2018 Tournament Rules

These rules may be subject to change up and until the commencement of the tournaments.

Tournament General Rules

Longsword Tournament

Rapier Tournament

Singlestick Tournament

Sword and Buckler Tournament

Cutting Tournament Rules


Tournament General Rules

Fencer Conduct

All fighters are expected to display skill and control. This is a martial arts tournament and all fighters are expected to conduct themselves with respect for the weapon, their opponent, and the tournament staff. Any fighter that is deemed to pose a danger to themselves or others will be addressed at the discretion of the tournament director.

The tournament director will serve as the ultimate authority within the ring. The disciplinary procedure will generally constitute first a warning, then a penalty, then an expulsion from the match or tournament; however, this procedure shall remain at the discretion of the director. Fighters who have been banned from attendance of other major HEMA tournaments are not permitted to attend the Combat Con 2018 tournaments.

Match Length

Each match will last for 90 seconds of regulation time, or once the maximum score has been reached. Once the time of 90 seconds has been reached the timekeeper will announce ‘Last Exchange’. The match will then proceed until the next break in the fighting is called.

Double Hits & Afterblows

A double hit is defined as two fighter landing valid blows against each other in the same tempo. This is undesirable, as it shows that the fighters are not adequately concerned with their defence. Doubles will be penalized in accordance to the stage of the tournament in which they occur.

  • Pools: Should two fighters strike three double hits in the course of a pool match the match will end and both fighters will be considered to have lost the match. At the conclusion of the pool fights each fighter will have their total number of doubles recorded and have their score penalized by an appropriate margin.
  • Eliminations: Should two fighters strike three double hits in the course of an elimination match, the winner of the match will be assessed a score penalty for their subsequent match.

An afterblow is defined as one fighter striking another immediately following a failed defence which lead to them being struck. At no point should an afterblow be considered a ‘revenge blow’, and afterblows are expected to be thrown with an appropriate level of control.

Faulted Double:

A faulted double is defined as a fighter attempting to suicidally thrust a lower opening with absolutely no attempt to keep themselves safe or control their opponent’s weapon. All fighters are expected to defend themselves, and as such a -2 point penalty will be applied to this thrust.

Should the match director determine that a double hit or afterblow was without a doubt the direct result of a single individual acting with complete disregard of defence, the match director retains the ability to assign the fault of the double strike to the individual in question. At this point the offending fighter will be assessed a penalty at the discretion of the director.

Valid Strikes

Points will be awarded for cuts, thrusts, slices and pommel strikes in accordance with the rules of the individual tournaments. Points will not be awarded for touches with the sword, but must be delivered with sufficient intent.

  • Cuts: For a cut to be considered valid it must travel an arc of 75 degrees. Cuts must be delivered with sound body structure to be considered valid. Strikes with the tip of the sword, incidental contact and flailing type attacks are not valid cuts. SCA style ‘wrap strikes’ are not valid cuts.
  • Thrusts: Thrusts must be delivered in a committed manner, rather than pokes which make superficial contact. A sword bend is not required if the fighter is in range to deliver a deeper blow.
  • Slices: Slices will only be considered on valid targets when performed against the head/neck and the arms. A valid slice must exert sufficient pressure on the target that judging staff can clearly see the effect on the balance and structure of the affected fighter. Please note that this requires a very high degree of commitment, and is not simply sawing a blade back and forth on the body.
  • Pommel Strikes: Pommel strikes are only valid against the mesh portion of the mask. Though the pommel does not need to hit hard it must display a structure capable of delivering the whole body’s force rather than a lucky strike from an uncontrolled fighter.

Additionally, should a fighter place both feet outside of the ring (through their own action or if pushed by their opponent) their opponent will be rewarded with one point.

Off Limits Targets & Techniques

The following are off limits for safety reasons:

  • Direct targeting of the back of the head and spine is not permitted. Should a fighter display the unsafe behavior of exposing the back of their head to the opponent they will be progressively warned, penalized and removed by the match director.
  • Direct targeting of the hands and feet. Should the defender move their hands in the path of a strike targeted at a valid target (such as the forearm) it will be scored as a strike to the arms.
  • Punches and kicks are not permitted.
  • ‘Mordschlag’ style strikes are not permitted.
  • Any strike thrown with a complete lack of control on the part of the attacker. Competitive martial arts fighting involves throwing forceful strikes with full intent to make contact, however each competitor is expected to maintain a respect for their opponent’s safety at all times.

Protective Gear Requirements

All of these tournaments are considered to simulate ‘blossfechten’, and in the interests of promoting a professional HEMA image and to encourage fighters to respect the weapon simulators, heavy armor (breastplates, etc) or fantasy-styled armors are not permitted.

No exposed skin is permitted for any tournaments.

All armor will be inspected by the tournament staff prior to competition. If any armor is deemed to be inappropriate, the participant will be required to remove it and replace it with a piece of appropriate equipment.

