General Rules and the Intent of the Tournament
The tournament of Arms is a regular fixture at Selohaar gatherings in the warmer months. It serves as a training tool, encouraging the Orderís warriors to hone their skills using various simulators of medieval weaponry, tests the character of our warriors on the field, and provides a display of chivalric pageantry for the membership and their guests. Two types of combat are herein described: Single Combat and Melee. All tournaments should be formally and ceremoniously commenced and closed.
In general, the lists at a Selohaar Gather are an enclosed 30' x 30' area, with at least one pavilion set before it. Other pavilions for arming or refreshments may be set up as well. At least two marshals should be on hand to rule, if need be, on the blows delivered and to control the proceedings and ensure safety is maintained within the lists. A herald should announce the combatants before each match and act as the representative of the gallery the tournament's noble audience. Additional and specific rules for each type of combat follow below.
Counted Blows Convention
Single combat encounters may be fought to an agreed number of blows, usually 3 or 5 in number. This Counted Blows convention allows for recreation of 14th and 15th Century style tourney encounters wherein combatants agreed to the chivalrous exchange of a set number of good blows. With this convention, reward for good targeting is not the focus, but rather the flow of the fight.
A variation on this convention that encourages the targeting of more vulnerable, ie. unarmoured, parts of the body is the discounting of any blow that would be turned by a piece of armour it has struck. For instance, as slashing attack would have no effect on mail armour, so in this case, the blow would not count.
Counted blows may also be reckoned as either Blows Received and Blows Thrown. The blows received encounter works simply: a set number of blows is agreed to and whoever is first struck soundly that many times loses the match. In contrast, the blows thrown encounter only allows the combatant to execute a set number of blows; once his blows have been exhausted - whether they landed successfully or not - he must now limit his activity to defense. Once each opponent has finished using up their alotted blows, it is then determined which combatant successfully struck the most blows.
Each of the two methods has their strengths. Blows Received has the benefit of being very easy to score, accessible to audiences at demonstrations, and in being a direct analogue to certain historic tournaments. Blows Thrown encourages carefully planned attacks (so as not to waste one's blows) and creates a flow to the fight not dissimilar to a two person 'physical meditation'.
Fights to Satisfaction
Combatants may also agree, with the blessing of the gallery, to fight to satisfaction, that is, until one opponent feels he has been bested, both combatants agree they have fought enough, or the gallery feels the combatants have "done enough." Such encounters require considerable control and grace on the part of the fighters, for while a well-fought fight to satisfaction is an exciting chivalric encounter, one foughtly poorly can be chaotic and entithetical to the intent of the tournament in general.
The nature of the melee makes a simpler set of rules a neccessity. The judges cannot score each strike individually, because multiple attackers are involved and the fighting is uninterrupted until the match has been decided. Thus, each fighter may received a specified number of blows before he must retire from the melee.
The combatants must keep track of the depletion of their alloted blows themselves, as the chaos of the lists makes it difficult or impossible for the marshals to do so; in other words, they must count their own blows received. This type of combat is therefore quite dependent on the combatants' honour. The marshals may, however, stop the combat to rule on a point of debate or to correct unchivalrous or overly dangerous behaviour on the field.