This is one of the most exciting aspects of what we do and the strongest single reason for people to join. We use replica steel weapons and therefore we require combatants to wear essential protective clothing; reinforced gloves and helmets. Futhermore, no member will be allowed to perform at a public display until he/she has taken a Basic Combat Assessment test. If you choose to do combat, your initial training will be aimed at preparing you for your Basic Assessment, equipping you to fight realistically and in a manner which is safe for you, your opponents, your fellow-soldiers and the public. This training can take several weeks or months, but you can help yourself a lot by practising the techniques.
We start people off with one-hand weapons; short spear, seax ( a single-edged fighting knife) or hand axe, used in conjunction with a shield. Swords are high-status weapons used by skilled warriors and the very rich, and so their training is held off for a while. Training is designed to help you fight effectively and safely, alone or in a group and to prepare you for the chaos of the battlefield. The sight of fifty armed men advancing to attack you can be rather intimidating, and we aim to instil confidence in the warrior. Our warriors fight competitively and the elements of danger and competition in our combats get adrenalin flowing freely, so we aim to ensure each warrior can fight safely under those twin pressures. Injuries, other than minor bruising or grazes, are very rare, a tribute to those who devised our combat system, but there is a small element of risk. The risks are often compared to Rugby or other impact sports.
Anyone wishing to try out for the cavalry should first be able to manage a horse at walk, trot and canter and have passed basic combat. The Cavalry unit is a National grouping and acceptance depends on passing a specific Cavalry Assessment. Our group leader is also a member of the Cavalry.
Once you have passed your Basic Combat Assessment, you will learn Basic Display and Basic Formation Combat techniques, then you can begin to experiment with Advanced Combat weapons, such as the two-hand spear, two-hand axe or missile weapons. Good, safe warriors can train to become trainers.