Longsword Tournament

Point Scoring

The following point scoring will be used for the longsword tournaments.

Target Cuts Thrusts Slices Pommel
Head 4 2/ 5* 4 1
Torso 3 2/ 5*
Legs 2 1
Arms 1 1 1

 

Afterblow

The afterblow deducts one point from the score of the attacking fighter, with the exception of the lower targets. An afterblow performed against the legs will not be counted.

* Controlled Thrusts

A thrust delivered in a manner that controls the opponent’s blade will be awarded an additional point score. For the sake of the Combat Con 2018 longsword tournament a controlled thrust is defined as a thrust which either seizes control of the opponent’s blade at the moment of impact, or is able to maneuver the blade to intercept the opponent’s afterblow while having the point remain planted.

One-Handed Blows

One-handed blows are not permitted except when the other hand is removed as part of a grappling technique executed against an opponent.

Point Limits

The match will be concluded once a fighter has reached a total of 9 points.

Acceptable Equipment

Feders

  • Albion Meyer
  • Regenyei (All)
  • Arms & Armor Fechtbuch
  • Castille Armory Feder
  • Comfort Fencing Dobringer
  • Dark Horse Feder
  • Darksword Feder
  • Ensifer Long & Standard
  • Mac Arms Feder
  • Pavel Moc Feder
  • SGT Blades Feder
  • Kvetun Feder

More feders from different manufacturers may be added later on with the approval of the tournament organization 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 simulate ‘blossfechten’, and in the interests of promoting a professional HEMA image and to encourage fighters to respect the weapon simulators, heavy armor (breastplates, 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.
  • Groin protection is required for male fighters.
  • Breast protection is required for female fighters.
  • Shin and forearm protection are not essential but recommended.
  • No exposed skin will be allowed.

Rapier Tournament

Point Scoring

The following point scoring will be used for the rapier tournament.

Thrusts Cuts
Head 3 1
Torso 3
Leg/Arms 1 1

 

Afterblow

The afterblow deducts one point from the score of the attacking fighter.

Draw Cuts

All cuts must be delivered with a draw/slice component. Strikes landing with a pure percussive motion will not be valid.

Point Limits

The match will be concluded once a fighter has reached a total of 7 points.

Acceptable Equipment

Swords

All swords (and daggers) will be inspected before use. Only rapier blades may be used. Epee, foil, and other blades meant for classical or Olympic fencing are prohibited. Modified epee blades marketed as a rapier such as that by Neyman Fencing are also prohibited.

Rapier blades from the following makers will be allowed, and other blades will be assessed on a case by case basis by the tournament director. If there are any questions regarding a sword not listed, please email our tournament staff.

  • Deltin
  • Hanwei
  • Angus Trim
  • Castille Armory
  • Danelli Armories
  • Zen Warrior

Protective Gear

All of these tournaments are considered to simulate ‘blossfechten’, and in the interests of promoting a professional HEMA image and to encourage fighters to respect the weapon simulators, heavy armor (breastplates, 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), Padded Gambeson, or fencing Jacket.
  • Groin protection is required for male fighters.
  • Breast protection is required for female fighters.
  • Elbow, knee, shin, and forearm protection are not essential but recommended.
  • No exposed skin will be permitted.

Singlestick Tournament

Point Scoring

The following point scoring will be used for the singlestick tournament.

Cuts
Head 4
Torso 3
Legs 2
Arms 1

 

Afterblow

The afterblow deducts one point from the score of the attacking fighter.

Thrusts

No thrusts are permitted in the singlestick tournament.

Point Limits

The match will be concluded once a fighter has reached a total of 9 points.

Acceptable Equipment

Protective Gear

All of these tournaments are considered to simulate ‘blossfechten’, and in the interests of promoting a professional HEMA image and to encourage fighters to respect the weapon simulators, heavy armor (breastplates, 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 hit.
  • Long sleeve shirt, hoodie or light fencing jacket – no heavy padded HEMA jackets (ie SPES),.
  • 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.
  • Groin protection is required for male fighters.
  • Breast protection is required for female fighters.
  • Shin and forearm protection are not essential but recommended.
  • No exposed skin will be permitted.

Sword & Buckler Tournament

Point Scoring

The following point scoring will be used for the Sword & Buckler tournament.

Target Cuts Thrusts
Head 3 1 / 3*
Torso / Upper Leg 1 1 / 3*
Lower Leg 2 1
Arms 1 1

 

Afterblow

The afterblow deducts one point from the score of the attacking fighter.

* Controlled Thrusts

A thrust delivered in a manner that controls the opponent’s blade will be awarded an additional point score. For the sake of the Combat Con tournament a controlled thrust is defined as a thrust which either seizes control of the opponent’s blade at the moment of impact, or is able to maneuver the blade to intercept the opponent’s afterblow while having the point remain planted.

