training : pas d'armes : Of the Undertaking of a Pas d'armes

f the Undertaking of a Pas d'armes

Introduction and Background

Historically, "tournament" refers to a broad range of competitive bouts including the mêlée or mounted combat between two or more parties of knights, and the "joust" which describes a single combat between two horsemen who agree with a number of passes with lance, or "emprise" or "hastlitude" or "pas d'armes". It is normal for language to evolve over time and acquire new meanings and original terms from the medieval period are not immune to this phenomenon. At AEMMA, the words "pas d'armes" refer to a particular type of "competitive" armoured bouts, and narrows its meaning to describe a series of "combats on foot", each bout being defined in terms of weapon or weapons as selected by the appellants or venans (the visiting team),
The inspection of helms before a tournament: the judges have ordered a helm to be removed. (Olivier de la Marche, Hardoun de la Jaille, Anthoine de la Sale..., 1878, "Traicté de la Forme et Devis comme on Faict les Tournois")
for his/her challenge, and limited to three to five decisive blows or three minute time limit. The implementation of this medieval tournament in the 21st century is merely a "slice" of the overall historical event, dated sometime between 1380 and 1430 which lies in the early period [ 1 ] historical swordplay.

In the original sense, the jousts originated in the early 12th century known as "hastlitudes" or "spear play". These early martial exercises offered warriors of the time opportunities to sharpen their battle skills. Injuries and even death was not entirely uncommon in these earlier martial exercises. These were of the form of a mêlée. It wasn't until later in the 14th century that these event evolved into a chivalric event, offering opportunities for advancement for nobles and warriors alike, and to demonstrate one's prowess to the ladies and lords spectating the event. The colour and pageantry including heraldry became prominent during this period, extending into the 15th century where the event evolved into less of a martial exercise and more of a mounted sporting event.

The structure of the pas d'armes at AEMMA focuses on "combats on foot" only and encompasses numerous attributes of a late 14th and early 15th centuries balanced to satisfy the expectations of the spectators in a 21st century context by allowing them to witness extraordinary unscripted single armoured combats, while preserving the historical attributes and providing opportunities for the combatants to demonstrate their prowess and technique through the challenges presented in the bouts by the defendants or tenans (the home team) and all the while, maintaining a strong foothold in its historical counterpart. As recorded in historical accounts of pas d'armes, if the visiting venan did not have weapons or horse, one may be provided by the tenans. At AEMMA, the Academy provides all of the weapons to be used during this event. This enhances the safety factor and reduces the probability of weapons failure injuring the spectators.

Navigating the pas d'armes page: to find specific topics with respect to the pas d'armes structure, rules, arms and armour requirements, etc., use the navigation strip at the top of this window, and select "training" followed by selecting "pas d'armes @ AEMMA" which will bring up a sub-menu of all of the relevant topics. Not all topics found in the drop-down menu are physically in this page, however, we encourage you to scroll this page to fully understand the structure, roles and combatants' accoutrements presented on this page.

Planning the pas d'armes

An illumination entitled "Jousts of Bordeaux: Guillaume de Montferran opposes Gui de La Rochefoucauld", sourced from Bibliothèque Nationale de France, FR2645
The pas d'armes will be planned and scheduled on a periodic basis (annual or bi-annual events), with invitations to two or more parties external to AEMMA whose members are referred to as the appellants or venans [ 2 ] ( the "visitors" ). Members of the "home team" (AEMMA) are referred to as the defendants or tenans [ 3 ]. It is expected that the appellants will be comprised of representatives from other schools, academies or Western Martial Arts organizations including AEMMA Affiliates and Associate Groups should there be a need to "balance" the number of combatants.

Once a date to hold a pas d'armes is decided by the defendants (the hosting organization) and the venue where the pas d'armes is to be hosted is agreed to by the host, an invitation dictating an agreement detailing the rules, regulations and requirements will be communicated to appellants within their respect organizations. Their agreement should be secured by the defendants prior to planning their participation in the pas d'armes. The invitation and agreement will also describe the various types of combats which can be undertaken and regulations regarding harness and weapons and other accoutrements. The date and place are determined by the defendants, however, in some instances, in coordination with the appellants, a mutually convenient date and location may be decided. The appellants and defendants may, if agreed, decide to share the cost of the pas d'armes, however, an entrance fee to be defined for the pas d'armes will be incurred by each pas d'armes participant, regardless of combat style participating.


 

Pas d'armes Officials

The successful execution of a pas d'armes relies entirely on the personnel volunteering each executing their specific role and function while embracing the overall mission and execution details of the pas d'armes. The overall smooth execution of the pas d'armes falls onto the shoulders of the "Procession Herald". Other important personnel include the defendants and appellants' heralds, squires and marshals. The roles and responsibilities are detailed below.

Note: click on any of the individual links below to view the relevant individuals and officials in the various positions in the current pas d'armes roll, or to view the current pas d'armes roll in a pop-up window.

Patron(s)

Grand and noble patrons hosted tournaments, including pas d'armes for variety of reasons including enhancing their aristrocratic status, to deliver a spectacular social display or to satisfy political agendas, and in some cases, simply for the sport of it. Patrons had assumed the responsibility of publicising the event, providing the venue, or hosting the banquet following the tournament, or offering of prizes for the appellant identified as "first amongst equals".

The roles of the Patron(s) of the pas d'armes will include the introduction the pas d'armes to the spectators, summon the King of Arms to officially begin the pas d'armes, and possibly to provide the venue in which the pas d'armes will be executed, and may also provide the prize and award the prize to the appellant voted "first amongst equals" by the defendants at the conclusion of the event or at the post-pas d'armes dinner/banquet. In addition to these roles, the Patron's Lady will award to each of the combatants, both appellants and defendants, a medalion which commemorates his/her active engagement in the bouts in the pas d'armes.

Click here to view details of the Patron(s) of the current pas d'armes.

