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SCA Battle Rock clean
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History of SCA on Okinawa

The SCA has been active on Okinawa since at least the mid 1980s, though the group has existed under various names, including the Ile of Blue Mists, the Canton of Chuzan, the Canton of Battle Rock, and finally the Stronghold of Battle Rock. The distinction of a Stronghold from a Canton is that a Stronghold is based upon a modern military base, and so it is afforded some flexibility in its ability to exist in dormancy during periods when the local populace is deployed or relocated. A Stronghold can come out of dormancy without having to completely reinvent itself from the ground up.

Battle Rock birthday

Depending on whether one sees the first SCA event on Okinawa as our birthday, or the passage of our name and device, the birthday of Battle Rock may be seen as 23 March 1984 or 24 February 1995. I suppose one could view the former as our birth and the latter as our Christening. Either way, those are two important dates in our early history.

Ile of the Blue Mists

From the early 1980's, the SCA has been active on Okinawa, the first known active group here being called the Ile of the Blue Mists. This was their history.

Early tourneys 1984-1986

Here is an official "page entry" for tourneys starting 1984 with our first official Page entry.

March 23 1984 Warlord Tourney Blue Mists
September 1985 Three Weapons Tourney Blue Mists
October 26 1985 All Hallows Eve Blue Mists
October 1985 Revel and Quest Blue Mists
October 1985 Harvest Wars Blue Mists
November 1985 Quest for the Original Mist Blue Mists

Quest for the Original Mist

January 4, 1986 (AS XX) Quest for the Original Mist Ile of the Blue Mists

From The Page (January, 1986):

Long, long ago, before the earth was young, the mystic depths of the seas groaned with the pangs of birth, and from those lamentations the Lands of the Mists were born ... from the chronicles of myths of the mists.
According to ancient lore the Ile of the Blue Mists was one of the seven places in the Known World to possess a small portion of the original mist. It is said that to partake of the original mist was to experience the essence of chivalry past. A recent discovery of an archaic map will lead questors to possible locations where the first mist might have dwelled.
This quest has been designed to accomodate both lord and lady, wit and sword. If you are eager to be an adventurer and seek this eldrich mist ... be at Camp Lester Picnic Grounds, January 4 at 1 p.m. Maps will be supplied. Fighters should wear armor, ladies should be tantalizingly clad. Rules will be explained prior to the quest. Anyone who does not live on the Ile of the Blue Mists should contact Sillan Gareth (contact info omitted) for crash space and details. !>

Championship Tournament

February 1, 1986 (AS XX) Championship Ile of the Blue Mists

From The Page (January, 1986):

The seneschal of the Blue Mists will choose her new Shire Champion by honorable combat on the first of February. All fighters in the Shire of Blue Mists are encouraged to enter the lists. All entrants must prove membership in the S.C.A. Activities will begin at 10 a.m. and the tourney will begin at 11:30 a.m. The tourney will be at the Camp Lester Picnic Grounds. The autocrat is Sillan Gareth (contact info omitted). Visitors from outside Blue Mists are welcome, but please contact the autocrat for crash space.

Lord Defender of the Far West

February 15, 1986 (AS XX) Far West Lord Defender Ile of the Blue Mists

From The Page (January, 1986):

The Lord Defender tourney for the Far West Protectorate will occur Saturday, February 15 in the Ile of the Blue Mists. All resident fighters of the Far West are encouraged to assemble and compete for the title of Lord Defender of the Far West. Competition will be by standard double elimination tourney and each fighter must represent a companion or consort. The Lord Defender and Defender's Champion will not only bear those titles for a season, but will receive official capes and circlets to wear, will be given free tickets to the Protectorate's second anniversary banquet in March, and will be much fawned upon by the people of the Far West.
The Lord Defender and Consort must agree to attend the anniversary banquet, if at all possible, and remain visible at the Protectorate's activities during the season. They will be our rallying point. Membership in the S.C.A. must be proven by the candidates prior to the tourney, and the Lord Defender and Consort must hold their office for the entire season. Petitions to enter the tourney must be sent to the autocrat and arrive by January 30.
Activities will begin at 10 a.m. with lists closing and tourney beginning at 12:30 p.m. The location of the tourney will be the Camp Lester picnic grounds. This is a one day event. The autocrat is Sillan Gareth (contact info omitted).
Visitors from out of the Far West Protectorate are encouraged to contact the autocrat for crash space and tour Okinawa's sites.

