The Reports of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Reversing my Position

Well friends, despite my frustration and disappointment in the Society, I am going to reverse my previous position to walk away. ‘Well, no s**t there I was…’ at what was supposed to be my last event fulfilling my duties, and word to good people who deserve nothing less. Allow me to explain a little…

There have been a lot of conversations with people regarding the Martial Peerage,  town hall meetings, group discussions, and back channel meetups. There are a great many people who support a path in some form or another. Some of the conversations have been supportive, especially recently.

I would like to point out here that I don’t normally spark these conversations, strangely enough people usually start the conversation with me when I am at an event. I try not to bother people with the #MartialPeerage issue, because, well, its their time too. They surely have other things they think are important to them…. but I digress.. I have organized discussions, yes, but in casual meetings, I generally try not to.

I have recently had several chats with people that I greatly respect, who have showed empathy, respect, and open minds. Having these convos have brought me to another place of understanding. Provided more information and perspective. These friends helped reveal to me that there is respect and honor, even in some places I may not expect. Remind me that perspectives are important, and context helps.

But you said…

Is it hard to ‘swallow my pride’ and reverse my previous statements? No. It isn’t about ego or pride. Though I have ego I try not to be driven by it, it is not a barrier.

This doesn’t mean things are ‘o.k.’, they aren’t. Bias is fairly rampant in this Society. I don’t think ignoring it helps. Always call out a bully. ALWAYS.

I’m still looking at other groups such as the EMP. I love ‘re-enactment’ and the lifestyle, the singing, music, arts, storytelling, martial activities, and so much more. But letting the bullies have the last word has never really been my style. So I’ll stick around. I’ll try to be supportive, inquisitive, and empathetic. It is hard when you feel as if you are personally being attacked sometimes. What is always worse and weighs on me the most is seeing others give up, dismayed, lose hope, feel targeted… It is hard for me to watch this year in and out.

This post is about me, sorry. It isn’t about me though. We all deserve a better Society. Can we please all demand it instead of asking? It is our home too.

And now for something completely different…

LANCELOT: No, no, sweet Concorde! Stay here! I will send help as soon as I have accomplished a daring and heroic rescue in my own particular…

CONCORDE: Idiom, sir?


Targeting Groups – What’s your beef with us?

So what’s the ‘Happs’ Man?

I get a lot of PMs mostly good, some negative. That’s all ok. I appreciate the perspectives. I would like to note one quote, “… my [arguments] with the fighters…”

I think it is important to stress here that my main issue is with the BoD. I have no quarrel with the ‘fighters’ or any other group. Speaking a truth or pointing out an injustice is not a declaration of war; it is an invitation for discussion.

That is not to say that some people who consider themselves ‘fighters’, have a beef with me. Let’s keep in mind what what my argument is now, and always has been: Allow Kingdoms a path to recognize those who are Peers in martial groups.

To the main Point

To clarify more recent posts and comments made by myself in reference to Pennsic. In general, people who are in ‘control’ of events and making rules for scenarios are included in the people I am regarding. Arbitrary restrictions and exclusions are not ok.

Take for example Pennsic. For as many years as I can remember, the field battles have excluded specific groups from playing in over 50% of the scenarios (minimum): Combat Archers and Siege Engineers. The issue is very simply that we are also fighters. The idea that we don’t meet some people’s definition of fighter is wholly irrelevant. It is ignorance and prejudice. We as a group pay the same dues, have the same restrictions, spend time mastering our skills, drive the same distances, on and on. So how is it these specific groups are excluded?

Said directly to me the morning of the field battle while acting as CAMiC: “We’re just not going to have combat archery this time”, the MiC

“I didn’t train for years to take the field and be killed immediately by an arrow.” Historically nobody did, but it was a reality. What it truly comes down to is two main things: bias, and scenario set up. I know fighters and marshals who take great strides to seek a more equitable field of battle that does NOT include sidelining specific people. To those people I greatly respect you. You are truly enlightened and understand what the game is about, and moreover are a good person in my estimation.

Who’s Field is This Anyway?

