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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:36 pm    Post subject: GUIDELINES FOR INTERCLUB COMBAT Reply with quote

*as agreed by the meeting of combatants at the Sixth Australasian Mediaeval Conference at Cataract, NSW 1991, with amendments from Glenfield, NSW 1993, Brisbane, Queensland 1995, Geelong, Victoria 1997, Bacchus Marsh, Victoria 1999, Macksville, NSW 2001, Porepunkah, Victoria 2003, Nagambie, Victoria 2005 and Dunghaven, NSW 2007 for use at the biennial conference and other interclub events at the discretion of the host body. They evolved from the discussions started at the Macquarie Conference in 1983.

Other versions of the rules are in the order of last use:

Current rules including changes made by the Conferention organisers for Dunghaven, NSW 2007
Annotated version of the current rules including changes made by the Conferention organisers for Dunghaven, NSW 2007.
Unused version of the rules including changes from the State of the Movement meeting at Nagambie/Herns Hill, VIC 2005
Nagambie/Herns Hill, VIC 2005
Porepunkah, VIC, 2003
Unused version of the rules from the State of the Movement meeting Bowraville, NSW 2001
Bowraville, NSW 2001
Rowsley, VIC 1999
Sokil, VIC 1997
Brisbane, QLD 1995
Glenfield, NSW 1993
Cataract, NSW 1991
Castle Mountain, NSW 1987


An alternate set of rules is used by the New Varangian Guard Incorporated at their events. The NVG combat rules can be found on http://www.nvg.org.au/.


An alternate set of rules is used by The Queensland Living History Federation Incorporated at their events. The QLHF combat rules are at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Sparta/7135/guide.html.


The NAAMA Rules are used in New Zealand. The NAAMA combat rules are at http://www.medieval.co.nz/Naama/combatru.htm.


Table of Sections
1 Application

2 Structure

3 Requirements

4 Head Combatants

5 Disputes in Combat

6 Protection

7 Blows

8 Killing and Dying

Figure 1 - Prohibited Targets

Schedule 1 - List of Restricting Legislation by State

Melee Weapons Annexure

Addendum A - Guidelines for Projectile Weapons - NSW Rules

Addendum B - Guidelines for Projectile Weapons - Victorian Rules


1 Application
1.1 Combat will be organised either by the Event Organisers or as displays by individual clubs. The former is referred to as "organised combat" and the latter as "display combat" for the purposes of these rules. "Non-organised combat" (impromptu combat organised by individuals or clubs) may also occur and is bound by the same rules as organised combat unless otherwise agreed by the Event Organisers.

1.2 These Guidelines shall be applicable to all organised and non-organised combat and all combatant displays, unless otherwise agreed by the Event Organisers.

1.3 In any place where these rules are found to be either insufficient or indistinct, common sense should prevail.

2 Structure
2.1 Organised combat will occur only in defined areas. Each of these areas will be defined as a "field of combat".

2.2 A combatants's meeting shall be held with club training personnel prior to combat to clarify any rules in question. The combatant representing each group will then be responsible for answering the questions put forward by the group.

2.3 A "Combat Reporting Area" area will be set aside so that non-organised combat can be reported to and cleared by the Event Organisers. Non-organised combat will occur only with the approval of the Event Organisers.

3 Requirements
3.1 Only those safe in a weapon may employ that particular weapon in combat.

3.2 Weapons will be inspected by combatants from the respective clubs and/or by the Event Organisers before combat commences; all sharp edges, hooks, spikes and rust must be removed.

3.3 No sharp or pointed weapons are permitted on the field of combat.

3.4 No weapon of any type, such as maces and flails, banned under state legislation shown in Schedule 1, may be used in any capacity in any combat unless a valid permit has been obtained and presented to the the Event Organisers for inspection.

3.5 No combatant will be admitted to the field of combat under the influence of alcohol and/or any other perception changing and/or performance enhancing drug or medication. Further, no alcohol or aforementioned drugs shall be taken prior to or during combat.

3.6 All combatants should have current tetanus and hepatitis immunity.

3.7 Any bleeding combatant must leave the field of combat immediately and not return until the wound is covered and the bleeding stopped.

3.8 No person may join a combat once that combat has commenced unless otherwise agreed by the Event Organisers.

3.9 No person is required to give a reason for refusing to fight any other person. Combatants refusing to fight others have the right to leave the field of combat immediately without being interfered with and without interfering with the combat of any other combatant around them.

