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 carried out according to these rules.
- You must hold a marshal's authorisation and a current SCA membership to be a 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.
- You are not allowed to marshal with impaired judgement, 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.
- You must hold an additional authorisation to be an authorising Fencing Marshal. To be authorised, you have to pass a verbal and practical test to show that you can properly conduct the tests to authorise a fencer or another marshal.
- Your responsibilities as a Fencing Marshal include:
- inspecting protective equipment, weapons and defensive objects
- supervising combat on the field
- 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 complies with 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 comply with the rules, including that blunts are securely fixed, blades and spears meet the flexibility requirements, RBGs function properly and all weapons have no sharp points, edges or burrs.
- inspecting protective defensive objects to make sure meet the rules, and that they have no sharp edges, corners or breaks.
- Some equipment must be tested regularly (see Chapter 8). 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 complies with the rules 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 unless you delegate the issue).
- If you are not sure about a piece of equipment, you can seek advice from another marshal or the 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 can supervise single combat if you are a marshal or an authorised combatant.
- 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 the field for any hazards (such as holes or loose ground), 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 can also call "HOLD" if they see a safety issue):
- make sure the fighting stops and both fencers are in a non-threatening position
- explain 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 the fight.
- 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 the discussion should be taken 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.
- The Marshal-in-Charge must brief all marshals and fencers before the start of the melee activity. This includes:
- details of planned scenarios and a revision of melee rules
- procedures of the identification and removal of 'dead' combatants
- procedures to remove abandoned equipment
- rules of engagement
- rules for the use of 'killing from behind'.
- All combatants must be inspected before the start of each day's melee activities.
- Combatants must have regular breaks (at least every 20 minutes), for water and to reduce the risk of unsafe behaviour.
- There must be at least one marshal (or authorised fencer) supervising 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 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 bouting.
- RBGs are only allowed to be used if spectators can be kept further away than the effective range of the weapon.
- Everyone on the field of combat, or within range, must be wearing protective equipment. That includes you and the other people supervising the field:
- You should make sure everyone is wearing their armour and masks on before you allow RBGs to be loaded.
- You should make sure all RBGs are unloaded or have been 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 into the ground 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 authorisations:
- Standard fencing (including rubber band gun)
- Cut and Thrust fencing, noting
- candidates must already have a Standard fencing authorisation to authorise in this category
- there is no waiting period to authorise for Cut and Thrust
- Spear, noting
- candidates must already have a Standard fencing authorisation to authorise in this category
- there is no waiting period to authorise to use a spear
- Gunner (rubber band gun only) - for people who do not have a Standard 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 must then 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. After 90 days the paperwork is no longer valid.
- The same process applies apply to fencers aged under 18. In that case:
- The Kingdom Fencing Marshal or their delegate must give their approval for the authorisation to be undertaken.
- A parent or guardian must witness the authorisation and complete a Minor Authorisation form.
- Two Authorising Fencing Marshals are needed to authorise a new Authorising Fencing Marshal.
- 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 must then 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. After 90 days the paperwork is no longer valid.
Other marshal responsibilities
- Every fencing combat event or practice must have a designated Marshal-in-Charge.
- The Marshal-in-Charge is responsible for making sure the rules are followed and that fencing combat takes place according to SCA policies, including the Code of Conduct. 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 the Group Fencing Marshal.
- When you run a fencing combat event, you must 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.
- The Group Fencing Marshal is an administrative position. A person does not have to hold a fencing marshal authorisation to be the Group Fencing Marshal.
- The Group Fencing Marshal is not required to provide the training
- The Group Fencing Marshal is responsible for making sure the rules are followed for all events and practice. That can include:
- appointing a 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.
Kingdom Fencing Marshal
- The Kingdom Earl Marshal, in consultation with the Crown, appoints a Deputy to serve as the Kingdom Fencing Marshal.
- The Kingdom Fencing Marshal must hold and maintain a current fencing marshal authorisation and SCA membership.
- The Kingdom Fencing Marshal is 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 fencing marshal in any category that you 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 Fencing Marshal is appointed for two years. If necessary, the Kingdom Earl Marshal can recommend that your warrant be extended.