King of Arms

Kings of Arms were heralds - usually the best or most senior or most expert herald who were selected by a prince or other noble to be the head of his heraldic entourage and who would have other responsibilities assigned to them by their liege. He also ensured that everyone's arms were in order, and that there were no duplications of arms, and therefore, no conflicts between the knights intending to participate in the pas d'armes. He may have had a scroll of all of the arms of all of the participants in the pas d'armes, and may have memorized many details of the knights participating in the pas d'armes such as their appearance at military parades or coronations or their travels and accomplishments, number of followers the knight possessed and other indications of the knight's position in the military hierarchy.

In the case of this pas d'armes, the King of Arms will be responsible for ensuring that the general protocol of the practice and the application of heraldry is consistent with the Law of Arms of Canada. The King of Arms, if available, may be the Chief Herald of Canada or a representative herald from the Canadian Heraldic Authority, Ottawa.

Click here to view details of the King of Arms of the pas d'armes.

The Heralds

An illustration of an Herald wearing an Herald's tabard while supporting a number of banners of the would-be tourniers. (Olivier de la Marche, Hardoun de la Jaille, Anthoine de la Sale..., 1878, "Traicté de la Forme et Devis comme on Faict les Tournois")
In the pas d'armes, each combatant would have their own Herald in their retinue as well as several other individuals such as a retainer to carry his banner, others to bear the combatant's crested helm and others to bear his weapons and other assistants like squires to assist in arming the combatant. In the 21st century, the event's compromise is to have two heralds, one representing the defendants, the second representing the appellants.
An illustration depicting the tabard worn by Richard Beauchamp, 5th ealr of Warwick (1381-1439)
Their primary responsibility is to announce to the spectators, their liege's name, origin and biography ( bio - this occurs only at the first appearance of the combatant in the lists ). These individuals must have good vocal projection and be comfortable speaking to an audience, and possess a healthy degree of "wit". The Heralds are free to introduce "banter" between themselves to add "colour" and entertainment to their auditory presentations to the spectators. The Heralds will be wearing a Herald's tabard, fashioned after the tabard worn by Richard Beauchamp, fifth Earl of Warwick (1381 - 1439), depicted on the right. The Heralds are to wear leggings, a tunic (white, off-white), tabard and footwear appropriate to the period. Depending upon the venue, they may be required to wear wireless microphones.

The tabard worn by the Heralds will be provided by AEMMA. There are two styles: a) the defendants' Herald's tabard is emblazoned and quartered with the AEMMA arms with the arms of the Friends of the Medieval Studies Society (FMSS), Royal Ontario Museum (ROM); b) the appellants' Herald's tabard is and quartered with emblazoned with the arms of the Ottawa Medieval Sword Guild (OMSG) with the arms of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada (RHSC). These designs commemorate the tournament's first venue held at the ROM, participation and cooperation by the FMSS, OMSG and RHSC in March 2008. These Herald's tabards will continue to represent the appellants and the defendants in the future, regardless of location of the tournament and partners.

The Heralds will be provided with a script detailing each of the combatants they are representing, including name, origin and biography. Each combatant is encouraged to provide a short biography to embellish their auditory presentation by their respective Herald. If no biography is provided, the Herald has creative liberty say a few words on the spot if he/she so desires.

Click here to view details of both the defendant's and appellant's heralds of the tournament, and their heraldic tabards to be worn.

The Procession Herald

click image to view larger of the same
The Procession Herald's tabard

This position is entirely invented by AEMMA, and not consistent with the pas d'armes's historical counterpart. The individual in this position is responsible for the overall execution of the processions, which include the opening and closing processions and ceremonies. He/she will line up all of the pas d'armes attendees, including heralds, Patrons, squires and combatants in preparation for the opening or closing processions. He/she will also be responsible for the placement of each individual within the lists during the opening and closing ceremonies.

Click here to view details of the Procession Herald of the pas d'armes.

The Pursuivants

In the period, each combatant would have a retinue of individuals supporting him in the pas d'armes. In order to remain somewhat consistent with these attributes of a medieval pas d'armes in the 21st century, two Pursuivants (a pursuivant, or more correctly a pursuivant of arms, is a junior officer of arms) are required, one for each side (the defendants and the appellants) and who will be "visible" in the lists during the entry and exit of the combatants. Their role would include functions of a herald or Pursuivant, squire and retainers. Their responsiblities are:

  1. As part of the setup of the next bout, the appellants' Pursuivant is to identify the defendant to be challenged by striking his/her arms (shield) followed by striking the shield depicting the weapon(s) of choice for the bout.

  2. The Pursuivants will lead their combatant into the lists, carrying the combatant's standard or banner or other standard, and inserting the standard into the central standard rack in the lists.

  3. Inform their respective Herald of the name of the combatant lead into the lists (while the Pursuivant proceeds with the final assistance, the respective Heralds will announce the combatants).

  4. Provide final assistance in the arming of the combatants after they have entered the lists, such as assisting with the closing of the visor, adjusting straps, visually inspecting that all is sound with the armour and finally, presenting the weapon(s) to their combatant.

  5. During each bout, each Pursuivant will be in possession of three awards flags of their representative colour denoting either the appellant (burgundy) or the defendant (gold), and will insert an award flag into the award rack on notice from the Grand Marshal.

The tabards worn by the Pursuivants will be provided by AEMMA in the fashion indicated earlier. There are two styles, the defendants' Pursuivant will wear the tabard quartered which bears the arms of the original group of armoured and armigerous combatants in the 2008 tournament. The tabard is quartered and thus, bears eight arms. The tabard worn by the appellants' Pursuivant is also quartered and bears the arms of the original group of armoured and armigerous combatants of the appellants in the same tournament. The Pursuivants are to wear leggings, footwear appropriate to the period, a tunic (white, off-white) over which the assigned tabard is worn.

Click here to view details of both the defendant's and appellant's Pursuivants of the tournament, and their heraldic tabards to be worn.

