By Anthony Farrow, Registered Training Officer
It’s always great when we get newcomers to our training sessions! We do not expect you to turn up having purchased a full harness of tailored plate armour on your first session (though some have!) but you will need some equipment to participate.
Some limited equipment may be available at training sessions, but is on a first come first served basis and you may have to take turns. Please don’t just turn up expecting equipment to be there for you, us RTO’s aren’t really in the business of dragging equipment around on the off chance someone may turn up and use it. It is a matter of courtesy to let the Lead RTO for the session know that you are intending to come along for the first time, and that you are looking for some equipment. Please note that we cannot provide all possible sizes available – though we do try to have a range.
Typically, if after 2 -3 sessions you decide that combat is for you then the onus is now upon YOU to source your own equipment for mock
combat.This is only fair as other newcomers will now have first shout on spare equipment for that training site. The Lead RTO will make this point politely at first, decreasingly so over time and may indeed refuse to supply such equipment as is there perogative. Note: Arguing with RTO’s is considered particularly unwise.
Luckily, you don’t have to have authentic protection to participate in training sessions. You can still carry on learning new skills by
substituting modern equipment. This may be useful as unfortunately many UK re-enactment traders live in a totally separate space time continuum
where normal delivery lead times and customer relationship management skills do not apply i.e. when they quote you 3 months they mean 3 years of
constantly ringing them and asking where your product is and “why they still carried on making other equipment to sell off the peg at re-enactors
markets in the mean time”.
Secondly, many people start the hobby with a preconcieved idea of what armour and weapons they want to use. Often, this will change once training
begins. Your RTO will assist in this, and will give you an honest assessment of what weapon type and armour variation is more suited to your abilities.
So, what can you do in the meantime..?
Society Rules state the following for mock combat:
- Stout Gloves
- Stout Body protection.
Here’s some ideas for training…
Minimum Head protection.
You can pick up a cheap fencing mask second hand on ebay for around £15 – £25. The higher Newton rating the better.
The good news is you can also use this mask at MSS Woodland Skirmish events which requires suitable eye protection.
Minimum Hand protection
Cricket gloves are the quickest and easiest way of obtaining some padded gloves. You can pick these up for £5 – £12. You will need to add some
form of protection for the single unprotected thumb – a small offcut of thick leather or similar tough material can be fixed in place.
Minimum Body Protection
If you have a leather jacket (bikers leathers) then we suggest you wear this. Otherwise, you will need to simulate a stout padded jacket by wearing multiple layers of thick coats. A scarf or other material can be knotted and provide some protection to the throat area.
Skateboard elbow and knee protectors can be used for these sensitive joints. Below the knee is off target for thrusts but a set of football
shinpads can be obtained to cover these and catch any downwards deflections from spears. Cricket groin guards (aka a “box”) retail at £3 – £5 and
a worthwhile investment.
The easiest way to do this is to obtain a hardwood broom handle. Note this must be hardwood, pine and other softwoods will suffer from combat
against metal weapons.
This can be sized appropriately for the weapon type you are using. Place a mark on one end with a permanent marker if using this is as a spear.
Hopefully this will have given you some ideas!
See you at training..!
NOTE REGARDING SPARE EQUIPMENT AT EVENTS
The society does NOT have spare combat equipment to loan out for events. This is by policy, historically shared equipment has been poorly looked
after when loaned out; some individuals have treated group equipment as effectively their own private kit ; and ultimately the level of personal
protection remains a personal choice.