Glossary

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The definitions that follow apply throughout the Handbook, unless specifically stated otherwise. They are intended to clarify usage and establish a frame of reference for the various materials used in SCA combat.

Armor Materials

Archer's Gauntlets
Hand protection worn by combat archers and siege engineers consisting of ice hockey gloves with the fingers cut off, so that the back of the hand and the wrist are protected. A half gauntlet made of rigid material, lined with ¼ inch (6mm) of closed-cell foam is equivalent.
Aventail
Flexible curtain of chainmail on a helmet, extending to cover the neck and shoulders
Bars
Used in the visor or faceplate of helms, bars shall be mild steel a minimum of 3/16 inch (4.5mm) in diameter, or the equivalent. If the distance between crossbars is 2 inches (50.8mm) or less, 1/8 inch (3.2mm) bars may be used.
Camail
Flexible curtain of mail or leather on a helm, extending to cover the neck (also aventail)
Closed-cell foam
Stiff foam with closed cells, less dense than resilient foam (e.g., Ensolite)
Equivalent
Virtually identical to the specified material in effect or function, including impact resistance, impact distribution, and impact absorption characteristics, but not necessarily in physical dimensions.
Foam
Any open- or closed-cell foam, including foam rubber, foam neoprene, polyurethane, etc.
Gauge
U.S. sheet metal standard. Note that 16-gauge is officially 1/16 inch (.0625 inch or about 1.6mm), but commercially available sheet is frequently rolled to .058 or even .055 inch–much too thin for helms.
Gauntlet
An armored glove covering the back of the hand and wrist to one inch above the wrist, fingers, and thumb.
Gorget
A piece of armor designed to cover the throat and neck
Heavy Leather
Stiff, oak-tanned leather nominally 11/64 inch (4.4mm) thick. Often referred to as 11oz. leather.
Mail
Any fabric of small metal components either linked together (e.g., chain) or attached to a flexible backing (e.g., ring or scale)
Padding
Quilted or multi-layered cloth material, such as mattress pads, moving pads, carpet, felt, or equivalent
Half gauntlet (also called a partial-gauntlet or demi-gauntlet)
An armored glove covering the back of the hand and to one inch above the wrist and at least the first knuckle of the thumb.
Plate
Large components of rigid material
Resilient foam
Dense, plastic, closed-cell foam such as ethyl polymer
Rigid material
  1. Steel of no less than 18 gauge, or aluminum of no less than 0.075 inch (1.9mm)
  2. Other metals of sufficient thickness to give similar rigidity to those listed above to include treated steel or aluminum
  3. High-impact-resistant plastics such as ABS or polyethylene of sufficient thickness to give similar rigidity to those listed above
  4. Heavy leather (as defined above) that has been hardened in hot wax, soaked in polyester resin (properly catalyzed), or treated in such a manner as to permanently harden the leather
  5. Two layers of untreated heavy leather
  6. Other materials equivalent to those items listed above (Any armor of unusual construction or material must meet the approval of the Kingdom Earl Marshal or their designated deputy.)
    Steel
    Cold- or hot-rolled mild steel or equivalent ferrous material

    Weapons

    Approved rigid plastics
    Siloflex and Siloflex equivalents are currently the only rigid plastic approved for the striking surface of a weapon. The approved equivalent for Lochac is OD 32mm (approx ID 25mm), medium density, black polyethylene water pipe, 12 bar pressure rating.
    Flail
    A weapon with a striking surface attached to the handle via a flexible arm or pivot
    Laminated rattan
    Two pieces of rattan, each being at least 1¼ inch (31.8mm) in diameter, attached to one another with a short overlap by tape or other method of binding. Maximum length of the overlap shall be 18" (457.2mm) or half of the length of the added rattan, whichever is shorter. Note that use of glues, epoxies, or adhesives, which substantially reduce the flexibility of the rattan, is prohibited.
    Missile weapon
    Any weapon which is intended to deliver a blow without being held in the hand (e.g., arrows, javelins, quarrels, or various soft projectiles from catapults)
    Polearms
    Hafted weapons, generally long, designed to be wielded with two hands (e.g., glaives, halberds, etc.)
    Progressively resistant give
    (As used in discussions of thrusting tips) As pressure is applied directly to the thrusting surface, it will compress gradually, without bottoming-out or bending to the

    side enough to expose the end of the blade or haft of the weapon it is attached to.

