King Damien in his Rapier Champions bout against Don Orlando Sforza Photo by Mistress Brita Mairi Svensdottir

King Damien in his Rapier Champions bout against Don Orlando Sforza
Photo by Mistress Brita Mairi Svensdottir

This Pennsic the Kingdom of Calontir participated for the first time in the Rapier champions with fighters who were authorized by Calontir in the form known as Cut and Thrust.  For three years, the Kingdom of Calontir has been using Cut and Thrust activities on an experimental basis.  On July 13 of this year, Their Majesties Damien and Issabell made Cut and Thrust activities official at their coronation.

Calontir has no other Rapier program in the Kingdom.  Before July most Calontiri involved in Rapier carried authorization cards from the surrounding Kingdoms. “If you saw someone fighting [out of Kingdom] in a Falcon Tabbard before this date they were on some other Kingdom’s card”, said Their Majesties Damien and Issabell.  “We thank those Kingdoms for covering Our fighters and allowing them to participate in Rapier and C&T activities in the SCA at large.”

Society rules prohibit the use of percussive cuts in melee situations, so most of Calontir’s Cut and Thrust activities are focused on individual fights and tournament style fighting.  “If the Society level prohibition on percussive blows were to change I’m sure that most of us would be more than happy to line up shoulder to shoulder and engage an opposing line,” said His Majesty Damien.  Large group fighting suitable for melee situations isn’t practiced using this form.  When the Calontiri practice melee forms for trips out of kingdom or authorization, they change to Heavy Rapier rules.

Calontir’s fighter cards have a notation of “HR/C&T” for those that have passed their authorization. In order to receive this designation, a fighter must authorize in Heavy Rapier rules only fighting.  Two-handed weapons and parrying devices are also included in the testing for this designation.  Approximately 40 fighters are currently authorized in this form in Calontir.

Their Majesties spoke to the consideration made when Calontir adopted this style of fighting. “We have worked very hard to avoid a split in the fabric that is Calontir. Most of the people involved have been rattan fighters. They are simply adding to their fun or find that their bodies just can’t do the heavier abuse as well as they used to.”

For Easterners, the difference between Cut and Thrust and traditional Rapier fighting may not be readily apparent as this form isn’t common in the East.  Mistress Alys Mackyntoich explained the difference this way. “Cut and thrust is a subset of standard SCA rapier combat that uses heavier blades, heavier armor and a slightly different style of combat. It’s almost like a hybrid between heavy list combat and rapier. Cut and thrust requires a separate authorization.”

Mistress Alys explained further how these differences change the experience. “Unlike standard SCA rapier in the East, “cut and thrust allows percussive cuts — that is, a sort of hacking or chopping motion akin to the flat snaps of a rattan sword.   Additional protective gear, such as rigid back of the head protection, is required.  Because the swords are heavier and percussive cuts are allowed, cut and thrust style rapier allows combatants to use certain period techniques that work less well with lighter blades.”

Their Majesties Damien and Issabell spoke to how the Calontiri view their entrance into the Rapier community.  “We are looking forward to merging the current Calontir culture with the Rapier community. It might be said expect that the Calontir C&T behavior may be a bit different from what you have experienced from your local Rapier community too. We don’t have 15 or 20 years of tradition to follow and get the chance to build it from the ground up.”