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f-fighters-msg - 7/14/17


Protective gear for female fighters in the SCA. Groin and chest protection.


NOTE: See also the files: Women-Battle-art, Shield-Balanc-art, armorers-lst, Fightng-Small-art, tournaments-art, SCAweapons-msg, armor-msg, WS-bib.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



From: doconnor at sedona.intel.com (Dennis O'Connor)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Questions about armor

Date: 21 Jun 93 10:59:41

Organization: Intel i960(tm) Architecture


lthomas at perdita.gac.edu writes:

] I have somehow been drafted, [...] into making armor for a friend of mine.

] I have in the past produced several rather successful padded gambesons,

] currently beeing worn under chain with appropriate hard coverings. However

] because the next project is for a female (all the others were for males) I

] am in need of some information.  I am interested in finding out what

] peoplehave discovered has and hasn't worked.  Both in usability and in

] getting past the marshalls (Middle Kingdom) preferably without trouble or

] question.


The first question of course is how endomorphically (i.e. wrt body shape)

female your friend is. I assume she is somewhat so, or you would just

put her in a male armour with some minimal extra chest protection.


My wife, on other hand, is abundantly female. What works well for her

is a gambeson made of 1/2" industrial felt sewn between two layers of

light cotton canvas ( the same gambeson design she made for me, in

fact ). Over which she wears first a gorget with a collar of 1/16"

6061 T6 aluminum plates riveted to canvas that covers the shoulders

near the neck, the upper vertebrae of the spine, and the front of

the chest just below the throat. This collar is then fastened (we

use velcro but may switch to a tie or snap ) to the front of the

gambeson as extra insurance against a blow to the throat.


Then partly covering the collar she wears a modified version of

transitional plate (I think it's called that : 8 pieces of shaped

metal arrangend cylindrically around the torso ), made again of 1/16"

6061 T6 aluminum. The modification consists of widening the front

center peice to cover the entire chest, and extending up enough

that it overlaps the collar.


Pounding the compound curves needed into the 6061 T6 was tough :

it's an extremely hard aluminum allow, commonly used in aircraft.

In fact, we couldn't get the curves over the upper chest right

except by making a cut in the top center of the front center

pice, and bending the piece so that there was a triangular area

of overlap at the cut, then putting a rivet in the top of this

overlap. It would have been easier to make the plates of mild steel.

This is one reason, BTW, why I believe elbow and knee cops should

always be of steel : it's tough to get deep compound curves into

the hard aluminum without compromising the metal's properties,

unless you know how to properly heat-treat aluminum.


[ We've debated aluminum and other modern material before :

Please, let's not do it again. ]


Anyway, this arrangment is relatively light but provides excellent

upper body protection. Even heavy unhindered "proofing" shots to the

torso armour are reduced to just a good heavy shove by the time they

reach flesh.


You mention "clam shell"-style breast protection. I believe that the

SCA-wide armor standards prohibit metal breast cups unless they are

rigidly attached to each other, so your "clam shells" may not pass.


Dennis O'Connor                          doconnor at sedona.intel.com

Intel i960(R) Microprocessor Division    Solely responsible for what I do.



From: margritte at aol.com (Margritte)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: women warriors (pelvic protection)

Date: 11 Oct 1994 11:56:04 -0400


mujle at uxa.ecn.bgu.edu (Jennifer L Edwards) writes:


> Here in the Middle, some form of protection is required (i.e. a "hard

over soft" form

> of protection). I recomend a strip of leather or plastic, covered with

foam, sewn into a

> pair of large old underwear.


Try taking a piece of sole leather, cut like an hourglass.  Glue a

similarly shaped piece of closed-cell foam to the inside.  If you wear it

between two pairs of underwear, it will stay in place, but can easily be

slipped off with the rest of your armor



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: eng3mxg at hibbs.vcu.edu (Mikele A. Galbraith)

Subject: Re: women warriors

Organization: Virginia Commonwealth University

Date: Thu, 13 Oct 1994 17:28:58 GMT


When it comes to groin protection for women: Ouch!  I've been hit

there! A good safe thing to use is a women's cup, available most

easily through Karate suppliers...


Maire/ Mikele of Anglesey

aka known as the Viking girl..



