What can we do to increase Combat Archery in the SCA?

Speaking to the idea of making combat archery not only more visible, but more accepted, as well as a regular occurrence at events.

First off, plan in advance. Give the autocrats and field staff plenty of time to make considerations. Speak to the MoL and make any arrangements beforehand.

Anyone and everyone who is a marshal should be willing to participate in staff if they are on site. We all need to realize that just because someone usually does ‘the thing‘, doesnt mean they should always do ‘the thing‘.

Bring an IKCAC target, these can be used on any target archery range. Make sure to advertise the shoot as well as get scores for your Kingdom. The IKCAC is a great competition with the idea of getting people more familiar with using the equipment. As close as you can get to combat without taking the field.

Always bring extra pairs of glasses and equipment with you, even if you arent marshaling. The last thing we need to have is prepared combatants not able to take the field because staff wasnt prepared. I have been a CA marshal and forgotten a bow scale before. Luckily someone had one to use!

Consider the scenarios and work with the MiC to ensure the CA activities can be included safely. Regards to field space, direction of fire etc. Perhaps work on the rules of the scenario so the heavy participants are better accommodated. For instance, limit a specific 20 minute battle to 5 bolts/arrows. It both challenges the archer, and means the archer can’t take the field and kill everyone from a bridge.

Include more options than bows. Bring throwing axes, daggers, etc. The space constraints are far less and afford a different kind of engagement. Something like a Missile Combat Tourney with two opposing participants can be a howl to watch as they huck daggers at each other.

Ask people to bring equipment, pavices, armor, throwing weapons, whatever they can muster to ensure that anyone who wants to play, can play. Again the planning comes into play here. If people know it is happening, they can bring additional equipment to help. And those without equipment can ask and be answered.

Work with Siege community, if they can come so can we. Same with thrown weapons. Typically we dont think of thrown weapons on the field, but going from the thrown weapons range to armred thrown weapons should be an easy transition.

Speaking of engagement the CA community should be doing all it can to interface in a meaningful way with the armored community. Going to events like Old School War Practice is something that comes to mind. Going to weekly armored practices. Learning to communicate and work effectively with your army.

I like the motorcycle metaphor. Nobody sees a motorcycle or respects what it takes to operate or be on the road on one. But once you have ridden, you always are looking. In this same way Combat Archers (IMO) should also endeavor to take up other forms of arms. Spear, pole-arm, sword and board, anything.Experience in a fighting form or at the very least study of it, will help us perform better with those types of units.

Mentorship: Talk to your communuity, show up even when there is no CA happening, announce it. Talk to people. Perhaps authorizations can happen? But they cant if nobody represents!

Branding: Have a brand where when people see your banner etc, they now they can get ammo and bows inspected etc. Advertise.

There is so much more to say on this but for me it comes down to two things: Communication, and dedication.

Please add your comments below!


Special Thanks to James Morrow for the inspiration to write this piece.

Published by

Cameron de Grey

Archery, Combat Archery, Leatherworking, Blacksmithing, Near Eastern Music, Bardics