Post Pennsic Wrap Up – Valiance Proposal Meetings

Valiance Proposal Unofficial Badges

Greetings friends! It been a while since we had a gathering and discussed the proposal. This year at Pennsic there were two opportunities.

A few people showed up for the first meeting and we discussed a variety of things, including what they have been doing in their Kingdoms, what they have seen, and the status of various orders and awards.

An issue regarding inclusion and welcoming others into awards was not only a topic here, but also in fireside conversations as well. There are those who guard their awards and don’t necessarily welcome inclusion, but that will be a topic for another day.

Generally when it comes to participation, it seems there is more work to be done where inclusion, and cross discipline events are concerned. One thing that came up previously was the idea of having competitions that span several martial areas. Such as a tourney where a score must be submitted for thrown weapons, archery, and atl atl (for example). This could be any combo of activities, including other areas such as: rattan combat, siege, etc.

There exists in An Tir the ‘Three Pillars’ (see below) competition where participants need not participate in all the ‘things’ but have scores submitted for the things they participate in. The scores are tallied and there is an overall winner. In this case on need not even participate in a specific thing, but they get points for what they do. if atl atl is one of them, great!

One serious issue that did come up was the concept of using scores to gauge viability. We can all agree that scores in the area of martial skills can be a way of determining prowess. The prevailing wisdom was that being the best shouldn’t be a requirement, and this was generally the feeling in respective communities. A point was discussed that when a Laurel, for instance, is polled they do not include A&S scores in the polling for consideration. In that same mindset, scores for martial areas should not be a precluding factor, but might be fair to consider. Using the same analogy, one may enter every single A&S competition and place last, perhaps then this wouldn’t be the best candidate. So too likely would be the case for a martial candidate. In both cases however, scores do not nearly tell the whole story, rather lend to the narrative.

Making sure martial events are happening with regularity, opening avenues for discovery and inclusion. Make sure we as a community are talking to autocrats, event planners, and local groups about how we can better integrate and be more visible. More here. We can’t wait for our passion to be represented, we need to wear it proudly and share!

Other topics we revisiting older issues and looking deeper into the culture and inclusiveness. I’ll link to a previous posts (2018, 2016) so you can read what was shared.

There are many ways to show your support, please learn, share, and actively support the inclusion of the remaining segments of our Society actively precluded for bing recognized for exactly who and what they are.

Support the Valiance Proposal!

Three Pillars Overview

Three Pillars Scores

Three Pillars Events


Order Inclusions – The Case for Sharing a Seat at the Table

Hip Quiver Full of Bolts
Hip Quiver Full of Bolts

Friends it is the case that many groups work in a vacuum. That may for technical, safety, or any number of reasons. However decisions have been made in the past about how well some things do fit together, or whether they fit together ‘well enough’.

Take the case of the Laurel. Arts can, and do, vary vastly in process, scope, materials, and so much more. Yet we can in almost every situation take an art, break it down, and assess it. What do I mean? Arts can be studied, documented, reviewed, and displayed. A similar review process can be applied across art forms. We can standardize on what is an art, and get people to judge it who may not even be in that specific field.

This brings me to the idea of being inclusive where it comes to polling orders, and other orders of merit. Let’s take the Order of the Yew Bow as an example. The order includes a wide range of activities, presumably open to others not technically listed. This makes sense in that those in a martial community are able to apply the same logic in their fields, to others. Teaching, prowess, skill, related arts, teaching, and more. The same way we could ‘judge’ a candidate using my time as an archer, would equally apply to a combat archer. Can they hit a target, are they proficient, make and repair equipment, empower others, leaders, etc.

We can make decisions about how we assess candidates, and apply knowledge we have, and fudge as necessary to make accommodations for any ignorance.

Those who are worthy, and valued should not be made to wait until an order exists that fits perfectly. We are an imperfect Society, and as such should be tolerant, and forgiving.

If you have an order in your Kingdom, or group, and you are currently not inclusive, I humbly beg you to review your reasons. Are they sound? Founded in solid logic with an eye to inclusion? Would a group of archers be harmed in including a combat archer?  Are we not cut from the same cloth?

For me the solution is quite straight forward, but we should always welcome discussion and be willing to be swayed by a good argument, even if we don’t like the result. If we have a light to shine, let’s shine brighter and be a beacon across the known world. Talk to your fellow members. If not a member, speak with the Principal, or members of that order or group  that are in a position to make a difference. Let them know it makes a difference to you.

Youth Combat Archery – It Should Be a Thing!

