Rapier (Rapier & Dagger)
(rules are subject to change)
The goal of this rule set is to promote a style of fencing that is skillful, artful and martial, as well as representative of the 17th century rapier treatises that the vast majority of the HEMA community currently studies. We wish to accurately present the techniques described in the treatises for dueling with sharp rapiers.
This will be a mixed rapier/rapier & dagger tournament. See the Tournament Format rules below for detail.
All fencers will be expected to fight with both skill and control.
Any fencer that is deemed to pose a danger to themselves or others will be first verbally warned, second removed from the match, third removed from the tournament.
Fencers are expected to act professionally, and respectful to the officiating staff.
Fencers are expected to follow the commands of the tournament staff at all times.
Violating the rules of conduct can and will result in:
a) a verbal warning and a point(s) deduction at the discretion of the fight director.
b) forfeit of the match.
c) expulsion from the tournament.
Both Thrusts and cuts will be counted.
Bouts will be 2 minutes of regulation time or 7 points unless scores are tied and then a ‘sudden death’ round will be used to determine the winner by first clean exchange with no afterblow. Once the time of 2 minutes 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.
Fencers will be permitted to choose single rapier (R), or rapier & dagger (R&D).
In the case that Fighter A chooses R&D, and Fighter B chooses R only, Fighter A shall begin the match with a point deduction of 2 points - that is, the match begins -2/0 in Fighter B’s favor.
In order to win the match, Fighter B must score at least one valid scoring blow - if time elapses before this occurs then the match goes to sudden death.
If both fencers choose R&D, or R alone, then both begin the match at 0/0.
A strike with the sword must be a controlled and properly delivered blow to the allowed target areas. Judges and Directors will be instructed to ignore ‘Tip Taps’, ‘Insufficient Thrusts or cuts’ (ie pokes at full extension) “Blade Flailing” or ‘Incidental contact’.
When a point is scored, “Point” will be called. Judges will show flags. If it is determined a point has been scored (2 of three flags to one combatant) then the Director will say “Target area”, judges will take the non-scoring flag and show where they viewed the blow to have struck.
In the case of non-agreement on the target area from the judges, the director may take the average or lower point value of the disputed target area.
Scoring with either cuts or thrust.
Committed Thrust to Head or Torso – 3 pts
Committed Thrust to all other targets – 1pt.
Cuts* to the Legs, Arms, Head** – 1 pt.
Ring out – 1 pt, defined by both feet stepping out of the ring.
*cuts must incorporate a controlled drawing/slicing action.
**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.**
No points scored for cuts to the torso. The ankle/foot is strictly off-target for safety.
The afterblow negates 1 point from a scoring blow. (ie, Fighter A lands a blow in time to the head of fighter B, however fighter B lands the afterblow, Fighter A is awarded 2 points rather than 3).
3 double kills and both fencers will lose the match. Fighters simply showing no intention to defend, or clearly gaming the rules to eliminate another fencer along with themselves, will be both warned and penalized accordingly.
Punches, kicks, strikes with the hilt or pommel, and takedowns are not permitted.
Destreza style movements of conclusion and arm-checking is permitted but scores no points without a valid blow from the sword.
Hand parries are permitted if they are performed martially.
Blade grabbing, if performed martially, is permitted for 1 fencing tempo. If a valid strike is not delivered in this time, and the fencer continues to hold the opponent’s blade or struggles over it in any way, 1 point shall be awarded to the opponent.
Hand covering: Putting your hand in the way of a higher point value target as a way to decrease the score against you is not acceptable. Full Points will be awarded as if the attack hit the higher value target.
Strikes with the dagger are acceptable to all valid target areas but only thrusts are counted to all target area except the head in which valid cuts may also be counted.
Required Protective Gear
Please Note: All of these tournaments are considered to simulate ‘blossfechten’, 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.
Protective gear requirements:
Appropriate Head protection: Masks with back of the head protection.
Acceptable head protection – ‘That guys products’ style masks.
Leather fencing gloves or equivalent for the hands. Padded gloves are recommended for the off-hand.
Trachea protection that protects the throat from a direct thrust.
Heavy padded HEMA jackets (ie SPES/Lynx), Padded Gambeson, or fencing Jacket.
Groin protection is essential for male fighters.
Breast protection is essential for female fighters.
Knee & Elbow protection is essential for all fighters.
Shin and forearm protection are not essential but highly recommended.
No exposed skin will be permitted.
All swords (and daggers) will be inspected before use. Only rapier blades may be used, epee, foil, and other blades meant for classical or Olympic fencing are prohibited.
Rapiers and daggers shall have tips with a bright contrasting tip color (such as black tip with gold tape or vice versa). This is to enhance the ability of judges to see thrusted blows.
Rapier blades from the following makers will be allowed, other blades will be assessed on a case by case basis and approved by the tournament director. This list may be updated as time goes on.