So you want armour?

Disclaimer; my thoughts are my thoughts, they are not officially supported nor reflect the SCA as a group/s or a whole, also I am linking to suppliers I have personally dealt with and in no way are they the only suppliers or even the best.

So you want armour? Me too, I recently Finished (got to the point where i'm happy to fighting in my kit without getting so many bruises I can't sleep) making my kit and would like to share the good and the bad. (and so I can point people to my blog without having to type this over and over)

OK first things first, SCA Fighters Handbook Lochac edition, this defines the minimum armour you need to fight and I mean minimum you really want more armour than defined in the handbook as the definitions in the handbook are enough to be legal (where you are unlikely break bones) but not enough so you can sleep with your bruises. We/I hit hard, not hard enough to cause pain in armour but unarmoured on a joint We/I can break bones.

You will hear this saying alot "There is a difference between legal and safe" I'm not saying you should be in full plate or all 12 gauge steel but there are certain points on your kit where you really want to go above and beyond.

What you need and where to get it: (NZ suppliers)

In order of priority assuming you have a local group with loaner gear available

  1.  Groin protection (required) - Both men and women need protection, try and get a 1 piece box. Retailers: Rebel sports/R&R sports (most sporting goods stores) or Metal Cup  or Groin Guard also ensure you get something to support the guard either straps or the tuck in briefs, - Female, I highly recommend you also get breast protection female training chest protector (this can be tricky due to sizes)
  2. Kidney protection (required) you can make this (a few strips of steel/aluminium or heavy leather) or buy a weightlifting belt wore high on the torso is acceptable (rebel sports) 
  3. Helmet (required) 16 gauge is required but I recommend you go for 14 or 12 gauge (heavier is better in this case as more mass reduces the impact of blows) you can buy very good custom made helms (remember a good well made/fitted helm is worth paying a little extra for) from Armstreet Helms or Bokalo's Helms
  4. Gambeson (optional but you really do need one, without the bruises are going to be spectacular) you can make one yourself Here (shameless self promotion) or Here alternately you can buy one from Armstreet - Gambeson
  5. Elbows and Knee cops (required)  you need something to protect your knees you can make them yourself Knees DIY or Buy them Bokalo's Knees (I suggest 2 lame with the wing)
  6. Demi/Full/Mitten gauntlets (required) (Demi are usually obtained first assuming you are using sword and shield which most fighters start off with as its a good way to learn the fundamentals) Full/Mitten are required if you wish to fight with two-handed weapons (eg spear) but be aware you need good gauntlets there are alot of gauntlets on the market that don't cover the required parts or don't provide enough protection. You can get good Demi's/Mitten Bokalo's or Full fingered from Armstreet 
  7. Thigh Protection (optional, but usually this is the first piece of extra armour people make, so you can sleep on your side) and you can use them to hold your knees up
  8. Forearm protection (optional) (junior sport shin guards (any sporting goods store/the warehouse) slipped into sleeves or strapped on are fine)
I also suggest a duffel bag for gear transport (army surplus store is your best source) a box for home storage, a piece of scrap carpet for knee work and cleaning/polishing kit.

So now you have armour! Great, if your still working on it thats good too. Just make an effort even if it takes you years start making bits and pieces and funds/time are available.

Also please look at the supplemental page for SCA suppliers here

Training Resources

Your best Resource is your local group, if like me have no local group make one. All you need is 2 people who want to fight, you will soon attract more and more.

Online Resources

Bellatrix - Considered by many as the progenitor of SCA formal combat
Old Castle - A very descriptive resource
West Kingdom - Good resource, not all applies to Lochac but has alot of conventions
Trompe L'oeil  - Advanced combat techniques

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