Becoming a Fighter in Calontir
If you are a new member and want to try either cut and thrust or heavy fighting in Calontir, the following page is made completely for you. A survey was sent out through social media to the populace of Calontir, and the populace responded. This page is intended to guide only and in no way should be referred to as gospel on how to participate in fighting in Calontir.
You would like to get started participating in fighting in the Kingdom of Calontir, but you don’t know where to start. What would the experienced members tell you to do?
- I would invite them over to hang out and talk about it, show them some armour, let them feel the weapons, try stuff on, etc. Then I would tell them people to also talk to that can help them as well, and tell them some stories and facts about fighting from my experience, and then gift them or make them a piece of armour or a stick to help get them started. I find it helps to really embrace new fighters and get them excited about it, let them try at their own pace, and make sure they’re comfortable.
- Come to practice, we have loaner armor, wear an athletic cup, sweat pants, and a long sleeve henley. We will give you a chance to try it before you buy it, and dont buy without talking to us. There is a lot of stuff out there that wont work.
- The best place to start is at practice, by asking a fighter – so step one is already underway. I would get them a sword and start teaching shot mechanics at the pell. We would also watch practice and use that as an opportunity to introduce the conventions of combat. At the end of practice I’d ask that they read the Society and Calontir marshall’s handbooks to familiarize themselves, and to bring personal protection next week. The final step for the first night would be to introduce them to the keeper of the Loaner Gear, who will be their friend for a while.
- Wonderful! Let me get you a stick – we can work some drills with sticks until you get your gear for steel fighting (my local group does not have loaner gear yet, or other steel fighters so I practice walk through pace drills with the stick fighters).
- Bring the appropriate protection and show up to fighter practice. Some places you have to let the knights marshal know in advance as they don’t always haul the extra armor about. If you borrow it, it is courteous to help haul it back to the KM’s vehicle. Locally the problem seems to be enough helmets, not sure how it is other places. There are also a couple of shops that do metal working for fighters, you just have to get in contact with them and be willing to work out the basic armor bits. Most people don’t stay with whatever their first armor is, it evolves as you become a better fighter. Initially it is ‘Ouch, better put a plate there or learn to block that left hander.” It moves on to ‘This rig completely works, but I’d like something besides this butt ugly thing to wear.’ Then it goes on to ‘If I drop the weight of the armor, I can fight longer and faster.” (minimum speed armor) and comes back around to ‘My personae is XYZ. My armor should be XYZ, too.” Or there is also, ‘Hey, they are having a high period event, (like WIlliam Marshal was). In order to play I have to have a Norman kit.” So a kit is made for that, trading out for hidden armor and or a large sircoat or tabbard that hides the ‘non-period’ articles. Or a specialty tourney, like the Circus of Roman gladiators, that lion suits and paw maces were made for. Or you move into another endeavor like archery on the field and need arms that don’t catch the bow strings. Or on to jousting and have to have a perfectly period kid with an eye slot of 3/8ths or less for wood jousting even though you can only play that once a year at GW. Put a pell up in your backyard to practice. Do the 100s drills. On side, off side, pole or great sword to build muscle memory. Take up jogging or running to build stamina for wars.
- First of all YOU JUST DID! Many groups have loaner gear that can be used. Do not go spend money on armor, weapons until you are absolutely sure that this is an activity that you are going to fully pursue. Introduce them to the appropriate people to help them take the steps necessary to get them to the field — including those who can help them create their armor.
- Try it first. Most groups have loaner armor. I typically tell new people to obtain the correct groin protection, knee pads and elbow pads. Then show up and use the loaner armor. You would be surprised how much the simple investment of a cup culls out those that are impulsive curious vs. those that are actually interested.
You have been fighting for a little while. You confide in an experienced member that you’d love to hone your skills. What advice would an experienced member give you to get better?
- Consistent pellwork. Going to fighter practice. Yes, you can get help and assistance from better fighters, but if you don’t practice the skills the help is irrelevant. Also, travel to as many different places as you can and fight there as well.
- Watch others fight, then ask questions afterwards. Get into better physical condition. Strength, flexibility, and stamina matter.
- Fight as much as you can. Work on stamina. Fight as many different people as you can. Work on styles. Fight in the rain, fight when you are sore, fight when no one else wants to fight.
- There are many resources available online- innumerable videos, articles, and forums are available with a brief web search. But they are no replacement for experience and training. Ask an experienced fighter for advice – and then ask that they keep an eye on your fights (while they are not fighting) to see what you are doing well and what your fail points are. Along with solo training/pell work, practice always helps. After that, get to events. Fight people from other groups. Fight people from other kingdoms if possible. Get exposure to as many styles and skill levels as possible. Get in melees – remember that Calontir is an army.
- Make a pell…learn it live it love it…
- Start with get in armor and get to a practice. Perform pellwork drills. In addition there is a lot of muscle memory that can be built that does not require being in armor. Get used to good, slow accurate controlled motions. Do not worry about speed or power – technique drives a lot.
- Bear pit style fighter practices are for PRACTICING what you have learned. The only way to learn the concepts is through intentional practice and focus. Typically footwork is the first place to start improving.
Where can you get constructive feedback on your fighting?
