To perform safe re-enactment battles, a number of safety rules are composed. These rules don’t completely exclude accidents, but they do make sure that less accidents take place. Caution is always mandatory, no matter how experienced you are.
A sword or weapon is only battle-ready when it has a minimum edge of 3 mm (2 mm for Battle of the Nations). It is prohibited to fight with a weapon that has a thinner edge. The point of a sword or falchion needs to be rounded to a minimum thumb width. Spears, rapiers and stabbing weapons should have a safety cap, so that they won’t stab through, or be rounded sufficiently. The cutting edges of the weapon should not have burrs, because these can cause ugly wounds.
Before fighting check both your own weapon and the weapon of your opponent, so you know for sure that the weapon is safe.
Gambesons and armour
Rules for protective garments and armour vary per event and battle. Always wear protective gloves, a gambeson and head protection, consisting of at least a padded arming cap and a helmet.
When you fight a first duel with someone in a friendly way we advise you to wear protective clothes. For some battles it is required to wear leg protection like chainmail chausses, gambeson greaves or armour greaves.
Please note: accidents can also occur when you wear a gambeson, armour or chainmail and you can also get injured. So always be careful in combat.
There are spots that are allowed and forbidden to hit in a fight. Never hit your opponent with full power, because even if you hit a “safe” spot this can lead to injuries.
Never aim for or hit the head, neck, throat or crotch. This is mortally dangerous. When it occurs, this usually leads to the removal of the attacker from the battle field. Battlers with spears and stabbing weapons should not hit the shoulders and the chest. This is why you have to aim under the nipple line.
If possible, also avoid hits on the inside of the legs and arms, the back of the knee, joints and ribs. Aim in particular for the belly under the ribs, the upper arms and shoulders, the upper legs (if they are protected) and the outside of the under arms and under legs (if they are protected).
If they are blunted as described above, swords, falchions, rapiers, sables, knives, daggers, spears and sickles are permitted on most (but not all!) battle fields. Bows should have a maximum traction of 30 to 35 pounds. They have to be used with arrows with an approved safety head. Throwing slings can be used with corks. Halberds and pole weapons are allowed on a lot of battle fields if they are used as a spear. Axes are prohibited on many battle fields, but sometimes they are allowed.
On most of the battle fields the following weapons are not allowed to take with and / or use: sharp weapons, eating knives, maces, flails, morning stars, (battle) hammers, crossbows, throwing stars, claymores, lowlanders.
Firearms and automatic weapons are prohibited on a lot of battle fields. If they are allowed, please ask the organizer of the battle what the restrictions are.
Striking and stabbing
On most of the battle fields direct stabs are forbidden. It is best to transmute a stab into a cutting movement. Never hit with full power, but withhold the strike and stop just before hitting if that is possible, so that it is clear that you would have hit if you had finished the strike.
If you can take a halberd or another pole weapon into the fight, never use this to hit. No matter how blunt it is, because of the lever effect a strike can cause very severe injuries. Always use a weapon like this as a spear.
Performing the proceedings described above is entirely at your own risk.
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