Ian and the Iron Ring of Northshield
The Iron Ring is a Challenge Prize Token. Kind of a trophy of the day for prowess in Rapier.
I now have the privilege of having been a Defender of the Iron Ring of Northshield three times. Once it reverted back to me so I only challenged for it twice.
I challenged Lord Robert Talbot for the Iron Ring and prevailed in close bouts. When requested to know what weapons to use, I requested his best form and so that led to the bouts being all sword and dagger. 3 wins and 2 losses.
I failed in my defense of the Iron Ring against Don Michael St. Christian. The bout went to two wins and three losses.
Due to shoulder surgery coming very soon Don Michael then thanked me for letting him have one last hurrah before his surgery and informed me that the Iron Ring would revert back to me that day.
I then successfully defended the Iron Ring against Lady Sarah the Fool in a 3 win 1 loss challenge.
That night I also defended the Iron Ring against Cosimo de Cellini. With 3 wins and 2 losses in the Challenge. We fought sword and dagger. I then twisted my knee off the field of honor and was forced to refuse the challenge of Don Trystan.
I then felt that the Iron Ring should be challenged for at every opportunity and reverted it back down the line to Robert Talbot as I did not think I could defend the Iron Ring the next week at practice. This was done in the spirit of the Iron Ring Challenge and though I was later told I was wrong to give it up so easily by the Premiere, I was lauded for trying to act in the spirit of the Iron Ring Challenge.
I had the honor of Marshaling the bout where Sarah the Fool took the Iron Ring from Robert Talbot.
I then challenged Sarah the Fool for the Iron Ring on April 1, 2009 (AS 43). I took the Iron Ring from her in 3 wins and 1 loss.
At their Majesties Stephen and Ailleane's coronation event Don Trystan did challenge me for the Iron Ring. I chose a time AFTER the Queen Mum's favor so as not to detract from that auspicious tournament in any way.
Don Trystan did choose to make the challenge a "Swiss five" format. We started with case of rapier, went to sword and dagger, then to sword and rigid, Single sword and then finished up with sword and non-rigid. The bout went 3 wins and 2 losses in my favor.
The last four bouts can be viewed here.
Then Don "Doc" Jock did challenge me for the Iron Ring. All bouts were fought sword and dagger. The challenge went 1 win and 3 losses and the Iron Ring chose Don "Doc" Jock as its newest worthy defender.
Just what is the Iron Ring?
I'll let the person who created the Iron Ring Challenge tell that story. Here it is as written by the Premiere Iron Ring Defender.
"The story behind why I started the Challenge of the Iron Ring is...
A couple of years ago (long before I became the Baron of Nordskogen), I was having a conversation with Master Warder Alexander de Seton at an event in the Midlands regarding there not being enough emphasis on just prowess in rapier. It was always expected to be there, but many tournaments, awards, and overall character assessments incorporated the entire aspects of a courtier (honor, courtly graces, chivalry, teaching, etc). All this being very good, but I felt that recognizing and rewarding ability was almost to the point of getting ignored.
Master Alexander suggested that if saw this as a gap in the rapier community that I should think of a way to help solve it (in other words put my money where my mouth was :). That day he was giving out hematite rings to those people who he had had good fights with as a token, he gave one to me as said maybe this will spark some ideas.
Well it did, on the way back from the event I figured out the entire rules for the Challenge of the Iron Ring. That very night I posted the Challenge of the Iron Ring on the rapier lists and by morning Warder Uadahlrich emailed me. He had also received a hematite ring from Master Alexander and being from completely on the other side of the Middle Kingdom, he thought 1 Iron Ring for all of the Midrealm including Northshield would not be enough to provide the opportunity for many to Challenge for it. He asked my permission to start the Southern Iron Ring. So the very first Iron Rings were the two hematite rings given out by Master Alexander deSeton. (Unfortunately hematite is brittle and did not fair so well when struck by a rapier, so now the rings truly are Iron Rings.)
And as it sits now there is a Northshield Iron Ring (former Northern Ring), a Midrealm Iron Ring (former Southern Ring, as it will remain within the new Midrealm borders drawn in October), an East Kingdom Iron Ring, a Meridies Iron Ring, and there may be Iron Rings of Ealdormere and the Principality of Gleann Abhann already or very soon.
So now, I say to any of you, if you feel that prowess or ability is not properly emphasized in any of the martial or non-martial communities that you are a part of, you should think of a way to solve it. :)
Yours in Service,
Rodrigo, sometimes goof."
And the Rules for the Iron Ring Challenge are below as well
"The Challenge of the Iron Ring
The Iron Ring is a symbol of prowess (and only prowess) in rapier fighting, currently there are five Rings, one per ratio of Kingdom, in the Middle Kingdom, East Kingdom, Kingdom of Ealdormere, Meredies, and Northshield, and the only way to acquire one is to challenge the current ring bearer. The format of the challenge is fixed and shall be strictly followed to insure this does not alter from its original intent.
To declare the challenge the challenger declares 'I request the Challenge of the Iron Ring'.
The proper responses are 'I accept your challenge' or 'I am forbidden from accepting your challenge'.
The fight for the Iron Ring shall always be best 3 out of 5 fights to allow for the occasional lucky shot.
The Iron Ring may only exchange ring bearer's once in any given day. If another challenger requests a Challenge to the new ring bearer, the ring bearer is required to respond 'I am forbidden from accepting your Challenge'. However, an existing ring bearer may accept up to three Challenges in a given day, assuming the ring bearer is the victor of each preceding Challenge that day. Only the first Challenge is the ring bearer required to fight, the second and third are optional and should only be fought if the ring bearer thinks they can show as much prowess and stamina in the later two Challenges as the first. A challenger may only Challenge for the Iron Ring once in a given day.
The 'Challenge' can only be made while both participants are fully in dress rapier armor (non-period practice armor is not acceptable) and there is still opportunity to fight that day.
The 'Challenge' must be (reasonably) met before said rapier armor is removed or the ring bearer forfeits his right to the ring to the challenger. (reasonably means use common sense here, if it is not possible because of unforeseen acts of god leave it at that)
Since the ring bearer must choose the appropriate time, it is always the challengers right to choice of weapons. However the weapons must include a rapier (case of dagger is excluded, this is rapier prowess recognition).
The Challenge must meet its Kingdom's rules for tournament combat. (including no RBG's)
The ring may not reside outside of it's Kingdom's borders, it will revert to the previous ring bearer if the existing ring bearer moves from kingdom(s) or stops playing.
The Iron Ring shall be worn prominently while in period armor so potential challengers may know who is the current ring bearer (my recommendation is wrap the chain around your belt and wear it as a favor).
No two ring bearers may challenge each other.
Lastly, it is the duty of the outgoing ring bearer to make sure the incoming ring bearer is fully aware of these rules.
As Premier, I will be making sure the original intent of this challenge is maintained and that the rings stay in circulation.
One Ring To Rule Them All...
Baron Rodrigo de Montoya"
Video of Me Defending the Iron Ring of Northshield at Spring Coronation 2009 (AS 43)
Ian with the Iron Ring
Ian and Don Michael St Christian
Quote from President Theodore Roosevelt
"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910