So it’s been a little over a week since the SCA Board of Directors (BoD) had their emergency phone conference and approved the Order of Defense (OoD), and I’ve been asked to do a follow up blog post on my thoughts now that we finally have a path to Peerage for rapier. So here we go.
As I mentioned in my original post, I was surprised by the BoD’s rejection of the OoD. It seemed like the OoD was a sure thing, but it was rejected for a whole variety of reasons. Some of the BoD wanted rapier in the Chiv, others wanted an omnibus peerage, etc. It was a mess of a decision and then folks who worked hard to get the rapier peerage proposal written up were kinda thrown under the bus. Ugly, ugly, ugly.
I was left a little dejected but it also opened up a door of hope that rapier would be included into the Order of the Chivalry (which has always been my preferred choice).
And then the debates and arguments opened on Facebook and other social media.
“No! Omnibus instead!”
“Wait… don’t we have White Scarves for this?”
The Internet discussion was sub-par and truly lacking (shocking right?) but I was lucky enough to have attended a Discussion Salon hosted by Countess Meggie on the whole rapier peerage situation over Birka weekend. Most of the folks that attended were fencers, but a handful of rattan showed up (mostly knights, I believe) to give their opinion. It was a great talk — and it was very much a talk versus a debate — and it was truly nice to have that conversation in person instead of online for once, and to hear from local members of the Chiv. Of course, I didn’t leave feeling any different than when the talk first began, but it was still a good conversation to have. I’m glad Countess Meggie ran that, and people got to share their view points.
I also made sure I wrote to the BoD — again. It took me a long while to figure out how to say what I felt, but once I got going I wrote a novel (much like this blog post). In hindsight, I should’ve just sent them an email listing how I’d like to see rapier peerage enacted in order of preference and sent it in, but c’est la vie.
In case anyone reading this is interested, here was my list of preferred implementation, in order of my most preferable to least preferable option:
Rapier Chiv > Rapier Under the Umbrella Term of Chiv but Own SubGroup > Rapier-Only Peerage > Omnibus > No Soup For You, Fencers
Note: I’m not against other martial art forms having a path to peerage. Quite the opposite. I am all for archery, thrown weapons, equestrian, etc. to also have that path. I just couldn’t get behind a setup that was basically Rattan and then Other. There’s already enough Special Snowflake Syndrome with some members of the Chiv; I didn’t want to see it institutionalized any further. Of course, we have opened Pandora’s Box and do the other martial art forms get their own peerages, too, or are they combined or what, but that’ll be figured out some point down the line. And hopefully that discussion will go well when it comes time. But I always imagined that the OoD (and subsequent martial peerages) would all eventually be grouped in with the Chiv under an organization chart like “Rapier Under the Umbrella Term of Chiv but Own SubGroup.” Basically, they’re all Chiv but only rattan poll rattan and rapier rattan rapier, etc. But we’ll see.
I didn’t expect much to come out of the emergency BoD phone call. I really thought it would just be a town meeting event to let people air their grievances and the like. So I was really surprised when I logged onto Facebook that night, and saw that the Order of Defense had passed. But I also wasn’t as celebratory as I thought I’d be. Part of this was because of the circus that sprung up in the aftermath of it’s original rejection. All the drama and debating and letter writing just for the BoD to just pass the same damn proposal they rejected a couple of weeks prior. It was bizarre and pretty anticlimactic way of announcing the peerage. Some of my fellow fencers felt the same, others were all stoked and understandably so. Part of it for me, as well, was that the Rapier Chiv carrot was dangled in front of my face for two weeks, and OoD — in some ways — felt like settling.
But I’ve always said that I’ll be glad when rapier peerage finally happens, and I truly am. It didn’t happen the way I had hoped and pushed for, but I’m stoked that my fellow rapier fighters have a way to peerage based on their fencing prowess and PLQs. Perhaps I’ll be worthy enough to be part of that group. It’s something to strive for, eh?
It’s also really nice to have the conversation change from “WTF BoD!?” to “You know what would make for a really cool rapier peerage ceremony… rapier arches” and seeing who folks think will be the First Three in our kingdom.
The OoD also seems to have gotten a lot of the retired and semi-retired fencers competitive juices flowing again. There are a number of excellent fencers in the East that have faded in the background after having their Order of the Golden Rapiers for a little while. I don’t judge them for this, but the idea of peerage looks to have woken at least a few from their fighting hibernation. And this is great. Very, very great. Anything that gets these talented duelists back at events and fighting is a positive thing for us in the East. it wouldn’t surprise me if this is happening in other kingdoms, too.
For the East Kingdom, the first rapier peers will probably be made on May 2nd which is Crown Tourney weekend. I wasn’t planning on driving down to Long Island for that event, but will definitely make that hike now to support and celebrate my friends getting recognized for being awesome. It’ll be a good time to celebrate.
I also want to take this opportunity to once again thank everyone who trail blazed fencing into what it is today, and to ladies and gentlemen who worked tirelessly to write up the Order of Defense proposal. So many thanks.
Before I log off I leave you all with this…