Simple answer, “It is not yours, it belongs to us all.” We as a Society all pays dues and choose our passions. We deserve and demand to be on that field, EVERY. TIME. POSSIBLE. So how did we get to a place where certain groups get to chose who can or cannot play? I’m not totally sure the answer is relevant, save a better understanding of our past so as to learn and grow. If it is safe for a combatant to take the field, make sure it happens. Pole-arm fighters have never had to show up and ask if they were going to get to take the field that day. ~nuff said


Whoever you are, get over yourselves.

Scenario Set Up

There are many things that can be done to make the game more equitable. Rules or suggestions can and have been made to groups and proficiencies. Speaking directly to CA however… Limit the number of arrows when a combatant takes the field. When they run out, they have to resupply at the line/res point (an idea from a person whom I won’t name without permission). There are others but you get the idea. The goal should be (assuming there is nothing on the line, like a War or something) to have fun. We should all strive to make it more fun and equitable for all of us, as best we can.

Worth noting, that if one side brought twenty archers and two engines and you didn’t, who’s failure is that? Not the archers or engineers! Your commanders and armies should have a complete army, you could be training together, learning from each other, advancing tactics, improving! Avail yourselves of every tool available to your army, and fix the gaps that exist, don’t sit people out or split them up under the guise of ‘fairness’. We archers and engineers are proud as well, we want to fight for our Kingdoms and Groups.

Wrapping Up

Because someone doesn’t respect or like a person or group is not an excuse to exclude them. It isn’t your game. If you can’t be an adult about it, perhaps this isn’t the hobby for you.

So am I ‘warring’ with ‘fighters’? Nope. There are some who take offense to my words but that says FAR more about them than it does me. Honor is not reserved only for those that hold a specific weapon. It is achievable, and held by us all regardless of ‘your’ opinion.

My beef is not with a group, it is with ego, indifference, and bias.

I’m Not Leaving the SCA, The SCA Left Me

An open letter to the Populace and the Board of Directors of the Society for Creative Anachronism

Back to My Roots

When I started circa ’91, I was a young skate rat with a love of archery. My friends and I would lob arrows at each other in football fields, shoot targets, etc. My friend Cody Yarbrough introduced me to the SCA, “Hey there is a place we can camp and do archery all weekend!”. Are you kidding me? Parties and archery?! Im In! After a while, going to more events and meeting people, I discovered armored fighting, and even better, discovered combat archery (CA)! I did some research I finally save up some money to get a bow that could be used and began to practice. “Well I am going to need armor”, I thought and Cody took me to an evening armoring session/get together at someones house. Long story short, ALL of the fighters made it crystal clear that combat archery was not only unwelcome, but actively derided. By these very people. So I gave up. I attended events sporadically for a little longer, but these sentiments stuck with me. However I continued to party and have fun, so, ‘meh’. Ultimately I left.

Rediscovering the Old World

Playing Magic the Gathering one night a few/many years later, I was playing across from someone, Dante Kinney, who I considered a good person and friend, and thought to myself, “He just looks like someone who would be in the SCA”. Sure enough, the conversation turned to that and I was back in. However still wary from my first experience. He invited me to go to Pennsic with him. This was a lifetime dream my friends and I back in the day had never achieved, “100% YES!”.

Falling in With Good People

Man was I lucky. Not only was I lucky enough to go camping with a cool person, the people who he camped with was House Longbow. I was lucky and honored to be dropped right in the middle of some of THE BEST archers in the known world. Longbow was sisters with House Crossbow (collectively Bow-Bow), that sealed. it: THE BEST ARCHERS in the known world. Through their collective grace, honor, chivalric qualities and kindness. I grew as a person, as a member of the Society, and as an archer. I finally realized my love for combat archery. I became a marshal, teacher, mentor, student, leader, and so much more. They ALL accepted me with open arms and were almost all, my Peers. As time went on I discovered the entire community, archers, thrown weapons, equestrian, these were all open, caring, and amazing people. Nobody told me that my chosen path was wrong, they fostered my growth and helped me find my path. I cannot thank Bow-Bow, or the archery community enough. They were the guiding light that kept me in the Society as it got harder and harder to stay over the years. Being insulated was not a prophylactic, a wall was still being built.

