With thanks to the Wessex League organisers for letting us use their rules as a base. There ARE modifications however. Please make sure you are all well aware of the rules before competing on the day. If your kit does not match the spec, you will forfeit your place in the tournament you are taking part in.
The premise of the tournament
The Kings of the North tournament this year is one multi weapon tournament to put into practice skills honed or learned over the weekend. It will be a 5 (or more, depending on time and participants) round tournament.
Note that there must be no exposed bare skin, including at the nape of the neck, the back of the shins, the palms, and the wrists.
Fencing Mask: FIE 1600N masks. Masks must not show signs of distress/damage that will impact on their use, like dents or rusting. Mask top/side covers are not required, but are recommended for sabre, and longsword, at least.
Back of Head Protection: The back of the head needs to be covered by a solid, rigid protector, without significant gaps.
Gorget: We require a solid throat guard covering the front of the throat.
Jackets and Plastrons: Either a well padded HEMA jacket, or a sport fencing jacket over significant other protection (motocross padding, solid chest guards etc.). The torso must have a 800 Newton rating level of protection, either from a plastron or the jacket.
If the jacket does not have a blade catcher at the throat, a “Polish apron” or similar guard to prevent the blade sliding under the mask bib must be worn. The jacket must cover the points of the hip – if not then padded fencing trousers or a SPES skirt must be worn. No gambesons with gaps allowed, including potential gaps at fastening points.
Elbows: Solid protection for longsword and sabre. Recommended but not required for rapier.
Knees: Solid protection including the sides of the knee is required for all weapons.
Shins and Forearms: Solid protection is required for backsword, spadroon and sabre.
Gloves: The minimum level of glove is a Red Dragon type glove. If a sabre hilt is open, we would suggest heavier gloves, but the minimum is still Red Dragon. Metal gauntlets are not allowed. For small sword, sport fencing gloves are allowed, but it is recommended to wear padded coaching type gloves or better. Where a hilt is fully enclosed, thin gloves are allowed.
Plastic Chest protector: suggested for all weapons, especially Smallsword and Spadroon.
Groin Guard: required for men. Recommended for women.
All tournaments are conducted on a “Bring Your Own Sword” basis though some loaner gear may be available on the day.
Weapons are to be checked for flexibility, signs of damage etc. You may not use a sword which has previously suffered a serious deformation and been re-straightened! Where we give example manufacturers these are merely examples of makers whose products we have experience with, not guarantees that any particular weapon will pass examination. In each fight, weapon materials must match (no steel vs plastic).
Sabre/Basket Hilts: Gymnasium type sabres with rolled or swelled tips. If a sabre doesn’t have a rolled or swelled tip, a rubber tip/brass cartridge must be attached. Maximum blade length of 85cm. Max weight 1000g (1300g for basket hilts to account for extra weight in the hilt). Note that Red Dragon “Easton” and Hanwei Hutton sabres are not allowed due to history of failures in certain production runs and design/manufacturing defects. Example, but not limited to, manufacturers: Danelli Armouries, Regenyei.
All Black Fencer models that are sabres or basket hilts from this era are allowed.
Smallsword: These may be foil, epee, ‘muskateer’ or schlaeger bladed between 30” and 35” long. They must have reasonable flex, be blunt and have the tip buttoned. They must have a simple hilt, but need not have a knucklebow. Foils and epees may be used, the suggestion is a Leon Paul #2 epee blade. Pistol or orthopedic grips are not allowed.
Spadroon: Black Fencer have the only mass production spadroon available at the moment, so that is the advised model to use. However, if you have a steel simulator made to your own specifications, please bring it along. You will need to demonstrate that is has sufficient flex on a thrust to be safe and that it weighs above 600g and below 800g. The Hanwei Radaelli sabre and Alchem blades spadroon are also suitable steels if you have them.
The tournament will take place in hall 1.
Each competitor will have 5 fights in each tournament (with more available, should time and numbers allow).
There will be a Swiss-style pool movement between 4 groups. Each group will occupy one arena on the hall floor.
Each fighter will begin the tournament with 25 points.
Target Rules – Basket hilt, Sabre and Spadroon
Each fight will be the first to 5 points. Any head hits count as 3, as does a thrust to the torso, each other hit is 1 point.
Doubles and Afterblows count as fully scored hits.
Target Rules – Smallsword
Each fight will be the first to 5 points. Any thrust to the head hits count as 3 points, a thrust to the torso is 2 points, each other hit is 1 point. At the start of each bout, the competitors will draw at random a rule variation. The variations are:
The hands are not in the target area and will not count for hits.
The hands count as 1 point targets.
Afterblows and doubles count as full points against that target.
Before the bout begins, the fighters will agree which weapons the bout shall be conducted with. For clarity of rules, bouts may only be fought against weapons with the same rule set, for example:
Sabre/Basket Hilt/Spadroon vs Sabre/Basket hilt/Spadroon are all valid combinations using the same rule set.
Small sword vs Spadroon may be done where the smallsword rule set is used.
Smallsword (using smallsword rules) vs Sabre/Basket Hilt/Spadroon (using the Sabre/Basket Hilt/Spadroon rules) is not a valid combination.
The reason for this is that someone using a 1.2kg basket hilt vs a 650g smallsword might cause rather a lot of damage to the smallsword and render it unsafe during the bout and cost the owner of the small sword rather a lot to repair. Attendees are allowed to try this outside of the competition whilst the hall floor is open, but not in the competition.