    Quillions
    Cross-guards of a sword
    Siloflex
    A brand-name polyethylene tubing made from PE3408 resin and conforming to ASTM D2239 standards. One-inch diameter Siloflex has an internal diameter of 1 inch (25.4mm) and an outer diameter of 1¼ inch (31.8mm) and may be used as an outer skin for a single-handed sword or for the outer layer of a throwing weapon. Smaller ¾-inch diameter Siloflex has an internal diameter of ¾ inches (19.05mm) and an outer diameter of 1 inch (25.4mm) and may be used inside a 1¼ inch (31.8mm) diameter tube for throwing weapons. Siloflex tubing rated at 160 PSI will provide the appropriate diameters.
    Siloflex equivalent
    Other tubing or pipe, typically made for drinking water applications, made from polyethylene resins with the ASTM classification of PE 3408 and produced to the ASTM D2239 standard. The material should have a minimum of ¼ inch (6.35mm) wall thickness and an outer diameter of at least 1¼ inch (31.8mm) for use as a skin over rattan for a single-handed sword or the outer surface of a throwing weapon, or an outer diameter of 1 inch (25.4mm) for use as the inner layer of a throwing weapon.
    The approved equivalent for Lochac is OD 32mm (approx ID 25mm), medium density, black polyethylene water pipe, 12 bar pressure rating.
    Spears
    Hafted weapons designed for thrusting only; also called pikes
    Single-handed mass weapons
    Maces, axes, war hammers, or other weapons designed primarily to crush or punch holes (on account of the weight of the real weapons), rather than primarily to cut (on account of sharp edges on the real weapon). Maximum length for single-handed mass weapons is 48 inches (122cm).
    Slider
    A tube or similar device that wraps around the shaft of a spear and is held in one hand, allowing the spear to slide through it. Use of sliders is prohibited.
    Split rattan
    Rattan of at least 1¼ inch diameter which has been split in two and applied to a weapon such that the striking surface of the split piece retains a cross section of 1¼ inch. Split rattan construction does not place the split rattan directly against the non-split haft of the weapon, but rather spaces the split off of the haft to allow give in the head by flexion of the split of rattan.
    Swords
    Single- or double-edged, bladed cutting weapons (including swords with thrusting tips)
    Two-handed cutting or smashing weapons
    Includes two-handed swords, greatswords, bastard swords, polearms, and similar weapons.

