Armored Combat in The Kingdom of Acre

The fighters of Medieval Scenarios & Recreation's Kingdom of Acre re-enact the tournaments and battles of medieval times as a full-contact sport. The authentically designed armor is crafted of waxed and shaped 1/4-inch thick leather by M.S.R. armorers. Several members have fashioned body armor from sheet steel while others have "knitted" together rings of steel wire to create a fabric of chain mail to be worn over a quilted coat called a gambeson. This armor is not merely a costume but actual body protection.

Helmets are constructed of 14 or 12 gauge steel lined with rubber or foam padding. Shields are made of sheet steel or wood and decorated with the individual's heraldic coat-of-arms.

M.S.R. swords are made of rattan (a reasonably flexible wood similar to bamboo), wrapped in duct tape to give an appearance of steel and reduce the splintering on impact. Hilts of heavy rubber or steel to protect the hand complete the weapon. Although the medieval sword was primarily a cutting weapon, some fighters have attached a padded thrusting tip to safely deliver a point attack.

The large two-handed or Great Swords are constructed in a similar fashion. The heads of maces, axes, halberds, spears and lances are made of rubber and foam padding wrapped in duct tape or leather and mounted on a rattan shaft. All weapons must be approved by the Constable or his Reeves.

M.S.R. Men-at-arms must also formally "qualify" as safe in each of their particular choices of weapon form by proving that both their proficiency in the use of that weapon and their understanding of the rules of combat are sufficient to prevent them from becoming a safety hazard either to themselves or others on the field of battle.

The following are examples of actions which are considered unsafe and therefore banned:

Striking an opponent in the knee or below

Thrusting (unless the weapon is equipped with a well padded thrusting tip)

Thrusting to the face under most circumstances (see Rules of the List)

Ramming with the shield rim

Rules of combat and armor construction will be explained during actual combat training. Under the supervision of marshals, fighting blows are "calibrated" such that, had the weapon been of edged steel, the impact would have penetrated the protective armor and, depending on the strength of the blow, would either wound, cripple, or kill the man inside. Acknowledging life and death in M.S.R. combat is primarily a matter of personal honor and fair play.

Other aspects of combat in the Kingdom of Acre are: crown tourney, chivalry, religous military orders, and combat archery.