Armoured Combat

Two local fighters in armour and in mid-combat during a tournament in London

SCA Armoured Combat is a rule set that attempts to approximate medieval combat on foot with the weapons of war in use before the 1600s. From one-on-one duels in tourneys, to group battles, all the way to castle siege scenarios and massive field battles, SCA Armoured Combat rules can accommodate for a wide variety of scenarios. Solid rattan weapons are used, allowing combatants to both thrust and cut safely at full speed and full force. However, due to the levels of force required for a blow to register as “good,” fighters must wear rigid protection, giving this fighting sport the name Armoured Combat. The safety equipment used allows everyone, regardless of build or gender, to fight against or beside each other within the same events.

We accept all, regardless of background or identity, and will openly welcome all into the ranks of our armoured fighters. For more information about inclusivity at Thamesreach, please see our Code of Conduct.

Expectations for weekly fighter practices

In addition to free-form practice, more experienced members can tailor lessons and classes on a wide range of topics, such as different weapons, strikes, and footwork, depending on the interests of the participants on the day. There will always be a chance to apply your knowledge with practice on the pell, paired drills, and/or slow work. Anyone who, with approved armour and has demonstrated the ability to conduct themselves safely, will have the opportunity to spar with others who have met the same requirements.

What types of weapon forms can I use?

From sword fighting (single-swords, swords and shields, two handed swords, etc.) to maces, axes, two-handed weapons, and long polearms, the SCA Armoured Combat rule set is wide and flexible enough to allow practitioners of widely varying martial arts to face each other on the tourney field or stand side-by-side on the battlefield.

The most common weapons form in use in the SCA is the sword and shield. Most new fighters begin with it due to its balance between offence and defence, with the shield vastly boosting the survivability of even the most novice of fighters. The environment of SCA Armoured Combat can itself be said to have given rise to its own unique styles on how to fight with a sword and shield. Techniques have been pressure tested in the SCA’s full speed and full force environment for over 50 years. Those that work have been passed down to create a living tradition with its own terminology and tactics.

Do I need any prior experience to join?

You don’t need any previous experience to join our training practices and a membership is not required. Beginners are always welcome! You can just turn up to a practise and ask for coaching from any of the more experienced fighters, or simply pick up a weapon and, with supervision, do what works for you.

Fighters in the SCA have a wide range of backgrounds from those that had previously never done sports or other physical activities to practitioners of HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts), a variety of martial arts styles, and veterans of historical reenactment.

To participate as a fighter in SCA tournaments or group battle events, a fighter must have a valid authorisation card. The card simply states that the fighter has undertaken the authorisation process and has shown that they understand the rules and conduct themselves in a safe manner. A valid authorisation card is not required to participate in fighter practices.

Where does the group train in London?

Regular fighter practices are currently on hiatus pending a new venue. Please contact the Shire Marshal at for updates.

When are the next armoured combat events?

For events in London, please see our calendar.

For events in the UK, Ireland, and Iceland, please see our Principality Calendar.

For events Europe-wide, please see our Kingdom Calendar.

Other Resources