Company of Saint George Fall Pas d'Armes - 2022
Updated: Oct 24
The pas d'armes is a challenge format tournament consisting of a number of rounds (in this case, four), plus a commencaille melee to start and various intermezzi employed to deepen fighting options. Combatants make their introductions and then issue the challenge, briefly negotiating the terms. They had four options, corresponding to four shields they would challenge upon: three a plaisance and one a outrance. In the a plaisance fights, combatants called any good / substantial blow that landed upon them, edge or thrust (or in some cases, punch!). If choosing the white shield, they were proposing counted blows, usually one, three, five or seven. If choosing the black, it was to satisfaction. If the gold, it was timed, thirty or sixty seconds. If red, it was a outrance, "armour counts," which offers a wholly different dynamic.
Coupled with the ability to select the terms and kinds of simulator, combatant could fight in a familiar, comfortable regime or they could stretch and fight in someone else's bailiwick. SCA combatants, for example, might choose rattan batons while someone who wants to explore harnischfechten might opt for steel swords wielded mezzamente (halfsword).
2022 marks the second year for the re-established New Company of Saint George, and it is appropriate that Sam Fishburne's harnessed image leads the Book of Deeds entry, since he was the motive force behind the Company's new activity.
Once more, we invited combatants to Wetumpka, Alabama for an exchange of arms, and we were honored by combatants coming from as far as Hawaii and all across the continental United States. This year, however, the October date brought relatively cool and near ideal weather!
One of the functions of a well-run pas d'armes is to inspire. In today's world, inspiration manifests chiefly through preparation. Not only do combatants work to improve their martial skills, seeking to earn more renown, but they also work to improve their field appearance, their arms, armour and raiment as I put it in the Book of the Tournament. This pas was no exception!
Sam Fishburne arrived fresh from the UK in the Milanese harness he's been working towards since 2013, when he first met the Schola Saint George in Oahu. Sam's harness, made mainly by Alexey Moskalenko of Arte of Steel in Ukraine, is a beautiful, iconic representation of the chivalric idea all on its own! As a Companion of Saint George, Sam "walked the walk" as he outshone everyone in harness and fought with the tenacity of a lion, exemplary harness complemented by equally exemplary fighting skill.
Gene Arnold, another founding Companion of the New Company of Saint George, presented a highly polished representation of a late fourteenth century knight, bearing also an unbelievably fine, hand-embroidered cloak bearing the company's garter draped over the right shoulder. He wore the first of Brian's new plaque belts, too. Like Sam, Gene's fighting complemented and was complemented by his steadfast franchise appearance, especially with the spear.
Of the challengers, Dennis Pritzel, with less than eighteen months sword-in-hand, presented a first-class presentation of a third-quarter fourteenth century knight with an especially fine Choburg-inspired bascinet, houpelande fighting coat and splinted legs. Dennis' appearance was far beyond the novice level, but throughout the day he fought beyond his experience as well, a credit to the Snapping Turtle Cohort of the Montgomery branch of the Schola Saint George.
Andrew Mackenzie shined also in his new gear, with a new bascinet (the collaboration between Brian & Cadwallen), with full legs and arms the next step and already on the armourer's workbench. Recently we heard that Andrew's renown in the SCA is such that he's being awarded the Order of the Pelican, the SCA's knighthood equivalent for service, at next year's Great Western War. Kudos, Andrew!
