Smallsword Tournament Ruleset

This document provides the rules specific to the Smallsword 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 Smallsword 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 lethal nature of the application of smallswords in earnest fencing. This tournament is not intended to simulate the formalities of a historical, ritualized, duel - but to encourage a “hit without being hit” mindset in the stricter confines of modern tournament sport..

Scoring Actions

Matches will be fought until first scoring exchange or the end of 60 seconds (the match is a double out!). Large pool sizes will permit competitors many opportunities to score points and give a diverse number of opponents to fight.
Fencers with the highest number of points earned divided by hits received shall advance to eliminations.

Point Values

A match shall be concluded when one of the following occurs:

  • A fencer strikes their opponent to any target area permitted in the General Rules without receiving a strike in return.
  • Both fencers hit each other, beit a double or afterblow.
  • 60 seconds of fencing has elapsed, which is considered a double hit.

Fighters shall be ranked based on the formula:
Score = [Number of Clean Hits Scored] / [Total Number of Times Hit]

Illegal Actions

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


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:

  • 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/Superior Fencing), 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.


All swords will be inspected before use.

Fencers shall bring their own swords. Blades shall be between 30’’ and 35’’ in length. Triangular style, schlaeger style, and foil styles are permitted. Historical grip styles only (no pistol grips).

Smallswords 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.

Smallsword 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 
  • Absolute Fencing
  • Zen Warrior
  • Kraken