Spada & Rapier Tourney Rules
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.
certain instructors will be invited to observe and bestow additional awards
or prizes on those who show the best historical form.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Blades may be grasped--but not wrestled with--in one hand. See the ‘Scoring’
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
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
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
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.
- follow the Tournament Rules link to ‘Rapier & Smallsword’.
- see ‘Renaissance combat’ in the ‘Combat
- ‘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
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
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.