We introduce new fighters to the sport with a few simple rules. No headshots, one hit to body is dead, and losing two limbs is dead. Hit to the arm is represented by dropping whatever it is carrying and putting the arm behind your back. Hits to the leg are displayed by dropping to a knee (keep the other up).
Pretty simple, but there is a larger rule set we use for everyday practice and events called The Book of War. It is written and revised by people all across the country, including local representatives. Despite our efforts, it is a little daunting to read through the first few times. Today I want to talk about a few rules that are important, but not always clearly written out in the rules. We'll be going over more this week as well.
Heralds/Marshals -- Our version of a referee, wearing a yellow tabard. The only person that can call someone dead or bring someone back to life. Our vets might help you learn the rules by letting you know something has killed you, this is an exception to how it is usually done.
"Hold"--someone yelling this stops fighting for the entire field. Drop to a knee and stop fighting immediately because there is a safety or medical concern. Once the problem is clear, a herald will call "resume positions" and then "lay on" to restart the fight.
Hand on weapon/equipment-- Hits to your hand count as arm, unless you are holding a weapon or shield in it. At that point, it just counts as part of the weapon. That means you can use your hand on weapon to block, just say "hand" so your opponent knows.
Dead limbs -- once an arm has been hacked off, any further hits count as a hit to the body. Once you've lost a leg, further hits are ignored (say "dead leg"). This only works if your knee is on the ground and your other one is up. If it isn't clear which leg is the dead one, a hit to either kills you.
Double taps -- getting hit two or more times in rapid succession to the same spot counts, even if you haven't displayed the injury. As in, if I hit you twice in the arm before you've even dropped your weapon, the second shot counts as body.
Foot on ground -- hits to your foot count as leg, unless it is on the ground. At that point, you can ignore the hit and call "foot on ground".
Hit zones -- wrist counts as arm. Ankle counts as leg. Butt, crotch, and the tops of your shoulders count as body. Neck/head start at the base of your neck. No Neck or Head Shots!
Light/Graze/Garb -- you might hear veteran fighters calling these out. You have to hit with sufficient force for your strikes to count. This first week, we'll be trying to take lighter shots while you are learning, but it is a hard habit to break. For now, just take any shots you feel.
Friendly fire -- definitely not friendly, hits from your team still count. Even your own sword hitting you can count. That includes someone else hitting your sword into you.