Cracks in the Facade

As I was getting more involved in organizing and marshaling both target and CA, it became more and more clear, the SCA fighters and to some extent the surrounding communities, never lost their ego, snobbery, or self importance. Yes, yes… there are MANY who are good and amazing, and I’ll address that later. From word, deed and structure, in many ways it was clear I was still not welcome. This brought back the feelings I had the first go around.

“Prove it Dummy” – Fred Sanford

There are SO MANY examples, however I will share just a few. Not getting time in court to award prizes. Archery not being included in court at all. Having a Duke tell me to my face that, “archers aren’t worthy [of peerage]” and, “anyone can do archery, it doesn’t require skill and mastery like [rattan] weapons”. Not being allowed to use the field with our rattan brothers and sisters. Being omitted from field battles. MiCs attempting to not allow CA despite it being organized and advertised. Unrealistic restrictions not based on safety. Going to an Old School War Practice and having the ENTIRE GROUP of fighters groan as they saw me carry my crossbow while unpacking. The years of ‘jokes’, like, “here come the combat archers”. Fighters whining, “Plate Proof!” when they are not in fact, wearing plate. Generally fighters not taking blows at all. Archers being relegated to the far off pitches of the land, in some cases for safety reasons, but not always.

I shudder to think what others have endured. People who are more fragile, or who are the same as I was starting out in ’91. To be clear this is not about me, this is about others. I will speak to that directly later.

What made all of this worse is that the sentiment was so deeply engrained, that even good people sat back as small and large abuses occurred. Including myself. Being complacent with ‘this is just how it is’ and ‘Ill just go and do my thing and ignore the rest’. If we didnt call out and address bad behaviour, who would? Consistency in action and thought is important. It is how we build trust and relationships.

Is This Everyone Else’s Fault?

Part of this we brought on ourselves as communities. We could have called out bad behaviour. Demanded respect and recognition. Came together and shared experiences good and bad and fostered a healthier environment outside of our groups. We as communities were not the best at putting people in for recommendations or awards either. I have been guilty of this, I know others have been as well, but we could have all done better to ensure not just our friend groups got awards, but people who are not being noticed or included got recognized and appreciated. We could have been better advocates for our passions, and ensuring our ‘things’ happened. I wrote about this in this blog post. Ultimately we were owners of our own destiny, and we all failed those that follow us, but we did not falter in a vacuum. To those who didn’t feel safe to openly discuss the issue of the Omnibus Peerage, I’m sorry you were made to feel that way.

Thats Just the Way the Cookie Crumbles

Sadly everyone got complacent and comfortable with specific groups being outsiders to varying extent. I have never been ok with this. It is a fighting society and many continued to make it clear that what siege engineers and CAs did didn’t align with the conceptions of ‘fighting’. The problem being it was never about their perception. We were fighters whether they thought so or not. Snobbery and ego persisted. The pecking order clearly established. The organization is about the fighters. It started that way, and it will sadly stay that way.

System Error

BoDs support of systemic bias I often got asked why the BoDs inaction is so important. What a tiring question. It never was just about the Omnibus Proposal. The entirety of the culture that comes along with it. The Board is making it very plain that Peers in the Society are very important. Just not peers from those groups. The BoDs continued foot dragging, the ‘maybe laters’, ‘lets do another poll’, and ‘can you prove your participation numbers?’.

When has a Laurel in weaving ever been asked to prove participation numbers? Or scores? Is that what a Peer is about? No. A person is a Peer because of who and what they are. Yes there is criteria whether they admit it or not, checkboxes that need be ticked off… but ‘how many people at a given event are card weaving’ isn’t it.

People are Peers. Colum, Mika, Godai, Seamus and many others, too many to name really over the decades. They are archery Peers whether you like it or not. The BoD and the arrogant ego driven Dukes and Duchesses who support the continued inaction don’t see it that way. Their way of thinking is in part something like this, “Well there is no path to Peerage for archery, but you have done service for decades, so, How about a Pelican?!”. It is insulting. Not saying being a Pelican is insulting, to be clear: If they were given a Peerage for who and what they are, why their service exist, for being Masters in archery, AND they were given a Pelican for their service… that makes perfect sense. But to not even have a path institutionally to be recognized, only support the bias. In this way the BoD is only virtue signaling when they speak of equity.

Where My People At?

