Legal target areas

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Legal target areas are where you are allowed to strike your opponent during recreationist 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 depending on the rules of the particular group.

Target Areas in SCA Combat

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.


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 back (however, in in Atlantia, one may not aim a thrust at the groin, 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 some kingdom's 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. In other kingdoms 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. Thrusts to the underarm and inside thigh are also considered killing blows, as they would sever arteries. Cuts are treated differently in various kingdoms.

Wounds in rapier are accomplished through thrusts (or cuts) to:

  • The hand, resulting in the loss of it's use. The hand, as a closed fist, may still be used to parry.
  • The arm, resulting in the loss of it's use. 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 foot or leg, resulting the loss of that leg. Different kingdoms treat leg wounds as requiring kneeling, sitting or even standing on one leg.

Target Areas in Re-Enactment Combat

Target Area

Individual re-enactment groups will use different conventions depending on their focus and type and form of their weapons. In addition, displays may include target areas not usually included in a groups combats.

Australian Target Areas

Heavily paraphrased from the Australian Guidelines for Interclub Combat.

  • Head only when struck from directly above.
  • Arms excluding elbows, wrists and hands.
  • Legs above the knees
  • Torso excluding the groin and collar, throat and neck.
  • Thrusting blows may only be delivered to valid target areas that exist below the line of the armpit.