Open Synthetic Longsword

Tournament Rules

The goal of this rule set is to promote a style of fencing that is skillful, artful and martial.

Fencer Conduct

All fighters are expected to display skill and control. This is a martial arts tournament and all fighters are expected to conduct themselves with respect for the weapon, their opponent, and the tournament staff. Any fighter that is deemed to pose a danger to themselves or others will be addressed at the discretion of the tournament director.

The tournament director will serve as the ultimate authority within the ring. The disciplinary procedure will generally constitute first a warning, then a penalty, then an expulsion from the match or tournament; however it shall remain at the discretion of the director. Fighters who have been banned from attendance of previous SoCal Swordfight tournaments, or from other major HEMA tournaments, are not permitted to attend the SoCal Swordfight tournaments.

Match Length

Each match will last for 90 seconds of regulation time, or once the maximum score has been reached. Once the time of 90 seconds has been reached the timekeeper will cease clocking the time and the match will then proceed until the next break in the fighting is called. At this point time will be elapsed and the match is concluded.

Double Hits & Afterblows

A double hit is defined as two fighter landing valid blows against each other in the same tempo. This is undesirable, as it shows that the fighters are not adequately concerned with their defence. Doubles will be penalized in accordance to the stage of the tournament in which they occur.

Pools: Should two fighter strike three double hits in the course of a pool match the match will end end they will both be considered to have lost their match. At the conclusion of the pool fights each fighter will have their total number of doubles recorded and have their score penalized by an appropriate margin.

Eliminations: Should two fighters strike three double hits in the course of an elimination match the winner of the match will be assessed a score penalty for their subsequent match.

An afterblow is defined as one fight striking another immediately following a failed defence which led to them being struck. At no point should an afterblow be considered a ‘revenge blow’, and afterblows are expected to be thrown with an appropriate level of control.

Should the match director determine that a double hit or afterblow was without a doubt the direct result of a single individual acting with complete disregard of defence they retain the ability to assign the fault of the double strike to the individual in question. At this point the offending fighter will be assessed a penalty at the discretion at the director.

Valid Strikes

Points will be awarded for cuts, thrusts, slices and pommel strikes in accordance to the rules of the individual tournaments. Points will not be awarded for touches with the sword, but be delivered with sufficient intent.

Cuts: For a cut to be considered valid it must travel an arc of 75 degrees. Cuts must be delivered with sound body structure to be considered valid. Strikes with the tip of the sword, incidental contact and flailing type attacks are not valid cuts. SCA style ‘wrap strikes’ are not valid cuts.

Thrusts: Thrusts must be delivered in a committed manner, rather than pokes which make superficial contact. A sword bend is not required if the fighter is in range to deliver a deeper blow.

Slices: Slices will only be considered at valid targets when performed against the head/neck and the arms. A valid slice must exert sufficient pressure on the target that judging staff can clearly see the effect on the balance and structure of the affected fighter. Please note that this requires a very high degree of commitment, and is not simply sawing a blade back and forth on the body.

Pommel Strikes: Pommel strikes are only valid against the mask. Though the pommel need not to hit hard it must display a structure capable of delivering the whole body’s force rather than a lucky strike from an uncontrolled fighter.

Additionally should a fighter place both feet outside of the ring (through their own action or if pushed by their opponent) their opponents will be rewarded with one point.

Off Limits Targets & Techniques

The following are off limits for safety reasons:

Back of head and spine. Should a fighter display the unsafe behavior of exposing the back of their head to the opponent they will be progressively warned, penalized and removed by the match director.

Direct targeting of the feet.

Punches and kicks are not permitted.

‘Mordschlag’ style strikes are not permitted.

Throwing the sword or any other object.

Any strike thrown with a complete lack of control on the part of the attacker. Competitive martial arts fighting involves throwing forceful strikes with full intent to make contact, however each competitor is expected to maintain a respect for their opponent’s safety at all times.

Cutting Qualification

All participants for Open Steel Longsword must pass a cutting qualification before being eligible to compete. Participants who do not pass the cutting qualification are still eligible for competition in Open Synthetic Longsword.

Individuals who have not pre-qualified based on cutting at previous events must attend the scheduled cutting qualification time slot. For more information on the cutting qualification please refer to the cutting tournament rules. (Entry in the cutting tournament is not required)

Point Scoring

The following point scoring will be used for the longsword tournaments.

Target      Cuts       Thrusts       Slices      Pommel

Head**       4*            4*           4*         1
Torso        1*            3*           -          -
Legs         1*            1*           -          -
Arms         1*            1*           1          -
Hands***     1*            1*           1          -

Controlled Takedown**** = 3 Points

*See the rule for controlled cuts/thrusts below*

**Note that the target area defined here is the upper openings from shoulder seam to shoulder seam, and the area from the crease of the armpit and up including the head.**

***Note that the standard for a cut to the hand follows the same requirement for martial validity and control as other blows. Flailing tip-taps to the hands and uncontrolled swings will be monitored closely by the judges and attempts to game the rules or endanger the opponent will be penalized according to the director’s discretion.***

****Note that a controlled takedown is defined as a wrestling action that deliberately and safely puts the opponent on the ground with the dominant fighter remaining standing. The amount of time permitted for a wrestling action is a 5-count from the director.****

Afterblow

The afterblow deducts one point from the score of the attacking fighter.

Controlled Cuts/Thrusts

A cut or thrust delivered in a manner that controls the opponent’s blade will be awarded an additional point score. For the sake of all SoCal Swordfight Longsword tournaments a controlled action is defined as a blow which either seizes control of the opponent’s blade at the moment of impact, or has positioned their blade to intercept the opponent’s afterblow while having the sword remain engaged. No controlled action can be scored in the event of an afterblow.

It is possible to score a controlled cut/thrust to any valid target area outlined by these rules.

One-Handed Blows

One handed blows are not permitted except when the hand is removed as part of a grappling technique executed against an opponent.

Point Limits

The match will be concluded once a fighter has reached a total of 9 points.

In the event of a tie, sudden death will be fought and the match shall be determined by first clean exchange with no afterblow.

In the event of disagreement on the judges on the target area struck, the average of the point value may be taken by the director.

Acceptable Equipment

Feders

Black Fencer Synthetic Longswords will be provided by South Coast Swords

Protective Gear

All of these tournaments are considered to promote an environment to encourage ‘blossfechten’ techniques, and in the interests of promoting a professional HEMA image and to encourage fighters to respect the weapon simulators, heavy armor (breast plates, etc) or Fantasy-styled armors are not permitted.

All armor will be inspected by the tournament staff prior to competition.

  • Appropriate Head protection: Masks with back of the head protection.
  • Acceptable head protection – ‘That guys products’ style masks.
  • Trachea protection, that protects the throat from a direct thrust.
  • Heavy padded HEMA jackets (ie SPES), or Padded Gambeson
  • Hard elbow protection, that covers the 3 points of the elbow.
  • Hard Knee protection that covers the knee.
  • Ensifer / AF gauntlets or reinforced lacrosse gauntlets. Other types of gloves must be approved by tournament staff with a strong advisory warning.
  • Groin protection is essential for male fighters.
  • Breast protection is essential for female fighters.
  • Shin and forearm protection are not essential but recommended.
  • No exposed skin will be allowed.