Rapier Tournament Rules

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 Tournament Goal

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 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/Intermediate 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.

The Open Rapier Tournament will be a Single Rapier (no Dagger) tournament.  
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 2022 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. Don’t 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.


Protective Equipment

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 the General Tournament Rules and Approved Equipment is required.

  • 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. 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.


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 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 time goes on.
  • Deltin
  • Hanwei
  • Angus Trim
  • Castille Armory
  • Darkwood Armory
  • Danelli
  • Kvetun Armory
  • Blackfencer