Conduct of bouts Swordfish XII

This rule set can be downloaded as a pdf document.

Conduct of bouts
1. General

Fencers participate at their own risk and discretion, as long as they follow the spirit of the tournament rules. Each bout must maintain a polite quality, with instructions from tournament officials respected.

Fencers will receive either a red or blue armband before the bout, and will be known by their colour during it.

Fencers will start the bout in their respective corner. The bout begins when the referee calls “fence”. When the referee calls “break”, the fencers must separate and return to their corners, remaining there until the referee calls “fence” again.

Bouts are fought to 10 points for longsword and sword & buckler, 5 points for sabre and 12 points for rapier & dagger, or until the bout time runs out. If the bout time runs out, the fencer with the highest points will be declared the winner.

In a pool round, a bout ending in a draw will be registered as a half win.

During the elimination round, a bout ending in a draw will continue in a sudden death.

A sudden death is fought until one fencer scores at least one point more than the other fencer.

2. Bout time

A bout is fought for 3 minutes or until one fencer has reached the score cap.

Timekeeping is not paused during scoring; in case there is a longer break in the bout for any reason, the referee will call a time-out.

Ten seconds before the time limit is reached the table will call “Last exchange!”. That exchange will be allowed to be run to its end, as long as the fencers are actively trying to fence. If the exchange becomes too passive, the referee will call ”break”, ending the bout.

After this, the table will announce the score to the referee, who will officially announce the winner of the match and the final score.

3. Scoring

The following targets are illegal, and are worth no points:

  • Back of the head
  • Spine
  • Groin
  • Back of the knee
  • Achilles tendon
  • Toes

If the point limit is reached, the table will call “match”, and the referee will end the match. After this, the table will announce the score to the referee, who will officially announce the winner of the match and the final score.

3.1 Scoring with longsword

Only attacks with the edge, point or pommel score points. Strikes with the crossguard are not allowed. All strikes must be executed in a controlled fashion.

  • A strike to the head (i.e. a strike with cut with the blade or a thrust) above the level of the shoulder is worth 3 points
  • A thrust to the torso is worth 3 points
  • All other legal targets and pommel strikes are worth 2 points
  • In longsword, any strike made outside grappling with only one hand holding the sword is worth 2 points, no matter what target is hit (to avoid abuse of one handed ”sling shots”).

At the first hit, a judge will call “point”. After giving time for an afterblow, the referee will call “break”. When “break” is called, the fencers must cease attacking, separate, and return to their corners. After this, the referee will call “judges”. Each judge will indicate the highest scoring blow for each fencer that happened within one tempo of the initial hit. This means that if the fencer who struck first can hit a higher-scoring target within one tempo, this hit is valid.

The semaphore is as follows:

  • Hit on 3 points target: Judge holds the flag vertically up
  • Hit on 2 points target: Judge holds the flag horizontally sideways
  • No hit: Judge holds the flag low, crossed in front of his body
  • No quality: Judge holds flags crossed in front of body, pointing diagonally upwards

Each fencer will score as follows:

  • If two judges agree on the score, the fencer scores that amount.
  • If two judges agree on hit, but disagree on the score, the lower score is awarded.
  • If two judges are showing 3 points, 3 points is awarded, no matter what the other judges are showing (3-3-2-2 is 3).
  • The referee announces the points for both fencers to the scorekeeper. The scorekeeper then subtracts the lower score from the higher score, and announces the final score.

To clarify: afterblows and simultaneous hits are treated the same and both can score regardless of who struck first. The hits from both fencers are scored independently by the judges; the scorekeeper is responsible for calculating the final score of the exchange.

Incidental strikes, cuts with questionable edge alignment, very light cuts with the point and cuts made with a very small arc does not score. It is up to the fencers to demonstrate “good” hits.

Only indicating attacks with sword or body due to safety reasons will still score. For example indicating a strike to the back of the head during a grappling situation.

3.2 Scoring with rapier

Only attacks with the edge, point or pommel score points. All strikes must be executed in a controlled fashion.

  • A rapier thrust to the torso or the head is worth 4 points
  • All other legal targets are worth 2 points, including all attacks with the dagger regardless of target. Only awarding 2 points for dagger thrusts is done to encourage fencers to keep distance and not ”run up the blade” of the opponent in order to lad an afterblow with the dagger.

At the first hit, a judge will call “point”. After giving time for an afterblow, the referee will call “break”. When “break” is called, the fencers must cease attacking, separate, and return to their corners. After this, the referee will call “judges”. Each judge will indicate the highest scoring blow for each fencer that happened within one tempo of the initial hit. This means that if the fencer who struck first can hit a higher-scoring target within one tempo, this hit is valid.

The semaphore is as follows:

  • Hit on 4 points target: Judge holds the flag vertically up
  • Hit on 2 points target: Judge holds the flag horizontally sideways
  • No hit: Judge holds the flag low, crossed in front of his body
  • No quality: Judge holds flags crossed in front of body, pointing diagonally upwards

Each fencer will be scored as follows:

  • If two judges agree on the score, the fencer scores that amount.
  • If two judges agree on hit, but disagree on the score, the lower score is awarded.
  • If two judges are showing 4 points, 4 points are awarded, no matter what the other judges are showing (4-4-2-2 is 4).

The referee announces the points for both fencers to the scorekeeper. The scorekeeper then subtracts the lower score from the higher score, and announces the final score.To clarify: afterblows and simultaneous hits are treated the same and both can score regardless of who struck first. The hits from both fencers are scored independently by the judges; the scorekeeper is responsible for calculating the final score of the exchange.

