Weapon dueling guidelines
Some tweaks and adjustments to the dueling rules might still occur before the event.
- Actions: challenge, accept or refuse
A match = DUEL is held between any two players, the DUELISTS, the one who initiates the challenge is called “the CHALLENGER” and the other one is “the CHALLENGED”. Each duelist requires one WITNESS = second. Judging the matches will be the responsibility of the seconds; duels can not be held in the absence of witnesses or elsewhere than the designated duel areas.
2 game-masters (GM) will receive periodic updates from the players regarding duel outcomes and centralize the results for the rankings. They will assist players if requested, more details about Game Master attributions soon.
There are 3 main actions that a player can make during the dueling game that require points:
CHALLENGE = 3 points, ACCEPT = 2 points or REFUSE = 1 point
The challenger must have 3 available points in order to provoke someone to a duel. The challenged may accept the duel only if they have 2 available points, or refuse the duel by losing 1 point which will then be added to the challenger’s total points. The winner of a duel will gain the loser’s deducted points.
Challenger wins the duel: receive 2 points, Challenged loses 2 points
Challenged refused the duel: loses 1 point, Challenger gains 1 point
Challenged wins the duel: receive 3 points, Challenger loses 3 points
The challenger may refuse a duel after the challenged selected the weapons, however they will have to pay the standard refusal cost, meaning 1 point, which will be added to the challenged player’s total points.
One may challenge the same player (regardless of duel outcome, win, loss, refusal etc.) only after challenging 3 other players; after a duel, the challenged may immediately request a rematch, thus becoming a challenger so scheduling will made be the same way.
As long as one has points they may not refuse more than 2 duels in a row. Any refusal must as well be written down in the players’ journals. Points can not be negative, if you are at zero points, you may not perform any action.
The guidelines ensure that the duels are held under safe and credible conditions, praising fair-play and a fine display of the art.
If the challenged player has accepted the duel, the players can schedule a time convenient for both in the same day, preferably no later than one hour after the challenge was issued. Players are required to be fair-play when scheduling matches and mindful of each other’s workshop schedules. If a player fails to show up at the scheduled time without a very reasonable excuse, the duel is considered forfeited and points shall be deducted as per loss. One may schedule a number of duels equal to one third of their total points (rounded down).
The duel weapons will be chosen by the challenged player, unless a different agreement is concluded between the duelists. Either way, we recommend duels only between identical main weapons and subcategories in order to be counted towards each ranking (see rankings below); if players wish to experiment with mixed weapons, only weapons of the same material and similar weight should be used to prevent damage to the weapons. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask one of the game masters.
The duels / matches must take place only in the designated duel areas, in an approx. 8 x 8 meters (64 sqm) surface marked visually by color. Other boundaries (such as rope) may be present. Some surfaces will allow falls and throws.
Determining the winner of a duel:
- The duel is judged by the two witnesses; They decide the outcome of each exchange by counting the valid hits. Each judge may stop the exchange when they see a valid hit, they should consult with each other and agree upon the exchange, then explain what they decided and announce the result
- A duel consists of 11 valid hits performed in total by both players, not 11 each. There may be more than 11 valid hits in case the final exchange results in a blow-afterblow type of exchange which would count as two valid hits
- The winner of a duel is the player who performed the most valid hits out of 11. In case there is a tie, play sudden death exchange until one player performs a clear valid hit not followed by an afterblow; doubles are still counted as warnings during the sudden death phase
- Hits to all body parts are scored, but in order to be considered valid, a hit should represent a cut, thrust or slice to a part of the body that would normally severely injure, disable or kill the opponent in a real duel, therefore light taps and hits with the flat or scratches with the tip of the blade will not count. The following techniques are considered valid hits.
- Thrusts are awarded if they have more power than a light tap, performed with a proper structure and intent;
- Cuts are awarded if they are applied with some speed and intention, more than just a light tap or tip touch. Hitting with the flat is not awarded; the blade should travel at least a 45 degree arc.