The Squires

Squires were in the period, the knights attendant and/or armourbearer or both. This responsibility really hasn't changed for a pas d'armes such as this. The Squire will function as the combatant's banner bearer (standard bearer should the combatant have in his/her possession a standard as opposed to a banner). Combatants may bring along their own "squire" with a maximum of two squires. AEMMA will provide a minimum of one squire for each of the defendants (with advanced notice) and one squire for each of the appellants. These individuals will not only assist the combatants in preparing for their bout, but will also retrieve water or other beverage requests. This individual will also ensure that there remains an adequate supply of water for the combatants in their respective pavilions.

The defendants will each have a minimum of a single Squire who will assist with the arming of the combatants, and providing assistant to the combatant by preparing him/her with the final touches of arming, such as presentation of gauntlets and helm. The weapon(s) to be employed in the bout will be taken into the lists and given to the combatant's Pursuivant in the lists for him/her to present the weapon(s) to his/her combatant. The Squires will wear typical training garments or typical medieval garments suitable to represent Squires of the period which may include a gambeson, leggings, period shirt, belt and period footwear. These Squires will also act as "runners" to obtain refreshments and satisfy other requests by the combatants.

Each appellant will provide their own Squire to serve the same function as described in the preceding paragraph. They must also be prepared to engage in a bout should they be summoned by the Grand Marshal should his/her combatant be unable to continue to fight. The dress requirements are typical training garments as stated earlier. These Squires will also act as "runners" to obtain refreshments and satisfy other requests by the combatants. Their responsibilities are:

  1. The Squire will ensure that his/her combatant has access to water or other refreshments during the entire event.

  2. The Squire will bear the combatant's banner during the opening and closing processions and any other ceremony in which the combatant must participate.

  3. The Squire is responsible to assist his/her combatant in arming up, adjusting the straps, ensuring that the harness is in good order and properly dressed.

  4. He/she will inform their respective Pursuivant that the combatant is armed and good to go.

  5. When it is the combatant's turn to enter the lists, the Squire will retrieve the combatant's banner and lead his/her combatant to the entrance of the lists, and hand-off combatant's banner to his/her respective Pursuivant, who will then lead the combatant followed by the Squire in a short procession around the inside perimeter of the lists.

  6. At the conclusion of the introduction walk in the lists, the Squire will retrieve the weapon selected by the appellant and give it to his/her combatant, and close the helm and then exit the lists.

  7. The Squire must be available at all times during his/her combatant's bout to offer assistance should problems arise during the bout, such as quick fixes should a strap be blown, or adjustments to the harness, etc.

Click here to view details of the individuals of both the defendant's and appellant's squires of the pas d'armes.

The Marshals

The principle role of the Marshals is to administer each bout and preserve and maintain the safety of the combatants, and secure the safety of the spectators at all times. For this event, four Marshals will be administering the bouts, and will inform the Grand Marshal of landed blows or other particulars of the bouts. The Marshals have the authority to halt any bout at any time for any reason. The Marshals may also refuse to allow any combatant to fight if it is deemed in their opinion to be NOT in the service of safety to do so. Marshals may disallow the use of any armour or weapon that they deem to be unsafe or to offer undue advantage to the user.

Brian sporting one of the marshal's tourney batons
Marshals are to wear period garments, the simplest version of a tunic, belt, sidearms (arming sword & dagger), leggings and period shoes. This can be expanded to include a light-weight gambeson if the individual wishes. Each marshal will be provided with a 2m baton in the form of a spear, fitted with purple and white ribbons and painted with purple and white stripes or squares as depicted on the right. The operating principles of the Marshals are described below:

The Grand Marshal is the only one responsible to conclude any bout when the three-minute limit has been reached. When he indicates the bout is over, the Marshals must act immediately to separate the combatants to forcebly conclude the bout.

The second role of Marshals is to inform the victory of the bout to the Grand Marshal. In most cases this role will be simply the restating of an obvious fact. In most bouts, the victor and the vanquished are clearly indicated by the resulting posture of the combatants. One will be standing the other will not. The Grand Marshal will inform the respective Herald (appellant's or defendant's) of the victor of the bout and who will then announce the victory of his liege to the spectators.

Click here to view details of the marshals of the pas d'armes.


Protocols and Ceremony

Combatant's Accoutrements Requirements

An example of a combatant's banner
In period pas d'armes, it was customary for the combatant to be equipped as an honorable man-at-arms. This includes one's harness, weapons, and other relevant accoutrements, and a retinue of followers equipped in livery of garments displaying the colours and/or heraldic devices of their lord (combatant), comprised of a herald or pursuivant, squires and retainers. For the purpose of this pas d'armes, held in the 21st century, some compromises are made, distilling the array to the following basic requirements for each combatant with respect to ceremony and protocol of the event.

These requirements are not mandatory for participation in the pas d'armes, however, all combatants are encouraged to conform to these requirements in order to satisfy the visual historical spectacle of a medieval pas d'armes and therefore, enhancing the spectators' visual experience.
 

  1. A banner of arms, in general was in the form of a tall rectangle, from 61 - 82 cm (24" - 32") in width, to 92 - 122 cm (36" - 48") in height. The banner will be emblazoned with the combatant's arms (essentially, whatever is on their arms (shield) is reflected on the banner. The banner will require a sleeve along the long edge able to allow for a 1" pole for insertion, and a second sleeve along the top of the banner to allow for a 1/2" to 3/4" dowel to provide the horizontal support.

    An example of a jupon. Click image to view larger of the same.
    An example of a banner is illustrated above left. In this case, the banner is square. Longer rectangular banners are also permitted or shapes such as a standard (the bottom narrowing to a point or rounded). Banners can be constructed in a number of ways, each which will incur varying costs. The simplest manner is to use appropriate material, and paint the arms onto the material. This is the least expensive manner, and remains historically correct. The second method is through applique, which is the application of different coloured materials or in some cases, leather to a foundation material. This method is more expensive to construct the banner or standard and is consistent with the period.

