Tournament rules 2016

Rules for the 2016 Feder tournament.

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We try to make slight changes to the scoring system each year to encourage people to train the art, not the “sport” (more on tournament rules here). But the 2015 rules were quite successful, so it does not appear wise to change them too drastically. The rules are custom built for our tournament, and reflect our possibilities in terms of organisation, number of participants, number and experience of judges and the general skill level of participants.

We expect about 60 people in the tournament. Only 16 get into the octofinals. This means that two thirds of participants drop out after the pool rounds. Consequently, we try to make the pool rounds as attractive as possible, but there are limits to available capacity (space, time and judges). You get to fight four opponents in the pools (this corresponds to a total of about 120 fights taking place on Saturday between 10h and 17h). Finals should start Sunday 10h.

Points: Judges should award points (only) for hits that would lead to decisive injury in a Blossfechten scenario. Judges should not stop the fight immediately even after a decisive hit. Instead they wait for one or two tempi to let the situation play out (Nachschlag from either party, or Abziehen into distance).

Fencers are encouraged to go into far distance if they feel they have either scored or received a hit and only then stop the fight. Your perfect action consists of scoring a hit or a combination of hits without being hit yourself, and then retreat into distance.

Clarifications (based on questions people had last year and during practice):

  • *”hands” are the hands including the wrist. The lower arm, even if covered by a glove, is a valid target.
  • “no Geissler” just means no one-handed attacks in Zufechten; one-handed techniques are perfectly fine in middle or near distance.
  • You can grab the blade with the hand even if it isn’t perfectly inert, e.g. in a bind or in Nachreisen. The rule just applies to stopping an incoming attack with your hand, and is only in place because we don’t count hits to the hand in the pool round.
  • A hit has to be scored with part the weapon. A strike to the mask with the pommel or cross-guard can be counted as a hit, but grappling has to result in one fighter getting hold of a weapon before a hit can be scored (exception of clear dominance in final rounds only).
  • The fight is interrupted at any illegal action (it is not illegal to touch the hands, it just doesn’t result in any points; it is, however, illegal to deliberately strike to the hands with force in order to intimidate or injure the opponent). Fighters executing illegal actions or making use of excessive/needless brutality or barbarism may be warned, penalised or disqualified by the judge.

We are looking for technical fights, and judges can issue warnings and penalties for excessive force (i.e. force that is far beyond what is reasonably necessary for a Blossfechten fight) even if your behaviour isn’t acually unsportsmanlike or brutal. Your aim is to remain relaxed and in control during combat.


You need standard equipment (mask with back-flap, padded jacket, cup, decent gloves). The default weapon is a standard Regenyei Feder. Bring your own Feder, but you do not have the guaranteed right to use your own custom-made Feder, your opponent has the right to request weapons of equal length, in which case we will just issue both fighters with a standard Feder. The finals will be fought with Regenyei Feders exclusively.


Pool round

Target area and illegal actions:

  • In this round (and this round only), the hands are not part of the target area (imagine a Blossfechten fight with gauntlets). Any hit to the hands (including the wrists) does not result in stoppage.
  • From the above rule it follows that it is illegal to stop a moving blade with the hand (also for your safety).
  • No single handed techniques from long distance (Geissler)
  • Disarms and Ringen are legal but do not result in points or stoppage, you have to finish up with a hit. If the fight goes on the ground, it is broken up after ten seconds if no hit is scored.


The bout consists of five (subject to revision) Gänge or passes. The judge is asked to stop the fight at leas one tempo after the hit. This is essential to be able to judge Nachschlag and/or Abzug.

Once the fight is stopped, the judge has to distinguish between the following cases.

  • uncertain or a trivial hit, continue the exchange (same Gang). Hits with the flat or simple poking or flailing at the opponent without proper technique count as trivial.
  • a clean hit to the arms or legs: 1 point
  • a clean hit to the head or upper body (including shoulder): 2 points
  • one or several clean hits to the head or upper body with proper technique (either two successive hits or proper Abzug): 3 points
  • there was a Nachschlag against the scoring fighter, subtract 1 point from the score given (it is possible to award 3-1=2 points if an Abzug was attempted but unsuccessful).
  • 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.

It follows that each fighter leaves the bout with a score between -5 and +15, or after four bouts any score between -20 and +60 points. Participants are then ranked according to their score. The top 16 fighters advance to the octofinals. If two or more fighters are tied for rank 16, they are called upon for a single, “sudden death” exchange.


Pool round rules are inherited, with the following changes:

  • hits to the hands are now legal (counting for one point)
  • two Geissler techniques per fight are allowed (counting for one point). After two Geissler hits, further such attacks do not result in stoppage.
  • double hits are recorded separately, and the winner will start his next fight with a negative score corresponding to the double hits received in his or her last fight.
  • very cool techniques are awarded five points: a clean Schwertnehmen (a fighter disarms the opponent without losing his own sword or keeping the opponent’s sword) or a clean throw (throw your opponent but remain standing yourself) or a clean “combo” hit (two or more solid hits plus safe Abzug).
  • If the fight goes to the ground, it is stopped after fifteen seconds if no hit is scored. A hit may result from one fighter reaching for a sword, or from a clearly dominant “ground-and-pound” position (you do not actually “pound” your opponent, obviously! it is enough to establish the dominant position). Fighters may also carry wooden daggers and use them to score a hit in a ground fight. A hit scored on the ground is awarded three points.
  • fights are now timed, lasting two minutes (octo- to semifinals) or three minutes (finals). Fighters may be warned or penalised for inactivity. If the fight is tied at the end of this period, it is decided by “sudden death” at the next scoring hit.
  • first blood: if the first hit of the fight is counted for 2 or 3 points, a bonus of two points is awarded (this bonus is lost if the fight’s first hit is for just 1 point).
  • A fight ends if one fighter has a lead of ten points (octo- to semifinals) or fifteen points (finals).
  • After ten double hits, both fighters drop out of the tournament, and their last opponents (octofinals: fighters with the next highest scores from the pool round) are reactivated.

The finals are judged by teams of four: one head judge, two assistant judges and one secretary/timekeeper. Assistant judges indicate seeing a hit, but only the head judge may stop the fight.

Fights take place in a marked circle (c. 7 m diameter) and if both fighters leave the field, the fight may be stopped to move fighters back to the center, but there is no penalty for leaving the field (except in cases of unsportsmanlike behaviour).