3.10 At any point during combat, any combatant may call:

All combat will cease immediately and the combatants shall await instructions from the Event Organisers.

4 Head Combatants
4.1 Head combatants will be nominated by each individual club from their most experienced members. Their power will be:

to start and finish the combat;
to stop the combat for reasons of safety, or to intervene to stop dangerous action taking place;
to calm combatants or to request that they modify their behaviour;
to require that dangerous combatants or equipment be removed from the field.
4.2 There will be a minimum of one head combatant from each individual club for each organised combat.

4.3 All combatants will follow the instructions of the head combatant of their individual club. The head combatants shall have complete control of their individual club members during all organised combats.

5 Disputes in Combat
5.1 All disputes in combat will be resolved by the combatants involved in the dispute after combat has concluded. Discussion on any decision will be left until after the combat.

5.2 If any of the individual combatants involved in the dispute are unable to resolve the dispute between themselves, then any of the combatants involved only may refer the dispute to the Head Combatants of their individual clubs only. All such disputes referred to head combatants will be resolved by the head combatants of the individual club only. The head combatants referred to resolve the dispute will jointly agree whether to attempt to resolve the dispute immediately or whether to defer the dispute resolution to a later time.

5.3 If any individual combatant involved in the dispute is not satisfied that the dispute has been resolved fairly and satisfactorily by the head combatants of their individual clubs they may refer the dispute to the Event Organisers. All disputes referred to the Event Organisers will be attended and explained by the individuals combatants involved, the head combatants of their respective clubs and the Event Organisers only unless otherwise agreed by the Event Organisers. The decisions made by the Event Organisers will be final.

5.4 No combat shall be delayed or interfered with by any dispute between combatants. If any dispute arises, those combatants and head combatants involved must make sure that the dispute and its subsequent resolution does not in any way interfere in the combat of other combatants not involved in the dispute.

6 Protection
6.1 Minimum protection of a helmet and gauntlets must be worn during organised combat.

6.2 Padding and additional protection above the minimum standard described in 6.1 (such as guards for the forearm, lower leg, elbow, knee, mouth, breast and groin) is recommended for all combatants. Non-period protection such as plastic-capped knee guards should be concealed beneath period clothing.

6.3 Strong footwear/boots that provide toe protection and ankle support are recommended. Any non-period laces, straps, elastic or labels should be concealed so that the footwear looks as authentic as is reasonably possible.

6.4 Protection is left to the participants in display combat.

6.5 For all periods of combat, armour will be assumed to protect the wearer from harm exactly as it would in the period in which it was worn unless otherwise agreed by the Event Organisers.

7 Blows
7.1 No blows are to be aimed at or below the knees, at the groin, spine, joints or hands, except where qualified below. No weapon may be used in a thrusting manner to the shaded areas shown in Figure 1.

7.2 All blows connecting with opponent must be fully under control and slowed in such a way that upon striking your opponent you will not injure them. Grappling, punching and kicking is permitted only if blows are fully controlled and will not injur the victim.

7.3 A blow delivered to the crown of the head shall be deemed the only legal head blow.

8 Killing and Dying
8.1 Any combatant that receives a "killing" blow shall immediately fall to the ground and shall not participate in further fighting for the duration of that combat.

8.2 The only exception to 8.1 is during "Resurrection" combat during which a "killed" combatant may leave the field fully armed and armoured, report to a "Ressurection Point" and then rejoin the combat in their own time.

8.3 Combat will be declared "Ressurection" or not prior to the commencement of that combat by the head combatants participating or the Event Organisers.

8.4 No "dead" or "dying" combatant may be struck with any weapon.

8.5 Any legitimate blow to a limb shall be deemed as a kill, incapacity or loss of the limb, or "no harm done" at the discression of the combatant delivering the blow. If a limb is declared incapacitated or lost the victim combatant may continue to fight, but should avoid using the part that has been struck.


9 Prohibited Target Areas

Figure 1
Click on graphic for a larger view.


10 Melee Weapons Annexure
10.1 The maximum length for a spear used combat will be 3.5 metres unless otherwise agreed by the Event Organisers.