  2. A wooden shield emblazoned with the combatant's arms. This shield will be suspended from the "tree of arms", a custom of pas d'armes of the period, in which all combatants' arms would be suspended from the tree, to allow for the challenger (appellant) to strike the arms (shield) of the challenged defendant with a baton. Dimensions and specifications are available by clicking here.

  3. A jupon/surcoat fitting of the period of the late 14th and early 15th centuries. These garments were worn over the harness, and displays the combatant's arms. An example of what a jupon may have looked like, click here or the image on the right.


Prior to Opening the Pas d'armes

On Arms and Armour Inspections

Important: Combatants (appellants) not members of the OMSG must forward to AEMMA the following details at least two months prior to the pas d'armes:
  1. detailed photographs (front & back) of the combatant's harness worn as they plan to appear in the pas d'armes,
  2. a textual description and specifications of the harness and under-harness garments and mail,
  3. a description of the combatant's level of experience and weapons experience,
  4. a description of the armoured training, sources or texts studied from, names of instructors offering the training.

Particular attention to be made with helmets, hand protection and foot protection or footwear and underlying mail ( thrusts with any weapon included in any bout is permitted, as well as striking any part of the body with hand, elbow, knee or foot, pommel or quillon strikes, and grappling ("abrazare") during the pas d'armes ). The images, descriptions, bio and fighting experience can be emailed to AEMMA with

Prior to the commencement of the pas d'armes on the day, all prospective combatants must present themselves to the Procession Herald and Marshals in full harness. These officials will determine the fitness of the harness with respect to the pas d'armes's armour requirements and approve or deny the combatant's entry to the pas d'armes. If clarification or verification of the armour is determined necessary, the officials reserve the right to physically test the armour.

A physical test could include a forceful cut to the contestants harness conducted within a pre-defined safe testing area. If the officials determine the armour is not compliant with the requirements, the combatant may be denied participation in the armoured bouts in the pas d'armes. Broken, poorly fitting or inauthentic harness will be rejected. Inappropriate dress or deportment is also grounds for rejection. Once rejected no amount of "field repair" will enable armour to pass and be used. Every combatant must have their own harness as weapons are provided by AEMMA.

Display of Helms and Ribbons

All armoured combatants will present their helms to their Squire which will then be placed on display on a table at the head of the lists if a table is setup and if this is included in the execution of the event. This will provide the spectators to view and possibly examine the helms, under the watchful eye of one or two volunteers. At the conclusion of the opening of the pas d'armes, the respective Squire's Heralds will return the helms to their rightful owners, and the tables are to be removed from the lists.

All appellants will be provided with a burgundy ribbon which will be tied around their left arm signifying the "visiting" team. The defendants will be wearing a gold ribbon signifying the "home" team.

Opening the Pas d'armes

The opening of the pas d'armes begins with a procession of all those participating in the pas d'armes, including the Heralds, Marshals, Pursuivants, Squires and combatants. If available, medieval marching music will be piped over the intercom at the venue, or the procession would be lead by a medieval ensemble. The order of the procession will be as follows:

  1. Patron's standard bearer
  2. AEMMA's standard bearer
  3. Ladies of the Tournament
  4. King of Arms
  5. the Procession Herald
  6. the Heralds and Pursuivants
  7. the Marshals
  8. the defendants, each being lead by their banner/standard bearer (Squire) if the combatant has a banner or standard
  9. the appellants, each being lead by their banner/standard bearer (Squire) if the combatant has a banner or standard
Everyone enters the lists in the order arranged by the Procession Herald (the Patron already seated on the podium at the head of the lists), the standards bearers beside the individual's right being represented with a standard forming equivalent rows parallel to the rear of the lists. When the entire pas d'armes party is in the lists, the Patron will raise his sword to indicate that he will say a few opening words. On this queue, the standards bearers retreat to form two lines of bearers at the rear of the lists so as to reveal all participants and not conceal them with the banners and standards during the opening words.

The Patron(s) would introduce himself/herself to the spectators, describing his/her role with respect to the pas d'armes, and then he/she would summon the King of Arms (if available) or the Procession Herald, who would obtain the attention of the spectators with "Or oyez, or oyez!" ( "Hear ye, hear ye!") and introduce the Heralds, Squires and Marshals and describe their roles briefly. He/she would also introduce the combatants (collectively, the defendants (home team) and the appellants (away team). The combatants will each be introduced directly in the lists at the time of their bouts by their respective Herald.

The King of Arms (if available) or the Procession Herald proclaims that the pas d'armes shall begin, and requests everyone to position themselves accordingly. The Patron(s) sheaths his/her/their sword(s), and then seats him/herself on the podium with their significant other, presiding over the event. The banners/standards bearers will insert the banners/standards into the standards stand (not the middle stand, as this is reserved for the pair of standards for the bouts), however, the Patron's standard will be inserted into the middle of the lists standard stand (the combatants' banners/standards will be inserted in either side of the Patron's standard) during the bouts.

Setup and Conducting the Bouts

The principle purpose of a pas d'armes is to offer the opportunities for one to test one's mettle against another brother-at-arms. However, spectators need to be considered during the execution of a pas d'armes, and therefore, communicating the various attributes and victory conditions agreed to for the bouts during the pas d'armes to the spectators will ensure that they too have a positive experience witnessing the spectacle. Therefore, etiquette and ceremony is an important part of the pas d'armes and are handled by knowledgable individuals which will also minimize the complexity of the ceremony from the combatant's perspective. The ceremony of executing each bout is described below:

  1. The entrance of the appellant
    1. The King of Arms or the Procession Herald (if the King of Arms is not available at the event) will notify the appellant's Squire and the appellant's Herald, the name of the appellant to enter the lists. The Squire notifies the combatant to prepare him/herself for the bout, and assists in the dressing.
    2. The appellant fully dressed in armour with visor up or unarmoured with mask in hand not bearing any arms (weapons), enters the lists, led by the appellant's Squire carrying the standard of the appellant who then inserts the standard into the centre standard rack next to the Patron's standard.
    3. The appellant stands in the lists facing the spectators. He/she will remain there standing, while the appellant's Herald announces to the spectators the combatant's name, origin and biography ( the combatant's bio is delivered only on the first appearance of the combatant - later appearances, the combatant's name and origin is revealed ).
    4. At the conclusion of the appellant's Herald's dissertation on his/her liege (the appellant), the appellant's Squire will identify the defendant to be challenged in the bout by striking the arms (shield) of the defendant with a tournament baton and the shield depicting the weapon(s) of choice for the bout.

