Over the past 50 years, the Sport of SCA Stick fighting has spread to have a global following. http://Www.sca.orgThe sport itself is of central influence to the SCA culture, as, true to the origins of the organization, every six months (for the majority of regional chapters, or “kingdoms”) the individuals who essentially act as the executive branch of the region are chosen by victory in the lists of specific tournaments known as “Crown Tourneys”.
This is unique in the world of combative sword sports to my knowledge. Whereas some sports award titles, trophies, endorsements, or even significant cash prizes, the SCA awards a position of influence and stewardship which, in effect, lasts six months. (Again, for the vast majority of chapters)
This fact draws some of the sport’s best practitioners who compete in a tournament where winning is a significant prize.
Coupled with the fact that the SCA Stick fighting rule set dictates that a practitioner must acknowledge that he or she has been bested creates an environment of drama and interest for it’s participants and it’s fans.
On May 28th the Crown tournament of the Middle Kingdom (A region encompassing primarily the Midwestern states of the U.S.) will hold it’s crown tournament. http://Www.midrealm.org
The structure of the sport allows the current King to make some changes to the tournament He or She presides over. This time, The current Midrealm King “Cameron” Laurent Smith has dictated that each bout will be with specific matched weapon styles.
In SCA Stick fighting, the sword and shield is the dominant weapon form. This is due to a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the Sport’s ruleset, be it intentional or not, lends itself to this weapon form as being dominant.
This time, the King has declared that the bouts will sequence through a series of weapons forms that are not nearly as popular with SCA stick fighting participants.
This has had an interesting effect in who has entered, and how the tournament will progress. Some dominant fighters who were clear favorites to win the tournament may now be at a significant disadvantage, as they will be fighting with weapons forms that, though they are, no doubt proficient in, are not as well versed in their subtlety.
This fact, coupled with the fact that these same participants will need to acknowledge blows that they receive with good judgment, will, no doubt, make for an interesting tournament that may foster some great discussion among Fans and competitors alike. Stay tuned for a report later this month.