All officers in the SCA must be "authorised"" by their kingdom superiors and the Crown. Until then, they are merely "acting" officers and may not be permitted to undertake all actions of the office. The Branch officers must also be warranted.
Authorisation involves a practical and theoretical component. The practical component assesses a combatant's safety level not only to themselves, but to their opponent as well.
This may be different in different baronies, but generally the practical part of the authorisation starts off with slow work, where combatants fight at quarter speed. This is intended to assess technique and control. Authorisation then moves to either three quarter or full speed.
You will have to go through several drills.
- Kneeling while your opponent stands, as if you had been legged.
- Standing while you opponent kneels.
- Attack and defense drills.
- Attacking your opponent while only being able to throw three shots.
- Defending while only being able to throw three shots.
- Being "monstered" by your opponent (attacking very aggresively and in close) to see how you react.
- Several bouts, during one or more of these the marshal may call "hold" to see that you know what to do. (Drop to one knee, with your sword above your head and repeat the call).
The fencing authorisation process is a bit different from the process involved in heavy fighting. In Atlantia, at first, the authorising marshal will quiz the prospective fencer about their Kingdom rules for safety (what armor do you wear? Are there any limitations on equipment? What target areas are kills, and which ones are wounds?). Then, under the eyes of two marshals, the authorising fencer will demonstrate their skill with a more experienced fencer, at first making sure to call all blows and 'close calls' (slaps, glancing thrusts, short cuts), and then the marshals will have the more experienced fencer begin "pushing" the prospective fencer, going corps a corps, perhaps breaking the rules slightly (grasping the blade, perhaps, or rhino-hiding) to see how the prospective fencer will handle it.