Saber Tournament Ruleset

This document provides the rules specific to the Saber Tournament 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 Saber Tournament Goal

The goal of the saber tournament is to both showcase and help develop skill in utilizing the saber for the purpose of unarmored combat, as outlined in military saber traditions. This includes the use of the saber 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 saber 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.

Scoring Actions

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

Point Values

SoCal Swordfight 2022 Saber Tournament Scoring and Point Values

Thrusts or Cuts to the Upper Opening will count for 3 points with slices to the Upper Opening counting for 1 point. Thrusts to the Torso will also count for 3 points while cuts to the Torso will count for 1 point. Cuts and Thrusts to the Legs, Arms, and Hand will count for 1 point, as will slices to the arms and hands. A single point can also be scored with pommel strike to the mask. For all other scoring actions see below.

Additional Scoring Actions

  • Pommel Strike to Mask    1 pt
  • Standing Takedown*         1 pts
*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.

Afterblows will deduct 1 point from the initial score. The score (-1) point.

Doubles - Don’t double. 3 doubles 

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.

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. 

Illegal Actions

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


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 of Approved Equipment 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 jackets. 
  • Shin protection is required.
  • Forearm protection is recommended but not required.


Nova Fencing 1820 Pattern Sabers will be provided for use in the tournament.