    Other Definitions

    Armored Combat
    A full-contact, non-choreographed re-creation of medieval foot combat utilizing clothing, protective armor, and simulated weapons constructed in accordance with SCA standards, with the overall goal of recreating the appearance and methods of combat from the historical period covered by the SCA. For purposes of this definition, all combatants are held to be equipped in the same manner, defined as that of approximately 1100 AD: a knee-length mail hauberk, one-piece helm with nasal, and boiled leather defenses for the lower arms and legs. Weapons and armor are constructed from approved materials as defined by the Society Marshal. Adult Armoured Combat as defined above does not include light contact martial forms, such as Rapier and Youth Combat.
    Adult Armoured Combat includes all Combat Archery and Siege weaponry used in melees or for war.
    Armoured fighter
    A combatant equipped in armor meeting at least the minimum requirements for combat using rattan weapons, and who uses said rattan weapons in combat.
    Authorisation
    A procedure which determines that the individual fighter has, at minimum, read and become familiar with the rules of combat, been observed while fighting, and met any further requirements for authorisation to ensure that he or she does not constitute an exceptional safety hazard (either to self or to others). Details of the procedure used vary from Kingdom to Kingdom and may include further requirements. (Note: The former term "qualification" is still heard, but should be avoided.)
    Battle
    A single combat event in a war or war game wherein a specific scenario is enacted
    Combat archer
    A combatant equipped in armor meeting at least the minimum requirements for combat using rattan weapons and who will be using archery equipment in combat.
    Directed touch
    A thrust that contacts the face-guard of the helm and, while maintaining contact with the face-guard, continues to travel in the direction of the face.
    Earl Marshal
    The warranted chief marshal of a Kingdom
    Effective blow
    A blow delivered with effective technique for the particular type of weapon used and struck properly oriented and with sufficient force.
    Lists/List Field/Tourney Field
    The defined area for fighting, or the fighting field, usually with a roped-off boundary.
    Fully armoured
    For the purposes of acknowledging blows, a fully armoured fighter is presumed to be wearing a lightweight, short-sleeved, knee-length, riveted-mail hauberk over a padded gambeson, with boiled leather arm and leg defenses and an open-faced iron helm with a nasal. (The helm may be presumed to include a very light chain mail drape permitting vision and resisting cuts by a mere touch of a bladed weapon.) Also, the hands, wrists, knees and lower legs, and feet, including the areas up to 1 inch (2.5cm) above the kneecap and 1 inch (2.5cm) above the bend of the wrist, are not legal targets.
    Helpless opponent
    An opponent who is unable to defend him- or herself from attack for reasons beyond their control. An unarmed opponent is not necessarily helpless.
    Knights Marshal
    The warranted chief marshal of a Barony, Province, Shire, Canton, etc.
    Missile weapons
    Projectile weapons including, but not limited to, bows and arrows, crossbows and bolts, slings and stones or bullets, javelins, darts, and throwing axes
    Marshal
    Someone who is monitoring the conduct of combat on the field (The Marshal in Charge of an event shall be a rostered marshal; other individual marshals may or may not be, so long as the Marshal in Charge finds them competent to do the job.)
    Melee weapons/Rattan weapons
    Rattan or equivalent weapons including, but not limited to, swords of all lengths, great weapons, mass weapons, pole arms and spears.
    Rostered marshal
    An appointed marshal who is listed on a roster. The roster must include the legal and Society names, address, phone number, and the appointment and expiration dates for each officer.
    It must be signed by the appropriate Royalty and the responsible superior officer, and be updated regularly. The roster must contain a statement that it is the current roster of (office) for the (kingdom, principality) of the Society as of (date). Local Knight Marshals, as and marshals who are able to perform authorisations must be either warranted or rostered.
    Scenario limits
    The body of rules and definitions which apply to a specific battle, such as the description of real or imaginary terrain features, obstacles, weapons limitations, allowable conduct, and scoring.
    Siege Engineer
    A fully armoured participant in armored combat who operates a siege engine.
    Society Marshal
    Marshal of the Society, Society Earl Marshal (SEM): the warranted chief marshal of the Society for Creative Anachronism
    War
    A declared state of feigned hostility between two or more kingdoms, branches, or other recognised SCA groups, for the express intent of holding group combat.
    War maneuvers
    Group combat events not involving a state of declared hostility, usually with both sides drawn from all of the kingdoms, branches, or other recognized SCA groups participating
    Warranted marshal
    An appointed marshal who has been appointed by a Warrant of Appointment to Office of the SCA Inc., signed by the appropriate Royalty and the responsible superior officer. Local Knight Marshals, as and marshals who are able to perform authoriwations must be either warranted or rostered.
    Youth Combat
    A program designed for minors ages 6-17. These programs require armour, require certain weapon construction techniques and materials, train young fighters in proper etiquette, the concepts of Chivalry, Honor and Courtesy, teach teamwork and good sportsmanship, as well as effective fighting arts, in a definitely competitive environment that parallels Adult Armoured Combat. It employs Marshals, authorisations and strict controls. The Marshallate is responsible for Youth Combat, and each Kingdom is allowed to develop and run its own program.