  2. The entrance of the defendant
    1. The defendant fully dressed in armour with visor up or unarmoured with mask in hand also not bearing any arms (weapons), enters the lists, led by the defender's Squire carrying the standard of the defender, who then inserts the standard into the centre standard rack on the opposite side of the Patron's standard.
    2. The defendant stands in the lists facing the spectators. He/she will remain there standing, while the defendant's Herald announces to the spectators the combatants name, origin and biography ( the combatant's bio is delivered only on the first appearance of the combatant - later appearances, the combatant's name and origin is revealed ).

  3. Conditions of victory and preparing for the start
    1. After the introductions are concluded, the combatants turn to face each other, with Heralds and Marshals surrounding the combatants, and await any constraints agreed to by the combatants for that bout.
    2. The Heralds and Marshals return to their respective positions, except the defendant's Herald who will stand in the middle of the lists and announce to the spectators the constraints negotiated and agreed to for that bout, and the weapon(s) to be employed. He/she then returns to his/her position.
    3. After the introductions and announcements are concluded, the weapons to be employed in the bout as selected by appellant are brought into the lists by the combatants' Squires. Then the combatants acknowledge each other by saluting by facing each other with their fencing mask in hand or with visor up, raising the sword or weapon such that the right hand gripping the weapon is centered on the chin of the wielder and tip their heads as a show of respect to each other. This is immediately followed by both turning with weapon held as described earlier to face each of the Marshals and acknowledge each of the Marshals with the same salute (the order is not important), and finally, salute both of the Heralds.

  4. The start of the bout
    1. After being addressed by the Marshal, the combatants face each other again, don their fencing masks or lower their visors, and salute the second time with their weapon as described previously to indicate their readiness to begin (the combatant's respective Squire may be required to assist in the lowering of the visors and/or providing the appropriate weapon to their combatant),
    2. The lead Marshal will call " etes-vous prets? " (are you ready?). Combatants will respond with " Oui! " (Yes!) or " Non! " (No!),
    3. The combatants can only start the engagement upon the Marshal "releasing" the combatants with "ALLEZ!" (Go!),
    4. All combatants must cease their engagement at the command of " HALTE! " (Stop!), or some signal agreed to by the combatants, from any of the Marshals and must "freeze" where they are,

  5. The conclusion of the bout
    1. When the bout has been determined to be concluded, each combatant must remove their fencing mask or visors up (for armoured combatants, with assistance from their Squire), and face the spectators (the front of the lists) and wait for further instructions from the King of Arms.
    2. The King of Arms converses with the Marshals to determine/confirm the victor of that bout and informs the respective Herald which combatant is awarded the bout, i.e. to the defendant's Herald should the defendant be victorious, or to the appellant's Herald should the appellant be victorious.
    3. The relevant Herald announces to the spectators that his liege was victorious in this bout. The combatants then face each other and salute as described before, and shake hands and exit the list.

The above steps are repeated for each and every bout, regardless of whether armoured or unarmoured. It is important that the King of Arms keeps the procedures going with little or no interruptions.

Closing the pas d'armes

Given the day will be a hard day, it is not prudent to have a procession similar to the opening leaving the lists. The closing will be a simple re-assembly of all concerned which were in the opening of the pas d'armes, in the lists. The Patron will say a few words, and hope to see everyone again at the next pas d'armes. The Patron may invite the spectators to meet the combatants in person as the troupe and volunteers start to take down and packup.

Minimal take-down is required immediately after the pas d'armes, and the focus is to collect the standards and arms, to take them for display at the aprés tournoi (post-tourney) dinner/banquet. The complete take-down is scheduled the following day.


Rules of Engagement

All bouts will have a 3-minute time limit, regardless of whether the tally of three landed blows was reached or any one or more of the other victory conditions were not met. All bouts share the same victory conditions unless some additional constraint or constraints is/are agreed to by the combatants prior to the start of their bout. The Grand Marshal of the tournament will be responsible for the timing of each and every bout, and inform the marshals of any new constraint in place for that particular bout. The reason for this limit are two-fold: a) there will be numerous bouts in the tournament, therefore, it would be prudent to not allow the combatants to become overly fatigued in any single bout; b) as combatants become more fatigued, errors in judgment or technique increases, resulting in an increased probability of incurring injuries.

During any bout, should a combatant breach the agreed to constraint(s), for example, if an agreement was reached to NOT strike the knee during the bout and a combatant intentionally strikes the knee of his/her opponent (usually due to the former loosing badly during the bout), the strike will be considered a foul, or at the request of the recipient, the bout could be immediately terminated and the bout would be awarded to the recipient of the injury. No constraints in terms of l'arte dell'armizare is permitted (i.e. combatants cannot request the removal of abrazare (grappling), thrusting or strikes with the hand or foot or pommel, etc. The tournament bouts are designed to display prowess and skill of the art not only to the other combatants, but to the spectators as well.

Combatants should be aware that AEMMA will supply all of the weapons employed at this event. The design of the weapons cater to a competitive engagement, and are able to withstand the potential abuse incurred during the armoured bouts.