- Slices are awarded when they are done with some force and a slicing motion, if the blade touches the opponent and does not move or barely moves, no award is given;
- Pommel strikes should be awarded if the pommel hits the mesh with some force, yet not excessive. At least one hand must remain on the handle.
- Disarms are considered valid hits if the other player flees the dueling area, yields or they are followed by a valid hit. If the hit is performed after the other player has already yielded it will result in a warning for excessive brutality.
- Grappling and throwing are allowed for a few seconds and are awarded if a fencer gains a dominant position on the opponent or the weapon simulator is used to score a point during grappling. If one fencer locks the joints of the other fencer or continues the grapple for more than 3 seconds or after the opponent yields or the judges call halt, they will obtain a warning. A throw is considered a valid hit only if followed up with a controlled hit with the weapon simulator. Please be mindful of your partner’s safety when performing throws!
- A ring-out is considered when both feet of the player exit the duel area and is awarded as a valid hit for the opponent.
- In case of an afterblow, meaning a valid hit delivered after one has been hit, performed within a movement/tempo, it is the judges’ task to call break at the right time. Both players receive one valid hit and will count as two exchanges out of 11, however afterblows performed after a valid hit to the head or after a valid hit to the dominant hand (hand and wrist up to half of the forearm) will not be considered.
- Duelists may show upon themselves where they feel that they’ve been hit (honor calls), but in order to save time, they should not speak unless the judge expressly asks them clarifications about the exchange. Players are allowed to contest the result of an exchange three times per duel. Player may request clarifications if the judges do not explain why they reached a certain result.
- If judges are unable to decide upon the result of an exchange or if it was an unclear exchange, they should cancel the exchange and not award the exchange based on guesses, nor count any of the 11 hits.
- If players can not agree upon the result of an exchange or the result of whole duel, they will forfeit the match and each will give one point to each witness, therefore two points will be added to the witness’ score, in compensation of wasting their time.
- Double hits are not awarded any points but the referees will separate the fencers and they will deduct two hits from the 11 hits per duel. A double hit is defined as when both fencers hit each other with a valid hit simultaneously or near simultaneously. It portrays bad fencing practice. Each double hit will be considered a warning. 4 double hits in one duel will lead to the forfeit of the duel by both players and the same penalty as above will be applied, compensating the witnesses with two points each, that will be deducted from both players’ scores.
- Despite the fact that protection is required, it is forbidden to attack the back of the head, the neck, the Achilles’s tendon, the groin and the spine. Throws may not be done while twisting the neck or against a lock joint. Hand to hand techniques are not to be done through forcing a joint against the normal anatomical function (ex. front kick to the knee, abrupt and excessive pressure on a locked elbow), although locking a joint is permitted but judges should stop the exchange after a clear dominance is established.
- Other behavior leading to warnings / duel forfeit / elimination from the game: repeatedly contesting the judge’s decisions, excessive force or brutality, striking after the opponent has yielded or after the judge has called a halt, harassing other players etc. Transgressions must be immediately reported to a game master.
5 rankings will be made, for the 4 main weapons and an additional mixed weapons ranking. Any main weapon is eligible for ranking only if at least 8 players have been dueling, having at least 5 matches each each in that weapon category.
1. Longsword – for duels held with longswords/ federschwerts
2. Rapier – for duels held with single rapiers , rapier and companion: dagger, cape, buckler etc. and double rapier
3. Sword – for duels held with single arming sword or side-sword, sword and companion: buckler, shield etc., sidesword and companion: dagger, buckler, rotela etc.
4. Saber – for duels held with sabers, saber and companion etc.
5. Mixed weapons – duels with any combination of the above but respecting the appropriate weight and material (e.g. synthetic weapon vs. steel weapon is not OK etc.) more information about mixed weapons dueling will be published soon.
When calculating the rankings, we will consider the following factors:
For each weapon ranking, only the result of the first match against an opponent will be registered, any other matches between the same two players with the same weapons will not count towards the rankings. They may however duel for points.