When you are doing a demo you have to keep in mind that you are putting on a show. If you are a fighter this means such things as not taking advantage of an opening in order to prolong the drama of the fight, or calling a light blow that got through cleanly. The mundanes, after all do not know what constitutes a light blow and they may think you are fighting unchivalrously when you don’t call a blow that clearly landed.
Part of the show and one of the things that makes it fun for the mundanes is the challenges and taunts that fighters may exchange before bouts. What follows are my favorite stories about challenges.
Axemoor started its fighting demos at the Jefferson Parish Renaissance Fair with single combat between a fighter holding the field against all challengers. The fighters would form up at the entrance to the SCA area, then march to the demo field with martial pomp. Upon arriving at the list field, the marshall formed a perimeter and after a brief explanation of SCA Fighting two combatants would take the field and square off.
For one demo Sir Beorn Collenfefrth expressed a desire to loosen up by taking the field to start off. After the usual explanation of SCA fighting Sir Beorn strode onto the field and called for any challengers to meet him in single combat. This was followed by a rather awarkward silence when no one answered.
Realizing that the other fighters were reluctant to meet so puissant a knight and that we had better get the show on the road, I brazenly stepped forward and proclaimed, “If you turkeys are afraid to fight him, I’m not!” As I strode onto the field I could not help thinking, “”You turkeys” isn’t exactly a medieval oath!”
In addition to the large fighting demos we did at the Ren Fair we also did one-on-one fights in a small roped off area known as “The Pit”. One Sunday morning I was waiting outside the pit for my turn at Squire Bertrand L’Ours du Rivage when inspiration hit. When the marshall had finished with the salutes I asked, “Squire Bertrand, have you been to mass this fine Sunday morning?”
hen Squire Bertrand replied that he had I responded, “Excellent, then you will die in a state of grace!” The taunt must have worked for that was one of the few times I defeated Squire Bertrand in single combat. What is more is I used it the following Sunday and defeated Lord Roland Martel!
ery early in my fighting career I did a fighting demo at a Coast Con. As usual we finished up the fighting demo with a melee but before the melee could get started I called out this unique taunt: “Before you would cross sword, know you that you face Finn Normansson and this is my mighty sword Veg-a-matic. It slices! It dices! It makes mince meat of counts, dukes and earls in seconds flat! Guaranteed not to chip, crack, rust or peel, or double your florins back!”
This taunt did not have nearly as beneficial an effect on the outcome of the melee as the inquiry into the state of my opponents’ soul had in single combat, but the crowd seemed to like it.