CHARTER AND RULES                     11/13/05

*Joining Midgard
*Fighting--Rules for Midgard Reenactment Combat

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       The purpose of Midgard is to spread knowledge of the Middle Ages among its members and the public by means of battle reenactments and living history displays.

       We will make or buy clothing and accoutrements which meet or exceed the Basic Clothing Standards.
       We will continue to acquire new items to loan to those in need, and help new members make and acquire their own clothing and gear.
       We will make medieval culture and warfare come to life at battles, fairs, and other public events.
       This we do swear, so help us Aelfric.

       Let it also be known that a group called Midgard was originally started back in the 1960's by Wilhelm Greycloak (Bill Marlow), one of the original founders of the confederation of the Markland Medieval Militia.  We are proud to count Wilhelm as one of the members of our re-founded Midgard.  (You can take the medievalist out of Markland, but...)


       Midgard is collection of individuals who have fun by dressing up in medieval clothing and doing fights and other displays for whatever audience is around.  Becoming a member is a simple matter of reading through our guidelines and submitting your name and address.  If you want to do things pretty much the way we do, you're in!  If you think our standards of authenticity are either too strict or too lenient, we can direct you towards several other groups which might better suit your needs, though we certainly hope that you'll be willing to tolerate our ways and join Midgard anyway.  Who knows, it might be fun!

       If a member proves unwilling to abide by our rather basic and lenient standards, or is disruptive in some other way, he or she will be removed from the Roster and not invited back to our events.

       Midgard is run by me, Matthew Amt, aka Aelfric Guthredsson, because no one else wanted the job.  So I'M in charge.  I get to decide who the members are and what they can wear and use.  There are no elections, so I'm in charge until I get tired of doing it.  Now, if you ask around you'll find that I'm a pretty easy-going and friendly guy, and that the Basic Clothing Standards (which I wrote!) are widely considered to be very helpful and reasonable.  So don't expect some horrible dictatorship or a lot of nastiness, as long as you are in general agreement with the group's purpose and philosophy.  At the moment I'm calling myself "Earl of Midgard", meaning simply the Guy In Charge, for lack of a better term.

       Would you like to help?  That would be great!  Find a park or library or school where we can do a demo, and set it up.  I already run a Roman reenacting group (The Twentieth Legion), and really don't have time to run six or seven more events a year.

       I would never have started this group if Markland had been able to keep medieval reenactment combat alive and well, but sadly that has not been the case.  There used to be half a dozen battles and parades each year, culminating with the annual Battle of Hastings.  Hastings is now the only vestige, apart from two very worthy Viking camps and the Longship Company, and the Battle itself has shrunk from 150 participants to less than 30 over the last ten years.  For two years a small group of us die-hards talked and talked about how to revive Markland rec fighting, but nothing was actually done.  So I finally cracked, took the big leap off the diving board of sanity, and founded Midgard.  We will recruit new medievalists and finally be able to teach and fight for the public, and to enjoy looking good while doing it.

       Let the fun begin!


       If you have read through this page of Rules and think you would like to join Midgard, simply give your name, address, phone number, and email address to the Earl:

Matthew Amt
Laurel, MD

       I'll add you to the list.  If, after a while or a couple events, it seems to you or to me that Midgard just isn't the group for you, I'll take you off the list with no hard feelings.  Hopefully we'll be able to link you up with the group that's right for you.  Even after that, if you want to come out to an event and play by our rules, we will be happy to see you!


Preamble:  Recreation fighting is an activity that is part history, part theatre, and intended to be entertaining for both the fighters and audience.  While Recreation fighting requires a person to be able to be good with real weapons, it is staged combat where it is intended that nobody ever really is injured.  The rules and guidelines set forth here are intended to blend the requirements of safety with historical accuracy.


A-1.  All weapons used in recreation fighting must be appropriate for use in staged combat.  They must meet certain standards of construction and design (see Appendix A, Recreation Weapon Standards).  All weapons must be blunt and safe. Non-steel qualified fighters must use a club or other fake weapon that meets with recreation weapon guidelines.  However, they may wear a sword or other weapon if this is a part of their costume for a particular battle so long as it is not used.

A-2.  Metal weapons may be used by steel qualified fighters from one of the approved groups.   (See D-1 for a list of approved groups)  A person who is a neophyte may participate in a battle if they receive a basic orientation in combat procedure, use a simple wooden club, and fight as part of the shield wall line.

A-3   The weapons approved for line battles without additional training or special routine approval include the following: club, mace, axe (one handed), sword, sax or longsax.  Weapons must meet standards of construction and appearance as specified in the Appendix.

A-4.  All fighters must wear some form of head protection.  A rigid helmet made of metal and/or leather is considered optimal.

A-5.  Sturdy leather gloves are required to fight.  Unlined leather work gloves, welding gloves or fencing gauntlets are acceptable.  Other forms of hand protection may be used so long as they are not obviously anachronistic to the period of the battle being recreated.

