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The An Tir Handbook, 3rd Edition, May XXXIII/1998

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Being a Marshall

By Companion Celdae the Seeker, Baroness An Tir

Anyone can become a Marshall but to become a good Marshall you should do the following. It will make marshalling more enjoyable and safer for everyone involved.

ONE: Find someone to teach you the ropes, such as a respected senior field Marshall. As in everything, there are people who do a good job and those who only pass on their bad habits. Talk to other fighters, even other Marshalls, to find out who they respect and who's willing to teach. If you're not sure, talk to the Earl Marshall who can recommend someone in your area to show you the way a Marshall functions. Learn from several Marshalls to see what techniques they use.

TWO: Get a copy of the ABC (An Tir Book of Combat) and read through it. If you have questions, ask the experts until you're satisfied. Ideally, one should read this through before every major martial event. Realistically, if you read it through once a year and familiarize yourself with the most pertinent areas this will get you by. Carry your ABC with you if you're not sure, and ask for advice.

THREE: You don't have to be a fighter to be a Marshall, and all fighters/knights are not Marshalls. I recommend that everyone should take a basic fighting skills class or go to some fighter practices so that you at least know what you might be observing. It helps in giving a fair assessment of a fight if asked.

FOUR: Volunteer and gain experience through tournaments and wars. These situations demand different skills. Know what you're getting into and seek to keep yourself up to date on changes.

A good Marshall:
  • Observes the fighting closely without bias
  • Is aware of the spectator situation around her
  • Looks out for the safety of everyone, including herself
  • Does not distract fighters (by singing, twirling a staff etc.)when they are fighting
  • Is quick to move on her feet, not planted like a tree
  • Is not intimidated by fighters, knights or even dukes and will hold them to proper standards
  • Is not afraid to call a hold loudly and clearly
  • Is aware of An Tir conventions which differ from rules
  • Is able to inspect armor quickly and efficiently and offer suggestions
  • Looks out for weapon/armor failure
  • Can mediate between fighters or situations, especially during wars i.e., if tempers flare
  • Keeps her opinion to herself about the actual blows unless asked by the fighters
  • Will pass on concerns to a more senior Marshall or the Marshall in Charge
  • Does not become a stickler to the point of ridiculousness
  • Learns from her mistakes and is not afraid of good advice

Marshalling is one of the best ways to learn heraldry in action. Recognize the fighters by their arms and get to know them too. So, go on and Marshall. You won't get any closer to the fighting unless you put on armor.

[NOTE: This article was inadvertantly left out of the printed version of the An Tir Handbook for which we apologize. We include it here for the interest and edification of those who are interested in becoming Marshalls.]

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