Legal target areas

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Legal target areas are where you are allowed to strike your opponent during SCA combat. These differ depending on what style of combat you are currently engaged in and not all blows to these areas are considered killing blows.

Heavy combat target areas:

  • The torso - considered to be anwhere above the points of the hip, including the groin, shoulder blades, and the areas between the neck and shoulders are considered to be the torso.
  • The face - between the chin and middle of the forehead, and the area between the ears.
  • The head - the whole neck and head, excluding the face as outlined above.
  • The thigh - One inch above the knee, to the bottom of the hip socket.
  • Hips - area between the bottom of the hip socket, and below the point of the hips.
  • Shoulders - The point of the shoulder down to a line even with the top of the underarm.
  • Arms - shoulder to one inch above the wrist.

Blows that land outside these areas shall not be counted. These target areas are derived from Lochac's combat handbook.

Archery

Due to the nature of light fighting, it is quite difficult to control where the arrow will land (especially with less-experienced fighters). To this end there are no illegal target areas in archery.

Dangerous situations are avoided (instead) by a legal range in which archers are allowed to fire. If a target is within 5 yards/metres, it is illegal to fire upon them.

Rapier combat

Rapier combat is considerably different to heavy combat. There are no illegal target areas in rapier, save for the groin (where, at least in Atlantia, one may not aim a thrust, though a thrust that lands on the groin is a killing blow). Even the hand and foot are legal target areas - if you cannot move it out of the way quick enough then you'd better practise harder.

This viewpoint is mirrored in the authorisation process for rapier - in which a prospective rapier fighter must prove that they are proficient enough to know how to perform the basic offensive and defensive moves. This is as opposed to archery - wherein the fighter merely has to understand basic safety on the field.

Killing blows with thrusts in rapier combat are ones that land on the face, neck, torso (from the inside of the shoulder joint to the inside of the hip joint), or groin (although, again, one may not aim a thrust there). Cuts to the underarm and inside thigh are also considered killing blows, as they would sever arteries, as are cuts to the face and belly, although a single cut to the chest may not be a killer (the ribs would protect the vital organs, though muscles would be severed. Many fighters will consider two to the chest to be sufficient, though, and in some combat situations, like a duel, one cut to the chest might be enough to disincline a fighter from continuing).

Wounds in rapier are accomplished through cuts or thrusts to:

  • The hand, resulting in the loss of it's use and anything contained therein (weapon, parrying object). The hand, as a closed fist, may still be used to parry.
  • The arm, resulting in the loss of it's use and anything in that hand. At that point, the arm is usually either left to hang limp, or tucked behind the fighter, as it may not be used to parry either.
  • The leg, forcing the fighter to sit down or kneel and stay in the same place, as they may no longer walk or stand.