Spada & Rapier Tourney Rules

It is the intention of the Tattershall School of Defence to structure a tourney in the manner of the "Prize Fights" of the English Masters of Defense. In this context, representatives from various schools will stand as the challengers against all comers, stating what weapons they will fight with. Either beforehand or at the event the various schools will select up to two fencers to stand for their school.

Additionally, certain instructors will be invited to observe and bestow additional awards or prizes on those who show the best historical form.

The first round will consist of the school representatives selecting from the challengers until all of the challengers have played. The second round the challengers will each select one of the school representatives to fence. In all challenges, the challenged party determines the weapon style for the fight.

The weapons forms shall include but may not be limited to: Sidesword (cut & thrust), and Rapier (thrust, w/ limited cuts). Broad Sword, Backsword, and perhaps other weapons on a case-by-case basis if the players wear appropriate armour. To this would be added the usual list of historical off-hand auxiliaries: dagger, cape, and buckler. Conventions of Combat

Item: A modified version of the AHF (Association for Historical Fencing) rules will be adopted for use; however, since the purpose of this tournament will be to celebrate the whole spectrum of virtues associated with the gentleman of quality, all touches will be called by the combatants. Anything not specifically covered by these rules will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please direct questions or comments to Gary Chelak.

Item: Combatants should strive to achieve victory through the use of practiced technique, presenting fights that are interesting and skilful to their opponents and to those who would enjoy the fight from the gallery. To further this, recognized authorities on historic sword play shall be invited to sit as the “observing instructors” and bestow recognition on those who’s play best follows that of the old masters.

Item: There will be two principle “Weapons”: Sidesword, and Rapier. Sidesword shall encompass the cut and thrust play of Marozzo and the early Masters. Whereas Rapier will exemplify the point oriented play of Capo Ferro and the 17th C. Masters. Each will have their own conventions and scoring, exemplifying the capabilities of the original weapons. If desired, additional “weapons” may be used.

Item: The Stage shall be a square, 25 to 35 feet to a side. Ideally some form of barrier should mark it off. The challengers should be provided with seating and tables for the display of their weapons. The observers should have separate seating with a clear view of the stage.

The Challenge
Prior to the event, select individuals will announce that they will be playing a prize on that date, challenging all comers. The challenge shall state what weapons they will use, and what auxiliaries for their off hand. Playing the Prize

Item: Before the Play commences; all combatants will have their arms and equipment inspected by one of the tournament marshals to ensure compliance with basic safety standards common to all AHF, Adrian & SCA standards. See the section entitled “Armour and Weapons Standards” for links to rule sets for each.Entrance of the observing instructors, Demonstration Bouts, Challengers and Players.

Item: The observing instructors shall be announced and led to their seats with due ceremony. If they wish, they may make or have read any statements they wish to make concerning what they expect of the challengers and players.

Item: The observing instructors will have the opportunity to offer Demonstration Bouts in historical styles prior to the first round. These shall be considered visual guides to the Players for what is desired in the coming assaults.

Item: The School Representatives then will take the stage and repeat their challenge, after which they will take their seats.

Item: Next, each Player will enter upon the stage and, one after the other, and will announce themselves. The School Representatives will then commence challenging the players.

Item: At the end of the first round, The observing instructors shall give recognition to those players whom they wish to recognize. After the recognition the players may then each challenge one of the School Representatives.

Item: At the end of the second round, the observing instructors shall give recognition to the School Representatives and Player(s) who best practiced the forms of the Old Masters.

Item: Play will proceed until one of the combatants has a score of three points against them. No wounds will be acted out. See the “Scoring” section for specifics regarding point values.

Item: Blades may be grasped--but not wrestled with--in one hand. See the ‘Scoring’ section.

Item: Grapples are disallowed, though incidental bodily contact is not to be considered illegal. Open hand checks/controls to the wrist and arm are specifically allowed, grasping a participant is not. Controlling the hilt of an opponent’s weapon is allowed, as are disarms, provided these techniques are done safely.

Item: Combatants that drop their parrying device lose its use unless they can recover it on their own. A sword dropped for any reason other than safety shall cost the bout.

Item: The Marshals may cast out any combatant for excessive force, conduct, or for any safety reason.

Item: Speaking while under arms is discouraged except for blow acknowledgement or an immediate safety concern. Speaking to chide, insult, sing or other such is not allowed.