A-6.  A shield is required of all fighters who are not engaged in a special routine.  Shields must be at least 1/2" plywood or its equivalent.

 A-7.  All equipment must be inspected by a Steel Qualifier prior to each battle or fighting practice.

A-8.  Armor is not required for fighting in a recreation battle.  Body protection is recommended however, if appropriate for the era and type of fight you are participating in.

A-9.  Any bow used in recreation combat must have a draw weight of 35 lbs. or less at 29" draw.  Any type of wood self bow may be used.   (a self bow is defined as a simple non-recurved bow)

A-10.  All arrows used in recreation battles may be either:
       a- Standard Markland "Frat" arrows (
       b- Rubber tipped "blunts"

Section B:  BATTLES

B-1.  All fighters must be at least eighteen (16) years of age or older in order to participate in a battle reenactment as a combatant.

B-2.  A "battle" is defined as any action where scripted fighting takes place. The Steel Qualifiers have final say on equipment safety. Steel Qualifiers will check for gloves and helmet, and make sure they are adequate. They will also check the shield and weapon for safety.

B-3.  All battles follow a script.  This may be written or verbal.  Fighting is not intended to be competitive as the aim is to put on a show.  Nobody is to be intentionally injured in a recreation battle.

B-4   Arrows are to be loosed only when the archer is in eye to eye contact with the opposing side.  Arrows should not be loosed when spectators are immediately behind the target area.

B-5.  Every battle must have a Battle Master and at least one (1) Steel Qualifier present.  They can be the same person. All fighters must obey the directions of the Battle Master. All fighters must familiarize themselves with and follow any script or battle plan. It is the responsibility of the fighters to know what is going on. If you are confused, ask someone in charge.  The Battle Master has an absolute right to tell any individual to leave the field if they do not follow his or her directions.  This includes individuals failing to meet historical garb requirements, or a person who is intoxicated, insubordinate, or a danger to themselves or other people present.

B-6.  When someone wants to die, he will tell his opponent that he will die now. For beginners, it is a good idea to just fall back after proclaiming your death, and fall down screaming in pain. This works very well in large battles where spectators cannot see you.

B-7.  Every fighter must report any injuries to the Battle Master and or his agents.  They must also report any rule breaking or unsafe behavior immediately to the Battle Master, or a Steel Qualifier who is present.

B-8.  If you find yourself fighting someone who is doing something you find unsafe or uncomfortable, tell him to stop. Sometimes you must yell.  If he doesn't stop, retreat, and tell one of the above people as soon as possible.   Do not use excessive force when wielding a weapon. Excessive force is defined as any blow your opponent believes is too hard, or any blow that a Steel Qualifier believes is unsafe.

B-9.  Noncombatants may be included in recreation battles.  A noncombatant is any person who does not engage in combat.  They are used to fill a variety of character roles and support roles (including archery) on the field during a battle.  If approached within five (5) feet by a fighter they may only do one of the following:  Run Away, Surrender, or Fall Down Dead.

B-10.  Persons who are less than eighteen years of age may participate in Recreation Battles with parental consent.  Their parents must be physically present on-site and give written permission.

B-11.  Every Battle must have a first aid kit present.


C-1.  A Special Routine is defined as any part of a battle when two or more individuals stage a complicated bout.  It is also defined in Midgard is any routine employing weapons that require high levels of training to use in a safe manner.

C-2.  A Steel Qualifier must approve any Special Routine before it may be used in a battle.  The Battle Master must also give his or her consent before it may be used in a particular battle being staged.

C-3.  As part of a Special Routine fighters may use weapons, equipment, moves and engage in physical contact not normally allowed in a Recreation Battle.


In order for a fighter to become steel qualified, he or she must do the following:

D-1. Fighters must be a member of a recognized steel combat fighting group:  This list includes the following at this time:  Markland, Midgard, NADARA, The Viking Society (UK), Regia Anglorum, and the Huscarles (Australia).

D-2. Fight in at least 1 recreation battle with wood or non-metal weapons.

D-3. Participate in at least 1 training sessions under the supervision of a Steel Qualifier.

D-3. Own their own equipment, shield, helmet, gloves, clothing, and metal weapon of your choice.

D-4. Fighters must choreograph at least one fight with another fighter to be performed in front of at least two Steel Qualifiers.


E-1. Maintain your place in line. Most battles are fought in shield wall formations. If your opponent backs up, do not follow; he may be having problems. Retreat if you have trouble or get tired. Do not crowd other fighters to your sides or behind. Do not move around too much or run around the sides.

E-2. Control your weapon.  Be aware of the point of your sword.  Never thrust directly into an opponent.  Be able to stop any swing you make.  Do not acquire a weapon that is too heavy or long.  Your opponent could jump forward, or drop his shield, or anything else, so be ready to stop your weapon.  If you do not swing too hard, this should not be a real problem.  If it is, you are swinging too hard.  Kill with light contact.

