Longsword tournament

Tournament Rules

The tournament is a longsword fencing competition in three rounds. Round 1 (Saturday, see here) : Every participant has four encounters (bouts). Based on the scores from these, the top 16 competitors go on to round 2. Round 2 (Sunday morning): Elimination round (octo-finals, quarter-finals, semi-finals). Round 3 (Sunday afternoon): Finals for 1st and 3rd place.

This is not an Olympic championship. Refereeing errors will be made. The best fencer may not win. Remember to have fun!


Round 1

It is up to the fighters to select a judge. It is the judge's responsibility to report the outcome of the bout promptly and accurately. The weapon can be any longsword simulator (Feder, steel, nylon), as long as the weapons are evenly matched (feder vs. feder, etc.).

Protection must be adequate to the weapon (less body protection may be worn for nylon bouts. Masks, back-of-the-head protection, gloves, gorge, cup are required for all bouts)

The bout consists of five Gänge or passes. The judge is asked to stop the fight upon seeing a hit, and to distinguish the following cases:

  • uncertain or nothing happened, continue the exchange. In this round, the knees and lower legs aren't targets, hits to the knee or below count as "nothing happened".
  • one fighter scored a "light" hit (noticeable but would not result in an incapacitating injury). Any hit to the hands or lower arms is automatically considered "light": award 1 point to this fighter
  • one fighter scored a "solid" hit, a clean, solid hit to the head or torso, or to the arms or legs above the elbow/knee: award 3 points to this fighter
  • the judge really cannot make up his mind if the hit was "light" or "solid", alright, so go ahead and award 2 points as a compromise.
  • the exchange resulted in a double hit: both fighters are penalized by -1 point. (if one of the two hits was clearly much less effective than the other, it is at the judge's discretion to disregard it entirely in favour of the fighter who scored the solid hit. You agreed to judge, so you have to make difficult desicions.

It follows that each fighter leaves the bout with a score between -10 and +15, or after four bouts any score between -40 and +60 points. Participants are then ranked according to their score. The top 16 participants pass on to round 2. If two or more fighters are tied for rank 16, they are called upon for a single, "sudden death" exchange.

Round 2

The elimination round consists of octo-finals, quarter-finals and semi-finals (total of 14 fights). These fights are (ideally) judged by such participants in the judges' workshop of Saturday morning who have not participated in or dropped out of the tournament. Ideally, by a head judge and at least two auxiliary judges. These fights last for two minutes, and end early if one fighter leads by a margin of ten points. The head judge can issue warnings or penalties for inactivity. Time is stopped whenever the fight is interrupted.

The weapons used are feders. Adequate protection must be worn (mask, back-of-the-head protection, gloves, cup, gorget, elbow and knee padding) Fighters may carry a wooden dagger to score points from the close distance or after a takedown.

Scoring is as in round 1, except for the knees and lower leg now also being targets, but as with the hands and lower arms, any hit there counts for a single point only. Each fighter use one-handed attacks from far distance (Geissler) twice per bout at the most. From the third use of such techniques, no points can be scored by them.

The judge will distinguish Nachschlag from double hits. A successful Nachschlag will detract from the points awarded to the first hit as follows:

  • "solid" hit, "light" Nachschlag: 2 points (1 point detracted)
  • "solid" hit, "solid" Nachschlag: 1 point (2 points detracted)
  • "light" hit, "light" Nachschlag: 1 point (no points detracted)
  • "light" hit, "solid" Nachschlag: 0 points (1 point detracted)

"First blood" rule: if the very first pass results in a valid hit (no Nachschlag, no double hit), the scoring fighter is awarded an extra two points.

Kicks, punches, throws, open-hand techniques and so on are permitted (within reason, there can be warnings or penalties for brutality), but they do not result in a score, or a break; they are considered preliminary actions to be followed up by an actual hit, if they aren't, they count for nothing. After a takedown, the judge will wait for a few seconds and then interrupt the fight if no hit likely to be scored.

If the fighters are tied after three minutes, the fight is decided by "sudden death" in the next pass.

The number of double-hits scored in these fights is recorded separately, and is inherited as negative starting point in the winner's next fight (quarter-final, semi-final, finals); relevant is the difference in inherited penalty score between the opponents, up to a maximum of three penalty points.

Round 3

These are the final fights for 1st and for 3rd place. They are judged by a head judge and three auxiliary judges. The fights last for four minutes, but they end early if a fighter has a twelve point lead. Otherwise, the rules are the same as in round 2. If the fighters are tied at the end of the five minutes, the next valid hit decides the fight.