Sword & Buckler Ruleset


  • Matches are 90 seconds long.

  • Time is stopped between exchanges or if a fighter involuntarily steps out of the ring with both feet in which case the fighters will reset.

  • If time expires during an exchange, the fighters will complete the exchange and the match will end.


  • If less than 10 seconds remain, a “final exchange” is declared to both fighters, and the match is allowed to go until the next point is scored.

  • The match is done at the end of the exchange, regardless of outcome (hit, no agreement, double).


  • If time ends during the initial match, and the fighters are both in a draw AND are not engaged, a Sudden Death is called.

  • Sudden Death is won by the first fighter to score a decided point.


  • Upper Opening - Between the shoulder seams of jacket and above sternum. Back of the head is a non-target.

  • Lower Opening - Between shoulder seams of jacket and Between sternum and waist.

  • Limbs - Entirety of arm and the leg above the knee. (targeting the knee or lower results in a non-scoring strike).

  • Hands - Attacks to the hands with cut or thrust. Slicing to wrist also counts, but must be performed in a manner that physically pushes and controls wrist.

  • Pommel/Buckler Strike - Strike to head or face. Must be performed with control. Injury resulting from reckless strikes of this nature may result in ejection.


Scoring is as follows:
3 points - Cut to Upper Opening or thrust to either Opening. Any attack performed with control. Disarm or takedown.
2 points - Buckler or Pommel strikes. Cut, thrust, or slice to hand.
1 points - Cut to Lower Opening. Cut or thrust to limbs.

  • Each match shall conclude when a total score of 12 points is scored by one fighter or time expires.

  • Cuts must be performed with sufficient energy and edge alignment. Director has discretion to deem a cut insufficient.

  • Poking your opponent with tip of sword does not constitute a thrust.


  • Simultaneous hits are fully weighted! If fighter A lands a thrust to the Upper Opening while fighter B lands a cut to the leg then fighter A will receive three points and fighter B will receive one. Simultaneous hits include any strikes that are in the same tempo or very near the same tempo.


  • When a hit lands in the tempo after an opposing hit it will be called and Afterblow

  • Afterblows reduce the value of the opponent’s strike by -1.

  • Very late Afterblows will be dismissed.

  • Unsportsmanlike behavior which is deemed a reckless abuse of the Afterblow rule will result in point deductions and possible ejection.


  • The entire body is a valid target area except for the groin, back of the head, and spine. Strikes delivered to non-valid target areas will result in warnings or penalties. If a fighter intentionally exposes illegal target areas purposefully, they can be warned or penalized at the discretion of the director.

  • Fighters who step completely out of bounds voluntarily with both feet will be penalized by subtracting one (1) point from that fighter’s total.

  • Only “straight” kicks above the hips and below the shoulders that are as a push/shove are allowed. Kicks are not scoring techniques, but may be used to set up follow on techniques, to create space, or to push an opponent clear and then recover.

  • Blade grabbing is allowed provided the weapon’s energy has dissipated or the weapon is static..

  • Throwing the sword or other equipment is forbidden.

  • Intentionally striking a fallen or incapacitated opponent is forbidden.


  • Successful grappling points will be awarded when a fighter has performed a proper throw or technique in which they are clearly in the dominant position to end an exchange.

  • All grappling will be halted once the Line Judges identify a scoring technique by calling “Point!”, or after a verbal five count from the director, whichever comes first. Directors may stop the action early at their discretion if they observe fighters to be engaging in unsafe or forbidden techniques.

  • Submission grappling techniques whose inherent nature results in serious injury (fractured bones, dislocated joints, suffocation, and the like) MUST be stopped short of full application by the competitors. Failure to do so will result in ejection from the tournament.

  • All throwing techniques whose inherent nature is to deposit an opponent onto their head are forbidden.

  • Neck wrenching and small joint manipulation techniques are forbidden.

  • Penalties for forbidden techniques, or any other infractions, are at the referee’s discretion up to and including immediate disqualification from the tournament in total.


Fighters may self call hits on themselves only. Fighters are expected to conduct themselves in a mature and sportsmanlike manner throughout the tournament. There will be no derogatory insults, back talk, or baiting of other fighters, coaches, Director, Line Judges, staff, or spectators by any fighter or coach during the tournament. Coaches are expected to show the same decorum and sportsmanship as their fighters. Any coach who violates this rule may, at the discretion of tournament staff, be banned from cornering at the ringside and/or ejected from the tournament. (This includes vocal heckling of judging and refereeing calls during the match. If a coach has a question, with the exception of safety concerns, they may speak with the referee at the end of the exchange by raising their hand.)

Anyone who sees an obvious safety concern including spectators--for example, a blade break, or a tip coming off of a rapier or dagger, or other safety equipment malfunction, should yell “HALT! SAFETY! HALT!” as loud as they can. The referee will immediately halt the match, and the situation will be handled as needed. Any fighter who hears a call of “Halt! Safety!” should cease attacking and withdraw from their opponent as safely as possible.

All warnings, penalties, and ejections will be entirely at the discretion of the tournament staff. No part of these rules should be taken as either an exhaustive list of potential offensives or as requiring action on the part of the tournament staff.


Bring your own steel sword. Approved sword manufacturers will roughly mirror those for steel longsword. The director will have to inspect and approve any sword before tournament. The total length of blade cannot exceed 32 inches and the weapon needs to have sufficient flex.

Bring your own buckler. Any buckler with a diameter that does not exceed 18 inches. No spikes. Steel bucklers must have an edging of rubber or similar material that will not damage opponent’s sword.

If one or both competitors do not have steel swords, both fighters will be supplied with Black Fencer synthetics.


  • Albion Meyer

  • Regenyei (All)

  • Arms & Armor Fechtbuch

  • Comfort Fencing Dobringer

  • Darksword Feder

  • Ensifer Long & Standard

  • Mac Arms Feder

  • Pavel Moc Feder

  • SGT Blades Feder

  • Black Horse Blades

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.

Protective Gear

All of these tournaments are considered to promote an environment to encourage ‘blossfechten’ techniques, and 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 armor will be inspected by the tournament staff prior to competition.

  • Appropriate Head protection: Masks with back of the head protection.

  • Acceptable head protection – ‘That guys products’ style masks.

  • Trachea protection, that protects the throat from a direct thrust.

  • Heavy padded HEMA jackets (ie SPES), or Padded Gambeson

  • Hard elbow protection, that covers the 3 points of the elbow.

  • Hard Knee protection that covers the knee.

  • Ensifer / AF gauntlets or reinforced lacrosse gauntlets. Other types of gloves must be approved by tournament staff with a strong advisory warning.

  • Groin protection is essential for male fighters.

  • Breast protection is essential for female fighters.

  • Shin and forearm protection are not essential but recommended.

  • No exposed skin will be allowed.