From: johanus at ersys.edmonton.ab.ca (Johanus Haidner)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: women warriors

Date: Wed, 12 Oct 94 17:23:54 MDT

Organization: Edmonton Remote Systems #3


yes, you must wear groin protection, at here in An Tir.  According to the

An Tir book of combat (the ABC's) a female fighter must wear "female

groin protection" or equivalent.  This is a commercial sports "cup"

designed specifically for female use.



Johanus Haidner   johanus at ersys.edmonton.ab.ca  

Edmonton Remote Systems   Serving Edmonton/Northern Alberta since 1982



From: jyeates at bga.com

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: women warriors

Date: Mon, 17 Oct 94 12:11:29 PDT

Organization: Texas Department of Health


> yes, you must wear groin protection, at here in AN TIr.  According to the

> An TIr book of combat (the ABC's) a female fighter must wear "female

> groin protection" or equivalent.  This is a commercial sports "cup"

> designed specifically for female use.


saw an excellent solution to the problem ... for any women interested in

SCAdian martial arts, and looking for basic armour, check out some of the mail

order rollar-hockey suppliers.  was looking through a catalog to price some

basic gear and noted some well designed groin and breast protectors ... a good

starting place would be to snag a copy of "Inline" and write/call for catalogs




From: Jill.Mason at f56.n105.z1.fidonet.org (Jill Mason)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: women warriors

Date: Tue, 11 Oct 1994 23:38:00 -0800


According to the ABC (AnTir book of combat) female groin protection is

required. I beleive it also outlines the type of

protection required.  I have always relied on the rigid front tasset on

my armor, but no one has asked if I had groin protection.  In "The

flowers of Souvence" (an Outlands publication about women warriors,

which I don't know if it is still in production) they had an article

about making a diaper like groin protection (I would be happy to send

you a copy or deliver one if you attend dragon'smist or 3M fighter

practice). Some people also use karate protection. Although the

plumbing is not on the outside I am not looking forward to taking a hit

in that area.  Hope this is of some help.  E-mail me for more info.


In Service Jill Blackhorse



From: pp003060 at interramp.com (Laurie Brandt)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Beginner's Armor for Women

Date: Tue, 04 Apr 1995 15:24:18 -0500

Organization: the Polyhedron Group


Having been a women fighter for over ten years now I have found that the

brest protection to be next to usless and I am a C cup. Though good groin

protection is a must, raising shots anyone?  :0 .  I wear a quilted

gamboson under chain, elbows, mitten gauntlets, articulated legs, and an

open face bassenett helm all of steel, and a leather gouge. I would like

to make a recomdation subscribe to the Flower of Sovence write Countess

Cymber of the Darkwater (KC Lancaster) at 6633 Irving St. Denver CO

80221-2137, for current subscription costs.  Its a good on going dicussion

on women and fighting.


Laurie E. W. Brandt|aka Her Ladyship, Pegasus Devona, A.o.A., G.d's.

5814 Gloucester Ln.|    Barony of Bryn Gwlad, Kingdom of Ansteorra

Austin, Tx 78723   |Gules, a pegasus rampent within a bourder argent.

                  |Society for Creative Anachronism Membership #04720




Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Women's fighting protection

Date: 26 Oct 1995 12:07:22 -0400


I've seen a few inquiries into gender-specific groin protection. I'm a

relatively new-fighter, and have modeled my "cup" from that of a

veteran female fighter in my Shire.  It has also been recommended by

my female fighting friends to NOT use any commercially-sold "female

sports cups" as that they will cut into the groin painfully.


What we use locally (for both heavy & rapier combat protection) is a

T-shaped foam and kydex (or other heavy rigid plastic) "cup."  The

rigid material is roughly 2"x4", two pieces, which are secured to 1/4"

close-cell foam as so:   ============  The drawing here, of course,

                       ||  _-----_  || does not really do it justice.

The foam extends past   ||  -_____-  ||

the rigid material       ===  /-\  ===

about 1 1/2".  The        ||  | |  ||

two rigid pieces are      ||  \-/  ||

not connected so that      =========

they can easily "bend" down slightly between the legs. I've found that

the protection becomes almost unnoticeable after fighting for a while,

and is not that difficult to walk, sit, etc. in.


Hope this helps everyone


Eilidh Swann of Strathlachlan  *  Darach Shire, Caid (Ventura, CA)

Christine (Cat) McGlothlin     *  Production Editor, Journals

cat_mcglothlin at sagepub.com     *  Sage Publications, Inc.



