Rapier Tournaments

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  • Full Event Registration Required
  • Competition from Around the World
  • Results Submitted to HEMA Ratings
  • Registration is Open

Historical European Martial Arts Rapier Tournament and Rapier and Dagger Tournament at SoCal Swordfight

SoCal Swordfight hosts two tiers of Historical European Martial Arts Rapier Tournaments. Our Rapier Tournaments are highly competitive and attract fighters from across the country and around the world.

Each is tailored to unique skill and experience levels so please feel  choose the one that is right for you to participate in. You are only allowed to participate in One Rapier Tournament, so please choose the one you feel is most appropriate for where you are in your HEMA journey.

Please be sure to review the information below about our Rapier Tournament tiers, and click the links concerning required equipment, rules, and scoring before completing registration.

Both Rapier events are BRING YOUR OWN SWORD (and DAGGER) Events.

Based on tournament participation, HEMA Rating, and known performance, you may be asked to participate at a different tier than you register for, we will notify you if this type of situation occurs.

Please register each attendee individually when possible.

When Registering for SoCal Swordfight 2023, please be sure to choose the registration type that fits with the activities you are going to participate in at the event (See below for Details).

If you have selected Full Event Registration, you will be asked which tournaments you would like to participate in. Where applicable select the level that you want to compete at and press the "+add" button to place them in your cart for checkout.

You will have the opportunity to review your selection on the "Cart" page, if everything is correct, please select the "Check Out" button to proceed.

Next you will be asked to complete registration form for the person attending the event, name, contact info, club or school affiliation, and to sign the Release and Waiver of Liability Agreement.

If you are registering for a minor that you are a parent or legal guardian of, please fill out the registration with their name. The waiver will switch to asking for parental consent once you put in their date of birth. 

Once you have complete the registration form and signed the waiver, press the "Submit" and "Checkout" buttons to proceed to the payment form.

Once you have paid for your registration, you will receive an email receipt as well as an additional email to access your tickets electronically.

Should you have any troubles through this process please do not hesitate to connect with us either through the chat button or emailing us at info@socalswordfight.com.


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

These are the rules for all tournaments regarding fighter conduct, safety standards, quality standards, target definitions, and timing.

Learn More

This document provides the rules specific to the Rapier Tournaments at SoCal Swordfight.

All rules outlined in the General Tournament Rules also apply to the Rapier Tournaments.Rules are subject to change up to the commencement of the tournament.

SoCal Swordfight Rapier Tournaments

The goal of this ruleset 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 encourage fencing which showcases the techniques described in the treatises for dueling with sharp rapiers, while acknowledging that a tournament match can never be a recreation of an actual duel.

Participants are only able to register for a single rapier tournament, with the Open tournament being targeted to Beginner and Intermediate skill levels and the advanced level target at advanced skill levels. Fighters shall self-select which tournament they feel is the most appropriate for their skill level.

SoCal Swordfight reserves the right to reallocate fighters based on tournament participation, HEMA Rating, and known performance.

The Open Rapier Tournament will be a Single Rapier (no Dagger) tournament, while The Advanced Rapier Tournament will be a Rapier and Dagger tournament.

Scoring Actions

Matches will be fought until a fighter reaches a score of 7 points

Point Values

SoCal Swordfight 2023 Rapier Tournament Scoring and Point Values

Thrusts to the Upper Opening or Torso will count for 3 points, while thrusts to< all other targets will count for 1 point. Cuts to the Upper Opening, Arm, or Leg will count for 1 point, cuts to the torso do not provide a point value. Slices to the head will also count for 1 point. Slices to all other targets do not provide a point value.

The Dagger in Advanced Rapier

If you elect to compete with a dagger in any of your Advanced rapier matches, please note that scoring actions for thrusts count the same, however you will only score with cuts and slices on the upper opening with your dagger.

Quality standards for cuts in either rapier tournament also includes a drawing/slicing action with follow through. All other standards for cuts/thrust are applicable.

A scoring hit must be delivered to conclude the exchange. A Destreza style ‘conclusion’ will not be awarded points if the attack is not delivered.

Afterblow and Double Hits will be scored in accordance with the General Tournament Rules. (Afterblow is -1 from initial score. Do Not Double.)

If 3 double hits are recorded in a match:

  • Pool matches: recorded as a loss for both fighters.
  • Elimination match: the match winner will start with a penalty of -1 in their next match, and an additional -1 for every subsequent double.

Hand deflections (parries) are permitted against thrusts in motion if they are performed by pushing the hand or forearm laterally against the opponent’s blade.

Illegal Actions

All illegal actions from the General Tournament Rules apply to the rapier tournament.

  • All “Body Wrestling” is forbidden. This includes throws and pushing a fighter out of bounds. (It is, of course, still legal to pressure an opponent to back up even if they are at the edge of the ring.)
  • Blade grabs of stationary blades are permitted, however the blade must be released after a single action/tempo. Should a fighter continue to hold the blade they will be assessed a non-safety penalty of 1 point.
  • Strikes with the pommel or hilt are not permitted.
  • Grabbing the opponent’s hilt with intention to twist the hilt is prohibited.

Approved Equipment for Tournament Participation at SoCal Swordfight

All of the tournaments are considered to simulate ‘blossfechten’. 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 protective equipment and weapons must be inspected prior to competition. A fighter must show up to gear check wearing their equipment.

The following equipment is required for all sparring tournaments:

  • Masks with back of the head protection are required.
  • Trachea protection that protects the throat from a direct thrust is required.
  • Testicle protection is required.
  • Rigid breast protection is recommended but not required.
  • Hard elbow protection, that covers the 3 points of the elbow.
  • Hard knee protection that covers the knee.
  • No exposed skin will be permitted.

The equipment standards for the following are dictated by the weapon tournament:

  • Gloves
  • Jacket
  • Shin/Forearm

All protective equipment and weapons must be inspected prior to competition. A fighter must show up to gear check wearing their equipment.

Protective Equipment - Specific to Rapier (& dagger) Tournaments

All protective equipment and weapons must be inspected prior to competition. A fighter must show up to gear check wearing their equipment.

All equipment from above is required, in addition to the following:

  • Leather fencing gloves or equivalent are required for the hands. Padded gloves are recommended for the off-hand. 
  • A protective torso garment is required. Examples include HEMA jackets (ie SPES/Lynx), padded gambesons, light fencing jackets, and quality maille (mail). Approval is at the discretion of the director. The garment should be made out of thrust-resistant material.
  • Shin protection is not required but recommended.

Approved Weapons

4All 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 must 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 we move closer to the event

  • Deltin
  • Hanwei
  • Angus Trim
  • Castille Armory
  • Darkwood Armory
  • Danelli
  • Kvetun Armory
  • Blackfencer 
SoCal Swordfight is under no obligation to allow you to use the sword you have brought.
Rapier Tournament
Open Rapier

Our open rapier tournament is open to competitors of all skill levels and all rapier enthusiast are welcome. This year's open tournament will be rapier only, no optional dagger, no point penalty.

Rapier Tournament
Advanced Rapier & Dagger

Have you medaled in regional and larger tournaments? Do you find yourself routinely finishing in the top 8?

Then you may want to elect to participate in the Advanced Rapier tournament to choose to test your skill against other fighters who are routinely seeing outcomes like you are.

This year's Advanced Rapier Tournament is Rapier & Dagger. Which means it is up to you if you elect to use a dagger in combination with your rapier, there will however be no point differential to either fighter for this selection.