Cutting Tournament Rules

Swordfish 2018

 

Tournament participants must follow the directions of the tournament director and tournament staff at all times. Should any participant exhibit behavior that places others or themselves at risk of physical harm will result in immediate disqualification and possible intervention by local law enforcement.

 

Summary

Rules are subject to change at any time without notice.

Equipment

The 2018 Swordfish Cutting Tournament is a “Longsword” cutting tournament. This entails all swords be of a historical design*, double edged, hilt length suitable for two handed use, and blade less than 100 cm. At all points in the tournament the sword must be used with both hands on the hilt. All participants are responsible for the supply and sharpening of their own sword.

 

* historical design criteria included most swords marketed as historical longswords. This rule is intended to preclude any ‘fantasy’ style swords and is subject to the exclusive discretion of the tournament staff.

Safety Regulations

All competitors will be required to assume proper safe handling procedures for sharp swords. This includes and is not limited to swinging the sword when there is the possibility of others in the vicinity, losing control of their weapon, or approaching the cutting area before being explicitly instructed to by the tournament staff. Should the tournament officials perceive there is any safety issue they retain the right to remove individuals from the cutting tournament at their discretion.

 

Should a competitor cut towards their leading leg in the tournament they will be assessed a heavy score penalty. Should this occur a second time they will be eliminated from the tournament. This only applies to descending cuts.

Advancements

The format of the cutting tournament will be two elimination rounds, followed by a finals round. Scoring for all eliminations and finals is cumulative based.

1st Elimination Advancements

Top 10 by score in first Elimination Round

2nd Elimination Advancements

Top 4 by combined score in first and second elimination rounds.

Finals Placings

At the end of the finals feats the top 4 competitors will be assessed points for their performance in each round, and final tournament placing will be evaluated.

 

Round Elimination 1 Elimination 2 Feat 1 Feat 2
1st Place 6 8 6 6
2nd Place 4 6 4 4
3rd Place 2 3 2 2
4th Place 0 0 0 0

 

In the event of a tie, the competitor with the least number of 4th place finishes. (Followed by the competitor with the lowest number of 3rd place finishes).

Philosophy

The 2018 Swordfish cutting tournament is designed to evaluate

 

1) Cutting Quality

Can the competitor deliver cuts with sound structure and edge alignment. Cutting through the mat alone does not constitute ‘success’. The targets provided in the cutting tournament (tatami mats) are feedback tools to help evaluate the quality of a competitors cutting, representing very narrow and light targets.

 

2) Cutting and Sparring Integration

Cutting form will also be evaluated on the basis of technical points which may prove beneficial in cutting stationary targets but detrimental in free sparring — such as planting the feet and throwing body weight off balance. In addition this competition will force competitors into situations where they must move dynamically, with the intention that fighters who have integrated their cutting mechanics into their sparring motions will have a significant advantage.

 

The unusual structure of the first round is meant to address the following concerns:

  1. Ensure that competitors advancing to the second round can perform basic cuts to the four openings with a high success rate.
  2. Provide entry level competitors with a progression and goals to accomplish.
  3. Provide a challenge for high level competitors and provide scores which can be used in the cumulative score calculation.

Cutting Rounds

Elimination Round 1

Competitors will perform the cutting pattern on each mat. Should a competitor complete at least 2/4 cuts on each target they will be eligible to move to the next target.

Mat 1 & Mat 2

Pattern

Mat 1:    4 Descending cuts, alternating sides

Mat 2:    4 Ascending cuts, alternating sides

 

Scoring

Each cut will be assessed a score of the following. In the event that a cut falls into multiple categories it will be awarded the lowest point value.

  • Successful Cut:    0 pts
  • Failed Cut:        -3 pts
  • Successful Cut w/ piece falling directly down:    0.5 pts
  • Hit Stand/Floor:    (-6 pts)
  • Measuring up before the cut (-3 pts)
  • More than 10 seconds between cuts. (-3pts)  (1 warning will be given before point deductions occur)

 

Mat 3

Pattern

Up to 4 of the cuts listed bellow

 

Acceptable cuts:

  • High Right Mandritto and False Edge Left Mandritto*    or     Right & Left Zwerchau*
  • Right/Left Descending False Edge cuts, rotated to the inside (ie Shielhau)
  • Rising False Edge Cuts through Longpoint/Posta Longa

*The competitor may chose to perform either the Mandritto’s or the Zwerchau’s, but not both.