From: thorgierr at aol.com (Thorgierr)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Breast protection

Date: 4 Nov 1995 19:30:57 -0500


v081lu33 at ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu (TRISTAN CLAIR DE LUNE/KEN MONDSCHEIN)


>     Breast protection for women is definitely a good idea. For the more

>endowed amongst us, this can be a pain in the butt, but it's better than

>a pain in the nipple. It can be hard to engineer armor that's big enough

>in front that also has mobility enough that you can clap, so I recommend



   As a woman with "vast tracts of land"  I have heard discussions over

the years of what men think women should use for armor.  The things I have

heard for the past 15 years and interesting (and sometimes frightening)

but the one I find most amusing is the rondel idea.

   I think some of it comes from Bugs Bunny cartoons of Wagnerian opera,

and the many times we have seen Burnhilda with a horned helm, long blonde

braids, and breastcups in chainmail.  Having fought, and knowing how rigid

items react when attached to non-rigid (like arming coat or chainmail), I

have always referred to this sort of armor as "cookie cutter mail" because

of what could happen to the breast underneath that rounded piece of metal


   I wanted rigid breast protection, and so my lord and I put together a

leather torso piece.  It has been sort of an in-joke because in order to

make it large enough to cover portions of my anatomy, and yet reduce

enough at the top to let me move my arms, we took a tuck in the front,

forming a sort of "mono-breast" (which causes enough laughter or

embarassment that I sometimes get the first shot).

   I agree with the inadvisability of "nipple shots" but i think there is

a better way than mini bucklers strapped to my chest!


   Lady Tyrca Ivarsdottir, Oleander, OPN



From: nataliae at aol.com (Natalia E)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Breast Protection

Date: 7 Nov 1995 21:59:35 -0500


>> My solution is a metal or leather or steel round thingie placed to

either side, as in a 15th century suit of "white armor" (see Caravachi's

painting of the condottierri) or one of those German Gothic suits. Joan of

Arc is generally depicted with one of these. They cover the armpit, yet

allowfull motion.


Since I did not see the original post, I would imagine you are talking

armor for the chest of a woman under her regular armor?  If you are there

are plastic chest protectors (I wear one fencing) that are available at

Cherris Fencing in Cheyenne, Colorado.   They fit across the front much

like a brassiere and cover the sides as well, still allowing plenty of

room for arm motion.  Anyone interested in getting them, I would highly

recommend them, can email me for the info.





From: pat at lalaw.lib.CA.US (Pat Lammerts)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Breast coverage

Date: 6 Nov 1995 21:28:12 -0500


> Hrm, now I have a garb question.  I am too busty to wander about

>sans bra.  It's uncomfortable, makes me cranky and I tend to get a

>rash.Is wearing a bra under garb going to get me thwaped on the head?

> julia

Only if Mistress Laurel Seamchecker sees you or if you enter

a costume contest, otherwise no. 8>}


However if you are wearing Tudor/Elizabethan era garb, it would

be superfluous to wear a bra.  A well made period corset should

support you even better than a bra.


If you wish to to fight, you might wish to make a leather corselet,

which will protect your breasts and keep you from bouncing (and

thereby chaffing). I have a friend who is a FF cup who puts a

handtowel under her breasts for extra support and absorbency before

cinching herself in.


+ Mistress Huette Aliza von und zu Ahrens und Mechthildberg +

+         Ars non gratia artis, sed gratia pecunae          +

+                     Kingdom of Caid                       +

+        Barony of the Angels, Canton of the Canyons        +

+                   (pat at lalaw.lib.ca.us)                   +




From: kolton at kitts.u.arizona.edu (Jason C Kolton)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Armor for women

Date: 27 Jan 1997 06:11:54 GMT

Organization: The University of Arizona


maeryktr at fast.net wrote:

: I am wondering if anyone can point me to any sources (internet or

: otherwise) concerning building SCA armor for a woman (specifically ME

: :)  My male friends who have built their own armor look at my...

: specifications with some confusion.  No one seems to know how  to

: protect certain body parts adequately.  


