Single Stick

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.


In order for a thrust to be valid, it must be committed with the basket clearly sliding up the stick. Warning/expulsion will be given for thrusts delivered without the required grip release, or deemed to be executed with excessive force.

Point Scoring

The following point scoring will be used for the single stick tournament

Target      Cuts       Thrusts  

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

*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 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.**

Additional Rules

Punches, kicks, strikes with the hilt or pommel and takedowns are not permitted.

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

Single Sticks

Single Sticks will be Provided by South Coast Swords.

Protective Gear

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.

  • 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.

  • Light Fencing Jacket, or Heavy Hoodie.

  • 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.

  • 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 permitted.