Effective from today, May 1, 2012, in accordance with the new Society Blade Standards ALL blades must meet the following requirements:
East Kingdom Rapier Combat Rules (Effective May 1, 2012)
C. OFFENSIVE EQUIPMENT (WEAPONS)
1. General Blade Requirements
a. In order to be acceptable for use in rapier combat, it must meet certain criteria. If a blade does not meet the criteria established below, it may not be used for any form of rapier combat in the Society, unless it is first approved by the Deputy Society Marshal for Rapier Combat and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If a blade meets the criteria below, it is considered acceptable for use by default unless specifically banned. A list of approved exceptions and banned blades may be found at: http://sca.org/officers/marshal/docs/rapier/bladetypes.pdf.
(i). For heavy rapier, and cut and thrust rapier:
1. Blades must be made of steel
2. Blades must be no longer than 48″ as measured from the tip to the top of the tang (i.e. where the tang and forte meet)
3. Blades must be reasonably flexible. Heavy rapier blades must flex at least 1 inch (25 mm) when tested as described later in this section. Dagger blades (those under 18 inches), and cut and thrust blades must flex at least 1/2 inch (12.5 mm). Any blade 18 inches or longer, being used in melee combat, must flex at least 1 inch (25 mm).
(ii). For light rapier: Foil, epee, double-wide epee, and musketeer blades from established commercial manufacturers are acceptable for use.
(iii) Fiberglass Blades are not legal in the East Kingdom.
b. Orthopedic (or “pistol”) grips will not be used unless the fencer has approval from his or her Regional Marshal to do so for medical reasons, supported by documentation from his or her health care provider. Such documentation shall be maintained by the fencer, produced to the Marshal-in-Charge upon request, and kept on file with that fencer’s Regional Marshal.
c. Blades may have a single, gradual curve. Any blade with kinks, sharp bends, or cracks shall not be used. Blades that develop these defects cannot be repaired and must be retired. Blades with “S” curves shall not be used unless they can be properly re-curved or re-straightened.
d. Quillions can be no longer than 12 inches (30 cm) end to end. The ends must be blunted and all edges rounded. Quillions must be fixed in place.
e. Blades will not be altered by grinding, cutting, heating, hammering, or other actions that could significantly alter their temper, flexibility or durability. Normal combat stresses and blade care do not violate this rule. Exceptions are:
(i). The tang of the weapon may be altered,
(ii) Heavy rapier and cut and thrust rapier blades may be shortened so long as they maintain acceptable flexibility,
(iii). A nut or other blunt metal object designed to spread impact may be welded to the tip of heavy rapier and cut and thrust rapier blades so long as care is taken to prevent damage to the temper of the blade. The rapier point must still be tipped per Section C(2), below.
f. All steel blades must be reasonably flexible. If doubt exists about a weapon’s flexibility, an acceptable field test is: Hold weapon parallel to the ground, supporting handle against table or bench if necessary. Hang a 6 ounce weight (170 grams) one inch (25mm)from the tip. If the blade of a dagger (out to 18 inches blade length) flexes at least 1/2 inch (12.5 mm) the blade is reasonably flexible. For a heavy rapier blade (18″ or longer), the blade must flex at least 1 inch (25 mm). For use in cut and thrust rapier, the blade must flex at least 1/2 inch (12.5 mm). Any blade 18 inches or longer, being used in melee combat, must flex at least 1 inch (25 mm).
Obviously, this is different from what we have done in the past. However, it really simplifies the process of determining what does and does not pass. It will require each local group to have a 6 ounce weight to facilitate blade testing.
If needed, please contact myself or Master Thomas de Castellon for further clarification.
Yours in Service,
Don Caine Ramsey