From the Kingdom Rapier Marshal, Master Benedict Fergus atte Mede:
The new rapier policies have been published in the Æstel and are available on the Æthelmearc Rapier page. These rules are in effect as of now. Marshals are implored to read these rules as soon as possible.
I’m asking that all authorizations of new forms please include these new rules.
That means, yes, you have to read through the new rules before you can get authorized in a new form. This is especially important with the new two-handed rapier authorization.
Please be patient with those of the community who have not yet had a chance to read through these new policies.
I want to thank my deputies and regional deputies for their efforts in making this possible. If you have any questions, please see your regional marshals or myself. New authorization forms will be forthcoming.
Master Fergus was kind enough to answer some questions from the Gazette for some more in-depth information on the new Rapier Policies:
What has changed in the rules?
There are a few noticeable changes from previous sets of rapier policies.
There is a new authorization for two-handed rapier. This is any consistent use of two hands on a weapon, regardless of design. So this is needed if you want to use two hands on a katana or a European longsword, or simply want to hold your rapier in two hands, if that is your gig.
We have officially prohibited rapier spears. This is a decision I know some people disagree with, but we tried two experiments with these things, we discussed them in group sessions, and the overwhelming opinion at the time was a solid “no.”
We have a new weight restriction for weapons in Æthelmearc rapier: four pounds.
Also, we have aligned our age limits for youths fighting as adults with the Society policy. So, with parental observation and consent, plus the proper paperwork, someone as young as 14 now may join the adult rapier program.
How will the changes affect people who are already authorized vs. new secondary auths?
I think there will be an adjustment period for some rapier fighters with these new policies. For one thing, we have a decent number of people who have been using two-handed swords as their primary form. They will need to get the new authorization now. We’re trying to make that possible as soon as we can.
Additional information from Master Fergus for Rapier Marshals on two-handed sword authorizations:
I’m having a lot of people ask about authorizations for two handed sword. This is good. Here’s the gist of what I want covered in the new authorization: First of all, one of the new rules states that at least one of the authorizing marshals must possess the authorization being tested. I have a group from various parts of the Kingdom who will be or already are grandfathered into the new authorization. These are my regional marshals and deputies (unless they have asked me not to include them), and experienced marshals who use the form safely already. Each has shown that they have some skill in the form, as well as judgement enough to compensate for any specific lack of experience. After a few months, this will not be an issue, but right now anyone interested in the new authorization will have to get one of these folks to be part of the authorization.
For marshals; treat this fundamentally like a first time single rapier authorization. Cover the basics first. Has the student read the updated rules? You do not need to redo the testing on armor requirements, but you will want the student to know about how long, and how heavy a sword can be: “Swords of any kind will not exceed 4 lbs. in total weight, 60 inches in total length, and may have a hilt (including pommel) of no longer than 18 inches.” (KRM Policies. P.4). In addition, they must know what percentage of the overall length a hilt can be (1/3rd of the blade). This cannot be a back door authorization to something that amounts to a spear. Be aware that many commercial two handed swords exceed this measurement, especially in weight.
Once the fighting starts, make sure they are not delivering percussive blows. Make sure they know that two hands on a weapon amounts to increased force. Make the student show multiple attacks, cuts as well as thrusts. Make sure they can do multiple attacks. The one handed thrust is legal, and the student may continue to use both hands after letting go with one hand. That being said, if that is the only attack that a student can make, that student is not skilled enough to pass the authorization. Do test a student’s ability to use the sword in one hand. While the authorization allows any legal sword to be used in two hands, many people will have a special sword for two-handed use. Make sure they are safe with it in one hand as well as in two.
Make sure the student can defend in more than one way. Movement is part of this; parries, avoiding attacks, and binds are good as well. The student does not have to be a Lichtenauer scholar in order to pass, but they have to be able to stop a shot safely. They may use the off hand to block a shot, but they do take damage the same way they normally would with single rapier. You want to close on the student and make sure they can evade, cut, or safely die without striking you with the quillions. Halfswording should be covered, but it should not be a make or break with the new authorization unless the student makes it a major part of their repertoire.
I am going to try to be at the Donnan Party on March 26 in Ballachlagan to do two-hander authorizations and to answer more questions if I can. Thank you for helping with this transition.
Thank you, Master Fergus, for the extra information!