: Charissa


Most of the females I know who fight use either a full clam shell breast

and back or a coat of plates with extra protection or the chest.  You can

also use the fencing cups under a heavy leather vest.  For groin

protection you can go to a martial arts store for a sparring cup for

females or you can build one out if various materials.  I have seen them

built out of linoleum.  Check with you local martial on the specifics for

you kingdom. I do know that females are required to the same minimum

armour (helm, knees, elbow, kidneys, groin, neck) that males are plus  

some form of rigid protection for the chest.





(Who learned long ago that ladies hit VERY hard :)


Jason C Kolton  

kolton at U.Arizona.EDU



From: Lou Stewart <lhs at ctwok.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Ladies' chest protection- Vanora

Date: Wed, 15 Oct 1997 22:44:21 -0500


Trevor Barker wrote:

> Paul Mitchell <pmitchel at flash.net> wrote

> [or, rather, I assume a lady using his account wrote...]

> > There is some talk about dropping the women's chest protection rules and

> > reg's in Ansteorra from the current 6-8oz. leather to coorporate's

> > gambison rule. Some of us ladies would like to see coorperate ultimately

> > drop the rule of mandatory chest protection for us... OR make it

> > mandatory for all men in all kingdoms. What's the general opinion?

> > -V-


> I think there is a good reason for mandating extra chest protection for

> women.  The female breast, even if small, contains mammary glands that

> render it rather more susceptible to damage than the male breast.


> Conversely, a woman's groin area is less susceptible to damage as the

> delicate generative organs are internal rather than external.  Only a

> foolhardy man would wish to decrease the amount of groin protection he

> uses, just because women don't need so much.


> Just my tuppennyworth,


> Trevor.


Skiing magazine's winter 97 issue of Skiing for Women mentions a new

sports bra for women called (I'm not kidding!) Turtle Shells.  It has

hard plastic cups in the shape of turtle shells that are supposed to

protect soft mammary tissue.  There's no indication in the article as to

where these can be bought, if you were inclined to - ah- stick your neck

out.  :)  Luigsech



Date: Tue, 28 Oct 97 20:52:31 -0600

To: <ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG>

From: <cward at awd.com> "C Ward, Software Support, x3115"

Subject: ANST - re: ANST- Ladies Chest Protection


This discussion comes back up every so often.  I have been dealing with the

topic since I started fighting around 1979 or 1980.  Personally, I hate any

type of chest armor.  It's hot and uncomfortable and restricts movement way

too much.  But I wear it none the less.


Back in 1979 or 1980, when I started fighting the first time, I consulted

with my mother, who is a physician (OB/GYN), and she in turn consulted with

a colleague of hers who specializes in diseases of the breast.  Both

agreed fully that while getting hit in the tits with heavy rattan might

hurt, and could certainly cause bruising, there was no medical reason that

it was a bad thing: they agreed it could not cause cancer, deformity, or

other breast disease.  At that particular time, the marshallate was

claiming that they wanted women to wear breast armor because they were

afraid being whacked in the breast might cause cancer!


I've gotten hit in the breast a time or three -- the worst being a time

when I caught a great sword going full speed and stopped it with my breast.

The breast looked like the world's largest concord grape for weeks, but  

since the sword tip had missed my chest wall, I actually was able to

continue the fight and fought on later that afternoon.  The blows I've

received there caused no scarring, no deformation, and no problems.  The

worst injury I ever received to the breast while fighting was from an

underwire bra, which is why ladies should not wear underwires on the list

field -- I ended up with six stitches from that one!


I will mention that I am wearing a breastplate hidden under my gambeson.  

It's not to protect my tits.  It's to protect my sternum.  The breastbone,

in men and women alike, most certainly *can* be damaged badly.  Worse, if

you're hit just right (like, say, with one of those ! at #$%$# at ! pultruded

fiberglass spears) the impact can snap the sternum loose from the ribs,

allowing the ribs and sternum to do unlovely things in turn to your heart

and lungs.


Another serious risk is the little tab attached to the bottom of the

sternum. That tab angles inwards anyway, and a good hard blow can break it

off, or drive it back into lungs or apparently even into the liver (though

this is more of a motor vehicle accident problem).


Basically, wearing only a gambeson to protect the chest is stupid.  It does

nothing to protect against anything and only adds heat and restricts

movement. Wearing rigid or semi-rigid armor to protect the chest does make

more sense, as it will tend to spread the force of the blow, keeping shots

from concentrating on the breastbone or on a rib and possibly causing

serious injury.


