Swordsmen compete in hand-to-hand medieval battles

OCEANSIDE — The clanking of swords and cheers from onlookers could be heard as Society for Creative Anachronism members faced off in hand-to-hand combat during the Long Sword Great Sword Tournament held Oct. 31 at Buddy Todd Park.
Between rounds of combat families dressed in medieval garb gathered under shade tents for food, women took up medieval handicrafts and children rolled hoops with sticks. The event was a well-executed lesson in A.D. 500 to 1500 history.
The sport of sword fighting is played by rules that were set centuries ago. “It’s a sport that is played to what would be considered the first lethal strike,” Scott Farrell, a swordsman from Santee, said. “A strike to the head or the body are considered to be killing blows that would end the fight. And the blows have to be hard enough that they would penetrate armor. Just a tap with a sword obviously is not going to do much damage.”
Despite the combative nature of the sport it has a low injury rate. Armor worn during matches has to conform to safety standards. “Injuries are usually limited to minor bruises and sprains,” Farrell said.
Sword fighting is also a sport where chivalry is valued just as much as skill. “Just as tournaments in the middle ages were venues where knights could display their skill at arms and their sense of honor and chivalry on the field, we try to incorporate that into our martial arts as well,” Farrell said.
See video from the tournament at www.coastnewsgroup. com.

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