Youth Sparring Partners are experienced adult fighters who are authorized to fight full contact against youth fighters using youth weapons, calibrations, and rules.
Sparring partners are only permitted to fight against youth fighters under the direct supervision of a warranted Youth Combat Marshal.
A list of currently authorized Sparring partners appears at the bottom of this web page.
Why would you want to be a Youth Sparring Partner?
- To make it possible for kids in small groups to fight even when there are no other kids their age participating in youth combat. One of the reasons youth combat programs are hard to create and sustain in shires and cantons is that there just aren’t that many kids. If you have one kid, or two kids of very different ages, it’s hard to have a youth fighting practice because they can’t meaningfully fight with anyone. Adults can bridge that gap. If you have a single youth fighter, he or she can fight with an adult sparring partner, have some fun, and learn something new each week. And even if your Youth Combat Marshal is a heavy fighter, kids can benefit from learning more than one person’s style and technique.
- To provide youth fighters with real training in SCA combat. Frequently, youth marshals are the parents of youth fighters, and have taken the job so their kids can fight. Many of them have no experience as SCA fighters. They need adults with fighting experience to help train their youth fighters, so the kids aren’t just whacking away aimlessly at each other without understanding how to improve their technique. Sparring partners can help kids become more effective fighters.
- To hone the skills of the best youth fighters. Often, the really good youth fighters plateau because they’re the best among the kids and don’t know what the next step is. By working with adults, they can learn some of the finer points of combat, like how to take out an opponent with a specific weapons form, how to take advantage of an opponent on their knees, how to turn an opponent’s size or stance to their advantage, etc. Nuances like these can turn good youth fighters into great ones, and better prepare them for transitioning to adult combat.
- To help shape and improve the next generation of SCA fighters. Youth fighting has been around for years, but many kids have had trouble making the transition from youth combat to adult. It’s not just that the calibration levels are higher; the mechanics of adult fighting are actually very different from youth fighting. Blows thrown from the wrist, without any shoulder or hip in them, work just fine in youth combat. Blows that strike a shield or sword but still make pretty decent contact with the helm or body can be killing blows. Kids who go from that to adult combat get frustrated when their blows aren’t accepted, because they may not understand why those blows aren’t good. Sparring partners who tell them “That wouldn’t have worked in adult combat, but the calibration was good for youth so I’ll take it” are providing youth fighters with valuable information. Further explaining how to strike the blow the right way can clarify technique issues with kids.
- You’ll be teaching not only the youth fighters, but also the Youth Combat Marshal. Marshals without fighting experience can learn from you right alongside the youth fighters, which will make them better marshals because they can pass along your suggestions to other youth fighters in the future. This will help both the YC Marshal and the kids, because the youth fighters will start with the right techniques, and won’t have to unlearn bad habits.
- Teaching kids will make you more mindful of your own technique. Nothing really ingrains a skill like teaching it to someone else. As adults work with kids, adult fighters have to think through how and why they do various moves, stances, and blows, which reminds them to use the proper techniques when they fight adults.
- To model appropriate behavior. Kids look up to adult fighters, and seek to emulate them. By showing chivalry both on and off the field, you can help youth fighters learn how to be both respectful and respected as a warrior. You can model being gracious in victory and defeat, being willing to take it easy on a new fighter so they learn and improve (rather than pounding them into the ground just because you can), and having fun while still keeping a competitive edge.
Youth Sparring Partners are not required to get background checks, because they are only allowed to work with kids under the supervision of a Youth Combat Marshal and in the presence of someone who does have an SCA Background Check. The only exception is that, of course, parents are always permitted to spar with their own children.
Sparring Partners also do not need to be paid members of the SCA.
If you are interested in becoming a Youth Sparring Partner, please contact the Kingdom Youth Combat Marshal. Make sure to also talk to your local Youth Combat Marshal since you will need to work with him or her. If your group doesn’t have a Youth Combat Marshal, but has kids hungry to try combat, you could become a Youth Combat Marshal, start a youth combat program, and also authorize as a Sparring Partner.
Youth Sparring Partners of Æthelmearc
Sparring Partners must reauthorize every four (4) years. Expired sparring partners may not fight with youth fighters other than their own children until they renew their authorizations.
Count Andreas Morgan (Sylvan Glen) through 7/3/2020
Countess Ariella of Thornbury (Debatable Lands) through 2/14/2020
Sir Arnthor inn Sterki (Hunter’s Home) through 2/14/2020
Don Clewin Kupferhelbelinc (Debatable Lands) through 2/28/2020
THLord Garreth Whytbull (Ballachlagan) through 2/28/2019
Lord Gunnar Thorbjornson (Hunter’s Home) through 5/21/2020
Lord Halfdan Rauthkinn (Hunter’s Home) through 2/14/2020
Count Isenwulf Thorolfsson (Debatable Lands) through 2/14/2020
Master Jussie Laplein (Steltonwald) through 2/14/2020
THL Kieran MacRae (Debatable Lands) through 2/14/2020
Duke Magnus Tindal (Sterlynge Vayle) through 11/9/2019
Lord Methius Weasel (Hunter’s Home) through 11/9/2020
THL Nikolas the Bastard (Hunter’s Home) through 11/9/2020
Baron Rauthbjorn Lothbroke (Hunter’s Home) through 11/9/2019
Lord Robert MacEwin of Thornhill (Debatable Lands/Thescorre) through 11/9/2019
Lord Robert Pour Maintenant (Debatable Lands) through 5/6/2020
THLord Rouland of Willowbrooke (Sunderoak) through 2/28/2020
Earl Thomas Byron of Haverford (Debatable Lands) through 2/14/2020
Sir Thorgrim Skullsplitter (Sunderoak)
Prince Timothy of Arindale (Abhainn Ciach Ghlais) through 2/28/2017
Master Uillam macanTsaoire (Debatable Lands) through 2/14/2019
Sir Vladimir Mechnik (Sunderoak) through 2/14/2017