10.2 All weapons with metal edges shall meet the following requirements:

metal edges shall be rounded to a minimum diameter of 1.5mm;
metal points shall be rounded to a minimum of 20mm diameter (same size as a 5 cent piece)


Schedule 1
The commentary in the below section is general in nature and professional legal advice should be sought in specific cases.

When in: Governing Act
New South Wales
The Weapons Prohibition act is reviewed every 5 years. This review last happened in 2005. There was minimal change to the act, but a change was made to the regulation to introduce a Prohibited Weapons (Re-enactment) Event Permit, now required in addition to the individual's permit. Please see the regulation for the requirements. Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 No 127 (NSW)
Wepons Prohibition Regulation (NSW) 1999
Maces and flails are prohibited weapons under this act.

PWR, Part 3, clause 20: The Commissioner may, on application by a person on behalf of an historic or commemorative club or society (or other organisation) that proposes to conduct an historical or commemorative re-enactment event or events involving the possession and use of prohibited weapons, issue the person with a prohibited weapons—re-enactment event permit that authorises the club, society or organisation to conduct and supervise the re-enactment event or events specified in the permit.

NSW Firearms registry deals with all weapon licensing matters: http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/firearms
In New South Wales, care should also be taken to comply with: Summary Offences Act 1988 No (NSW) Section 11B

A person shall not, without reasonable excuse (proof of which lies on the person), have in his or her custody an offensive implement in a public place or a school.

Section 11C(iii) provides a reasonable excuse is participation in a lawful entertainment, recreation or sport.

Section 11E(I) provides anyone using or carrying a visible knife "in a manner that would be likely to cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his or her personal safety is guilty of an offence" and further states "(ii) No person of reasonable firmness need actually be, or be likely to be, present at the scene."

Section 3 of the act defines a knife as " (a) a knife blade, or (b) a razor blade, or (c) any other blade" but provides exemptions under section 14 of the regulation for "(b) any blades, other than knife blades or blades forming part of any of the following: (i) machetes, (ii) cleavers, (iii) swords."
Thanks to Andrew Straffon (NVG Inc.) for his analysis of the Victorian legislation. Control of Weapons Act 1990 No 24 (Vic)
Control of Weapons Regulation 2000 (Vic)

Victoria now has the three-tier system of Dangerous Articles, Controlled Weapons and Prohibited Weapons.

A Dangerous Article is basically anything used with the intent to cause someone harm.

The act provides that a Controlled Weapon (which is a "Spear-gun", "Baton" or "Cudgel", "Bayonet", an "Imitation firearm" or a "Cattle prod") may be possessed by a person with "lawful excuse" and the act includes "participation in any lawful sport, recreation or entertainment" as a lawful excuse.

Flails, morning stars, swords, falx (sycle-weapons), clubs, crossbows, daggers, weighted or studded gloves, spiked or flanged maces and many other weapons are all Prohibited Weapons under the Act. It is illegal to posses or carry any such items unless you have either an "Approval" (sometimes called a Prohibited Weapons Permit) granted by the Chief Commissioner of Police, or you are included as an "exempt class of person" in an exemption granted by the Governor in Council by an Order published in the Government Gazette. Several such exemptions has been granted, including one to "re-enactors" (defined as members of groups specifically listed in the exemption) and can be found in Victorian Government Gazette G25 17 June 2004. Note that the exemption for re-enactors allows the members of the listed groups to possess only swords (not other Prohibited Weapons) and has strict requirements for the storage, use and transport of those swords.
Rumour had it that a new regulation to make swords prohibited weapons was in preparation in Queensland would come in to affect on 1 July 2004, but no details are yet available. Weapons Act 1990 (Qld)
Weapons Regulation (Qld) 1996
Weapons Categories Regulation (Qld) 1997

It should be noted that maces are category "R" weapons and Flails are restricted weapons in Queensland under the Weapons Categories Regulation 1997.

Queensland Weapon Licensing Department: http://www.police.qld.gov.au/pr/program/wlb/index.shtml
Western Australia Weapons Act 1999 (WA)
Weapons Regulation (WA)

Similar restrictions to the other states, there are two classes of weapons: prohibited and controlled. Schedule 2 of the regulation states the controlled weapons include: Bow (including arrows); crossbow; dagger; bayonet; halberd; spear; any studded weapon or glove; sword; weighted chain weapons, such as a flail.