Each exchange will begin with the fencers in their corners and the referee and assistant referee in the other two corners. The referee will confirm that they are ready to begin, then call “Fence!” to begin the exchange. Upon observing a scoring hit, other scoring technique, or other reason to halt the match, the referee will call “Halt!”or “Hit!”. Both fencers must then cease offensive actions, parrying late attacks from the opponent is permitted but continuing to attack the opponent after halt is called is a foul.
A fencer or their coach may also call “Halt!” if there is equipment failure or injury. These are the only reasons for calling “Halt!” by someone who is not a referee.
The referee will then consider the exchange. If unclear, he will consult the assistant referee, if still unclear he may consult the fencers for their recollection. He will then describe the scoring exchange, and the score resulting. Examples:
“Cut to hand, no return. 2 points.”
“Attacked with thrust, fell short, hit to head, parry failed, afterblow late. 3 points.”
“Attack to hand, parried with thrust to mask, afterblow cut to leg. 3 points to 2, overall 1 point.”
In order to score in a grappling situation, fencer needs to perform a hit with a blade or pommel, disarm or ring out. Due to the nature of the fencing environment (a wooden floor), throws and trips are not allowed. Kicks, joint attacks (striking at a joint) and other submissions are forbidden. Punches, wraps, locks and other unarmed attack will not score in themselves. Referees are free to decide if such an attack constitutes an unsporting attempt at injury or not!
If grappling lasts for a long time without any of the opponents scoring a hit, or if any of the opponents is on the ground, referee will call “Halt” and reset the exchange. The referee may also interrupt grappling at any time if they deem that it became dangerous.
Scoring in the exchange
Only attacks with the edge or point score points, with the exception of smallswords, where they only score with the point. So don’t punch with the guard! All strikes must be executed in a controlled fashion. Incidental strikes, cuts with questionable edge alignment, very light cuts with the point and cuts made with a very small arc do not score. It is up to the fencers to demonstrate “good” hits. Slicing cuts require the edge of the sword to move across the target area (pushed or pulled), with positive pressure onto the target. Thrusts must fix the point onto the target with positive pressure.
The following targets are illegal, and are worth no points:
Back of the head
Back of the knee
Backswords, sabres and spadroons (allegedly 😉 ) score by cut, thrust, or slice with the blade. The referee may disallow hits he considers too minor to have any significant effect even with a sharp, but the goal of the rules is to discourage harder (and therefore more dangerous) hits as unnecessary. Blade hits will score:
3 points for a cut, slice or thrust made to the head or thrust to torso.
1 points for other valid hits (any hit to a limb or cut/slice to torso).
Other ways to score points:
3 points for disarm. Disarming an opponent will score if the opponent’s control of the weapon is removed and control of one’s own weapon is kept, and grappling distance is broken.
1 point for ring out. It will be scored when one fencer leaves the ring with both feet, and the other remains within the ring. If both fencers leave then both will lose 1 point.
Afterblows and Doubles
All hits count as scores. Clean hits will score full points. In terms of doubles and after blows, they all score fully. But remember, this is a test of keeping lives as well as making points.
Fouls may be incurred by:
Failing to obey or ignoring a referee’s instructions, including continuing to attack after a halt is called.
Deliberately or negligently injuring an opponent (or dangerous actions likely to do so) this covers not just banned techniques such as joint locks, but also uncontrolled strikes with the weapon
Deliberately hitting illegal targets.
Throws and kicks
Interfering with the conduct of the bout, calling halts without reason, repeated protests against referee’s calls without reason etc.
Unsportsmanlike conduct, verbal abuse of opponent or officials, displays of disrespect etc.
Referees are given wide powers of discretion in both deciding what is a foul and what punishment is appropriate. A more severe infraction (whether in result, or malice) will incur more severe repercussions. As a rough guide: accidental or procedural fouls (prolonged delays due to kit failures, repeated unfounded protests, a severe strike that was not intentionally so) will be given a warning, potentially dangerous or unsportsmanlike conduct will be punished by deduction of a point, and fouls resulting in actual or near miss injuries or obvious malice will be punished by forfeit of the bout (and potential expulsion from the tournament).
Protests and Discussions
If a referee has given their verdict after an exchange and a fencer disagrees with it materially, they may protest by raising a hand (or having their corner signal also). They will then be given a chance to explain their version of events to the referee, who may in consequence discuss with the assistant and the opponent if they judge it necessary. A referee may also, of course, initiate such discussions on their own initiative. Note that abusing this to raise spurious objections to every point scored against oneself is very likely to be considered a foul as unsportsmanlike, disruptive or both!
At the end of each round, the lives lost will be recorded.
If you run out of lives, you will still fight your remaining bouts and have 5 points in each fight once you’ve run out of lives.
After 5 (possibly more timing dependent) fights, the main competition ends.
At the end there will be bonus points added to the remaining lives. There are 4 weapons to be used in the tournament. If a player only uses one weapon through the tournament you will have no bonus points. If a competitor uses 2 weapons at different points in the tournament, they will gain 1 extra life, 2 for using 3 different weapons and 3 for using all four weapons in the tournament.
The winner is the competitor with the highest remaining hit points. Second and third will also be decided like this.
If there is a tie for any of the medal places, a tie breaker will be fought, as with the rules above.
At the end of the tournament, awards will be given out for:
The fencer with the highest number of lives remaining,
Technical prizes will be awarded by a select group of instructors who will observe the bouts and watch for examples of excellence in the competitors fencing.