Thing is, I don't think that just women should be required to wear this

type of armor -- the tits don't need protecting, the sternum does -- and

thus men and women alike should protect it if *any* of us have to.  


I rather look upon armor as a chance to weed the gene pool -- it's like the

motorcycle helmet controversy.  If someone is retarded enough to want to

fight with no helmet, for the good of the human species we should let them.

And likewise body armor should be a matter of choice as far as I'm

concerned: plate armor for the chest, some hot padding in a gambeson, or

nothing -- I really wish they'd leave it up to the wearer.


That's my opinion.  I'd be glad to come up with the medical information

about trauma injuries and breast risk factors related to same if the

marshallate would find it helpful in making a useful decision.


Gunnora Hallakarva,

Writing from work

(This account goes away Nov 10, 1997 -- write to me at gunnora at bga.com)



Date: Tue, 28 Oct 97 23:05:02 -0600

To: <ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG>

From: <cward at awd.com> "C Ward, Software Support, x3115"

Subject: ANST - Armor for Ladies


Tiger Lil said:

>There may be quite a few ladies who are not overly hampered by

>extraneous appendage in the upper chest, however for some of our more

>generously endowed ladies, if they aren't sufficiently forwarned, they

>may possibly lose a nipple to a pinch tween stick and kidney belt.

>This may not happen often, but it may happen more often if they rule

>isn't there.  


and also said:

>As for dropping the one or creating the other, why should men be

>forced to wear a protective device for something they dont have.

>Honestly, I'm not sure I like the idea of groin gaurds for women, but I

>also haven't heard of alot of groin shots to women either.


Actually, anyone can get a nipple mashed (men do have them too, you know!  

Ask Ivar -- I got both of his at the same time with the same mace blow

years ago and he's still bitching about it!).  But a good sports bra keeps

this from being a problem even for big chested women -- there's a scenario

where the guys actually are worse off -- most women strap their nipples

down to some degree or other just simply by wearing a bra, but guys have

their nipples just out there. Though to tell the truth I don't know how a

kidney belt can somehow contribute to nipple mashing as described here.  

You don't need plate armor to protect the nipples, just a good sports bra.


As for groin armor for women, the ladies on the IronRose list (for lady

fighters in the SCA) have discussed this topic a bunch.  In normal tourney

fighting, one can probably be safe in reckoning that a woman will never get

a solid shot landing smack on the labia.  However, in a war scenario, where

you may be falling over and tring to cover up while lots of unfriendly

strangers are trying to introduce you to their pet stick of rattan, there

is some risk of getting smacked on what's tender.


The odds-on favorite for ladies' groin armor that I've seen discussed on

Iron Rose is what's known as a "female cup".  Somewhere I still have my

royal dispensation from King Jan that allowed me to fight *without* a man's

cup back when we first went to the unisex armor rules... these "women's

cups" are not the same critter at all as the triangular cup that guys use.  

There are two varieties, one is made for women's martial arts, the other

for women's ice hockey.  Both are made from some sort of slightly flexible

plastic, and can be special ordered by the sproting goods store of your

choice, I understand. The "female cups" are flat or slightly curved, and

have more of an hourglass shape.


Again, the point is being missed a bit here in the armor rules.  I am

unconcerned about a stick catching me between the legs (been there, did

that, yes it hurt but not as bad as getting a hard shot to the biceps!).  I

am much more concerned about possibly getting a hard thrust into the lower

abdomen, and mashing ovaries and other tender bits internally.  I wear a

gambeson with a stiffened skirt, so rising blows can't get me between the

legs anyway, and I have a rounded triangular plate that is sewn into the

front of the gambeson skirt and protects from just about my navel to a

little below the groin.  Some ladies use a pair of rolled up socks, stuck

into their pants -- this is legal armor, but gaghhh!! how uncomfortable.  I

like my solution, since my "groin armor" --actually lower abdomen armor --

never touches me at all but provides dandy protection.


Those who are very interested in these topics, do be sure to checkout the

Iron Rose mailing list, which is designed for discussing lady fighter's

issues. I have subscription info at home, you can write me there

(gunnora at bga.com) and I'll try to get the info back to you!



(Writing from work.

