Bow and Buckler Competition
Sir Jon Fitz-Rauf, O.L., O.P.,R.C.A., R.C.Y.


The Bow and Buckler competition provides both practice for combat archers in hitting a small target and in avoiding incoming arrows. It is a contest between teams of two partners. Each of the team members take turns attempting to shoot the buckler held by the other partner. The distance is increased each end until both partners are eliminated and only one team remains.

All participants must wear, both while shooting or buckler bearing, minimum legal combat protective gear. The buckler is twelve inches maximum in diameter. The surface may be of any color and may also be padded to reduced damage to arrows. Any SCA legal blunt or bow may be used. A handicapping system may be used. Archers scoring less than sixty in the Royal Round get four arrows per end. Archers scoring sixty to seventy nine get three arrows per end. Archers scoring eighty or more get two arrows per end. Teams may be composed of the same or of mixed levels.

The archer that shoots first, stands at the shooting line and the partner starts ten yards away, facing the shooting line with their body perpendicular to it. (For a more challenging event they may stand parallel to it, providing greater chance for kills.) The buckler must always be held level with the center of the chest until the arrow is released. After the arrow is released the buckler bearer may either remain still, move the buckler to intercept the arrow or dodge to avoid being hit or any combination of the above. However, at no time, may they move their feet. Moving the feet to avoid an arrow is considered a hit and the buckler bearer must then kneel on both knees. Moving the feet in order to intercept the arrow with the buckler is considered a miss, even if the arrow hits the buckler. Each archer continues shooting until they either hit the buckler, "kill" their partner (A hit the leg or arm does not stop the shooting) or use up all their allotted arrows. However for a more dramatic effect, the archers on the line may take turns shooting only one arrow at a time.

Hits to the buckler bearer count as in combat. Glancing arrows do not count, it must be a solid hit. Hits to the head or torso count as a kill and the archer stops shooting. Dramatic deaths by the buckler bearers are encouraged. A hit to the leg and the buckler bearer may either kneel or stand on the unhit leg. A hit to the arm holding the buckler and the holder must switch it to the other hand. If both arms have been hit the buckler must be held at chest level and may not be moved. Hits to buckler bearer do not carry over. If a limb is lost in one end it is back in the next.

When all the archers have finished shooting, they change places with their buckler bearers and the second end begins. After the second end is over, those teams that did not have at least one hit to the buckler are eliminated. The distance is now increased by at least five yards. This continues until only the winning team is left.

For questions related to this article please contact the author: Sir Jon Fitz-Rauf @

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