 

Scoring

Successful cuts will be awarded 2 points, minus the deductions in the score deduction table applicable to round 1.

 

Elimination Round 2

Pattern

The competitor will be faced with two cutting targets. A tournament staff member will signal which cut should be performed. The competitor must perform the correct cut within the time limit, denoted by the length of time the signaler holds the sign active.

 

In order to eliminate the advantage to participants with later turns, competitors in the second round will not be permitted to watch other competitors until after they have completed their cutting round.

 

Scoring

Successful cuts will be awarded 2 points, minus the deductions in the score deduction table.

 

Cut Deductions

  • Failure to completely cut through target
  • Cut piece of tatami goes flying
  • Rough cut/spraying debris
  • Scalloped cut
  • Cutting into a previously cut area
  • Hit the stand/floor
  • Incorrect cut/outside of acceptable angle
  • Missing target
  • Cut plane in not in line with swords path
Form Deductions

  • Off balance on completion of the cut.
  • Not facing forward at the completion of the cut.
  • Measuring up before the cut.
  • Cut towards the lead leg
  • Tilting shoulders excessively*
  • Sticking butt out*
  • Not stepping with the cut*
  • Stepping ahead of the cut*

* Not applicable to Round 1

Finals Feats

The final feats will be announced at the conclusion of the second elimination round.

Cut Definitions

All definitions mentioning right/left are reversed for left handed practitioners. True/False is defined by the body position, excessively rotating the sword in the hand prior to the commencement of the cut will not be counted as a false edge cut.

 

Descending Cut

Blade Procession:    High to Low

Angle:    30° or greater

Edge:    Any

Notes:

 

Ascending Cut

Blade Procession:    Low to High

Angle:    30° or greater

Edge:    Any

Notes:

 

Right Mandritto

Blade Procession:    Right to Left

Angle:    Horizontal

Edge:    True

Notes:

The competitor must deliver this cut at or above the level of their shoulder.

 

Left Mandritto

Blade Procession:    Left to Right

Angle:    Horizontal

Edge:    False

Notes:

 

Right Zwerch

Blade Procession:    Right to Left

Angle:    Less than 15° from horizontal

Edge:    False

Notes:

Deviation is based on right-left from the perspective of the competitor. Zwerchau delivered to low targets will inherently produce angled cuts when viewed front to back.

 

Left Zwerch

Blade Procession:    Left to Right

Angle:    Less than 15° from horizontal

Edge:    True

Notes:

Deviation is based on right-left from the perspective of the competitor. Zwerchau delivered to low targets will inherently produce angled cuts when viewed front to back.

Hands must be at the height of the head, clearly distinguishing this cut from a left mittelhau. Should there by and ambiguity this cut will be considered a mittelhau and not be awarded any points.

 

Right Descending False

Blade Procession:    High Right to Low Left

Angle:    Greater than 45°

Edge:    False

Notes:

Must be delivered with the blade rotated to the ‘inside’, the rotational direction which does not cross the arms.

Particular attention will be paid to the grip of the competitor. The body structure during the follow through should clearly show that the sword was not simply spun in the hand.

 

Left Descending False

Blade Procession:    High Left to Low Right

Angle:    Greater than 45°

Edge:    False

Notes:

Must be delivered with the blade rotated to the ‘inside’, the rotational direction which causes the arms to cross.

Particular attention will be paid to the grip of the competitor. The body structure during the follow through should clearly show that the sword was not simply spun in the hand.

 

Rising Short Edge

Blade Procession:    Low to High

Angle:    Greater than 45°

Edge:    False

Notes:

Delivered passing through Longpoint/Posta Longa (ie. no Zwerchau style cuts.)