Definitions of blows and fouls

In order for the tournament to be executed with success, it is important that all combatants and marshals are on the same page with respect to their understanding and identification of decisive blows, incidental blows and fouls. There are two key points which must be internalized: a) valid target for any and all blows is the area inside the neck and appendages, or, in other words, the torso; b) blows which are included in the tally must cause visible displacement of the valid targets. However, the target area is extended during gioco stretto or "close-quarters combat", where strikes to the helm is permissable.

Three Landed Blows

The bout concludes when the tally of decisive blows landed has reached the maximum of three counts, or should any one of the other victory conditions be met, or when three minutes has been reached. It is the responsibility of the Marshals to identify well placed and decisive blows delivered to valid targets to be included in the tally. There is no interruption of the bout until the tally, victory condition or time limit is reached. The Grand Marshal during the bouts will inform the Pursuivants, Heralds and spectators of who was awarded the count or the foul. At the conclusion of the bout, the Grand Marshal informs the respective Herald (the appellant's or defendant's) who was awarded the bout.

The strict definition of "decisive blows" is to eliminate the "tag" or "slash and bash" form of fighting, which for all intents and purposes in armoured combat can be safely ignored. Should a thrust from a longsword or spear target the breastplate and lands squarely on the breastplate with no visible force thus causing no displacement of the opponent, the blow would not be included in the tally. However, if the same thrust be delivered with force causing visible displacement of the opponent will be included in the tally or which results in an unbalanced situation, that is, "unbalanced" (3-points down) will be considered a landed blow and will be added as a single score to the tally. Any strike is permitted, including thrusting with any weapon, percussive blows, cuts, etc. except for those strikes considered "foul". It is completely valid in armoured combat to take a "hit" to the body or arm or leg with an edged weapon in order to setup a decisive blow (a thrust) to a valid target. The list below details what is considered a "landed blow" based on weapon used:

dagger: The obvious offensive attribute of the dagger is its point. The rondel daggers were designed to be essentially spikes to penetrate mail and are extremely effective in gioco stretto or "close-quarters" combat engagements. Any and all thrusts or percussive blows to the opponent causing visible displacement of valid targets while using the rondel's pommel or point, or strike to valid targets with hand, elbow, knee or foot are permitted and useful for setting up a follow-on strike to other valid targets and will be counted towards the tally. The same strikes which causes an "unbalanced" or "cast down" would also be added as a single count to the tally.
longsword: The offensive characteristics of the longsword in armoured combat is its point, pommel, quillons, hilt and blade all of which can also prove to be effective offensive weapons. Any cut or thrust causing visible displacement of the recipient to valid target areas, or which causes an "unbalanced" or "cast down", would be added as a single count to the tally. During gioco stretto, any percussive blows to the opponent's valid target areas, now including the helm, using the sword's pommel, quillon or hilt or gauntlet which causes a visible displacement or the combatant becomes "unbalanced" or "cast down", would also be added as a single count to the tally. Note: Edge or thrust strikes to the helm while in gioco largo will be considered a foul.
poleaxe: The offensive attributes of the poleaxe is its head and its dag (the spike on the head) and its queue. Any blow with the poleaxe head or dag to the opponent's valid target areas which includes the helm, causing visible displacement will be included in the tally, and if the blow results in an "unbalanced" or "cast down" situation, would be added as a single count to the tally. Any blow with its queue (the other tip of the haft) will be considered as incidental and NOT included in the count.
spear: The offensive attributes of the spear is its point and its queue. A thrust to the valid targets including the helm causing visible displacement would be included in the tally. Any upward-oriented thrust to the throat area with the point or its queue would be considered a foul. Being struck with the queue which causes visible displacement in the combatant resulting in an "unbalanced" or "cast down" would be added as a single count to the tally. Any other non-displacement strike with the queue may be useful for setting up a thrust with the point, but would be considered an incidental strike would not be included in the tally. It would be unlikely that a side-strike with the spear head or with the queue would cause any significant displacement and is at risk of breaking the spear.

Other Engagement Conditions

The following describes other conditions which can terminate or conclude a bout. None of the engagement conditions listed are negotiable. Any of these conditions supercedes the landed blows victory condition and the resulting awarding or non-awarding of the bout is made. These conditions are designed to provide a "safety net" for the combatants to reduce the probability of incurring injury.

Unbalanced (3 Points Down)

A victory condition achieved when one of the combatants is forced into loosing his/her balance and places some part of their body other that the soles of their feet in contact with the ground while the remaining combatant remains standing and stands over the downed combatant or kneels on the downed combatant and invokes a finishing stance (drawn dagger to the helm, sword poised to thrust or cut, poleaxe or spear poised to strike or thrust). If both are carried to the ground, or one of the combatants has lost his/her balance, then the bout continues with the combatants returning to a standing position and continuing until stopped by the Marshals (three minute time limit) or one if the combatant's becomes unbalanced.

Cast Down

This victory condition is achieved when one of the combatants has cast down their opponent to the ground/floor using some throw or take-down technique and the remaining combatant remains standing and stands over the downed combatant or kneels on the downed combatant and invokes a finishing stance (drawn dagger to the helm, sword poised to thrust or cut, poleaxe or spear poised to strike or thrust). If both are carried to the ground then the bout is halted momentarily and the combatants return to a standing position in the middle of the lists and continues until stopped by the Marshals (three minute time limit) or one until one of the combatant's is thrown to the ground/floor.

Two Landed Blows

The bout would be awarded to the combatant who was able to tally two landed blows, however, the bout continues to three blows. At this point, it is immaterial who achieves the third landed blow.

Overmatched (beaten)

The Marshals may stop any bout in which one of the combatant's is unable to effectively defend against attack and is at undue risk of injury. This situation does not award the bout to any combatant, and is essentially "scratched".

Disarmed

If a combatant is disarmed of his/her last weapon, the bout concludes. What this means, is that should a bout allow the use of multiple weapons, the bout will continue until every weapon wielded by the combatant has been disarmed.

