Swordfish XIII – Conduct of Bouts

1. Organizational hierarchy

The organizational hierarchy of the tournament consists of multiple elements that

all play a vital part in getting such a large undertaking to run smoothly:

Tournament manager. The person in charge of the tournament and for

making all final decisions during the execution of the tournament. Will be

available during the tournament.

Referee. The person responsible for running all bouts on one mat.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, starting/stopping a bout,

announcing score, clearing up misunderstandings, giving out warnings and

disqualifications.

Judges. A group of judges judge all exchanges in a bout and award points

based on their impression of what happened during each exchange.

Secretariat. Announce bouts, keeping time as well as score and making

sure fencers are presented with red and blue armbands.

In addition to the people filling these roles there are three vital components to all

tournaments: fencers, seconds (coaches) and audience. For the purposes of this

text, “fencers” and “seconds” refers only to the two fencers and up to two seconds

who are involved in a bout. All others are considered members of the audience.

In order for a tournament to run as efficiently and correctly as possible, it is

important to establish proper communications channels between all the elements

involved.

If the fencers or the seconds have any concerns during a bout they can address the

referee by calling a time-out.

Members of the audience can direct their questions and comments to the

tournament manager. The tournament manager can address the referee between

exchanges should the issue warrant attention during the bout. Under no

circumstances are members of the audience to address anyone involved in the

ongoing bout.

Anyone who has a question, complaint or comment between bouts is to direct

their issue to the tournament manager.

 

2. 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 8 points for longsword and sabre, and 10 points for rapier & dagger and sword & buckler, 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 rounds, a bout ending in a draw will continue with sudden death.

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

 

3. 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.

 

4. 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.

 

4.1 Scoring with longsword

For 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, thrust or slice to the head or neck area is worth 2 points
  • A thrust to the torso is worth 2 points
  • All other legal attacks and pommel strikes are worth 1 point
  • In longsword, any strike made outside of grappling with only one hand holding the sword is worth 1 point, no matter what target is hit

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 2 points target: Judge holds the flag vertically up
  • Hit on 1 point target: Judge holds the flag horizontally sideways
  • No hit: Judge holds the flag low, crossed in front of their body
  • Insufficient quality: Judge waves flag low in front of their legs.

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 two points, two points is awarded, no matter what the other judges are showing (2-2-1-1 is 2).
  • 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.

 

4.2 Scoring in rapier & dagger

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

  • A thrust with the rapier to the head, neck or torso is worth 3 points.
  • All other legal attacks are worth 1 point, including all attacks with the dagger and all cuts.

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 1 point target: Judge holds the flag horizontally sideways
  • No hit: Judge holds the flag low, crossed in front of their body
  • Insufficient quality: Judge waves flag low in front of their legs.

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 three points, three points are awarded, no matter what the other judges are showing (3-3-1-1 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.

In particular, judges are looking for cuts with the rapier to either have some slice or to rotate at least ¼ circle. Cuts that are parried and just barely push through will not score.

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.

 

4.3 Scoring in sword & buckler

Scored the same way as longsword. In addition, controlled strikes with the boss of the buckler to the front of the mask is worth 1 point. Strikes with the edge of the buckler are not allowed.

 

4.4 Scoring with sabre

Scored the same way as longsword, except that stikes must be executed with the front edge to score. Additionally, controlled strikes with the basket to the front of the mask are worth 1 point.

 

4.5 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 any progression). All throws and takedowns must be executed with control and respect for the opponent. Unarmed strikes, except strikes with the elbows and knees are allowed but do not score points.

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

The following techniques score 1 point in grappling:

  • 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 1 point. Strikes with the sword by a fencer outside the arena do not score, while strikes with the sword against a fencer outside the arena 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 1 point. 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.

 

Disarming an opponent’s sword scores 2 points (3 points in rapier) if grappling distance is broken. If a fencer loses their sword for any reason outside of grappling distance their opponent will be awarded 2 points (3 points in rapier).

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.

Striking an opponent that is disarmed or on the ground is not allowed.

 

5. 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.

 

6. 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
Having more than one person in the corner during a bout 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 1 point 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.

 

7. 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 forfeit the bout.

While medical staff is active on one mat, all fencing on other mats will be paused until the medical staff gives the clear for fencing to continue, this is to give medical staff the room to work undisturbed and to prevent any new injuries to occur while the medical staff is busy.

 

8. 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.