Some Thoughts On MarshalingbyJoseki Ko©
Author's note. I play in a live action medieval recreation game. We fence, and fight with heavy steel. This was written to help people learn to marshal.
Some thoughts on Marshaling
It’s easy to recognize a great Marshal, why is it so hard to imitate one..
Like other sports, our rules are constantly changing. The speed of actions, the method of hitting, checking power, and the behavior of our combatants have been evolving through the years. It is all part of a larger societal picture… The problems of everyday life are reflected in our erich’s. As expected, the marshals of our sport have been called upon to see these new variations with the added twist of a plethora of restrictions that seem to change every month.
The Artisans have a problem with the fighters, the fighters have a problem with the marshals, the Earl Marshal has a problem with the behavior of fighters, and everybody has a problem with tailoring.
The toughest tasks facing Marshals are;
1) The ability to see the actions accurately, and the courage to say what they saw.
2) The ability to see infractions within the context of fighting and to administer penalties without being tyrannical.
Simplistically, it appears that most marshals just don’t know enough about the game itself., and that they are easily distracted by what’s going on around the erich’s. Rather than focusing on the actions of the participants. And on the flip side it seems that fighters are consumed with the vision of victory and scoring the touch. Rather than interacting with other humans. One of the real difficulties with marshaling is that every set of actions is brand new. When any two fighters step into the erich’s they will influence each others movements making new variations on old actions.
We only do on the job training, and in fact we carry no guidelines on how to become a Marshal. So a potential Marshal stands beside a current Marshal and is asked to describe the actions and who scored the point. We have never asked the question have you read the codicils and asked questions about the parts you don’t understand. We do mention that the entire field is your responsibility. So you have to watch the crowd around the ropes as well as the actions in the erich’s. All in all it’s a tough job. The first time you judge a knight’s list is a unique experience in itself especially at heavy steel. It is really possible to see a blow land and score a hit that neither fighter notices. Usually because it’s not hard enough and nobody noticed under all that armor. Also seeing a blade land flat and both fighters take it as a kill makes it very hard to hold your tongue.
Here are a few things to think about. Both for you fighters and marshals.
1) What physical actions did you see.
2) What is each fighter trying to accomplish.
3) What actions occurred that may be misconstrued.
4) Is anyone dangerously close to the ropes.
5) Where exactly did the blow land and was it flat.
And a few further topics to be discussed after the round
1) Are some fighter’s actions harder to read than others, and if so why?
2) Can possible volatile emotional situations be foreseen and avoided by good marshaling.
3) Discuss how a marshal can reconstruct actions in a way that allows the fighters the most comprehension.
4) Discuss how a good marshal sets up good safety habits in the erich’s
5) What does a good marshal look at while marshaling, and how is the whole field his responsibility.
6) What qualities do you look for in a marshal? Can these qualities be integrated into your marshaling.
Becoming a good marshal, or a good fighter is a very lengthy process. But good fighters, and marshals are created slowly. Not every one is perfect and mistakes can and are made on both sides of the sword. I’ve had instances where I knew I scored a touch, only to find I’d hit an arm first. LOL and yes I’m still upset at it. And I’ve been on the other side of that argument as well.
Let me share with you something that happened to me along time ago.
I was facing Ian during a single elimination tourney. He lunged in and I beat his blade to the side. My riposte came up and scored squarely on his head. The marshals ruled that he scored the touch. He’d used a draw cut on his recovery and I was not in time. I was very upset. I asked a few questions of the marshals and was told I was in the wrong. His Majesty King Matthew was watching the actions and waved me over. I came as any good citizen should and he pulled me close to tell me this.
“It doesn’t matter what happened, that point is over. Fight the next point with your sword not the last point with your mouth.”
What he meant was not everyone sees the same thing and that it would do me no good to concentrate on being upset about it. I should instead concentrate on what it would take to win the next point” I have found this to be very good advice in my tears here.
So take this to heart, If doing this was easy there would be a lot more of us doing it.
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