Yield

A combatant of their own choice stops fighting and gives up yielding the bout to his/her opponent. This will be indicated by releasing the weapon allowing it to fall to the ground/floor and the bout is awarded to the other combatant.

Shown the Door

If a combatant is forced out of the lists, the bout is terminated and the bout is awarded to no one. If a combatant leaves the lists in error, the combatants are to return to the centre of the lists, and the bout continues to its logical conclusion. If the combatant willfully leaves the lists, this is the same as "Yield", the bout is terminated and the bout is awarded to the remaining combatant.



Tournament / Duels Videos
  1. 2nd International Western Martial Arts Workshop 2000 Toronto, October 13-15, 2000.
  2. Armoured Judicial Duel conducted by AEMMA and hosted by the World Championship Jousting Association tournament, Orangeville, July 14, 2001.
  3. 3rd International Western Martial Arts Workshop 2001 New York City, NY, October 12-14, 2001.
  4. Dragon's Lair Canadian National and International Jousting Tournament - 14th Century Judicial Duels, Waterford, ON, July 12-14, 2002.
  5. A promotionary short video clip of the armoured tournament, March 2008 at the Royal Ontario Museum entitled "Armoured Combat" (Stimulus Café)


References & Sources
  1. Barber, Richard; Barker, Juliet: Tournaments. The Boydell Press, London: 1989
     
  2. Barker, Juliet: The Tournament in England 1100-1400. The Boydell Press, London: 1986
     
  3. Bennett, Elizabeth: King René's Tournament Book, A Modern English Translation September 4, 1998. Princeton University. Last accessed November 10, 2009. The material originally sourced from "Traicté de la Forme et Devis d'ung Tournois" originally written in c1460, republished in 1878.
     
  4. Froissart, Jean [1337-1412]: "Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain, Portugal, Scotland, Brittany, Flanders, And the Adjoining Countires; Translated from the Original French by John Bourchier, Lord Berners". London: Printed by F.C. and J.Rivington, T.Payne..., 1812. Vol II, CAP. CLXXIII, Pg 511: "Of a feest and iustes made by the kyng of Englande in Lodon, whyle the Christen knytes and squers were at the sege before the towne of Aufryke agaynst the sarazyns; and howe this feest was publisshed in dyuers countreis and landes." (The Grand Tournament at London in 1390)
     
  5. Froissart, Jean [1337-1412]: "Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain, Portugal, Scotland, Brittany, Flanders, And the Adjoining Countires; Translated from the Original French by John Bourchier, Lord Berners". London: Printed by F.C. and J.Rivington, T.Payne..., 1812. Vol II, CAP. LXII, Pg 209: "Howe a batayle of armes was done at Burdeaus, before the seneshall there and dyuers other." (A deed of Arms at Bordeaux before Sir John Harpedon (1387))
     
  6. Froissart, Jean [1337-1412]: "Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain, Portugal, Scotland, Brittany, Flanders, And the Adjoining Countires; Translated from the Original French by John Bourchier, Lord Berners". London: Printed by F.C. and J.Rivington, T.Payne..., 1812. Vol II, CAP. LXXIIII, Pg 223: "Howe the duke of Lancastre sente for the admyrall and mershal, and his other offycers to come to the weddynge of his doughter, and the kynge of Portyngale." (The marriage of the King of Portugal and Philippa, daughter of the Duke of Lancaster (The alliance between Portugal and Lancaster is sealed by a dynastic marriage, accompanied by jousting.))
     
  7. Froissart, Jean [1337-1412]: "Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain, Portugal, Scotland, Brittany, Flanders, And the Adjoining Countires; Translated from the Original French by John Bourchier, Lord Berners". London: Printed by F.C. and J.Rivington, T.Payne..., 1812. Vol II, CAP. CLVII, Pg 429: "Of the ordynaunce of the entre of quene Isabell into the towne of Parys." (The grand entrance of Queen Isabella into Paris, and the pageants and tournament that took place (1389) (Queen Isabella's entrance into the capital is the occasion for fabulous pagentry and feasting.))
     
  8. Froissart, Jean [1337-1412]: "Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain, Portugal, Scotland, Brittany, Flanders, And the Adjoining Countires; Translated from the Original French by John Bourchier, Lord Berners". London: Printed by F.C. and J.Rivington, T.Payne..., 1812. Vol II, CAP. CLXVIII, Pg 467: "Of the dedes of armes at saint Ingylberies contynuyng thyrty dayes agaynste all comers of the realme of Englande and other countreys: every man thre courses." (The Tournament at St. Inglevert (Three French knights hold a tournament at Saint Inglevert, near Calais, and defend the list for thirty days against all comers.))
     
  9. Froissart, Jean [1337-1412]: "Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain, Portugal, Scotland, Brittany, Flanders, And the Adjoining Countires; Translated from the Original French by John Bourchier, Lord Berners". London: Printed by F.C. and J.Rivington, T.Payne..., 1812. Vol II, CAP. LXXVIII, Pg 233: "Howe syr Johan Holande and syr Raynolde de Roy fought togyder in lystes before the duek of Lancastre in the towne of Besances." (While the duke of Lancaster's army is campaigning in Galicia, a French knight, Sir Reginald de Roye, challenges Sir John Holland to a series of combats in the list. The first of these combats is a joust.))
     
