SCA Fighting and Women

10:29 AM Posted In , Edit This 4 Comments »
I went to the local SCA fighter's practice over the weekend for the first time, intending to learn, well, how to fight. Now female fighters in organizations such as the SCA, Amtgard, and other martial activities tend to be few and far between. And I can be rather shy when not already knowing someone there, as surprising as that may seem to anyone who knows me in real life. This time I didn't chicken out, unlike the past few times I tried to make myself go. As the second person there, I even introduced myself and mentioned that I wanted to learn how to fight.
The fighter, let's call him A, looked a little surprised and asked if I was there for fencing. I shrugged and said that I was willing to learn anything that anyone would teach me. A said, "Well, I think that only heavy fighters are showing up today."
"That's okay. I want to try out different styles so I can get an idea of what I would like and be good at," I said. A still looked a little surprised, but no outright shock. That was a win in my book.
Once four others showed up, the men began suiting up and talking shop. The two other women stood off to the side and talked. Now I was torn because I am new and didn't want to pester the fighters with questions and touch their gear, which I wanted to. There's nothing quite so satisfactory as beating someone with a big stick, which I have not done for some years.
I tried to join the men's circle, hoping to learn by listening and studying their gear. And was largely ignored. I will admit that this may have been because I am new and they therefore don't know me, rather than due to my gender. However, I was warmly accepted by the women, but I was already acquainted with one of them.
Frustration, embarrassment, shyness, and a crazy schedule are all preventing me from showing up again any time soon. In the meantime I will attempt to construct some gear of my own so that next time there won't be any question as to my interest. As well as Reave has promised to go for rapier next month.
Then someone directed me to SwordMaiden.com. In case the name wasn't enough of a clue, it's a site for female fighters.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

If it makes you feel any better, I hung out with the fighters at the Briaroak Birl a weekend ago, and was also reluctant to pester them, with the result that I was also summarily ignored. I don't think it is a gender thing, it is a stranger thing. Apparently SCA fighting events of all sorts attract a lot of lookie-loos, and members have learned not to invest a lot of energy in newcomers until they've shown up several times, and proved that their interest is serious. If we keep on each other and make a habit of going every week, they'll warm up to us eventually. :D

~Reave

SLiver of Jade said...

Some of the research that I've been doing today has been indicating that very same thing. I found a woman who had to be very persistent to find someone to teach her, because she was in a wheelchair. Geez, and I thought my first experience was less than stellar. They brought in the marshall to try and convince her to do embroidery. Isn't that what you do between matches? :P

Anonymous said...

I could not agree more I am VERY sorry for your initial experience and feeling somewhat less than welcomed. The fact is that there are SO many who have an initial interest but then fall out after a month or so. Also my experience has been that many people who find themselves in the SCA are a little shy. I am the type of person that will force myself into a group and make friends Despite the initial awkward feelings. If you can do a little research and find the martial or Baron and ask for them by name. Do so with authority knowing that it is part of there job in that position to help you find your way. Also if you can swing it prepare in advance with one or two pieces of garb or better yet with a piece of armor or rattan sword. This will show them that you are interested.

I took off several years from fighting when my career was too demanding for me to continue. I started back in and got the same type of reaction. I showed honor and respect to the Baron. I went home revamped my armor and showed up the next week to a much changed group of fighters.

If you are truly called to the SCA Don’t give up on them. They are a great group of friends and a GREAT Party.

Sin of the Outlands

Anonymous said...

I would venture to say that it was the specific group that was being attended. I've seen it across the kingdoms, some willingly accept where others divert or shun even.

Richard X