Youth combatants in Aethelmearc

There have been several discussions over the years regarding youth combat archery, and though I have not been privy to them all, I have engaged in a few. As the Score Keeper for the IKCAC it has become more of an issue lately as youth who wish to participate must use ‘adult’ equipment. We have to date had at least one youth score entered, but using equipment they aren’t required to use in their own combat (for those that enjoy the sport) it is a real change. For those that are trying it for fun (including adults) it is different to have a helm and gauntlets on regardless of course.

What are the concerns?

So what are the blockers for creating rules for CA for youth? Initially the concerns are in the area of poundage of certain bows. For instance my crossbow hits fairly hard at ~520 ppsi (pounds per square inch). This would simply be too much given the armor requirements that youth is currently using. Not to mention Baldars hit a little harder than UMHW.

So whats the solution?

The overarching goal is to not replicate work. If this is already underway, let’s work together to promote the idea. The more we all work in concert, the more quickly this will become a reality. This is totally achievable, if not, why not. I truly hope we can open discussions about this across the known world and address any potential pitfalls or concerns. Please comment below with your thoughts and there is a draft document as a supplement.

It strikes me however (see what I did there?) that limiting youth to recurve would do the trick. Perhaps limiting the head type to UHMW as well. This more resembles ‘archery tag’ rules/equipment. Perhaps even requiring more padding as is required for Rapier.

Remember that for the IKCAC it isn’t as relevant, but what we might be looking for is consistency and standards. Regarding combat though, we should afford youth the same fun that adults enjoy! Combat Archery is so much fun and many youth are attracted to archery (target and combat). Being able to bridge this gap can be an important tool in broadening their horizons and opportunities. Not to mention the differing skillsets and related arts.

Call to action!

Please share your thoughts and concerns in the comments and the shared doc.

References: (VII.G.6.e.ii)

Thinking outside the (IKCAC) box

With a recent refresh of the rules for a new 2019 (and future) seasons, an interesting idea was put forward by a friend in An Tir…

During the distance, and close range, there is no issue, you can set up multiple targets (30 and 10 yds) and simply switch targets. The interesting part comes in regard to the ‘advancing round’.

What if there are three targets set up on the range (30, 20, and 10 yds), and in lieu of advancing forward physically, there is a point or post 5 yards behind the (green) shooting line.

How the range might be set up using the post method
How the range might be set up using the post method

After shooting the two rounds at the thirty, you move to the ‘Advancing Round’. Once you get your two shots off at 30, you may advance and shoot at the 20, and repeat. What if instead of advancing, you physically walked/ran to a post behind the line, returned to the line, then shot normally?

How the participant would travel around the post
How the participant would travel around the post

Its an interesting concept, and one that I think would work… However there are some potential issues..

Loaded behind the line:

One should not have a spanned crossbow/bow or arrows/bolts loaded on their bows behind the line for any reason. This is especially true in a mixed line. One can argue that a shoot, solely dedicated to IKCAC, in a safe space, where all participants are aware, this can be done safely, that is not the scope of this post.

I prefer to load as I walk. The same way I perform in combat: always moving, always loading, always hunting. Using this method, one should not be loading while traveling to and from the post, to the line. It creates a safety hazard. What if the prod should break while in action and the bow is pointed ‘down line’ towards other participants? If using the post method, shoot, move to post and back, get back on the line, load and shoot.

Comfort of archers

It is the case that most archery lines are not comfortable, nor familiar with the type of explosive movement that can occur in combat archery. People leisurely shooting their Royal Rounds 10 feet away, may be greatly distracted by someone suddenly running off the line and back.

If one were to attempt this method, make sure all participants are not only aware this is happening, but are ok with it. All the line marshals as well as the MiC should be aware and be assuaged of any safety concerns.

Additionally, make sure the participants of the IKCAC are comfortable with the set up! Some may refer the physical advancement. If it can be run either or both ways, do what is best for the populace and participants!

Elbow room

Space can always be tight, but if there is room to run the IKCAC on its own, that may be a better fit. Though in some cases, a mixed line may be preferable. A mixed line also affords greater visibility to the IKCAC to participants who may not otherwise know it exists. If there is loaner gear, it also makes it easier for someone to walk up and try it out the same we afford in target archery! That said, make sure there is plenty of space for all activities. We want to ensure we are working together!


We all need to make sure the thing we love, is what we do. Talk to your Autocrats, and your Marshals in Charge. It is our job to not only make sure our thing is happening, but that it is advertised, has space, and is done safely!