Point Limits

The match will be concluded once a fighter has reached a total of 7 points.

Acceptable Equipment

Swords

Swords for this event will be provided for the tournament.

Protective Gear

All of these tournaments are considered to simulate ‘blossfechten’, and in the interests of promoting a professional HEMA image and to encourage fighters to respect the weapon simulators, heavy armor (breastplates, 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.
  • Lacrosse gloves.
  • 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.

Open Cutting Tournament Rules

Tournament participants must follow the directions of the tournament director and tournament staff at all times. Should any participant exhibit behavior that places others or themselves at risk of physical harm will result in immediate disqualification and possible intervention by local law enforcement.

The open cutting tournament at Combat con involves a total of 3 rounds (minus the finals) and each round competitors will subsequently be eliminated based on their score after every round.

Qualifying Round

The first qualifying round will assess each competitor’s basic competency to cut through a tatami mat using a longsword. The standards of the first mat shall be the same as the cutting qualification for steel longsword, and passing the qualification once is sufficient for the Steel Longsword Tournament.

The first mat the competitor must perform:

  • 2 descending cuts from each side (4 cuts total) repeated until the competitor is out of mat

On the second mat, the competitor must perform:

  • 2 ascending cuts from each side (4 cuts total) repeated until the competitor is out of mat.

Successful cuts will be awarded 20 points, barring deductions. The final score for the round will be the summation of all cut scores.

Second Round

Competitors will be asked to demonstrate as many different cuts as they are capable of performing on a single target. The four basic cuts that the competitors have used in the previous rounds cannot be used. Once a cut has been thrown, success or failure, it may not be used again. Successful cuts will be awarded 20 points, less deductions. The final score for the round will be the summation of all cut scores.

Each competitor may make one request to have one of their tatami mats returned to its optimal position for the first two rounds. This may entail straightening, picking a stand up, or re-pegging a mat which has been dislodged.

In the event of a tie in score between competitors, the total score of the first two rounds put together will be the tiebreaker.

Third Round

The competitor will have 2 mats with a unique task for each one

 

The first mat the competitor must perform a Lightning Cut Sequence, which is comprised of a true edge descending from the right, true edge ascending from the left, and then another true edge ascending from the right in continuous motion without pausing.

 

The second mat the competitor must perform a true edge, false edge, and then true edge cut in succession without pause. An example of this would be a true edge descending from the right, looping it into a false edge descending from the right, and then looping back to another true edge from the right.

 

Each cut will be scored out of 20 less any deductions that might be applied. If the competitor pauses between any of the cuts the total score for that mat will be 0.

Cut Scoring

Each cut will be scored based on the performance of the cut itself, and the form of the fencer. Below are some examples of deductions:

  • Cut piece of tatami goes flying
  • Rough cut/spraying debris
  • Scalloped cut
  • Cutting into a previously cut area
  • Tilting shoulders excessively
  • Off balance on completion of the cut
  • Not stepping with the cut
  • Measuring up before the cut

Additionally there will be extremely harsh penalties for hitting the peg, the stand, or the floor.

Acceptable Cuts

For the second round the following cuts will be considered as distinct cuts (15 possible cuts).

True Edge Horizontal R/L

True Edge Krumphau R – Thumb on blade, cutting with crossed arms from the left to the right

Zwerchau R/L (Thumb on blade, cutting horizontally by crossing/uncrossing the arms)

False Edge Descending ‘Inside’ R/L (Descending but with the blade rotated in the hands so the flat is facing forward instead of the edge)

False Edge Descending ‘Outside’ R/L (“Plunging” Style )

False Edge Ascending ‘Outside’ R/L (Low->longpoint style)

False Edge Ascending ‘Inside’ R/L (zwerchau-like strike, but distinctly ascending)

True Edge Vertical*

False Edge Vertical*

* to be considered valid vertical cuts must descend ⅓ of the total mat length. Additionally none of the following cuts may intersect the area of the vertical cut. As such these are considered highly inadvisable.

Safety

 

Participation in the cutting tournaments represents a potential risk to participants/staff/ spectators, to include serious injury or death, as well as to equipment. Participants in the cutting tournaments are knowingly choosing to accept this risk of their own violation and understand that the Organizers and staff as well as the tournament organizers/staff are not responsible for any injury or damage to equipment that comes from actions of the participant. Participants also accept and acknowledge that the steps taken by the tournament staff to prevent those injures are satisfactory and sufficient.

 

If a competitor conducts themselves in an unsafe manner placing themselves, staff, fellow competitors or spectators in danger, or behave in any way that the judges deem dangerous, they will be disqualified from the cutting events without further warning. Safety goes beyond the written rules of the event and requires common sense and respect for the dangers inherent in cutting with a sharpened sword. Examples (not all inclusive): Horseplay while holding a sharp sword (to include acting as cutting towards another person), losing control of the sword where another person is placed in danger (Dropping, “throwing” the sword).