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Will I get hurt?

Safety is a huge concern with physical combat. Blows must never be at full strength. Participants must "pull" their blows. This means that you slow your strike before it lands to ensure it doesn't cause pain but can still be felt. If you've never done LARP combat before, then it's best to ask for a practice session before an events begins and it doesn't hurt to spar occasionally to stay in fighting form too.

Some Safety Tips

  • Get your weapons and armour safety check with a referee at the start of the event.
  • Avoid fighting in hazardous areas such as near tent pegs, bogs, unstable ground or large drops.
  • Don't fight if you are intoxicated or it is too dark.
  • Stop fighting if members of the public are passing by.
  • Inform a referee if you see another participant hitting too hard or with an unsafe weapon.
  • If someone looks to be hurt for real, call "Man Down!" (or the safety call for that event) and crouch to show others you have stopped fighting.
  • Avoid head hits (some events allow them but suggest it only as a last resort, e.g. they are holding a huge body covering shield).


There are some occasions when a participant cannot take part in physical combat for medical reasons and we refer to this as them being a “non-com” (i.e. non-combat). Every event has it’s own way to handle this so make sure you read how to identify a non-com but if someone shouts “non-com” at you as you are about to face them in combat, it’s best to not physically strike them in the name of safety.

Photo by Beth Dooner
A pretend surgery scene from futuristic LARP "Age of Aether".