Incidental strikes, cuts with questionable edge alignment, very light cuts with the point and cuts made with a very small arc does not score. It is up to the fencers to demonstrate “good” hits.

In particular, judges are looking for cuts to “slice”, that is for the debolé of the sword to move across the target area (pushed or pulled), with positive pressure onto the target.

“Percussive” cuts may be scored if:

  • They are properly controlled
  • The sword rotates at least ¼ circle
  • The sword does not “bounce” off the target
  • Thrusts must fix the point onto the target with positive pressure

Only indicating attacks with sword or body due to safety reasons will still score, for example indicating a strike to the back of the head during a grappling situation.

3.3 Scoring in sword & buckler

Thrusts to the torso and head scores 3 points, strikes to the head above the neck scores 3 points. All other strikes, including buckler strike to the mesh of the mask scores 2 points. In all other respects sword & buckler is judged as longsword.

3.4 Scoring in sabre

All hits are awarded 1 point regardless of target area. In all other respects sabre is judged as longsword.

3.5 Scoring during grappling

In a grappling situation, a fencer can score by striking with the weapon(s), by using grappling actions or by demonstrating dominance. These special situations are scored by the referee alone; the judges only score strikes with the sword. The referee will halt the action in case of a judge calling “point”, if there is a scoring grappling technique, if one fencer demonstrates dominance, if the referee thinks there is a safety issue or if the grappling is at stalemate (ca 5 seconds without anything happening).

Grabbing and maintaining a hold on a stationary sword is allowed.

The following techniques score 2 point in grappling (1 point in sabre):

  • If a fencer pushes both feet of his opponent outside the mat, and remains inside with at least one foot. Likewise, if a fencer accidentally leaves the mat with both feet, his opponent is awarded 2 points. Strikes with the sword by a fencer outside the arena do not score, while strikes with the sword against a fencer outside the arena do score as normal.
  • For rapier, takedowns are disallowed and will result in a warning. The following is only applicable for longsword, sword & buckler and sabre: If a fencer uses a takedown placing any part of the opponent other than the feet on the mat. Likewise, if a fencer should fall on his own, his opponent is awarded 2 points. Going down on one knee or touching the mat with one hand outside grappling does not award the opponent any points. Takedowns intended to land the opponent on their head are not allowed.
  • If a fencer demonstrates dominance by using hands, elbows, knees, feet or head in an offensive manner.

Scoring by grappling is secondary to scoring with strikes of the sword. If a fencer is struck with a sword while executing a grappling technique, only the strike with the sword will score.

4. Double hits

Even though simultaneous hits score fully, they are often a result of poor swordsmanship. Because of this the referee is obliged to after the scoring decide if the action was an obvious double hit. If so, it still scores, but the double is noted by the secretariat. Two double hits leads to the removal of 1 match point for both fencers.

5. Errors and penalties

Each bout should be conducted in a safe and respectful manner. The penalties for errors against these guidelines are:

  • Warning
  • Penalty hit
  • Disqualification
  • Loss of match points

The referee will rule according to the tables below.

Format of the bout First time Second and following times
Not present during bout call Warning Penalty hit
Non regulatory equipment Warning Penalty hit
Leaving the mat without permission Warning Penalty hit
Addressing the referee before the final score
for the exchange is announced
Warning Penalty hit
Unwarranted suspension of the bout Warning Penalty hit
Request of suspension of the bout due to
injury that is not accepted
Penalty hit Penalty hit
Safety First time Second and following times
Turn the back to the opponent before
the referee called “break”
Warning Penalty hit
Take the mask off before the referee
called “break”
Warning Penalty hit
Striking after the referee called “break” Warning Penalty hit
Uncontrolled fencing Warning Penalty hit
Violent, dangerous or vindictive action Penalty hit Penalty hit
Intentional brutality Disqualification
Sportsmanship First time Second and following times
Refusal to obey the referee Warning Penalty hit
Refusal to salute the opponent before
the bout
Warning Disqualification
Refusal to salute the opponent after the
bout
Warning Disqualification
Refusal to face contestant that is duly
registered
Warning Disqualification
Person that interferes with the order on
the mat
Warning Disqualification
To favour the opponent or benefit from
unauthorized agreements
Warning Disqualification
Violation against sportsman spirit Warning Disqualification

A warning is valid for the bout at hand. If a fencer commit an error that should result in a warning after already have received a warning the opponent receives 2 points regardless of which the second error is.

Each warning is recorded in the bout protocol.

If a fencer, second or member of the audience is disqualified he or she must leave the premises immediately.

Violation against the sportsman spirit includes, but is not limited to, using foul language, throwing equipment and threatening tournament officials.
In cases where an offense cannot be properly addressed by the referee during the bout it is possible for the referee or any of the fencers to make an appeal to the tournament manager. The manager has the opportunity to remove match points from a fencer for a violation that hasn’t been fully addressed during the bout.

6. Injuries

If a fencer is injured during the bout, the referee will call a time-out and the medical staff will examine the fencer. If the medical staff clears the fencer to continue, and the fencer wishes to do so, the bout can proceed.

If the bout cannot continue within 3 minutes the injured fencer will have forfeited the bout.

7. Equipment failure

The referee will call a time-out when equipment being broken or displaced is noticed. If a fencer or judge notices an equipment failure, they should point it out to the referee.

If a piece of personal protective gear is broken, the fencer has 3 minute to find a replacement. If this is not possible the fencer will have forfeited the bout.