Last Saturday, June 2nd, saw the latest iteration of our annual pas d’armes. This year saw some slight changes compared to past years – in the form of invited guests.
The original location was shut down by the City because of rain, and so due to the enormous generosity of Rachel Beauchamp, LMA Companion, it was moved to her back yard – and was no less a success for the move.
The setup was as per usual, with combatants separated into teams representing the “English” and the “French.” The morning saw one team act as the appellants, offering challenges that a member of the opposing camp should accept. Challenges were offered in longsword, single sword, sword and buckler or spear and any combination of the above, up to three simultaneous challenges. Bouts were fought to five landed blows, using either “a plaisance,” “sans encombrements” or “a outrance” rules. Briefly, a plaisance limits targets to head and torso/upper arms and grappling is disallowed. This forces fencers to actually fence in measure and try to score a blow to the center of mass – no easy feat. Sans encombrements widens the target zones, and allows grappling and disarms, with a throw or grapple counting as a landed blow. Finally, a outrance bouts continue even after a takedown until control or a telling blow is achieved. In other words, a good old fashioned throw down.
Challenge followed challenge before the lunch break provided somewhat impromptu by Céline Lagacé in the form of hot dogs. Lunch saw the challengers switch, with the other team providing the challenges. The afternoon also saw some impromptu wrestling bouts, as well as some open challenges where anyone could accept.
The highlight of the day for some was the armoured deed of arms that ended the afternoon. Five combatants, Christian G. Cameron, Jim Clark, Danielle Vokey, Bernard Emmerich and Jason Smith entered the lists to do battle – surely a unique experience for some people, both participants and contestants alike! Bouts saw spear, pollaxe and longsword combat, and the bouts were clean and well executed, without degenerating into unnecessary grappling.
The afternoon ended with LMA students performing some drills prepared beforehand. These drills formed part of the formal test for accession to the rank of Apprentice – first rank with the school. A number of students recieved their white apprentice garters from a kneeling and armoured Jason Smith, who tied it onto their leg himself as a symbolic gesture.
The party moved to the St. Eloi restaurant where a personalised menu was available with the school’s logo. The food was excellent, the libations plenty, and the company excellent. Toasts were exchanged, and the day’s winners were announced.
- Christopher Duffy was announced as ‘Best among equals’ for winning his five bouts.
- Aurora Simmons won honours from the LMA companions for her martial spirit.
- Danielle Vokey Won an honourable mention both for fighting her first time in armour as well as entering the list against her instructor using a pollaxe – a weapon she had never before used. That kind of martial spirit deserves to be honoured.
All in all, despite the weather and the last minute venue change, the event was a blast. We had a good time, made good friends, and plans are already underway for next year’s invitational event. You can visit the photo gallery here: http://goo.gl/xi68q
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