From The Page (December, 1985):

For those who wished to attend the Far West Lord Defender Tourney, but could not fit the trek into your schedule; please accept this summary.
On the Isle of the Blue Mists, the 19th day of October, A.S. XX, the first Lord Defender Tourney of the Far West was held (and it did not rain! -- as it has for every tourney on the Isle). The position of Lord Defender is the Champion of the protectorate of the Far West. S/He will defend with his/her might the just cause of the Far West should it ever be dishonored or defamed. In token of the honor of this position, the Lord Defender will receive the respect due the Premiere Fighter of the protectorate. This tourney rotates throughout the Far West giving all the chance to win honors for their consorts. The victor of this tourney holds the position for four months. Because the Isle of the Blue Mists was to also decide a Shire Champion this month, the decision was made to combine the two tourneys into one. The last member of the Isle of the Blue Mist to be eliminated in the double elimination tourney would be the best representative for the Shire Champion. Marie del Estrela autocratted the tourney and victory feast which followed, and being her first, was equal to any principality feast consisting of three removes and a dessert remove complete with soteltie. She even petitioned FEN (Far East Network -- the Armed Forces Network) to do news coverage of the event. The results of the coverage was a series report on the S.C.A in Okinawa, Japan. Kadena High School students attended the event as a requirement to improve their grades in history. Marie arranged the faculty support with Kadena High School.
Nine authorized fighters entered the lists to win the honor of Lord Defender for their consorts. The whole tourney and feast was video recorded (thanks to Tavis Bearman and Rebecca Solomon). Many deeds of valor, courage and prowess were demonstrated upon the Field of Honor, but I shall speak on the closing bouts of the tourney. In the semi-final rounds Sillan Gareth and Tarlax fought for the position of Isle of the Blue Mists Champion. From a prolonged and most chivalrous battle Sillan Gareth gained the victory. Tarlax was invited to Sillan Gareth's table, following that match, for refreshment and repose. The final bout for the day would be Sillan Gareth and Vulgar. In five seconds, Sillan Gareth was performing a most dramatic death, proclaiming loudly (as any good herald would) Vulgar's victory. Vulgar won the First Far West Lord Defender Tourney. After the squeals of delight and remorse had settled from the rabble, Vulgar approached the Blue Mist with a sad tale. In view of the fact that he would not have sufficient time in the Far West to fulfill his obligation as the Far West Defender, he pleaded that the decision be rescinded, and in place of himself Sillan Gareth be made Lord Defender of the Far West. Upon hearing this, Sillan Gareth immediately petitioned the Seneschal in Tarlax's behalf to allow him to become Shire Champion. This set of proposals were well received and approved by all. Sillan Gareth would assume the position of Far West Defender and complete the term of that position; Tarlax would assume the position of Champion of the Blue Mists and complete the term of office.
That evening at the victory feast, Vulgar was presented the scroll and shield in token of his victory, and Tarlax was presented the regalia of Shire Champion. Marie del Estrella and Tiene Faol were presented the Order of the Coral for the self-sacrifice and support given the Isle of the Blue Mists. Rolo was presented the Order of the Empty Shell for his support and participation in the activities of the Far West. (The O.E.S. is a token of remembrance to all who have lived in the Far West and must travel to a new S.C.A. home. It is equivalent to the Order of the PCS in Drachenwald.) Sillan Gareth was awarded the Order of Grace and Chivalry and the honor of completing the position of Lord Defender of the Far West first.
The climax to the evening's festivities was the announcement of an S.C.A. wedding in December followed by a real ceremony.
In all the event will live long in the hearts and minds of all who attended the event held at Kadena Air Base High School Athletic Field and Cafeteria.