This account goes away 11/10/97 -- write me at gunnora at bga.com



Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 10:23:53 -0600 (CST)

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG

From: Nan Bradford-Reid <ad-4na at mail.utexas.edu>

Subject: Re: ANST - ANST- Ladies Chest Protection


Greetings, Lady Vanora, and others:


There are several things to consider here:  First, having taken a series of

very hard spear thrusts to the chest, I am *very* glad to say I was wearing

a steel breastplate!!  Whether the feminists like it or not, men and women

are different (duh!).  A man's musculature is different, they fuild up

useful and protective muscles on the chest which protect them.  Unless we

are Arniettes, we don't, no matter how much we fight.  And as far as getting

hit in the breasts, no, it probably doesn't cause cancer, cancer is caused

by a completely different set of circumstances, genetic and environmental.

However, having been hit twice in my right breast, both equal to a sword hit

or thrust, I can tell you it *does* cause damage!! (not to mention pain!)  I

won't go into detail, but suffice to say if you ever want to breastfeed

future children, I strongly recommend against it.  I don't fight any longer,

but if I did, I wouldn't care what the rule was, I would wear steel

protection. If the breastplate is constructed properly, it doesn't

interfere with your fighting.  Kydex is acceptable, too, but you must

remember that proper protection should a) arc over the breast area and not

lie flat on it, b) be padded underneath, and c) NOT NOT NOT be separate

cups! OOH, more dangerous than no protection at all.


I remain in Service,


HL Catherine Harwell, Lady Wife to Sir Conor macCinneide



Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 14:17:56 -0600 (CST)

From: keandbc at ix.netcom.com (Keith Ewing)

Subject: Re: ANST - re: ANST- Ladies Chest Protection

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


>type of chest armor.  It's hot and uncomfortable and restricts movement

>way too much.  But I wear it none the less.


Sorry...I like my chest/soft tissue armour...but I wear it because I am

left-handed and really like two swords.  :)


>it was a bad thing: they agreed it could not cause cancer, deformity, or

>other breast disease.


according to several sports-centered clinic, AT THIS POINT IN TIME,

repeated trauma to the soft tissue of the breast does not increase

chances of breast cancer...however repeated trauma may cause tissue

scarring to the area which can show up as a positive area on a

mammogram. On the flip side, there is also not much information

available because it has not been studied extensively...there are very

very contact sports that women participate in that can cause ecchymosis

as we see in heavy combat.


I personnally have two scars on my left breast from when I wore a

leather set of armour.  The soft tissue got pinched hard enough that

the bruise was black and broke the skin.


>Wearing rigid or semi-rigid armor to protect the chest does make

>more sense, as it will tend to spread the force of the blow, keeping shots

>from concentrating on the breastbone or on a rib and possibly causing

>serious injury.

>Thing is, I don't think that just women should be required to wear this

>type of armor -- the tits don't need protecting, the sternum does -- and

>thus men and women alike should protect it if *any* of us have to.  


I agree...it should be a personal choice.



> And likewise body armor should be a matter of choice as far as I'm

>concerned: plate armor for the chest, some hot padding in a gambeson, or

>nothing -- I really wish they'd leave it up to the wearer.


In Service to the Dream...

Alisha MacLeod


mka Barbara E. Carroll, RN, C-Med/Surg,



To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG

Date: Tue, 4 Nov 1997 20:39:55 CST

From: Lady Jotahn Firesteed <calypso at chaosbutterfly.com>

Subject: Re: ANST - ANST- Ladies Chest Protection


From my own experiences let me tell you a few things. I began fighting "heavy" while I was still nursing my 6 mo. old son. My trainers and Dr. and Midwife all told me that the risks were great for damage to breast tissues while nursing/lactating. Blows to the milk ducts could bruise, block and permanently damage the milk ducts, this damage could eventually lead to a CHANCE for breast cancer. However the chances for breast cancer resulting from injuries when NOT lactating are minimal. Since there has never been medical studies on this  specific area, there aren't any guarantees. I WAS NOT allowed to receive blows as long as I was  nursing and for an additional month after I weaned off my son. So I spent my time practicing  techniques, strenghening my body and learning tactics. When I was ready to start fighting, my  trainers recommended at least a padded gambeson. I worked with that for a while and discovered that all the extra layers put me at serious risk of heat stroke. The padding worked for the  most part, especially after I cut it short. Tournaments went well for this because It could be  removed between fights and the blows thrown were more controlled. I foound that that the  gambeson was TOO HOT for field/woods battles and that it was often not as effective in these  less controlled battles. I later designed a "chestplate" of a retired conveyer belt of  metal links that flexed if I bent over and was well ventilated, the trade off was the weight.  Leather might have worked also and been lighter.




