Rules for Marshals
What a marshal does
- As a marshal, you are part of the Kingdom Fencing Marshallate, which is responsible for making sure that Fencing Combat is done safely.
- You must be authorised to be a Fencing Marshal, or an Authorising Fencing Marshal. To be authorised, you have to pass a verbal and practical test to show that you:
- understand the rules;
- can properly inspect equipment; and
- can properly conduct an authorisation.
- You are not allowed to marshal if you are feeling unwell or if you have even mild symptoms of a cough or cold.
- You are not allowed to marshal in a mentally impaired state, which includes:
- being impaired by an injury such as a concussion;
- being impaired by alcohol, prescription or over-the-counter medication, or illegal or controlled substances.
- Your responsibilities as a Fencing Marshal include:
- inspecting protective equipment, weapons and defensive objects
- monitoring the safety of fencers and spectators
- enforcing the rules.
Note: As a marshal, you are not responsible for refereeing the outcome of a bout. You can provide advice to fencers if they ask for it, for example if they are not sure about a blow, but it is their responsibility to decide who won.
Special requirements apply to inspections in all Australian groups to protect participants from COVID-19. Information on conducting COVID-safe low-contact inspections is provided in Appendix 3.
- You are responsible for checking that all equipment used in sparring or combat meets the rules. Information about fencing equipment is in section 6.
- Your job includes:
- making sure each fencer is wearing all of their protective clothing and equipment, and that it is fitted properly, with no skin visible and only incidental gaps between each item.
- checking that weapons are safe to be used, including that blunts are securely fixed, blades and spears meet the flexibility requirements, RBGs function properly and all weapons have no sharp edges or burrs that might cause an injury.
- inspecting protective defensive objects to make sure meet the rules, and that they have no sharp edges or breaks that might cause an injury.
- Some equipment must be tested regularly (see Appendix 4). If you are not sure a piece of equipment has been tested, you can decide to do the test, or instruct the fencer to have the test done, before it can be used.
- Some defensive objects are classified as non-standard. You are responsible for deciding if non-standard equipment meets the safety requirements and can be used on the field.
- You can rule that a piece of equipment does not meet these rules and cannot be used.
- If that happens, the equipment can be changed or repaired; then it must be brought back to you so that you can inspect it again (it cannot be taken to another marshal).
- If you are not sure about a piece of equipment, you can seek advice from another marshal or the Fencing Marshal in Charge.
- Fencers are allowed to appeal against your ruling on a piece of equipment, but the equipment is not allowed to be used until the appeal has been decided. The process for an appeal is in section 5.7.
Supervising single combat
- You are responsible for making sure everyone, including fencers, spectators, other marshals and yourself, is safe during combat. Everyone is expected to follow your instructions during a bout.
- At the start of the bout, you should allow the Herald to introduce the combatants (or make the introductions yourself) and show proper respect to the Crown. You should check that the field is safe, ask the combatants if they are ready and then call for the bout to begin (such as “lay on”, “allez”, etc.).
- During the bout you should be watching the fencers and the fight, and be alert for any safety issues. These may include but are not limited to:
- a blunt coming off a sword or dagger tip
- a broken piece of equipment
- a piece of protective equipment coming loose
- the fencers coming too close to the edge of the field (you should warn them if this is about to happen, for example, with a call of “Ware Edge!”)
- a person or animal entering the field.
- If you see a safety issue, you should call a “HOLD”. (Someone else may also call “HOLD” if they see a safety issue):
- make sure the fighting stops and both fencers are in a safe position
- report the safety issue (or ask the person who called the “HOLD”)
- make sure the issue is addressed
- make sure the fencers are ready and then call for them to resume.
- At the end of the bout, you should ask the fencers if they are satisfied. This is their chance to raise any issues that arose during the bout.
- If the issue cannot be resolved upon the field, then it should be discussed further off the field. (see section 5)
Supervising melee combat
- As well as the requirements in section 4.4, there are additional requirements for melee combat, which involves multiple combatants.
- There must be at least one marshal (or authorised fencer) for every eight fencers on the field.
- If there are not enough qualified people available, then the number of fencers must be reduced to match the number of marshals.
- Cut and Thrust combat is allowed in a melee, as long as all fencers are properly armoured.
- When you are supervising a melee, you should be aware of calls from other marshals during the bout.
- You should also pay attention to additional hazards, such as fencers who lie on the ground after being ‘slain’, or weapons that are left on the ground after a fencer is incapacitated.
- You might impose additional rules for the removal of the ‘dead’ or weapons from the field.
- You should also make sure fencers are obeying melee rules such as not turning their back on an opponent, or ‘killing from behind’ according to the rules, when it is allowed.
Supervising rubber-band guns
- There are additional requirements for single or melee combat that includes the use of RBGs.
- In accordance with the Society’s Rules of the List, RBGs are not allowed to be used in the Lists of a tournament:
- RBGs can be used for other single combat, such as sparring.
- RBGs are only allowed to be used if spectators and non-involved combatants can be kept further away than the effective range of the weapon.