An Omnibus Peerage is not new. It already exists as the Laurel. They have figured out long ago how to asses candidates who are not in ones field. How to arrive at decisions, and who is deserving. Oddly enough, many people decrying this proposal, are the very ones enjoying an omnibus peerage! Other arguments such as adding a martial peerage will water down are reduce the pie is a BS excuse that holds no merit. More on that here.

I Got Mine, So Piss Off

I actively fought for the rapier community to get their peerage. Not quite understanding at the time how selfish and short sighted the idea was. The idea that each group need their own special club leaves a lot out. You can still have your tradition, your pomp and circumstance without leaving your brothers and sisters behind. The Chiv. already did that, and they will never let a combat archer in, despite it being in their charter. So they got theirs and the rest of you, “good luck with that!”. That said, I do not begrudge either their peerage. The Chiv was built on history and tradition. I fully respect that and hope they continue. Now the MoD has been created they too are building their history and tradition. Let’s get something straight, you are not better than anyone. You are a peer who was recognized for what you do. Thats a nice privilege you have there. It sure would be nice if everyone had it. But we understand, you’re too busy to help with that.

So, What Broke the Camels Back?

Planning to go to Pennsic. Arbitrary rules have been placed on us before. This year it was adjusting the shooting range to ‘clear-the-bow’ + 9′. There is no safety application here, I believe the fighters simply do not want us in their ranks. I always fight front lines, I am deadly accurate and effective second and third row. But there is a consistent theme here:  Limiting combat archers to 12 shots in a scenario. Only allowing face shots. Restricting participation in field battles.

Combat archers pay for armor, build armor, hone skills, make weapons, research, give service, and pay just as much to attend an event as a rattan fighter does. Yes we were the ones expected to ‘sit one out’. Pole arms are never asked to sit one out, sword and board, nobody but siege and CA. Tournaments, bear pits, and more are one thing, but field battles?

So you’re Just gonna Take Your Ball and Go, Huh?

Um, yes! I have had many people tell me to do this. It is a little wild how openly hostile people can be when fighting for equity. I have heard people say this to others. For years I have had faith in a Society that prides itself on honor and service. I no longer have any illusions this will change. We needed to replace the Board en masse.

I spoke earlier about others, and it not being about me, and this is an important part of why I am officially leaving. I cannot continue to support or foster others growth in a system that will ultimately screw them over. It’s a bad and sometimes abusive relationship that I cannot in good faith promote others into. I mentioned earlier that I was insulated from a lot of the prevailing sentiment. How can I or others in good faith train archers, combat archers, or others into a group where they are, by policy, second class citizens? I will not expose new people to a group that is worst actively hostile, at best dismissive.

The Society has deemed Peers important, that same group has stated unequivocally that specific groups are not allowed that same recognition. If you cannot see the inconsistency there, you are part of the problem and I would hope you do a little soul searching as to why you are blinded to this.

The fact that so many communities would rather fight and quibble about a Martial Peerage rather than just support a PATH to recognition is disgraceful and goes against the essence of what this Society pretends to be about. Remember, all we are talking about is a Society support PATH to recognition. The Kingdoms can still happily tell their martial communities to collectively piss off. Each Kingdom would still have to deal with inherit bias, but at least the apparatus would be there. If a Crown wanted to elevate someone for who and what they are, they could!

Take a Seat Son…

I’m tired. I have tried for years to get respect for my brothers and sisters. I tried to be a good representative for people. Be the best mentor and teacher I could be. It will never be enough. One of the happiest moments as when I received my Yew Bow. I didn’t deserve it. The fact that my Peers that at least some in my community saw my worth, meant so much to me. It was a symbol of growth and acceptance. I was being recognized by people I respected.

I would not have accepted Peerage as a Laurel or Pelican if it were offered. Let me be super clear, there are MANY people ahead of me in that department. I don’t deserve it as I understand the PLQs. But if offered, I would have declined. I would urge anyone approached to join these ranks, decline. Until all of our brothers and sisters can be recognized, none of you should. Remember, I didn’t make peerage a big deal, the Society did. As very specific communities continuously watch others get recognized for who and what they are, these communities sit and cheer for their new Peers. They are deserving! But our groups are not. I can’t sit back and watch people I know, respect, and love be passed over or insulted any longer.

