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Halfway through the History

By Noelle of Pentamere

Wednesday, August 1st found many heavy fighters signing up for the first of the six Historic Combat Series (HCS) tournaments. These tournaments were meant to be different from the period-style tournaments such as the Pas d’Armes that have previously been held at Pennsic. Baron Asbjorn Johansun, who originally began the HCS, said that he wanted to get away from these types of battles and create something new and interesting that all fighters would enjoy. These fights are in the tradition of Le Jeu de La Hache, Talhoffer, and Ringeck. Instead of wearing all armor these fighters would wear less to get more of the flow of combat. They would also have different places to hit for a kill as compared to traditional SCA combat. Lord Murdoch McArthur from the Kingdom of Northshield ran the HCS this year in Baron Asbjorn’s stead.

The rules for the first tournament were that only pole arms were to be used and there were specific ways of killing one’s opponent. A fighter could be killed by being hit on the inside of the elbow, their armpit, the head three times, the eyes when the helm is open-faced, and although strongly discouraged, the groin area. Also, the fighter could be considered killed if they are knocked over by their opponent or fall over themselves. If one of them ends up dropping their weapon they are then open to be killed by the other, without waiting for their opponent to recover their weapon..

Sir Vladimir Ivonivich Aleksancrov and Sir Corby de Laflamme, both from Atlantia, found themselves facing each other in the finals of the single elimination. Then, after only a few minutes, Vladimir ended up killing Corby with three blows to the head.

The prize for Vladimir was a pole head. He was jokingly teased by the other fighters that his wife was going to use it to hit him over the head.

Thursday’s rules were the same but the combatants used a long sword instead. They used the two-handed swords in the tradition of Liechtenauer and Fiore. After the very long round robin style format, with 13 competitors, HRM Valharic of Atlantia won the combats with long swords. The prize was a period Italian book by Massimo Malipiero.

The third combat series, also on Thursday, was with sword and buckler. Death was imminent with a solid blow to anywhere on the body to simulate unarmored fighters. The fighter loses if they cannot recover their dropped weapon before his opponent touches him with his sword. He also loses if he falls and cannot recover before his opponent kills him.

After a much shorter round robin, since they did them three bouts at a time, Sir Valgard Stonecleaver from the East found himself as the winner. Lord Murdoch presented him with a shield boss stating that he would have given him a finished buckler but he was unsure of what they would like, so now Sir Valgard can make his own.

The Historic Combat Series continues on Monday and Tuesday with “As Real Men Fought,” “The Challenges at Vannes” and the Plate and Mail Tourney. Check them out on the tourney lists near the Main Battlefield. They are very entertaining to watch.