New Fighters

Information for Fighters:

This is a guide to being a fighter in the Grey Company. All information contained in this manual was current as of November 2003. This information is intended for new members who wish to become a fighter in The Grey Company. However, visitors may find it interesting to see how we approach this topic.

Your Appearance as a Fighter:

It is recommended that you try and get your fighting outfit together as soon as possible. At first you may wish to make a generic Western European costume. If you wish you may select a Warband to enter. The Warband can help you specialise your equipment even more. Typically every fighter will need their own gloves, helmet and eventually weapons and shields. Costuming is also very important, as we are a display group after all. You must have an acceptable Dark Ages fighting outfit before working on gear for another historical period.

The Grey Company has a very active Costuming Guild to help you get a costume made. We also run regular workshops to help you make your own equipment. Also some members may be willing to sell gear or make an exchange.


Simulated Combat in the Grey Company (inc.) involves the use of blunted weapons. Safety is the most important thing to be remembered by all combatants. Below is a summary of the rules for standard competition-style combat.

Dagger Combat:

The Company also takes a part in theatrical or "show" fighting. Unlike the competition style combat the emphasis is on presenting a display of combat to an audience. Although all safety rules are maintained it is not mandatory to accept all killing or wounding blows. In show fighting we are trying to entertain an audience with theatrical combat and fighters are encouraged to fight with this in mind.

Some experienced (Warrior level) fighters may take part in combat using non-standard weapons, armour or techniques. This is called "alternative" or "advanced" combat. Such combat may only proceed with the express permission of the Captain or Chief Marshal who must be satisfied that safety standards are not compromised on a case by case basis.


You must first sign a waiver and pay for full membership before you can begin basic training. New fighters are first allocated a training coordinator and this person will be responsible for giving you personal training as well as organising training with other Warriors until you reach Fyrdsman status. Swords and helmets may be loaned to new fighters for training but you should try to get your own gloves as soon as possible.

The length of time taken to train someone varies considerably. It depends on many factors and no fighter should be discouraged if they feel they are learning too slow.

A new fighter is called a Novice. The Novice fighter is first taught to use a Longsword and must know the following before they can be cleared.

When your training coordinator feels you are ready they will ask the Chief Marshal arrange a clearance fight for you. You will be assessed on your ability to use the longsword with confidence, competence and safety. Marshals will observe the clearance fight and offer comments. If you are successful the Chief Marshall and Captain will be informed and a general announcement will be made at messages. After clearance you will be encouraged to fight other skilled fighters (Fyrdsmen and above) before being introduced to melee combat.

You will continue to be trained in one-handed sword, sword and shield and dagger fighting.


To progress from novice to Fyrdsman status you must;

When you become a Fyrdsman you may learn to use other weapons and combinations. If you wish to use non-standard weaponry the Chief Marshal will arrange a suitable trainer for you. You will be cleared for each new weapon or combination that you learn.

As a Fyrdsman you will be able to assist in the basic training of Novices under supervision by a Warrior. You may fight a Novice if they have been cleared in the chosen weapon or combination; once again under supervision. Fyrdsmen may fight other Fyrdsmen without requiring marshalling.


At the Midwinter and Midsummer Banquets, the Captain awards Warrior status to those Fyrdsmen that have shown exceptional skill, safety, and commitment. If you wish to become a Warrior you should;

When you become a Warrior you will be expected to help train new fighters.


To be considered for this award you must have been a Warrior for at least a year.

You may be elevated to Huscarl status when your arms, equipment, costume and combat skills are high enough. You should own heavy armour (or elaborate costume) and several different weapon types. You must be highly skilled in at least three weapon combinations and your whole outfit must be of a high standard. You must also show continued commitment to the company by being an active member. The Huscarl awards are presented each year at the Midsummer banquet by the Captain after consulting with the other Huscarls. A vote of peers is held before the Midsummer banquet and at least 50% of attending Huscarls must support a candidate for the award to be granted.


These are warriors who have given exemplary service to the group, both as fighters and in supporting the group’s various activities. They must be skilled fighters, well equipped and costumed, and committed to improving the image and performance of the Grey Company.

