Chivalry in The Kingdom of Acre
Amidst the warfare and bloodshed of the Middle Ages,
a certain code of behavior served as a civilizing influence: the code of
chivalry. In our recreation of medieval combat, chivalry is still important
and appropriate. Although we have Rules Of
The List to control safety aspects of our foot combat, many of the elements
of a fighter's conduct on and off the field of combat are subject to his/her
own personal sense of honor. Chivalrous behavior presents a better show
for our spectators, and helps to keep the competition on a friendly level.
Chivalry is very much a subjective concept, but it does consist of certain
definite elements. For our purposes, the most important of these are courteous
behavior, good judgement, and ordinary common sense. These should be displayed
at all times and under all circumstances.
The situtation where a judgement call is most commonly necessary is the
question of striking from behind in a melee. The rules specify that you
must wait until you are in your opponent's field of vision before striking.
This means that he can see you; it does not mean he does see you. The most
chivalrous action is to wait until you have both made eye contact. It is
very difficult to determine the extent of your opponent's field of vision,
and although you may kill a few more people by striking at what you believe
to be the first legal instant, the times when your error will cause an unhealthy
resentment. It is far better to give your opponent the benefit of the doubt,
and insure a fair fight.
The next question is that of "ganging up" on an opponent during
a melee. While it is not actually unchivalrous to deny a lone fighter single
combat, and one of the major tools in melee combat is gaining numerical
superiority, it is always a chivalrous gesture to grant single combat when
the numbers are in your favor. Furthermore, when two or three fighters are
already surrounding an opponent, the advisability of joining in the slaughter
is questionable from both a chivalric and a safety viewpoint.
Questions of calibration should be kept open and friendly. If you think
that you delivered a valid blow which your opponent did not accept, discuss
the matter with him after the bout. Don't assume that his ignoring what
you considered a good blow was intentional. If someone questions your calibration,
think about it and keep it in mind the next time you fight. Calibration
is an ongoing process and must constantly be refined. If the situtation
warrants it, ask the opinion of the marshal running the list. If a fighter
is calibrating too high (i.e. not accepting blows which you feel are of
legal strength) and is not responding to your comments, bring the matter
to the Marshallate's attention.
Never lose your temper in the lists! Any problem should be discussed
outside the list area. Likewise, the authority of the marshal is ultimate;
never argue with a marshal when you are in the lists.
Common sense and good judgement should be especially apparent whenever
a combat is taking place before the public. In such instances a questionable
blow should either be taken or ignored; all discussion to be reserved for
after the public is gone. Within safety limitations, accept any opportunity
to make theatrically chivalrous gestures during such bouts: when an opponent
looses an arm, feel free to fight one-armed yourself as a gesture of chivalry.
If he drops his sword, allow him to retrieve it. Recognize this as the perfect
opportunity for granting single combat to an out-numbered opponent during
Finally, any problems regarding safety, rules or opponents should be
brought to the immediate attention of the Marshallate.