  10. Keen, Maurice: Nobles, Knights and Men-at-Arms in the Middle Ages. The Hambledon Press, London: 1996
     
  11. King George the Third: Statuta Armorum, c1260, Medieval Sourcebook
     
  12. McIlmoye, Brian; Cvet, David; Brown, Terry; Mele, Greg; et al: AEMMA Tournament Survey, Feb 2000
     
  13. Muhlberger, Steven: Jousts and Tournaments: Charny and the Rules for Chivalric Sport in Fourteenth-Century France, Chivalry Bookshelf; (March 1, 2003)
     
  14. Muhlberger, Steven: Fighting for Fun? What Was At Stake in Formal Deeds of Arms of the 14th Century?, Nipissing University, March 7, 2001
     
  15. Noël Coulet, Alice Planche, and Françoise Robin: Le roi René: le prince, le mécène, l'écrivain, le mythe, Aix-en-Provence, Édisud, 1982
     
  16. Olivier de la Marche: Traicté de la Forme et Devis comme on faict les Tournois... A.Barraud, Libraire-Editeur, Paris, 1878
     
  17. Sports et divertissements, Bibliothèque Nationale de France
     
  18. Wharton, Susan  éd.: Le livre du cuer d'amours espris, Paris: Union Générale d'Éditions, 1980
     

Footnotes
  1. Early Period Fencing (XIV and XV Centuries) a periodization for the classification of the eras of the history of fencing based on the various periods in the development of the historical European fighting arts. See the International Masters at Arms Federation (IMAF) website for more info.
     
  2. appellant defines the challengers participating in the tournament (the "visiting team"). This term is referenced in Traicté de la Forme et Devis d'ung Tournois and Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, Constable under Richard II On the Manner of Conducting Judicial Duels. Another term used to describe the challenger found in other sources was "venans" which is possibly translated from "out syde" found in the account by Froissart, Jean [1337-1412]: "Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain, Portugal, Scotland, Brittany, Flanders, And the Adjoining Countires; Translated from the Original French by John Bourchier, Lord Berners". London: Printed by F.C. and J.Rivington, T.Payne..., 1812. CAP. CLXXIII, Pg 511: "Of a feest and iustes made by the kyng of Englande in Lodon, whyle the Christen knytes and squers were at the sege before the towne of Aufryke agaynst the sarazyns; and howe this feest was publisshed in dyuers countreis and landes." (The Grand Tournament at London in 1390).
     
  3. defendant defines the defenders participating in the tournament (the "home team"). This term is referenced in Traicté de la Forme et Devis d'ung Tournois and Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, Constable under Richard II On the Manner of Conducting Judicial Duels. Another term used to describe the defenders found in other sources was "tenans" which is possibly translated from "in syde" found in the account by Froissart, Jean [1337-1412]: "Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain, Portugal, Scotland, Brittany, Flanders, And the Adjoining Countires; Translated from the Original French by John Bourchier, Lord Berners". London: Printed by F.C. and J.Rivington, T.Payne..., 1812. CAP. CLXXIII, Pg 511: "Of a feest and iustes made by the kyng of Englande in Lodon, whyle the Christen knytes and squers were at the sege before the towne of Aufryke agaynst the sarazyns; and howe this feest was publisshed in dyuers countreis and landes." (The Grand Tournament at London in 1390).
     
  4. The German term blossfechten refers to the unarmoured fighting arts. This was rooted mainly in the ancient Germanic tradition of the single combat or duel. The duel was often used to resolve legal disputes through the trial by arms, an option many found preferable to the trial by ordeal. Some of these duels were fought to first blood, others were to the death. The majority were fought unarmoured with only a shield for protection, if anything.
     
  5. eskermir à plaisance describes tournaments later in the 14th and 15th century in which the combatants were participating in the tournaments for the joy or "pleasure" of combat. The rules and restrictions were an attempt to reduce the casualties created during the earlier versions of tournaments. This term is referenced indirectly in Traicté de la Forme et Devis d'ung Tournois
     
  6. eskermir à outrance is a term that refers to tournaments that were described as "hostile combat" or "jousts of war" fought wearing war armour and weapons of war (sharpened) which has a direct lineage to the original hastiludes, common during the 11-13th centuries. Often these were held between enemies of the period. One of the earliest accounts of this form of tournament describes Henry earl of Derby in 1341 held a pair of tournaments, the first in Roxburgh where the earl and three companions jousted à outrance against a party of equal numbers led by William Douglas; Douglas was morally wounded. The second at Berwick where twenty English knights challenged twenty Scots to three days of jousts à outrance. There were three deaths and many casualties. (Henry Knighton, Chronicom ed. J.R. Lumby (RS) (London 1895) II 23.) and (Barber, Richard; Barker, Juliet: Tournaments. The Boydell Press, London: 1989).
     


In Closing...

The pas d'armes is much more than a sporting event. It is an event where the principles of historical Western Martial Arts can be practiced and applied. Some may feel that the above outlined pas d'armes pays far too much homage to the medieval era. In truth, it would be difficult to disagree and even more difficult to not execute a pas d'armes in such a manner in order to embrace these principles, however, it is this period that interests AEMMA the most and it is this period that many of us focus our studies on, and it is the only way to create an appropriate environment in which to practice and apply armoured combat techniques within an appropriate context. We have tried to create a format that is both workable and historically based.

Many of our pas d'armes will be presented in the public view and so we should endeavor to imbue our tests of skill with the history that formed the art.

David M. Cvet
AEMMA Founder & President
Acknowledged Instructor for Armoured Combat, IMAF
 Brian McIlmoyle
AEMMA Co-Founder & Principle Instructor
Acknowledged Instructor for Armoured Combat, IMAF


contributions by Michael Rasmusson
About the authors: David and Brian have collectively been studying and practicing Medieval swordsmanship in various forms for almost 30 years. They have been deeply involved in the development of the AEMMA training program as a result of extensive research and study of medieval fencing manuscripts, in particular, those authored by Fiore dei Liberi. David's primary role in AEMMA is the continued development and evolution of both the Academy and the art. Brian's primary role within AEMMA is as an instructor where his military experience can be employed in the diciplined training of students. Current projects include the formalisation of armour, weapons and judging standards for use within Medieval swordsmanship tournaments in both armoured and unarmoured styles of fencing. Their goals are to encourage and develop a viable Western Martial Arts tradition that can co-exist on equal terms with the existing Eastern Martial Arts tradition.

Copyright © 2000 - All Rights Reserved  Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts AEMMA
Released: July 23, 2000 / Last modified: April 23, 2010
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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