The Steersman award is granted at the Midsummer’s Feast. It is a permanent award and only one or two are given each year. This represents the highest award currently available in the group. A vote of peers is held before the Midsummer banquet and at least 50% of attending Steersmen must support a candidate for the award to be granted.


GLOVES – A leather glove with additional padding. The additional padding can be closed cell foam, thick leather, woollen undergloves or some form of metal covering over the glove. All fingers, and the back of the hand, must be protected. Do not wear rings when fighting.

HELMETS – A standard spun bowl or conical with nasal bar of 1.5 mm steel. The rim of the helmet must cover down to the eyebrows across the helmet front and cover the top 1cm of the ears at the sides.

If a standard spun bowl is not used, then the helmet crown must be built from 1.0mm steel (minimum) or suitable equivalent.

The nose must have some form of nasal bar or equivalent protection from a face shield/face plate. The protection must extend below the tip of the nose when worn with appropriate padding in the helmet. The nasal must be able to resist bending by hand.

All additions to helmets for purposes of coverage must be made of 1.0mm steel (minimum). If alternative metals are used, they must be strong enough to resist easy bending by hand. At least 1.5mm (minimum) is recommended for Bronze, Brass or Copper used as structure of the helmet.

Decorations may be in any gauge of metal. Leather and other alternatives may also be used for decoration. All sharp points must be secured on the helmet so that they cannot injure anyone.

Helmets with face guards (eg. Viking spectacle) rather than nasals must be of minimum 1.0mm steel, with the nasal area at least 1.5mm thick. Multiple layers that build up to 1.5mm or thicker are acceptable.

All helmets must have a leather or equivalent chin strap. This strap must be capable of holding the helmet on the head in case of the fighter falling over or being up-ended in battle.

All helmets must have padding around the crown and across the brow and temples. This padding should be of at least 10mm sheepskin, felt or approved equivalent.

Gloves and Helmets must be worn at all times during standard combat.

Remember that all new equipment must be cleared by a Marshall before it can be used on the field. In all cases, marshals should be contacted to discuss any unclear points before making any helmets.


Lanyards secure a weapon to the fighter’s hand. Lanyards must be used for all public performances unless the Captain or Chief Marshal state otherwise. Lanyards are not required for or two-handed hafted weapons or short weapons under 55cm in length. Lanyards may be made from any suitable cord or thonging that meets the marshals approval.


The use of ANY weapon is at the discretion of the Captain and Chief Marshal.

All weapons should be of a design suitable for the period.

All weapons must be free of sharp points and edges including the hilt.

For standard combat edges must be a minimum of 3mm thick (including the hilt) and the point must show a diameter of at least 10mm.

Where possible the weight of weapons should be kept as low as possible.

Weapon Maintenance:

All weapons should be kept in a clean and serviceable condition. They should be kept free of rust and routinely de-burred.

Hafted weapons must be kept free of splinters and should be regularly serviced. This service should include sanding, oiling and/or varnishing. Sockets should be checked for secure attachment.

Shields must also be kept in a serviceable condition. All nails must be firmly seated with no points exposed. Splintering wood should be covered and all sharp protrusions covered or removed. Metal edged shields must have their edges routinely de-burred.

Need help in getting your fighting gear together?

Grey Company has an active Armourers Guild that can assist you in making your Weapons and Armour. Workshops are run regularly.

First Aid Officer:

Grey Company has a first aid officer. The first aid officer is appointed yearly by the Captain and must have a current first aid certificate.

If you have a medical condition that could effect your safety or the safety of other members you must discuss this with the first aid officer.

A Final note on safety:

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. If you see anything you believe to be unsafe do not be afraid to speak up.

If you feel you have been hit too hard by an opponent you must let them know as soon as possible-while they can still remember the event. If you say nothing then someone else may get hurt.

If someone tells you that you are hitting too hard you must take the comment seriously and try to correct your technique accordingly.

General Combat Etiquette:

Some Illustrations

Featuring Sammy the Stunt Saxon!

The 5 basic attacks taught in The Grey Company.
Normal hit locations for general combat. Modified hit locations for dagger only duelling

Membership forms and a waiver can be downloaded here in .pdf format
All members must sign the waiver. The waiver must be signed by a witness. Please use a witness who is over 18 years of age and not related to a current Grey Company member (including yourself).


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