Not only the companions, but also the challengers brought new impact to the field with shiny new armour and raiment. JJ proudly sported a new fighting cotte made by our own Elisabethe Allen. Brian's shop was buzzing with activity over the last few months as combatants worked to get new armour to the field. Two new size L and XL loaner bascinets were complete alongside bascinets for Elisabethe, Rachel, Ed Wells, the aforementioned Andrew, Emily's reworked and finely aventailed bascinet, and a re-aventailing of Brian's fine Peter Polyak transitional bascinet. Edward worked feverishly (and successfully) to get his new legs ready, while Elisabethe worked also on printing to get both JJ's tunic done, and some helmet bags, at the expense of her own planned outfit. Garrett's new sallet by Ice Falcon matched the rest of his harness and made it much safer! Julian finished his new coat of plate and fitted out a fine black bascinet purchased from Alex. Connor Pickar added the black and white fighting cotte earlier in the year, complementing his bascinet, full arm harness, and Churburg #13 breastplate, augmented now by his new set of mitten gauntlets. Geoffrey added a fine Art of Steel 15th century brigandine, and has a bascinet in-progress. Great start on a future very fine 15th c. German harness. Chris has a new helmet also, but he's stunningly donated it as a loaner as it doesn't quite fit him and he was sporting his newly completed Wisby #7 coat of plate in blue. Robert and Tom appeared in their new gambesons, with those spiffy black and red greathelms, and Garrick appeared once more in his greathelm and mid-14th century blend of finely carved cuirboille and steel. We're working feverishly to get him another helmet! All in all, the field was MUCH improved from last year, and we expect it to keep improving for next year!
Some gear hasn't yet arrived, given the war in Ukraine and a general commercial slowdown. Geoffrey's full 15th c. arms have been delayed in shipping. JJ has a full harness commissioned, a Churburg #13 style, while Bryan Johnson's helmet--another collaboration between Cadwallen and Brian--is also in the works. Brian's armet and Milanese cuirass are in the queue at Art of Steel and with Peter Polyak, and he hopes to get the great bascinet on the field for next year, alongside a King Rene style cuirass. Andrew's arm harness is in progress, too. We have a replacement for Chris' helmet in-progress; alongside a bascinet for Thomas Belloma (SSG DFW). Tim Collins' bascinet arrived, of course, Monday after the tourney, but Tim also has a cuirass, gauntlets, gorget and helmet--in need now of limb armour. Emily has her articulating knees on-hand, but still cuts a dashing figure in her brilliantly lapis-blue gambeson, fitted mail shirt, and nicely rebuilt bascinet. Garrett McDowell is looking to build a full gothic harness, though of course this is a project of at least several years.
Last year's combatants were mainly in their own gear, though we're still working on legharnesses. Like last year, many combatants borrowed gear to get to the field. SSG Montgomery now boasts eleven loaner helmets, seven coats of plate, and five or six sets of quick arm harness. Almost all of this was on the field, as we again allowed members of the newest cohort to take to the field in partial loaner armour, and members of the Snapping Turtle cohort to fight without complete armour. Jesus, Kris, Thomas, Joshua got onto the field, and we were able to get others out there fixing holes in their own gear as all the SSG loaner gear was to be seen.
As with last year's pas d'armes, our rules are extremely open-ended. Combatants are welcomed from a variety of traditions; the Schola; HEMA; harnishfechten; re-enactment; SCA; BOTN et. al. As such, we leave the challenge as up to the combatants to agree upon. On the field will be seen rebated steel weapons, "hard" and "soft" simulators like Pentii by Purpleheart (hard) or Red Dragon (soft), or batons (rattan or hardwood). Synthetics are often a favorite, for poleweapons as well as swords, for the low capacity for damage on expensive armour.
We offered a barrier, which four or five combatants engaged as an option. This is especially fun with poleaxes, or spears, but one pair, Andrew versus Tom, fought over the barrier with one hand on the barrier and the other wielding a sword in one hand for sands of the glass, sixty seconds--a LONG time. This harkens back to an SCA tradition in the West where combatants in Cynagua pioneered this fun variant. Another group did daga at the barrier, which was simply...bloody. I'm not sure anyone won that fight!
The list enclosure we built in preparation for last year's tourney, so it and the Tree of Shields were ready to go. Josh Beck generously contributed to the fund to replace the shields, though he was sadly not able to enjoy them this year owing to a deployment.
Twenty-four combatants took to the field this year, despite a number of others who were present last year but sadly missed this time.