Turn the Lights Off

I have so many good memories and I will miss a great many of you. It is truly with a heavy heart that I accept the reality of this abusive relationship and walk away. They ALL of their respective martial groups deserve a chance and path for recognition.

I will continue to teach, shoot, and follow ‘medieval pursuits’. Please feel free to reach out to me, let’s geek out about Near Eastern culture and music, or archery. I have armor still and I gotta use it somewhere!

Though I walk over that threshold, make no mistake, the Society is closing the door on me and bolting the door as it has on many others.

“Now where is that Al Jazari water piston I need to finish…”


Pilfering Personal Peerage Pie?!

In regards to the Omnibus Peerage, one argument that is heard: We will water down the concept/reality of what Peerage is by including more. I will attempt to dismantle that theory. I will use certain groups as examples, but this is a ubiquitous argument and is not limited to, or singling out any specific group. They are examples. Nothing more, nothing less.

Driving in ones lane

Who is made ‘less’? When someone is elevated, they are elevated for what they master in, in their lane. Meaning this candidate is a master of the thing they are, in the space they chose. Someone who is recognized as a Laurel for their woodworking mastery will not be a detriment (nor necessarily as boon for that matter) to the Equestrian community. These two worlds might collide in a weird Venn-y diagram-my world, but not likely. Both will enjoy the benefits of having one so recognized in their ranks, continuing to do what they do, in their mastered field.

What this means is that one being recognized or elevated in their space in no way detracts from the other. Presumably these people are recognized for the work they have done, and hopefully continue to do. These individuals will be asked for support by the Society and Crown on their areas of expertise. It is about singling out individuals who are masters and thought leaders in their space. It identifies people who can be depended on for wisdom and intelligence. In other words, there is no pie. Anyone recognized as a Peer already, is not harmed or damaged in any way. Their voice rendered no less valued, their mastery not diminished in any way.

Peers… they live!

Whether we agree on the mechanics of how and why, one thing we should all agree on, is that Peers already exist, they simply haven’t been recognized as such. In each wonderful area that exists in the Society we could go to those communities, and ask, “Who is the most amazing person in your ‘space’?”. I would wager that any person who is active in that space, has at least one immediate answer. I would further bet that many of those people named would already be Peers in that area. The glaring exception would be people in specific groups in the SCA (eg: archery). Given that they do exist, that by any metric ever used to determine worthiness, a person meets or exceeds them all, why AREN’T they a Peer?

They can be a Peer already

“If they are an archer, they can become a Laurel!” If the argument is to be believed, that ‘granting a Martial Peerage would water down the pool’, then by recognizing an archer as a Laurel, or a Martial Peer would literally take the same space. Meaning regardless of what the individual is a candidate for, you are still adding N+1. So why not recognize them for who they are?

Take the example of an archer is recognized for their art and not their mastery of the martial skill (of which their art is derivative) couldn’t that be insulting? Perhaps this is hard for some to understand because they don’t know much about archery specifically, but this example can be overlaid to anything else. An example I think most people can recognize is this: There is a candidate in the fighting community who exemplifies all Peer traits, is a master of their martial form, derived arts such as making armor, weapons, teaching, and more… Would any member of the Chiv community accept them being made a Laurel for their armor making skill in lieu of a Knight for everything they are? Would that not be insulting to all the dedication and value they bring to every other aspect of the Society?

Let’s do both!

The Society and Crown have recognized individuals as multiple Peers, again and again. If they argument is to be believed that we cannot ‘water down’ the Peerages, then why do multiple Peers exist? Certainly there are members of the Laurel who are also members of the Chiv, and in each space, deserving. Using the water down argument, recognizing someone as a Peer in another space would be wasteful.

But it isn’t, and anyone who knows a worthy individual who holds multiple Peerages, has them for a reason. WHAT are those reasons? The reasons one conjures are the same exact reasons used for allowing recognition for individuals for who they are and what they do, not ASPECTS of who they are and what they do.

Dude, shut up

I will for now, but I’ll conclude with this. If the concept of Peerage is a necessary one, and we as a Society value those candidates, let us recognize those individuals for who and what they are. Respect their space as we continue to respect yours.

In service to the Dream in equity…