Section 6(3) provides an out for weapon smiths/manufacturers... "A person does not, by doing or attempting to do something referred to in subsection (1), commit an offence against that subsection if it is for the purpose of fulfilling a contract for the provision of a prohibited weapon to a person who may lawfully possess it.".

Section 7(3) of the act states that a lawful excuse "to carry or possess a controlled weapon does not include the excuse that the weapon is carried or possessed for defence.".

Some further exceptions are listed in section 10, notably a subsection providing blanket exceptions for... "something done by the person in the performance of the person's functions as --
(a) the Western Australian Museum constituted under the Museums Act 1969, a Trustee, member of staff or employee of the Museum or a person engaged to provide a service to the Museum whether for remuneration or not; or
(b) a person establishing or maintaining a museum recognized under Part IV of the Museums Act 1969 or a person employed in or engaged to provide a service to such a museum whether for remuneration or not."

Section 8 covers other articles used or possessed as weapons – all offences under this section are to do with intent to injure or to cause to cause any person to fear that someone will be injured or disabled.
South Australia Rather than the usual two-tier regulation system, SA uses a three-tier system. There are three classifications of weapons: Offensive Weapons, Dangerous Articles and Prohibited Weapons.

Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) The relevant sections are 5, 15 and 85.
Summary Offences (Dangerous Articles And Prohibited Weapons) Regulations 2000 (SA)

Section 15 of the act provides a list of weapons and lawful excuses, such as religous reasons for owning a dagger.

Exemptions are provided under section 15 (2a)...
"(d) a person who has possession of, or uses, a prohibited weapon for the purpose or in the course of providing a lawful form of entertainment of other persons that reasonably requires the possession or use of the prohibited weapon;
(e) a person who has possession of, or uses, a prohibited weapon for the purpose or in the course of participating in a lawful and recognised form of recreation or sport that reasonably requires the possession or use of the prohibited weapon;

Under the act, Section 15(3) '"offensive weapon" includes a rifle, gun, pistol, sword, knife, club, bludgeon, truncheon or other offensive or lethal weapon or instrument but does not include a prohibited weapon;' and refers to the regulation for prohibited weapons.

The regulation contains a list of dangerous articles and prohibited weapons which includes:
Dangerous Articles: Bayonet;
Prohibited Weapon: Dagger; Morning Star; throwing knife;

Another thing to be aware of is that Manufacturers have to register with the Commissioner of Police (Schedule 3, section 14).
Tasmania Police Offences Act 1935 (Tas)

Div II Sec 15C deals with possession of a dangerous article and Sec 15D covers use, carriage and possession of a crossbow. Div I also provides in section 4. "(1) A person must not, in a public place, be drunk... when in possession of any dangerous weapon."
Northern Territory Weapons Control Act 2001 (NT)
Weapons Control Regulation (NT)

Keeps the same distinction between Controlled and Prohibited weapons as most other states, but penalties vary according to time of day. Night time is defined as between 9pm and 6am.

In the act, section 4(b) states that participation in a lawful sport, lawful recreation, lawful entertainment or lawful activity; and 4(c) the legitimate collection, legitimate display or legitimate exhibition of weapons, are reasonible excuses to own and use controlled weapons.

Controlled weapons include daggers; bayonets; swords (a thrusting, striking or cutting weapon with a long blade having one or 2 cutting edges and a hilt) and; flails
Prohibited weapons include one-handed crossbows; throwing knives; throwing axes and; maces.
Australian Capital Territory Prohibited Weapons Act 1996 No 75 (ACT)
Prohibited Weapons Regulation (ACT)

Maces and flails are prohibited weapons under the Prohibited Weapons Act (ACT) 1996 (Schedule 1, Item 22), while the Regulation provides exemptions for performers in a production being staged by a theatrical, dramatic or historical society, or is a member of the society staging a production in which a restricted weapon or a dangerous weapon is used; and has the weapon in his or her possession for the purposes of the production.

Permits are issued by the Registrar (PWA, Section 3, rule l9), and a specific re-enactment permit for prohibited weapons is provided for in the Regulation in reg 12.
Crossbows, blowgun darts and catapults need a permit from the Minister instead of the registrar and have a higher requirement to demonstrate "need".

Prepared by Wayne Robinson,
Gasmules Society (Formerly The Australasian Mediaeval Conference Association Incorporated)
Last Updated 30 July 2007
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