We followed the invocation and form of the 1992 pas d'armes held in Northern California, and, with pavilions lining the area around the list, began with the traditional introductions. Then, instead of having just the CSG defend as tenans, we randomly split into two sides using colored stones drawn from a bowl made of lapis lazuli.
The first pass challenges were made, followed by the commencaille, fought again with batons three good blows, first blood. This mechanism works exceptionally well.
Garrick won the commencaille, fighting Bryan Johnson as the final two. Garrick v. Bryan
We were very fortunate in that Whitney served as recorder for the bouts, and she also ran the iPad video. Ed Wells took video also from the back side of the list. All of our captured video is presented below.
We held three intermezzi for this tournament; in the first, all combatants from each side took to a divided field. Each side bore six or seven spears and were not to cross the centerline. Each combatant could be struck three times; each time, they were to retire to the back and pass their spear to a new combatant. In this exchange many amazing deeds were done, but Edward commanded attention as he first slew five opponents before taking his first hit, then at the end faced down seven of the opponents, taking one or two before being overwhelmed by the remainder.
In the next intermezzo, Ed Wells called for a challenger, to meet an unnamed weapon. Edward fought for the honor of meeting the other Ed, and they met--at which point Ed brought out his "extra sharp" secret weapon--a big block of cheddar. There was much punning along the sidelines, and the interlude create much laughter.
In the third intermezzo, Rachel held the field, catching up as she arrived late but sporting her new helmet. She did well against many different combatants, earning her way onto the team for the fourth pass. Also during the last intermezzo, Dennis and Geoffrey demonstrated some of their messer play anchored in Lecküchner.
Thomas v. Julian (3 blows, sword in two hands)
And a couple of extra bouts - Robert v. Julian
Joshua v. Julian (3 blows dagger)
Dennis v. Emily (1 minute, sword and buckler)
Jesus v. Gene (satisfaction, sword in two hands)
Robert v. Sam (30 seconds, dagger)
Garret v. Bryan (5 blows spear & rotella)
Andrew v. Jon (3 blows, a outrance, sword in two hands)
Sam v. Julian (5 blows, poleaxe)
Julian v. Elisabethe (30 seconds, baton)
Ed v. Brian (5 blows, sword in two hands, a outrance)
Bryan v. Sam (5 blows, sword in one hand)
Geoffrey v. Garrett (???)
Elisabethe v. Edward (5 blows, dagger)
Conner v. Chris (5 blows, dagger)
Kris v. Julian (3 blows, spear)
Gene v. Robert (1 minute, spear)
Celeste v. Jesus (3 blows, spear)
Jon v. Garick (3 blows, sword in two hands rebated)
Chris v. Tom (5 blows)
Emily v. Brian (5 blows, sword in two hands)
Tom v. Bryan (3 blows, sword in two hands)
Dennis v. Edward (3 blows, sword & buckler)
Garrick v. Brian (1 blow, sword & baton, in memory of Michael St. Sever)
End of Pass 3, first TBD fights of pass 4 video 2
Garrick (spear) v. Joshua (sword & shield)
Geoffrey (spear) v. Sam (sword and shield)
Ed v. Sam (halfsword, a outrance)
Sam (sword & buckler) v. Edward (sword in two hands)
Bryan v. Andrew (sword and shield)
Alternate Pass 4 fights will follow
ESPECIALLY NOTABLE DEEDS
Special thanks to Wendy Price, who coordinated food and much else that went unseen, and to Whitney, who served as both herald and videographer! We missed Whitney on the field, but she made a HUGE contribution making sure we had records of the day.
We will include here deeds as they are gathered from the participants. Gifts were given, and the chivalric spirit of the day enhanced by all present. More to follow, we hope!
Stay tuned for accounts and kudos gathered from the participants, and stay tuned also for our CSG 2023 pas d'armes, scheduled for the same weekend in mid-October!