Basics of Melee

The purpose of the Basics of Melee lesson is to teach the basics skills and procedures necessary to participate in a melee or group fight safely.

For Teachers

Click the Button to jump to the How to Teach Basics of Melee instructions.

Safety

Safety is our number one concern. In a Melee, or group fight, we need to ensure that everything we do keeps ourselves and others safe. Here are some additional safety rules of note as it pertains to Melee:

  • The 180 Rule: This rule simply means that you may not attack your opponent from any point beyond their 180 degree field of vision.
  • Don’t Run into a Fight: If you want to run, run between fights where there is plenty of space between you and other people. As you get closer to anyone, slow down to a controlled walk.
  • Holds: We use the word “Hold” anytime we need to pause a fight. This could be to prevent injury or avoid a dangerous situation. In a melee, anytime we hear a hold, you loudly repeat the call and take a knee, unless you are the person who called the hold. Because this is a keyword in combat refrain from using it as a command such as “hold the line,”  “fill that hole” or anything that sounds like it.
  • Be Aware of Your Surroundings: As we fight, we should be aware of where we are standing and what is around us. Don’t try to fight your opponent if they are in a place that would be hazardous for them to fight back safely. Warn your opponent if they are near an edge or about to back into a tree. Be mindful of non-combatants near the fight as well.

Basics Parts of a Melee

A Melee, or group fight, is any time 3 or more fencers fight at the same time. Each Melee will have its own rules and conditions which is called a Scenario, but there are some common pieces that make up every scenario. Those are listed below.

Specifics for any given melee will be explained to the group prior to the “Lay On”, which is the term we use to say “Go!” Make sure that you pay attention during the explanation. Avoid talking, and save clarifying questions or comments until the end of the explanation. If after the explanation is over you still have questions, find someone on your team to explain the details you missed.

Objectives:

Every melee has an objective. The objective is how you win the battle and there can be more than one. Examples: Capture a point, last man standing, find a hidden item.

Rez, Rez Points, & Rez Count:

A Rez is an extra life. Everyone will be given a certain amount of Rez’s at the beginning of the Melee and it’s up to you to keep track of how many you have left. A Rez Point is a predetermined location that you must return to after you die to use one of your Rez’s. There may also be a Rez Count, which is a number of seconds you must count to out loud at a Rez Point before using one of your Rez’s.

Edge of the World

The Edge of the World is our term for the boundaries of a fight. This way everyone stays in a designated area and no one can stray too far from the fighting. If you do cross out of bounds, you typically lose a life and have to return to your Rez Point to start over.

Melee Hold

As mentioned early, we use the word “Hold” to declare that a fight needs to stop immediately. We declare a hold to prevent injury, or to remedy a dangerous situation. In a melee, a hold can be called for all participants. If a person recognizes that something is wrong or there is danger nearby, they can call a “Hold”! All fencers who hear the “Hold” should repeat the call and should proceed to kneel until everyone has stopped fighting. The person who originally called the “Hold” should remain standing, which allows an Officer to quickly locate the issue and help resolve it. Once the issue has been fixed, all fighters may stand and wait for a new lay one to be called. During a “Hold”, parties who are not involved should remain where they are and wait patiently.

Additional specifics for any given melee will be explained to the group prior to the “Lay On”, which is the term we use to say “Go!” Make sure that you pay attention during the explanation. Avoid talking, and save clarifying questions or comments until the end of the explanation. If after the explanation is over you still have questions, find someone on your team to explain the details you missed.

Basic Melee Strategies

At first, Melees may be overwhelming, but they are also a lot of fun. Following some basic melee strategies will help you to get through your first group fights.

Find a Buddy:

You should never go into a melee alone. Always find a buddy. Your buddy may switch throughout the fight, but whomever your buddy is, make sure you stay close and work together.

Outnumber Them Somewhere:

Even with a buddy, you should always try to outnumber your opponent’s in some way. That may mean waiting for your team to arrive, or running away to find help. Don’t face off against your opponents when you’re outnumbered.

Communicate:

Basic communication truly does make any melee situation easier. It doesn’t matter what you say, as long as you are talking with your teammates and informing them of what you see and hear. Ask questions. Repeat yourself. It doesn’t matter if your opponents hear you. Just communicate.

How to Teach Basics of Melee Principles

Explain

Explain the following parts of a melee that we use and why we use them. Include the difference between dueling and melee or some of your own experiences from a favorite melee.

  • Four Levels of Importance
  • Melee Hold
  • Objectives
  • Rez’s, Rez Points, & Rez Counts
  • Edge of the World
  • Find a Buddy
  • Outnumber Them Somewhere
  • Communicate

Demonstrate

As you explain each topic, demonstrate what each part of a melee is and how it is used. Give examples of each and what they might expect with each part.

Guide

After demonstrating each piece of a basic melee, walk the students through each principle and help them understand the process. Show them how to Rez and how to recognize a Rez Point. Guide them in how to communicate during a fight and what things they could tell their teammates.

Enable

At this stage, each Newcomer should be ready to participate in a basic melee. Run through the following drill before finishing.

Basics of Melee Drill

In an open area, divide the Newcomers and other fencers into 2 groups, facing each other as lines. Declare each piece of the line fight (# of Rez’s, Rez Point, Rez Count, Edge of the World, etc…) and run through several line fights. Give time after each fight to discuss what happened from the Newcomer’s perspective. Experienced fencers and Instructors should focus on what the Newcomer’s want to discuss.

Basics of Melee Challenge (We’re All In This Together)

For the rest of practice, as a group, stick together throughout the Melees. If split up onto different teams, stay with those on your team.

Ready to move on?

You’ve completed all of the Newcomer Lessons! Let’s review the requirements to advance to the rank of Intiate and schedule a Test Match with a Sergeant