The creation of the Order of Defence in Lochac established a new pinnacle award to recognise those who make an outstanding contribution to the practice of rapier combat. The Peerage succeeded the grant award of the Order of the White Scarf, which the Crown closed to new members upon elevating the first Companions of the Order of Defence.
The first members of the Order of Defence have been drawn from the White Scarves of Lochac. They carry great pride in the history of the OWLs in both establishing rapier combat as an important part of Kingdom life, and building the reputation and foundations for a rapier order in the Lochac Peerage. The Order of Defence aims to carry on that history.
So what does the order do?
Recognising people worthy of honour
The most important thing that the order does is seek to recognise those who are worthy of honour for their contribution to the rapier community, to the Kingdom and to the Society. This, of course, includes providing advice to the Crown on admitting new peers to the Order of Defence.
Like the other orders in the Peerage, the Order of Defence is a polling order, which means we meet (face-to-face and online) to discuss candidates and make recommendations to the Crown. To inform our recommendations, we try to keep our eyes (individually and collectively) on as much of the rapier community as we can.
This is not easy. We are not everywhere, and Lochac is a big kingdom to get around. You can help that effort by looking at your own part of the rapier community. Who’s doing well on the field? Who’s making a difference off the field? Who inspires you? Let us know, in person or through email@example.com and we can arrange to take a look.
Not sure? Take a look at What we think makes a Defender.
Along the way to bringing new peers to the Crown’s attention, we also notice people we think are worthy of other awards, particularly the Order of the Rapier, and the grant-of-arms Order of the Red Wyvern. Anyone can make a recommendation to the Crown for these awards, but we’re happy to hear about anyone you think deserves some recognition.
Promoting rapier combat
The Order of Defence aims to promote the growth of rapier combat and to encourage the Kingdom’s fencers to better themselves. We work alongside the Royal Guild of Defence, which is committed to teaching and developing period combat skills. Our focus is much brader than that of the Guild. We are interested in all aspects of being a fencer in Lochac; prowess, chivalry, courtesy on and off the field, and promoting a high level of period presentation in rapier combat.
We are all teachers and consider it part of our service to the kingdom to help all fencers and members the populace learn more about rapier combat. The white livery collar that the order’s regalia is an important part of that commitment—we want to be visible and identifiable on and off the field; we want you to know that you can approach any one of us and ask for help or advice (or a bit of a fight!).
We also want to carry that support as far afield as we can, noting again that we have small numbers and a large kingdom. Many of us travel and we are more than willing to try to find a way to get to your area for classes. Feel free to get in touch.
As is the case in the other orders of the Peerage, and in the Order of the White Scarf, some members of the Order of Defence take on ‘special students’ to help them develop. (Here in Lochac we call then Cadets or Students.) The nature of the relationship varies according to each person’s particular interests, but is generally aimed at helping fencers build up one or more of the aspects of their involvement in the rapier community and the Kingdom.
It is important to note that not all members of the order take on an exclusive mentoring role. In some cases, our philosophy is to offer advice and support freely to all. But there can be benefits to an exclusive mentoring relationship, and we are happy to talk about what might help you best.
As well as making recommendations about the Peerage, members of the order take an oath to provide advice to the Crown (usually when they ask). Generally we have advice to offer about the practice of rapier in the Kingdom, but may be called upon to offer insights in other areas as needed. We also hold ourselves available to provide advice and support to the Kingdom’s officers, and particularly the Kingdom Rapier Marshal and group marshals.
In all cases, we are part of the rapier community and want to be your voice, which means we will be out there asking what you think when the opportunity arises.
This is an important point. We are very conscious of occupying an elevated position in the rapier community. Unfortunately, while the elevation ceremony does include the presentation of various pieces of regalia, omniscience and wisdom in all things are not among the items included. We have accumulated many years’ experience in Lochac rapier and seek to use that for the benefit of our fellow fencers. But we don’t know everything and we are always out there to hear advice on how to do things better.
What we think makes a Defender
The candidate must be considered the equal of his or her prospective peers with the basic weapons of rapier and/or cut-and-thrust combat.
This is what the SCA’s governing documents have to say about prowess. So what kind of fighter do we consider to be our equal?
- Someone who challenges us to bring out our best game.
- Someone who brings to the fight a high level of knowledge and skill in period combat.
- Someone who is a good, fun fight—who other fighters look forward to meeting on the field.
- Someone who shows passion and joy in their game—who celebrates an opponent’s well-executed victory as much as their own.
- Winning is the least important thing.
The candidate must have applied this skill and/or knowledge for the instruction of members and service to the kingdom to an extent above and beyond that normally expected of members of the Society.
We seek to recognise those who are leaders in the rapier community, making a difference. They are teachers, organisers, advocates and advisers. They are known for their work, in their local group and beyond.
They give freely of their time, knowledge and experience to help others become better fencers, working to grow the practice of rapier combat and supporting their local groups and the Kingdom.
They are the people that others will point to—“If you need some help or advice, they’re the one to talk to.”
They shall have set an example of courteous and noble behaviour suitable to a peer of the realm.
The Peerage recognises those who set a high standard of behaviour for those around them. They are chivalrous on the field, courteous at all times, respectful and supportive of the Crown, their representatives and the officers of the Kingdom.
They shall have demonstrated support for the aims and ideals of the Society by being as authentic in dress, equipment and behaviour as is within their power.
They make an effort to dress and equip themselves for an appropriate and consistent period appearance both on and off the field.
We take note of those who serve as an inspiration to the rapier community—the fencers who lead other people to say, “I want to be like them!”.
All of these are things that the Crown, advised by the Order of Defence, takes into account when considering new candidates for the Order. It is not a set list of requirements and the members of the Order will give careful consideration before making a recommendation.
But we continue to seek to be the voice of the rapier community—your views count, and we welcome recommendations about potential candidates. You can talk to us in person, or write to the Order.