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The act of testing and confirming the ability of a participant in armored combat or rapier combat, accomplished and supervised by marshals. An authorized combatant may participate in the appropriate activities in any tournament or practice. Participants in a practice need not be authorized yet. Initial authorizations for armored combat are always done for the weapon and shield style, unless there is cause to begin with another weapon form (for example, a one-armed fighter would not be required to begin with weapon and shield, for obvious reasons.)

Subsequent weapon authorizations are generally obtained separately, although there are cases where one or more styles can be gained at once (for example, 2-handed thrust (spear) and polearm or 1-handed thrust (dagger) and sword & shield). Initial authorization does not imply a great level of skill, but merely competance in the attempted style, knowledge of the rules and ability to participate in a manner safe to the fighter and to his or her opponent. Advanced authorizations require a greater display of skill.

Note that thrusting (body and face) is now a required component of every authorization other than the primary weapon & shield.

Once authorization is complete and reported to the Clerk of the Roster, (along with a signed waiver) the participant is entered in the Authorization Database. Previously participants were issued Authorization Cards.

Armored combatants must be paid members of the Society.

For a combatant's authorization to remain valid, they must engage in heavy combat at least once during the year. If a combatant does not fight in the span of a year, they may be required to reauthorize by participating in a truncated authorization bout. Typically, once a lapsed fighter completes his or her reauthorization, all weapon styles s/he had previously are reactivated as well. However, it is at the marshal's discretion as to if all styles must be reauthorized individually or not.

Bypass Authorizatons

Simply stated, allowing an armored combatant to skip the initial weapon & shield authorization.

Bypass authorizations can be granted for cause on a case-by-case basis (i.e., the one-armed man example above) or, as in recent history, by the King for an entire class of combatants -- as has happened when monarchs allowed any willing participant to authorize in combat archery without first obtaining a weapon & shield authorization.

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