Rules Laboratory Part Two: Testing Rules for Longsword and Sword & Buckler

With Shortpoint just over two weeks away, it’s time to present the rules modifications that we will be testing prior to application at Fechtschule New York. The final feedback from FNY will be the prime determinant in what changes stick, what gets tossed, and what needs to be redesigned from the ground up. The Rapier, Ringen, Passage At Arms, and Paired Technique draft rules are also available on the website in their respective locations.

At its core, the Longpoint rule set isn't changing. Fighters are still judged based on the “CQTC” criteria of contact, quality, target, and control. The basic procedures and roles of tournament staff won’t be much different, if at all, either. The changes proposed this year are aimed at incorporating the last three years’ feedback, continuing to raise the bar on the fencing quality we demand of our competitors, and reflecting community-wide best practices where appropriate. Beyond all that, we want to simplify things and reduce the number of exceptions that both fighters and staff are required to track. You can see Longpoint’s 2014 rules here.

Also note that these rules only apply to the Longsword events (Open, Women’s, and Rookie tournaments) and the Sword and Buckler tournament. The other events will all operate under different rules, which are available in draft form in their respective locations on the website.

Key sections

Equipment Standards
Priority Rules

Equipment Standards

Most of last year’s rules will hold with a few anticipated changes:

  • No lacrosse gloves will be allowed unless significantly modified and reinforced. 
  • Masks must fit snugly. 
  • Fighters who circumvent the equipment standards will be disqualified from the tournament immediately. Fighters disqualified in this way from two events will be ejected from the event completely.

Approved Swords for Competition

Fighters will provide their own sword from this approved list, all of which have seen extensive use in international longsword competitions (or comparable events) and have reputations for durability, safety, and quality. Fighters wishing to use a sword not on this list must inquire with [email protected] at least one week before the tournament date. The Tournament staff and administration will not review off-brand/off-model weapons on-site at Longpoint unless previous arrangements have been made. All models of longsword or arming sword/short sword not featuring an integral safety tip/button/rolled tip must be tipped with a metal washer (or equivalent) and sturdy leather or arrowhead blunt properly secured with strong tape.


  • Regenyei Feders
  • Pavel Moc Feders  
  • Ensifer Heavy or Long Feders
  • Chlebowski Feders
  • Pavel Moc Feders  
  • Albion Meyer  
  • Arms & Armor Fechterspiel or Fechtbuch Sword  
  • Comfort Fencing “Dobringer” Feder  
  • Mac Arms Feder
  • Darkwood Armory Feder

Not Allowed: Albion Liechtenauer, Darksword Feder, Hanewei Feder, Regenyei “light” blades from 2012 or earlier

Other models that are currently in production which we have not yet tested, including Baltimore Knife Company and Castille Armory. We will update our list once we have had the opportunity to evaluate these swords. The disallowed list above is based on the most current tests of those items, and is subject to change if new tests become available.

Short Swords (for Sword & Buckler)

  • Albion I.33
  • Arms & Armor Scholar
  • Darkwood Arming Sword

Messers or short swords designed for HEMA sparring (e.g., not stage combat or Battle of Nations style bouts) by the following makers will be allowed:

  • Regenyei
  • Ensifer
  • Szymon Chlebowski Swords
  • Mac Arms
  • Darkwood Armory
  • Arms and Armor
  • Pavel Moc

Not Allowed: Albion Marxbruder, Hanwei (any model), any longsword, saber, rapier, etc.


Up to 4 points may be scored in a single exchange.

Matches are fought to time (90 seconds or 2 minutes); the clock stops on “halt” and starts on “fight.”

Leading an opponent by 7 points results in an instant win (aka, the Mercy Rule).

Strikes are judged via the following criteria, in order (I.e., you cannot earn quality without first earning contact, nor control without first earning target).

