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California Independent Renaissance Guild Association


Weapons Guidelines and Safety Procedures




                Our re-creations of history throw us back to a time when weapons played an integral part of everyone’s life. Everyone ate with a dagger, hunted with a bow, many games of skill involved weapons and many disagreements were concluded at the point of a sword. Weapons were a necessary part of life and survival. This is not the case today.

                Weather it is re-creating a full contact joust, a choreographed duel, these are leisure activities governed by the modern realities of life. While our ancestors may well have tolerated the occasional death, maiming, or injury associated with the daily weapon use, we cannot. Safety must prevail.

                Our purpose at faire is to entertain and educate, and have fun in the process. It is not entertaining or fun for anyone to be injured. Therefore, we voluntarily subscribe to the following safety guidelines for the use of weapons.





Any device intended to cause injury. Including [but not limited to] knives (daggers, dirks, stilettos, single edge), bows(crossbows, longbows, arrows, bolts), firearms(cannons, pistols, rifles, arabesque), swords(rapiers, broad swords, claymores, foils, scimitars, katanos, kendo swords), whips(cat-o’-nines, bullwhips, quirts, crops), pole arms (halberds, pikes, spears, lances, bills), axes(throwing, battle), hammers, morning stars, maces, fails, darts and staves.



Choreographed Combat

Predetermined, rehearsed combat in which all participants know all of the attacks, defenses moves, and sequences of moves to be made by their opponent(s). Outcomes are pre-arranged. Also known as “Theatrical Combat” and “Staged Combat”.



Free-Style Combat

Non-choreographed combat. Participants engage in real contests of skill without the benefit of fore-knowledge of their opponent’s moves. This includes jousting, archery, knife and axe throwing, and whip use.




Anyone admitted to faire for the purpose of providing entertainment, ambiance, or services. Also known as “Faire Folk”, actors, or other non-paying event attendee.




Anyone attending a faire/festival (paying or not) that is not a performer.


General Considerations


A.       It is in the interests of all performers to maintain a safe and pleasant environment for both performers and customers. This includes all hours of faire [inclusive of set-up to tear-down] open to the public or not. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all performers to report any unsafe or dangerous behavior to the proper faire officials, faire security, or local law enforcement. It is not the responsibility of any performer to confront anyone engaged in unsafe or dangerous behavior. This does not mean an eminently dangerous situation should not be intervened upon. I.E. children playing with weapons.


B.       It is the responsibility of each “Guild Master” to discipline any member displaying unsafe weapons use. C.I.R.G.A. will not recommend the participation of [and may censure] any guild/group/individual which allows or permits the unsafe or dangerous use of weapons, or does not take action against its members that engage in unsafe or dangerous use of weapons.


C.      Under no circumstances will any weapons usage be permitted without the prior approval by faire officials. Each guild, group, or performer must obtain permission from the faire official to perform with weapons. It is incumbent on any guild, group, or individual utilizing weapons in their performances to have formal written safety regulation for the handling, storage, and use of weapons inside and outside of their encampment. Waivers of liability and medical release forms are strongly recommended for each performer.


D.      Weapons not being used during a performance or rehearsal shall not be drawn or displayed in any unsecured area. Weapons carried about the faire must be secured in a manner to prevent them from being accidentally drawn, discharged, or used by anyone. This is commonly referred to as “peace-tied.”


E.       Anyone engaging in any type of combat or carrying an unsheathed weapon (pole arms, great swords, etc.) must demonstrate the correct use, handling, care and safety requirements of the weapon used or carried. Such demonstration must be to the satisfaction of [and accordance with] their guilds requirements.


F.       Each guild is responsible for arranging and securing their performance areas. All areas shall be approved by the faire officials and shall be sufficiently large to ensure that safety of both performers and customers. Adequate provisions must be made by each guild, group or performer to prevent anyone, other than performers, from entering the performance area during the performance.


G.      Projectile or thrown weapons (including whips, bows, firearms, darts and knives) are restricted to a secured, designated area and subject to the control and approval of the guild or group responsible for the area. Use of these types of weapons outside of secured areas are prohibited.


H.      Anyone performing with a weapon or carrying an unsheathed weapon shall not consume anything that could adversely affect reaction time, judgment, or agility. It is the responsibility of each guild to prevent its members from indulging and using weapons.


I.         Injured, sick, or fatigued performers shall not be permitted to perform with weapons.


J.        All weapons must be sound, in good condition, and functional for the purposes of their use. Each weapons performing guild shall establish guidelines for its weapons. Edged weapons shall have blunted edges. No sharpened edged weapons shall be carried openly. Any weapon deemed to be in an unsafe condition shall not be displayed, carried openly, or performed with.




K.      Fights must be complete, rehearsed, and safe. Impromptu or spontaneous fighting is prohibited.


L.       As with all combat routines, prior approval must be obtained from faire officials. Specific times and places must be agreed to. If the combat is to take place outside an established stage (“in the street”), the performing guild must provide adequate perimeter control to the satisfaction of the faire officials.


M.     Any plausible, entertaining, and safe combat is permissible. However, caution is strongly advised when weapons are mismatched or multiple combatants are used.




N.      All combat must take place in a designated area and be approved by the faire officials. Sport combat with weapons cannot fail to be unpredictable and dangerous. Therefore this method of weapons use must be conducted only by those guilds willing and able to go to the extreme lengths necessary to conduct these activities safely.


O.      Only similar weapons should be engaged.


P.       They styles and types of combat permitted shall be established by each guild. Such guidelines should consider size and weight of weapons. All combatants must be fully armored.




Q.      Non-choreographed mass confrontations shall be limited to verbal banter and threatening gestures. No one shall engage weapons in a group setting unless it is choreographed.


R.       Choreographed mass confrontations shall be limited to multiple pairs of performers.




S.       No customer under any circumstances shall be allowed to engage in any live weapons combat unless it is within a controlled [instructional] manner and the sponsoring guild carries liability insurance for that express purpose. {i.e. Avalon Arms}


T.       Customers shall not be allowed to draw or display any weapon within the faire site. Any weapon purchased at faire must be immediately removed from the faire site by the customer, or held by the vendor or information booth.


U.       At all faire entrances[and all weapons vendors] notices shall be posted stating customers will not be allowed to openly carry or display weapons and that all weapons purchased must be immediately removed from the faire site or held by the vendor until the customer leaves the site.


V.       Vendors shall securely wrap or package all weapons prior to delivery to the customer.

Non-members please consult our website policies page
© 1990-2007 California Independent Renaissance Guild and Group Association