It's just a scratch

Flesh wounds, blood loss, and how we treat them on the field is a tricky subject. Rather than approaching this topic from a scientific viewpoint, (ie. why people tend to feel faint after losing this amount of blood) I would like to talk about how it looks to anyone watching the fight.

Blow calling is the singular most difficult aspect of our martial art. Proper blow calling requires making small distinctions amidst the heat of battle, as well as keeping our egos in check. (Of course, none of us has ever had any trouble with an over inflated ego, right?) More importantly, blow calling directly reflects on how honorable we are held, both on and off the field. You can be the most chivalrous person on the face of this earth, but a reputation of a rhino hide precedes all others. Compounding this challenge to call your blows well, is the element of blood loss and minor wounds.

When would you lose consciousness from blood loss, or when would flesh wounds be too painful for you to continue? Those are personal questions that I do not intend to try to answer. I only wish to point out how stupid a fighter looks when he staggers around for five minutes holding his side trying to continue the fight. Either you are wounded or you are not. If you are not seriously wounded, don’t confuse your opponent and the marshals by hamming it up if you don’t intend to admit to blood loss or pain. If you are wounded, give yourself a specific time limit to finish the bout. If you can’t finish it in that time, yield.

Only you can call your wounds, that is the great strength of the fighting that we do. However, it is important to keep in mind that you are fighting in public, and people are watching. A reputation is made or broken on what they see. We are fighting to display our honor and that includes our overall actions on the field. Someone who consistently ignores flesh wounds, or even acknowledges a non-killing cut, but continues to fight as if they have the stamina of Hercules looks like an idiot, or worse.

I am not saying that you should yield if you get a scratch, or a nick. I am saying that while a draw cut to the side of the head, or your side may not kill you, the time you can continue fighting is limited. The more you stretch that limit, the more you risk your reputation.

Every time a fighter steps onto the list field, he should reaffirm a decision to him or herself. Which is more important, the win, or my reputation? If its the win, you don’t belong in this game.

Lord Kirk Dragomani
Provost, Ad’E