I mentioned on the FB page for my blog that I had a big idea. I do, and I want to share it with everyone, but not right now. Right now I’d like to touch on the topic that has many, many people deeply angry/hurt. The topic? The 4th Peerage, or lack thereof.
Rather than discuss the actions…or inactions that lead to the BoD’s decision, I’d like to throw out a few of my thoughts concerning rapier combat in the SCA and an idea, though it be a radical one.
(Now for the boring part; a bit of my history.) I have been passionate about rapier combat for decades. Really. Decades. My husband and I got the ball rolling in Drachenwald, introducing this activity to the populace and, as Drachenwald grew into a Kingdom, the little seed we planted grew with it. It has been my great joy to see what started an idea two young and terribly naive people had blossom into something that’s still a part of Drachenwald to this day. And should you think we did it alone, we did not. We had support from a great many friends. We authorized them to fence and these wonderful, accepting Knights, (and many, many non-peers) carried our dream forward. My husband and I were put in the Order of the Silver Guard for our efforts….and order that, until that moment, had been populated by heavy fighters only. Change came….and it only took us under 3 years to do it. We had the great fortune to be surrounded by forward thinking, loving people who simple wanted everyone to have a place at the table. As long as I live, those accomplishments will be among my most treasured.
So, when I talk about the struggle the rapier community has faced over the decades, it comes with some experience of my own struggle.
It seems to me that, right now, the rapier community stands on the precipice of change. Real, gut wrenching, ball-taxing change. In many Kingdoms, rapier combatants, (and I include cut and thrust participants as well) are treated as a bit of a side show. We endure insults, lack of interest from Crowns, people saying some of the most bizarre things…and through it all we fight. We look at our role models, both in the SCA and in literature, we research period methods of combat….and for those who crave recognition for their activities, they continue on, knowing full well they will never be truly accepted.
Perhaps it’s time to move on. Perhaps we, as a community, should make our interest independent of the SCA. The SCA has provided an interesting model for inclusion of all sorts of time periods. Why not do the same, but our passion for rapier could be the driving martial force. We already know the safest way to armor up for rapier combat, the rules are there….what if we got together and simply declared our independence….and kept on dreaming?
For me, rapier combat has always been about dreaming. About being better than you are, striving for more than you thought possible. There is a grace in that. An elegance that speaks to me. Though I’ve not picked up a rapier in a number of years, my heart still sings when I watch rapier bouts…though it is most often times away from the main activity of the event.
I’d like to know your thoughts on this. Is a separation viable? Are people willing to give up the devil they know for something new and different? Please share your ideas.