- Fighter practice. Yes, it is true that not every person out there can teach effectively, but it is only at fighter practices that you can really find the pool of initial trainers.
- “Constructive” feedback can be a problem, but ALL advice about fighting can be tested in combat and re-evaluated. Good fighters do not always make good teachers. Listen well, and observe carefully.
- Practises and on the field are the best places, or after a day of fighting during some relaxed socialisation.
- Marshals, fellow fighters, video recordings.
- A good source is always the Chivalry, but the Hirth and Fyrd are also a huge repository of information, experience, and memories of past failures – knowing how you got beaten and why are more instructive than winning. Ask the experienced fighters for help and advice – we won’t always know to take a new fighter aside and point something out – sometimes we’re caught up in our own stuff.
- Ask the fighters they fight. If you are getting overwhelmed with information (as can happen with new fighters) just grab one idea and work on it. Writing stuff down can help. Ask one experienced fighter to watch a few of their fights and give feedback.
- At a properly run fighter practice. By asking the fighter you just faced in the tourney, By being open to people who make a comment about what they just witnessed
- The best situation is through direct observation and feedback from experienced fighters, that is not in the fight. For example: If new fighter and experienced fighter are sparing. Have two other experienced fighters watching from different vantage points. Feedback is given directly. Exercise is repeated.
We asked experienced members how did you get started in fighting within Calontir or the SCA?
- As a kid I loved knights and history (like I think many of us did lol). My best friend and I would steal the posts they use to put up the signs for elections and whatnot and spend hours making them into swords, we’d cobble together (hideous amateur) armour, and make plywood shields with old belts for straps. Then we’d beat the tar out of eachother! Eventually we heard about the SCA, but didn’t know anyone in it. We used to talk on and on about wishing we could join like it was some Herculean task ( we were young, we didn’t know any better lol). Eventually we met someone who was our age who was a member, as were his parents, and started doing things with them. My first event was a Lilies and I pestered every fighter I could and was given a few items to help me get started (a tradition I keep to this day). Fighting helps me keep in shape, it gives me an outlet for some of my crafting, it lets me meet wonderful people whom I can share experiences with and learn from, it makes me feel like a part of something I can be proud of to be in the Calontir army, and it gives me goals and aspirations to work towards. I still love learning new things, working on equipment, helping people… Its just a great environment.
- I saw it at a renn faire. I put together my kit with the advice of local fighters. I went to practices. I fought for the sheer joy of fighting. Now I fight to pass on the art, to teach the joy, and to lead the army into the future of our kingdom.
- I grew up seeing fighting demonstrations at scifi/fantasy conventions, and always wanted to try. So when I was in college, I looked up the local group and started coming to practice. A local fighter was about my size, so I borrowed armor. I started fighting. When I found out I really enjoyed it, I kept doing it, and it quickly became a part of my life. Now I fight because it feels right to do so – I feel off if I haven’t been in armor for a while. I fight to get better, and so those around me can get better at fighting, to bring the level of skill in Calontir up as high as possible. I fight because it fills a need not found elsewhere in my life.
- I started showing up at practice and asking questions. People took me under their wing and helped me get started. I enjoy both the mental and physical aspects of it.
- I started because I watched fighting my whole life. I fight because even through the bruises and pain, it’s the most enjoyable challenge I have found in the sca.
We asked several experienced Calontir members: What has been the most rewarding part of fighting within Calontir, for you?
- Being a part of a unit that successfully does its job.
- I recently got my Fyrd, and it was a big deal to me, and it makes me a member of something that is a family to me (within the family of the SCA itsself). But also as rewarding is being able to help people, teach them things, learn from them, and share those experiences with them!
- Hearing the roar of the battle. Hearing my company shout our battle cry. Seeing a battle plan come to fruitition. Making friends in the army. Leading the army. Being told that there will always be a place for me in the army no matter how broken I am.
- Awards and honors are nice, winning fights is fun and gratifying, but the relationships I formed with my fellow fighters have been the best part of my career.
- Fighting with the army at a foreign war is an experience that cannot be duplicated.
- Marching with the army at a foreign war. Soup kitchen and all the bragging that happens there. Taking care of any of our people that get hurt on the field – other kingdoms just abandon them to get off on their own. Knowing who has your back and that you have theirs.
- Advancing a set of skills of martial arts. Learning the discipline that goes with the art, and taking those skills and mental disciplines and extrapolating them to other facets of life. Learning how to teach, and lead, and focus.
- The instant brother hood and all the helpful suggestions. The feeling of blowing through a shield wall and the sound of song being raised when calontir is victorious.
- I like being part of the team, holding my place in the shieldwall and yelling CALONTIR at the top of my lungs. I love fighting for the Queen and my own true love. At the risk of making this a gender thing I love that my daughters see me doing something tough that most moms don’t do and the little girls at demo cheering me on.
- Not to sound cheesy, but the people. It’s kind of interesting how much camaraderie can form between people who are trying to stab each other. Not gonna lie though, the looks on house guests’ faces when they see the pile of rapiers sitting in a corner is pretty rewarding as well.
Content retrieved from: https://newcomers.calontir.org/becomingafighter.php.