       For Rapier the best thing to use for breast protection is either the metal domed disks sold by martial arts shops (if you can find them there. The alternative is very  similiar, but made of leather. Use "heavy" armor weight leather, soak it in water until thoroughly  wet, then find a bowl the closest size to self and tie or rubberband the leather disk to the  bowl and let dry.(NEVER USE DUCT TAPE TO HOLD THE SHAPE-IT WON'T HOLD) When dry you can coat the disk in several layers of the sealer sold by TAndy leather, or you can leave it as is and  it and allow sweat to keep its shape. Do the disks one at a time. They last indefinitly if  allowed to dry in the open. if you cram them into the armor bag damp they will change shape,  just dampen again and reshape, and let air dry. Make pockets in your armor for the disks, this  keeps them from shifting out of place (and rubbing you raw in your bra.) Large busted women may  find that the disks are not adequate protection for the sides of the breasts. For these ladies  I would recommend a leather band folded in half with triangular pieces removed from the  sides  to allow the sides to meet, then stitch together.Again add a pocket to the inside of  your armor.


I hope this helps, I'll be happy to answer any questions or rebuttals.

Lady Jotahn Firesteed



To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG

Date: Tue, 4 Nov 1997 21:41:50 CST

From: Lady Jotahn Firesteed <calypso at chaosbutterfly.com>

Subject: Re: ANST - ANST- Ladies Chest Protection


Groin protection for women has been discussed before with tempers flaring on both sides.


Anyway they can be VERRRRRY UNCOMFORTABLE to women. Can you say rubbed raw?-even

through cloth. They have protected me from one definitely unforeseen situation. I was "dead" on the ground, curled up under the shield when the sheild wall I had been in advanced. I received a boot in the crotch, quite hard. If I had not been wearing the "groin" protection, I would have been in severe pain rather than just immense pain as I was.


By the way the protection I wore was a heavy weight leather cut like a pad, then covered in fleece to cushion it, then placed inside a pocket in the bike shorts I used. It was hot and shifted sometimes, it rubbed through the fleece eventually and I had to replace it. The biggest complication was that time of the month, everything together was too thick, so the "groin" protection was left off. Anyway I hope I didn't offend anyone.


Lady Jotahn Firesteed



Subject: Re: ANST - Info Request

Date: Wed, 03 Feb 99 16:25:55 MST

From: "Katrina O'Keefe" <ladyknight at austin.rr.com>

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


What your friend needs to do is go to the IronRose web site. The address is



Tell her to get on the mailing list. It will help her a whole bunch.


Katina Ananda



Date: Thu, 10 Jun 1999 07:53:51 -0500

From: "C. L. Ward" <gunnora at bga.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: RE: SCA armor and Info for Lady Fighters


Berengaria asked:

>I had heard that a lot of folks use some plastic type substance that

>can be heated in the oven then molded over the desired body part to form

>a base for armor. Does anyone know off hand where I can get information

>about this?


<snip of plastic armor making directions>


In addition, let me add two informative items for lady fighters.  First,

every lady fighter should consider getting a copy of the following book:


Tobi Beck (Duchess Elina of Beckenham).  The Armored Rose.  San Jose:

Beckenhall Publications. 1999. ISBN 0-9669399-0-5.  Ordering information is

as follows, send check or money order for $17 (includes S&H) to Tobi Beck,

3417 Cedardale Dr., San Jose CA 95148.


This is a book written by and for ladies fighting in the chivalric style in

the SCA.  It is valuable both to the new and the experienced lady fighter,

as well as to the men who fight with these ladies, or who train these

ladies. Duchess Elina discusses physical differences and how this affects

necessary armor and sword construction, psychological differences and how

these affect the lady fighter and how to cope with some of the nastier

subconscious messages women are imprinted with in the Western World, as

well as providing stop-action photographs showing the differences in the

way men and women throw blows, and "flip book movies" of women throwing the

standard types of blows.  It's a wonderful book, and no I am not in any way

affiliated with the author or publisher.


