Instructor Interview: Duke Sean Kirkpatrick Tarragon

Duke Sir Sean Kirkpatrick Tarragon, 9th Baron of Loch Salann, comes to Sport of Kings from the distant lands of Artemisia, where he has been a member of the Society for more than 25 years. During that time, he’s lived and fought in the Kingdom of Meridies and the Barony of the Far West (Guam) while serving in the military, but returned to his home in the Barony of Loch Salann afterwards.

Baroness Qamar un-Nisa al-Anatolia is His Grace’s inspiration when on the tourney field. His personal motivation? “To become the best fighter in the world. That is a lofty enough goal that I am likely to have something to strive for through the foreseeable future.” This goal has been a big point of change in his fighting career. “I used to think that I had to be training to win Crown. Then it was explained to me that anybody can win Crown. That if I was training o be one of the best fighters in the world, winning Crown would eventually happen.”

Duke Sean was hooked on SCA heavy combat from the moment he first laid eyes on it. He prefers to fight sword and shield, believing it is “the standard by which fighters in the SCA are measured.” He also prefers tourney fighting over war combat. “The essence of our sport as a martial art can only truly be expressed through individual accomplishment. The concept of someone being a great war fighter or a great commander is largely dependant on the group of people surrounding that fighter in a melee.”

When asked about inspirational battles, Duke Sean referenced Pheadra’s Gate, at Estrella War XVII (2000). “Artemisia and Outlands were allied against Caid and Atenveldt. Calontir and the West were fighting with us that year, among others. We were pretty drastically outnumbered. The castle battle was set so that the defenders had 300 resurrections and the attackers had unlimited resurrections. The defenders had to hold the castle for one hour. The attackers had to kill the 300 resurrections, then fight to the last man, within one hour. When we attacked the castle, we killed everyone in 48 minutes. When we defended the castle, we held for the hour…with 15 resurrections available. That is why we have wars. It was truly the most epic moment I have witnessed in 22 years of fighting.”

What keeps Duke Sean fighting after more than two decades? Teaching. “After doing pretty much everything there is to do in the fighting community, you need to have something to keep you going. For me, it is that look on someone’s face when you can see the light come on.” And what advice does he have for fighters?

New Fighters: If it was easy anybody could do it. Don’t’ get fixated on attaining the Belt or the Baldric. If you do the work, and learn the skill for the sake of learning, you will eventually receive a whole host of accolades. Including being admitted to the Chivalry, Crown, King’s Champion, etc.”

Experienced Fighters who want to hone their skills: “The first step in getting to where you want to be is in realizing that you are not there. The people who have the information you need are dying to share that information. It is up to you to seek them out, gain that knowledge, and put it to use. When you have demonstrated an ability to use that information, more such information will be available to you.”

Female Fighters: In my opinion the greatest obstacles for female fighters are psychological. Not physiological. If you can overcome the mental obstacle, then the physical obstacles will be little challenge at all.”

Duke Sean is a 14th century Knight, Irish born and fostered to an English knight at a very young age. Raised in the English Courts, he also served time in the Bordeaux region of France during the 100 years war. He is an avid fan of Inter-Kingdom anthropology, fascinated by how different Kingdoms have very different interpretations of the same basic Society philosophies.

Interview conducted and article written by Jess Hartley: Please do not reproduce without permission from the author.