  1. Contact (0 pts): strike your opponent with a cut using the weak half of the blade, or a thrust with the point, or a pommel strike to the mask, or a buckler blow to the mask. An inconclusive throw or takedown. (Note: The big change is that while judges will call these events, they will not receive points. Therefore a fighter will know if the judge didn’t see the hit, or simply didn’t consider the hit to be of sufficient quality).
  2. Quality (1 pt): The strike is delivered solidly, with stable footwork, hip rotation (where appropriate) and presence in the blow.

    - Cuts are clearly with the weak part of the edge, not just the tip, not the flat, not close to the cross, and with at least 45 degrees of rotation.  
    - Thrusts are firmly placed; the blade does not need to bow or flex.
    - Pommel and buckler strikes are likewise firmly placed; the head does not need to be displaced.
    - A throw or takedown which puts your opponent on the ground while you remain standing or finish dominant.
    - Driving your opponent out of bounds, including throws that put the opponent out of bounds.
  3. Target (+1 pt): strikes with the edge or point to the head or upper openings above the shoulders. Thrusts with the point anywhere on the torso from the bottom of the abdomen up (I.e., not the arms or legs). Pommel and buckler strikes do not earn Target points. Throwing an opponent so that you remain standing, or asserting dominance at the end of the grapple with the weapon (e.g., finishing in half-sword with the point against the opponent’s torso). (Note: The change here is that cuts that do not land on top of the shoulders or the head will not be awarded Target points.)
  4. Control (+2 pts): cuts and thrusts made which constrain the opponent’s weapon as the scoring blow is made. Also cuts or thrusts which immediately follow hende trucken or a Talhoffer kick. Cuts or thrusts against an opponent whose weapon is bound through grappling techniques. Retaining your weapon against a disarmed or thrown opponent when you remain standing and armed. Strikes and thrusts made “under cover” with sword and buckler (opponent’s weapon must be actively engaged against the defense).

Priority Rules: Doubles and Afterblows

Halt is called immediately upon a judge calling “point,” allowing the time of a single step for a response/afterblow. 

The following options represent the greatest potential changes being tested at Shortpoint 2015, with the best result (or a hybrid result) used for Fechtschule New York 2015, and the final version applying at Longpoint 2015. 

  1. Shortpoint Option 1: German Quality Priority. All strikes are judged independently, without regard to doubles or afterblows. All points are counted for each fighter (i.e., no subtraction).

    - Option 1.1: Clean hit bonus. In any exchange where points are only called for a single fighter, that fighter receives +1 points.
  2. Shortpoint Option 2: First Hit Priority/2013 Point Cap. The first blow is scored. Afterblows cap the first blow at Quality (1 pt total possible for fighters who receive an afterblow).
  3. Shortpoint Option 3: First Hit Priority/High Target Nullifies. Afterblows are only counted if they a qualify for “Target,” I.e., strikes to the upper openings above the shoulders or thrusts to the torso or head. This nullifies the original hit entirely. Afterblows to other locations are not counted.
  4. Shortpoint Option 4: High Target Priority/Franco Belgian. Afterblows delivered to the head not only nullify the original hit but also earn the afterblow-deliverer 1 pt. Afterblows to other locations are not counted.


Running out of bounds. Fighters who run out of bounds under their own power will be penalized by awarding their opponent 1 pt (Quality). Fighters who run out of bounds following a scoring attack will receive no points for that attack and 1 pt will still be awarded to their opponent. 

Throwing equipment. Equipment may not be thrown. Any equipment thrown at an opponent or any other person in or out of the ring will result in automatic forfeiture of the he match. The Director may, at his discretion, remove a fighter who throws equipment in a dangerous manner from the venue entirely. Fighters may toss equipment to their coach or another helper between bouts without fear of reprisal. Dropping equipment (e.g., sword, buckler) is permissible as part of a attempted grappling action.

What About Complete Rules?

A complete form of draft rules will be provided for Fechtschule New York to test and posted here after Shortpoint helps us narrow down what changes we would like to make.

~The Longpoint 2015 Crew