Longsword Tournament Rules

This document provides the rules specific to the Longsword Tournaments. All rules outlined in the General Tournament Standards also apply to the longsword tournaments, and offer more depth on the criteria for scoring actions.

Rules are subject to change up to the commencement of the tournament.

Tournament Goal

The goal of the Longsword tournament is to both showcase and help develop skill in utilizing the longsword for the purpose of unarmored combat, as outlined by the KdF tradition. (Of course all other traditions are invited to play!) This includes the use of the longsword as a sharp sword. Tournament rules and judging standards are meant to advance fundamental skills, such as integrating cutting mechanics into antagonistic sparring. A match is not a simulation of a sword duel.

In the use of a longsword there are times when you would wish to use more or less debilitating striking mechanics, but if you don’t demonstrate high quality strikes when asked to, it shows you are not capable of them. It is the goal of SoCal Swordfight to stress test high quality striking interpretations and push the fighters to achieve these. There are many other existing venues which test a fencer's skill and ability to achieve touches as quickly as possible.

SoCal Swordfight will seed fighters into appropriate tournament tier based on results of past longsword tournaments, with the aim of creating as many meaningful matches as possible. (aka matches where you are close in skill to your opponent.)

Cutting Qualification

All participants for Open Steel Longsword must pass a cutting qualification before being eligible to compete. The qualification is valid for 2 years from the time it is completed. Participants who do not pass the cutting qualification are still eligible for competition in Beginners 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)

Illegal Actions

  • All illegal actions from the General Tournament Rules apply to this tournament, including but not limited to: lack of control/excessive force, high amplitude throws, or anything else that has a high chance to hurt somebody. Refer to the General Tournament Rules for more details.
  • Exposing the spine or back of the head to the opponent. Note that if your opponent does expose such targets it is still your responsibility to do what you can to arrest the power of your strike.
  • Should a fighter execute one handed blows outside of the grapple they will first be warned, and subsequent infractions will be assessed non-safety penalties.
  • Any form of takedown is not permitted in the Beginners Longsword tournament.

Scoring Actions

Matches will be fought until a fighter reaches a score of 7 points.
Cut Thrust Slice
Upper Opening 3 3 1
Torso 1 3 n/a
Arm 1 1 1
Leg 1 1 n/a
Additional Scoring Actions:
  • Pommel Strike to Mask 1 pt
  • Standing Takedown* 3 pts
  • Controlling Action +1 pt
*Any form of takedown, throw, or violent shoving are not permitted in the Beginners Longsword Tournament

Afterblow and Double Hits will be scored in accordance with the General Tournament Rules. (Afterblow is -1 from initial score. Don’t double.)

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

Controlling Action

If any valid scoring action is deemed to be a Controlling Action an extra (1) point will be awarded over and above the normal point value awarded. A controlling action is defined as a blow which either seizes control of the opponent’s blade (eg: constrained thrust) or primary weapon arm (eg: grapple or slice) at the moment of impact. No controlling action can be scored in the event of an afterblow.

Wrestling and Takedowns

The amount of time permitted for a wrestling action is a 5-count from the director; beginning when both of the swords are inhibited (discarded, entangled, etc). This count may or may not be verbalized at the directors discretion.

A standing takedown is a wrestling action that deliberately and safely puts the opponent on the ground, while the throwing fighter remains standing. Standing requires one foot remain on the ground, dropping to a single knee is acceptable.

For a takedown to qualify as a Controlling Action, the throwing fighter must retain control of their weapon and demonstrate the ability to deliver a cut or thrust. Note that takedowns are not permitted in Beginners Longsword.


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

Protective Equipment

All equipment from the General Tournament Standards is required, in addition to the following:

  • Heavy HEMA Gloves (Sparring Gloves, SPES, Koning, ProGauntlets, Superior Fencing, Etc). Lacrosse & Red Dragon Gloves explicitly not allowed.
  • Heavy padded HEMA jacket.
  • Shin protection is not required but recommended.
  • Forearm protection is not required but recommended.


Blackfencer Synthetic Longsword will be provided for the Beginners Longsword Tournament. All other (steel) longsword tournaments require fighters to provide their own feders. The following is an approved equipment list:
Maker Models
Albion Meyer
Arm & Armor Fechtbuch
Aureus All feders
Blackfencer All feders
Sparring longsword
Castille Armory Standard feder
Comfort Fencing Dobringer
Darksword Armory Feder
Ensifer All feders
Krieger Armory All feders
Mac Arms All feders
Pavel Moc All feders
Regenyei All feders except Strong
SGT Blades All feders
Sigi Forge All standard and shorter models.
More feders from different manufacturers may be added later on with the approval of the tournament organization staff. Other makers' feders can be considered, but may be disallowed and are up the the standards of the officiating staff. Due to safety and quality concerns, the use of any Hanwei feders will be prohibited during this tournament. SOME blunt (non-feder) swords will be allowed, however they will be assessed on a sword-by-sword basis. They will be checked for edge thickness (at least 2mm) and flexibility (director’s discretion). The event is under no obligation to allow you to use the sword you have brought.