E-3. Keep your shield a safe and steady target.  Keep your shield in front of you.  Hold it up and out from your body to prevent it from hitting you.  (HINT: angle your shield away from your body to prevent it from recoiling into your face if you are shield bashed by accident.)  Practice with your shield and weapon.

E-4. Protect yourself.  When you die, step back and fall to get out of the fighting.  If fighting with a shield, curl up under your shield to protect yourself.  If someone or something is going to crush you, get out of the way, even if you are supposed to be dead.  Act wounded or whatever, but protect yourself.  If you get tired in a battle, tell your opponent and back up.  Remember, it is better to look unrealistic than to get hurt. Communicate with your opponent and those around you.  Keep your head and use common sense.

E-5. Look like you are fighting.  Scream, yell, act nasty, scared, or whatever seems appropriate. Even though you are not swinging hard and trying to be as safe as possible, try to make it look like you are swinging hard and trying to kill.  This is very difficult to do and remain safe, but it is what you should aspire to.  The best recreational fighters look like they are trying to cut each other to pieces, but are actually quite safe.  This comes with experience, and new fighters should worry about safety only.

E-6. It is each individual's responsibility to meet any historical requirements for garb, equipment and authenticity set by an event Battle Master.  Try to research the battles and their periods.  All major events have garb standards.  We are trying to recreate medieval fighting.  Contact the Battle Master in advance if you have a question about event standards.  Do not assume that what you have will be allowed on the field if what you have are outside of guidelines published in advance of an event!

E-7. The word "PAX" should be shouted in case of an actual injury.  Fighters in the immediate area should discreetly lend aid.

E-8. A Special Routine may be used in any recreation fight if it is approved by the Battle Master and a Steel Qualifier. Although many of the standard rules for recreation fighting may not apply in a Special Routine, it is important that safety be maintained.

E-9.  Whenever fighters from groups who are approved to fight with cross qualification are present, all fighters must have a pre-battle briefing and practice to familiarize individuals with how battles are conducted by Midgard.  Whenever possible members who are not Markland/Midgard members will be paired up for Special Routines so that they may fight with individuals they are comfortable with.

E-10  The host of the event (Jarl) or his appointed officials have the right to suspend the fighting privileges of any individual who behaves in an unsafe manner, or any individual who attempts to participate in combat while under the influence of an intoxicant.  The suspension may be temporary (for several hours, for the duration of the event) or permanent, depending on the severity of the offense.


General: No weapon that is sharpened may be employed in a Battle or Special Routine, nor be present on the field.  It is assumed that all weapons will be appropriate to the historical scenario, to the degree deemed to be acceptable by the Battle Master.  (It is common for weapons used in recreation fighting to be somewhat less historically accurate in their details than what would be considered minimal for display purposes.  This is for safety above all, and also affordability and practicality.)


Construction: Iron or steel alloy only. Blade may be of low carbon stock metal or high carbon alloy steel.
Length: Minimum blade length - 16"
Edge: All edges should be bated with a minimum edge equivalent thickness of a U.S. or Canadian penny. No sharp burrs should be present on cutting edge.
Point: Point may be acute, but most be rounded off with all surfaces meeting as with edge.
Hilt: Should either have a cross guard or be recessed in way to enclose hand.
Other swords or knives may be used for Special Routines as long as they generally adhere to edge and point specifications.


Construction: cast aluminum or ferrous metal may be used for head, and any wood for haft as long as it is not pine or any other wood prone to splintering.
Length: No minimum on cutting edge length as long as it is reasonable.
Minimum overall weapon length of 20".
Edge: All edges should be bated with a minimum edge equivalent thickness of two U.S. or Canadian pennies.
Point: Axes are assumed to not have points. Should one have any counter edges or spike, they most be rounded off completely and meet minimum edge requirements of the axe in general.


Construction: Any wood is acceptable except pine.
Length: Minimum overall length of 20".
Weight: No minimum or maximum so long as the weapon may be wielded safely by the user. Steel Qualifiers may ask for a demonstration of ability to wield before approving use of a particular weapon of this type.


A spear may be carried on the field as long as it is not sharpened, and it may be used as props carried by noncombatants.  Spears may only be utilized as part of a Special Routine with approval of a Steel Qualifier.  Spears used in routines are subject to inspection and may be rejected at the whim of the Steel Qualifier.  Pine or any other splinter prone wood is not allowed in the construction of any spear.


Weapons made of rubber, leather, cardboard, etc., and all wood construction axes and swords are allowed as long as they are deemed safe and of an authentic appearance by a Steel Qualifier and or Battle Master at an event.

A Steel Qualifier may make case by case decisions to allow any weapon they deem appropriate for use.

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