Canton of Chuzan (name returned), 1992

Here is a Submission Denial for a name registration for Okinawa's SCA group back in 1992, along with a nice history:

Chuzan, Canton of. Name and device resubmission. Per chevron azure and vert, on a sun within a laurel wreath Or, a phoenix rousant to sinister, wings addorsed gules.
The name conflicts with that of Chusan, largest island of the Chusan (or Chou-shan) archipelago, in the East China Sea. The name appears in several general references ('91 Encyclopedia Britannica, vol.3, pp.310, 270; New Century Cyclopedia of Names, vol.I, p.963), so it's important enough to protect.
There was some discussion as to whether this conflicts with Chuzan, the old name of central Okinawa (where the canton is located). The 1986 edition of the Rules for Submission permitted branch names to "use an old in-period name for the territory actually encompassed in the mundane world by that branch", so long as the old name wasn't in modern use (NR18.c). Thus, for instance, a Society branch along the Atlantic Canadian coast could call itself Vinland under the old Rules.
The current Rules do not contain that provision for obsolete placenames to be used by Society branches. I asked Mistress Alisoun, former Laurel Queen of Arms, and she told me the omission was deliberate. The 1986 Rules protected all mundane placenames, no matter how unimportant or obscure; a special dispensation for SCA branches was sometimes needed. The current Rules protect only famous or important placenames. Thus, if the obsolete name for a territory currently occupied by a Society branch is important or famous, it's protected against conflict by anyone (including the SCA branch); if the obsolete name is unimportant, there's no conflict in the first place, and any branch could use the name.
I could not find the Kingdom of Chuzan mentioned in any of several general references; by our standards, it's not considered important enough to protect. And according to Lord El-Munadi, Okinawa was a Japanese pirate haven before and during Japan's contact with Europeans; so it's possible that Europeans could have known about Chuzan. But the conflict with the Chusan islands renders the point moot.
The device looks acceptable, but must be returned for lack of a name; branches aren't assigned holding names. The phoenix in the submission was blazoned rising, but phoenices are generally so blazoned, even when in their default displayed posture; we have reblazoned this one to remove the ambiguity. 09/92

Device registration modification

[Registering the blazon a phoenix rousant wings addorsed] The phoenix is not truly "rising", a posture which for phoenices is the equivalent of "displayed". We have modified the blazon to better match the emblazon. (Battle Rock, Canton of, 2/95 p. 9)

The approved name was "Canton of Battle Rock" but prior to that the group went by the name of "Canton of the Isle of Blue Mists" but the name never got registered and eventually registered Canton of Battle Rock after Chuzan got denied. Some interesting history of SCA in Okinawa. Here is the old Website. Has some good photos that we should shift over to the website. Rothri's picture is in there!

Battle Rock

The name Canton of Battle Rock and the device we currently use (which had been previously returned only for lack of a name - groups can't have holding names) were passed in the February 1995 Laurel letter.

A number of baronial coronet tournaments have been held here, including Spring 1994 and Spring 2009 (See Rothri's photos and Wilhelm's photos). In January 2010 (A.S. XLIV), the Stronghold of Battle Rock held its first Championship Tournament at the USO building on Kadena Air Base. Rothri emerged victorious, to become our first Stronghold Champion, and was immortalized in a song, A Champion's Poem, by Otto Spilman.

A Champion's Poem
His shield held fast
the mighty blows
his sword struck last
upon his foes
Five man down
lay upon the field
as a watchful crowd
sees another one yield
A crusader's strike
was way too fast
and laid to rest
the fighters past
let's hear three cheers
for a champion born
with honor and chivalry
he laid down their scorns!
Hip Hip_____ Huzzah!
Hip Hip_____ Huzzah!
Hip Hip_____ Huzzah!
Otto Spielman (talk) 2356, January 14, 2010 (UTC)

A tribute to members past