Greetings, gentles all.
I received this question recently:
So you say in your bio that you rapier fight? What’s that all about?
Without further ado, let me introduce you to an amazing organization: The Society for Creative Anachronism. A nonprofit dedicated to researching and recreating the Middle Ages as they should have been – i.e. without all the plague and discrimination and starvation and the like – the SCA has brought back to life the ancient and beautiful art form of swordfighting.
As opposed to stage or Hollywood fighting, which is designed to look cool to an audience, SCA swordplay has as its premise, “You are dropped into the Middle Ages, with only a sword (and possibly dagger, shield, or cloak) to defend yourself. Someone accuses you of looking at them wrong and challenges you to a duel. Go.” That said, there are rules to make sure you don’t actually hurt anyone – the goal is to “kill” your opponent, not to actually injure each other.
Within the world of SCA fighting, I fight in the “heavy rapier” style. Think Pirates of the Caribbean. Here’s the type of sword that we use:
This is as opposed to the “heavies” style, which simulates knights-in-armor fighting. These fighters actually wear full armor, some of which they make themselves, and they sound like cars crashing into each other when they start whacking away at each other with their rattan swords. Here’s a picture:
I’ve been playing with the SCA for several years, off and on, and I’m nowhere near as good as I’d like to be – there’s this little thing called “school” that keeps me from participating as much as I’d like. But rapier has been a hobby of mine since high school, and I look forward to continuing in it and honing my skills in years to come.
As a novelist, I hope this will also translate into stories that are authentic in their use of weapons, that are grounded in fact no matter how fantastical they are, and that make sense as a narrative.
*salutes with rapier*