Item: When called, the Challenger and Player shall come to the center of the stage and shake hands. The Marshal shall request them to take their wards, out of distance. When satisfied as to their readiness, he shall bid them to commence

--Scoring: Sidesword:
Cut or thrust to head or throat: 3 points
Thrust to the body: 3 points
Cut to the body or extremities: 2 points
Thrust to the arms/legs/extremities: 1 point
--Scoring: Rapier:
Thrust to head, throat or body: 3 points
Cut to the throat: 3 points
Cut to the head: 2 points
Cut or thrust to the arms/legs/extremities: 1 point

Item: Touches shall be called as they are received. This will be done in a loud voice, stating what the touch was, such as “Arm”. Action will cease when there are 3 points against one contestant. Any touch that scores less than 3 points need not stop the action. Ties are counted as such. The score will be announced during the bouts as fighters acknowledge their hits. The outcome shall be announced to the Masters and the gallery. The number and kind against each contested should be included.

Item: A contestant who looses his primary weapon, for other than a valid safety concern, shall have 3 points scored against them.

Item: A contestant who is driven from the stage three times shall have 3 points scored against them - one point per occasion, scored at the time of the infraction. Ex: a participant has two points against him/her and is then driven from the stage = 3 points against = bout over.

Item: Grasping the opposing sword blade is allowed, at the penalty of 1 point to the person making the action. Pulling the opponent into your attack by their sword blade is disallowed.

Item: A fighter has the right to annul their own touch on an opponent if they deem it to be insufficient. The director and judges will officially award a touch after the combatant acknowledges the touch.The Gallery

Item: The members of the gallery are encouraged to be partisan and supportive of the fencers (loosely after the manner of the Groundlings of the Elizabethan Theater), particularly when any action is well executed or a touch is cleanly executed. However, rude or dishonorable conduct may result in eviction from the gallery.Armour and Weapons Standards

Item: All combatants accept responsibility for themselves, declaring any suspected deficiencies in equipment and acknowledging the possibility of injury, and further agreeing to hold blameless their opponents, the marshals, other event officials, and the site owners from liability. Marshals shall assist the combatants in maintaining a safe environment and have the power to stop any fight for any reason, or to eject any combatant as necessary. The Armor Standards are minimums based on basic safety standards common to the AHF, Adrian Empire, & the SCA.
AHF - follow the Tournament Rules link to ‘Rapier & Smallsword’.
Adria - see ‘Renaissance combat’ in the ‘Combat Manual’.
SCA: - ‘Rapier Combat Handbook’ link.

Head: The head shall be covered at a minimum by a 3-weapon mask with a bib stitched into place and an additional throat defense (ex: gorget) of metal or heavy leather.

Body: A minimum of a fencing doublet, fencing jacket, or gambeson will be required. A long-sleeved, reinforced garment is strongly recommended, as is groin and/or breast protection.

Hands: Heavy gloves with wrist protection shall be worn as a minimum. The cuff of the glove must be long enough to prevent a weapon tip from entering the sleeve.

Swords: shall be of the cup, shell or swept-hilt variety. Rapiers shall be mounted with blades that are either double-wide epee, Del Tin bated/practice blades or practice schlager blades, Angus Trim practice rapier blades or any type allowed to be used by the marshals and they should be between 35 and 45 inches in length. Sidesword (cut & thrust) blades should be between 33 & 38 inches in length. They must be historical in design, without modern modifications for purposes of competitive advantage. Each type must have a protective tip. All tips shall be dulled and either blunted with rubber or wrapped in waxed thread and covered with leather, or equivalent. Blades that come to any kind of point must have a steel washer or nut under the blunt. Blades must be clean (no rust) and free of burs. They should flex sufficiently to convince the marshals and potential opponents of their safety.

Parrying Devices: Cloaks, daggers, or bucklers will be allowed in this tournament. Other parrying implements may be allowed on a one for one basis.

Daggers: Shall have hilts of the ring, cross or shell variety. If a dagger is to be used for thrusting, it must be sufficiently flexible to be approved by the opponent and marshal.

Cloaks: must not have any weighted objects attached, and should be free from holes. Combatants may be struck with the cloak but no points are counted.

Bucklers: May be used to parry, bind, press or smother an opponent’s weapon or weapon arm, but not to strike an opponent (no percussive actions) due to the potentially high risk.

Item: All equipment must remain in good repair and is subject to inspection before each fight.