- Everyone on the field of combat, or within range, must be armoured. That includes you and the other marshals:
- You should make sure everyone has their armour and masks on before you allow RBGs to be loaded.
- You should make sure all RBGs are unloaded or have been safely discharged into the ground before you allow people to remove their masks.
- Depending on the situation, you may need to require all RBGs to be discharged safely if a “HOLD” is called.
- If you are an Authorising Fencing Marshal, you can authorise fencers to take part in Fencing Combat.
- There are four categories of Fencing Combat:
- Fencing (including RBG)
- Cut and Thrust (candidates must already have a Fencing authorisation to authorise in this category)
- Spear (candidates must already have a Fencing authorisation to authorise in this category)
- RBG only (for people who do not have a Fencing authorisation).
- You can authorise fencers for any category in which you are authorised.
- Your job is to make sure that fencers understand the rules and that they are able to use their weapons and defensive objects safely.
- The authorisation includes:
- a verbal examination, where you ask the fencer questions about the rules
- a practical examination, where you watch the fencer fight another marshal or an authorised fencer.
- More information about conducting the authorisation is in Appendix 5.
- If they pass, the fencer should complete an authorisation form and get you to sign it.
- The fencer then has 90 days to send the form to the Kingdom Lists Officer, so they can get an authorisation card.
- The fencer should keep a copy of the paperwork (hard copy or a digital photograph). They can use the copy for up to 90 days as evidence that they are authorised.
- The same process applies apply to Fencers aged under 18. In that case, a parent or guardian must witness the authorisation and complete a Minor Authorisation form.
- As an Authorising Fencing Marshal, you can authorise other Fencing Marshals.
- Two Authorising Fencing Marshals are needed to create a new Authorising Fencing Marshal.
- Your job is to make sure the marshal understands the rules, is able to conduct inspections and is able to properly authorise fencers and marshals.
- The authorisation includes:
- a verbal examination, where you ask the marshal questions about the rules
- a practical examination, where you watch the marshal inspect a fencer and conduct an authorisation.
- More information about conducting the authorisation is in Appendix 5.
- If they pass, the new marshal should complete an authorisation form and get you to sign it:
- The marshal then has 90 days to send the form to the Kingdom Lists Officer, so they can get an authorisation card.
- The marshal should keep a copy of the paperwork (hard copy or a digital photograph). They can use the copy for up to 90 days as evidence that they are authorised.
Other marshal responsibilities
Fencing Marshal in Charge
- Every Fencing Combat event or practice must have a designated Fencing Marshal in Charge.
- As the Fencing Marshal in Charge, you are responsible for making sure the rules are followed. That can include:
- carrying out inspections or delegating other marshals
- making sure all bouts are properly supervised
- dealing with any disputes or incidents, including escalating them when needed to your Group Fencing Marshal.
- When you run a Fencing Combat event, you should send a report to the Group Fencing Marshal within 30 days of the event.
Group Fencing Marshal
- The Kingdom Fencing Marshal appoints a Group Fencing Marshal, in consultation with the group Seneschal, to administer Fencing Combat within each group.
- As the Group Fencing Marshal you are responsible for making sure the rules are followed for all events and practice. That can include:
- appointing a Fencing Marshal in Charge
- receiving reports on events
- investigating any incidents, including matters brought to their attention by marshals or fencers
- reporting each quarter to the Kingdom Fencing Marshal on Fencing Combat activities and any incidents.
- escalating issues when needed to the Kingdom Fencing Marshal.
- Group Fencing Marshals are appointed for two years. If necessary, the group Seneschal can request the Kingdom Fencing Marshal extend your warrant, for example if no-one else is available.
Note: As the Group Fencing Marshal you are responsible for making sure fencing training takes place according to the rules. That doesn’t mean you have to provide the training yourself.
Kingdom Fencing Marshal
- The Kingdom Earl Marshal, in consultation with the Crown, appoints a Deputy to serve as the Kingdom Fencing Marshal.
- As Kingdom Fencing Marshal, you are responsible for making sure Fencing Combat in the Kingdom is carried out according to these rules. This can include:
- making sure each group has a Group Fencing Marshal
- reviewing the reports from Group Fencing Marshals
- investigating any incidents, including matters brought to their attention by marshals and fencers
- taking disciplinary action where required
- reporting to the Kingdom Earl Marshal and the Society Fencing Marshal on Fencing Combat activities and any incidents
- administering and promoting these rules including, where necessary, updating the rules in consultation with the Fencing community, the Kingdom and the SCA in Australia and New Zealand.
- You can also use your discretion to authorise a fencer marshal in any category that they believe is required to benefit the Kingdom and the Society. This might include appointing experienced fencers or marshals in a category in order to promote that type of fencing within a group.
- You must make those appointments in writing, send a copy to the Kingdom Lists Officer as a record, and include the details of the appointment in your quarterly report.
- The Kingdom Earl Marshal is appointed for two years. If necessary, the Kingdom Earl Marshal can recommend that your warrant be extended.