshalling-msg, Shield-Balanc-art, Chalngs-Boasts-art, melee-tactics-art, b-battles-art, tournaments-art.





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                               Thank you,

                                    Mark S. Harris

                                    AKA:  Stefan li Rous

                                         stefan at florilegium.org



The Killing Blow Dilemma; A Modest Suggestion for Its Partial Resolution

by Ld. Daniel Raoul le Vascon du Navarre'

mka Daniel C. Phelps


As a member of over 12 years standing who has lived in three kingdoms and attended numerous Pennsic, Estrella and Gulf Wars  but has never, in all that time, donned armor or swung a stick of rattan; I have listened with detached and often bemused interest over the years to various and sundry debates over blow calling.  In listening to persons who recall fighting in freon can helms and very little else as well as those who joined when I did, one observation seems to stand out.  The general impression is that fighters hit harder now then they did in the past.  The explanation suggested for this phenomenon is that over time, as armor regulations have become more and more stringent, armor has incrementally improved in its ability to blunt the force of blows.  As a result it is the general consensus of opinion among those with whom I have conversed that fighters have had to hit ever harder to have their blows called.  


If this supposition is indeed even partially true I have a modest suggestion which might help address the phenomenon.  Legend has it that in our historical period many units of measure were based on the attributes of the reigning sovereign.  The foot for instance was presumably based on the length of the king's foot.  I suggest that a period solution to our dilemma would be to attempt to gauge killing blows in reference to the strength of "the sovereign's arm."  Ideally before a tournament, just like armor inspection, blow referencing would occur.  The sovereign by right of arms or his or her designee "the sovereign's arm" would strike each prospective combatant a series of reference blows, saying; "On this day and upon my authority I deem these to be minimal killing blows.  Go forth and fight as if your rightful sovereign were to strike you with such."


While it is intuitively obvious that these measures will not constitute a panacea;  I suggest that they will tend to provide, on any given day, a reference standard against which to gauge blows objectively.  This and the peer pressure generated by these measures might, over time, go a long way in addressing the issue of blow acceptance by means other than the direct escalation of force.  The measures I propose are not, as I see them, at odds with the fundamental paradigm of Society combat that "...only the fighter struck can truly judge a blow..."  but supplement it by fostering a normalization of perception through direct feedback administered with due deference to the honor and integrity of all concerned.


Well  such is the opinion of one gladsome perennial spectator who has, on more than one occasion, winced and said to himself; "Ouch that last blow must have really stung."


As always and ever amused,


Ld. Daniel Raoul le Vascon du Navarre'



Copyright 1999 by Daniel C. Phelps, 3359B Trafalgar Square, Tallahassee, Florida 32301.  email: <phelpsd at gate.net>. Permission is granted for republication in

SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited and receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in

the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also

appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being

reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org