Rapier is the newest of the combat forms in the SCA. Based on the gentleman’s swordplay of the latter part of our period, it might be considered the ancestor of modern Olympic-style fencing. It is nowhere near as formal and choreographed as the modern sport, however. SCA fencers use a startling variety of weapons: sword, dagger, a dinner-plate-sized shield called a buckler, cloaks, tankards, even very occasionally that most feared of weapons, the off-hand leg of lamb! If you imagine a sixteenth century rapier fight starting in a London pie shop and spilling out onto the cobbled streets, you will understand how the very informality of its origins leads to a very different feel than the earlier, more ritualised armoured tournament combat.
As with the other forms of combat, participation in a rapier tournament requires authorisation, which means satisfying your marshal that you have the necessary skill and control to wield a rapier. Training is the first step.