Secondly, there is a valuable resource for lady fighters, the Ironrose List

and Website, maintained by Lady Grainne Gelleo <grainne at peak.org> and

http://www.peak.org/~grainne/Ironrose/ (instructions for signing up to the

email list are available on the website, or you can contact Grainne

directly). The list is particularly useful for communicating with other

women fighters, who can advise you as to such critical information as "why

doesn't my husband's armor fit me when I'm the same size?" or "what is the

best type of groin protection for women to wear?" or "why can't I generate

enough force with my blows?" or "why do I burst into uncontrollable tears

on the list field?"


Gunnora Hallakarva, OL

Baroness to the Court of Ansteorra



Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2008 12:28:38 +1100

From: "Amara Om Shazadi" <amara_shazadi at yahoo.com.au>

Subject: [Lochac] Groin Protection for Girls- Boys if you're squeamish

      look  away now!

To: <lochac at sca.org.au>, <lochacfighters at yahoogroups.com>


To the ladies who've offered help-


It's a groin protection issue. I suppose I should just deal with the fact

everyone will know my business and just state the issue outright.


I have an area that is 'unprotected' of approx 3.5 inch Triangle in that

area- due to my body shape. My body has kindly installed its own protection,

and therefore there really *isn't* room for a girl cup there. Really- I'm

not just saying that because they're uncomfortable. I had the same issue

when I played sports (softball-catcher- cup required!) and was given a

special provision once our Coach saw the issue in reality. And we used a

different approach.


I'm not sure what the solution is, because I read the rules as being that

the cup needed to cover the pelvic bone and ovaries- my ovaries are

protected by my body itself, so therefore without much discomfort and

annoyance, can't be covered by a cup- which leads me to if we go with a

smaller area cup- is it going to be technically legal?


Margrethe The Mender



Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2008 14:49:14 +1300

From: tamara at suncrow.com

Subject: Re: [Lochac] Groin Protection for Girls- Boys if you're

      squeamish   look away now!

To: lochac at sca.org.au


Quoting Amara Om Shazadi <amara_shazadi at yahoo.com.au>:

<<< I'm not sure what the solution is, because I read the rules as being that

the cup needed to cover the pelvic bone and ovaries- my ovaries are

protected by my body itself, so therefore without much discomfort and

annoyance, can't be covered by a cup- which leads me to if we go with a

smaller area cup- is it going to be technically legal? >>>


Ah.  When I was fighting -- in another kingdom, sometime after the  

rocks hardened but before the monocots and dicots diverged -- a plate  

something akin to a hardened loincloth was considered sufficient.  We  

didn't actually have to wear "girl-cups".  So, something in the front  

(an individual plate, or part of an armored skirt, or whatever) that  

was wide enough that a spear thrust to the pubic bone would "bottom  

out" against the tops of the thighs and bottom of the tummy.  If that  

makes sense.


The rules may have gotten more specific since then.





Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2008 17:38:07 +1100

From: "Margrethe The Mender" <amara_shazadi at yahoo.com.au>

Subject: Re: [Lochac] Groin Protection.

To: <lochacfighters at yahoogroups.com>, <lochac at sca.org.au>


Wow- I sure stirred up the pot!


I'm kind of glad, because it has created debate, and got people talking- its

an important issue. I have natural padding over my pubic bone, and I know

from experience that it hurts like hell when you're whacked there.


So I agree that I need some sort of padding, however, due to the actual part

of me that would be a potential target being 3.5 inches triangle, working out

how to keep it where it should be, without extreme discomfort is my issue

now. I have been given many many ideas, and I intend on trying them out. I

also intend to make a plated leather and metal 'skirt' that should afford me

some protection as well- and I fully intend on making sure if I'm laying

Supine position that I will be mindful of falling arrows!


I didn't quite envision where this discussion would lead, and at first I was

a little embarrassed I'll admit, but now- well....if me being a bit

embarrassed helps clarify the rules and help women like me be properly

protected, then its all worth it. I have been unsure about exactly how

specific to get in this group situation, but after speaking to those offlist

-  where I could be much more specific about the particular issue- I think I

might have worked out how to be protected, and not fiddling with the

protection every five minutes as it drives me completely mad.




<the end>

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