Nebraska Longsword Tournament Rules

All Rules are Subject to Change



All fighters will present themselves and their equipment to the equipment inspector prior to the beginning of the tournament for compliance inspection and approval.


The Nebraska State Games Longsword 2016 Competition will be “Bring Your Own Steel”; both fighters who have provided their own steel weapons can fence in the bout upon agreement of that fact before the match, in case of weapon disparity, fighters must default to use synthetic swords. We will provide Purpleheart Armory synthetic Longswords Type III. Fighters will provide their own sword from this approved list, all of which have seen extensive use in international competitions (or comparable events) and have reputations for durability, safety, and quality. Fighters wishing to use a sword not on this list must inquire at least one month before the tournament date. The Tournament staff and administration will not review off-brand/off-model weapons on-site during the event. . All models of swords not featuring an integral safety tip/button/rolled tip at least 1 centimeter wide 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 Feders
  • Chlebowski Feders
  • Pavel Moc Feders
  • Albion Meyer (longsword)
  • Arms & Armor Fechterspiel or Fechtbuch Sword (Tipped for safety)
  • Comfort Fencing “Dobringer” Feder
  • Mac Arms Feders
  • Darkwood Armory Feders
  • Baltimore Sword and Knife Works Feders

Mask with Back of Head Protection

3-weapon mask in good condition with no discernible rusting, breaches of the mesh, tongue, or bib. The mask must completely cover the participant's ears and be neither too large nor small to snugly fit the competitor.

Neck Protection

Some form of rigid neck protection that covers the larynx must be worn.


Fighters must wear gloves or gauntlets which protect the hand, fingers, and the portion of the wrist nearest the hand. Gauntlets must have rigid and padded protection; unpadded gloves are not sufficient. Steel gauntlets are acceptable but the wearer shall NOT use hand-based striking techniques in a match.

Steel Tournaments Gloves

Absolute Force gloves, Sparring gloves (“Ensifers”), Black Lance gloves, Comfort Fencing gloves, SPES plastic clamshell gauntlets, Destroyer Modz, steel gauntlets, or modified lacrosse/hockey gloves with significant rigid exoskeleton and fingertip protection are required.

Contact us if you have any questions about the acceptability of your gloves. Gloves not on this list must be pre-approved. No exceptions will be granted on the day of the tournament.

Red Dragon gloves (fingertip protectors required), and lacrosse or ice hockey gloves with some rigid material outside of the padding, no gaps in coverage over the back of hands or fingers, and which have padding or similar protection along the outer sides of the pinky and index fingers and along the fingertips. Motocross gloves with rigid knuckle protection are NOT acceptable hand protection, nor are Field hockey gloves, ladies lacrosse gloves, padded fencing gloves, or equivalent.

Groin/Breast Protection

Use of rigid groin protection (cup/box) is mandatory for males. Females are strongly encouraged to wear rigid breast protection. Pelvic protectors are recommended for female participants. Rigid chest protection is recommended for all participants.


Fighters must wear a padded jacket that completely covers the torso, back, and arms. Coaches fencing jackets or padded reproduction gambesons are recommended.

Elbow/Knee Protection

Use of rigid elbow and knee protection is mandatory. The protection must completely cover the knee and elbow.


Fighters must wear some kind of enclosed toe footwear. Historical reproduction footwear is acceptable, as are “five fingers” style shoes


Rigid shin protection is only mandatory for steel-weapon events, but is recommended for all participants.

Clean Hit


For this exchange, at least two (2) Judges (including the Director) must agree that

(a) a fighter hit his opponent and

(b) the fighter’s opponent did not hit him back.

The four criteria for a Clean Hit are Contact, Quality, Target, and Control (of the opponent’s weapon). Gaining points for each successive criterion is dependent on having also received the one before it in the pyramid, i.e., you cannot receive points for Target if you did not receive a point for Quality.

1. Contact

Any intentional strike against a fighter’s opponent will be called as contact. Incidental, caroming, ricocheting, or otherwise accidental strikes will not be considered contact. Contact alone is worth (0) points.

2. Quality

To earn this point, the blow must have been delivered with sufficient authority, force, stability, balance, and poise. This does not mean that the blow needs to be “hard”. To earn this point the fighter must be in full control of his/her movement—balanced or grounded, not stumbling, falling, or wildly lunging. This criterion also is worth (2) points.

3. Sufficient Force

Sufficient force in scoring Quality is defined by the following criteria:

  • Cuts: The blade must travel approximately 45 degrees or more and strike the target with obvious intent. The blow must hit with the “weak” (schwech) of the weapon. Light snips that travel little distance, lazy blows, and strikes with the strong or flat will not score Quality points.
  • Thrust: Any touch with the point with forward motion of the blade (motion towards the opponent with the point) that obviously makes contact. Bending the blade is not necessary.
  • Slice/Press: Drawing cuts must be clearly demonstrated, drawing or pushing at least half the length of the blade. Pressing slices (Schnitt) are set-ups for control points, not scoring actions in their own right. A Judge will also withhold the Quality for unintentional or grazing blows and other sloppy strikes. A fighter who falls, fumbles their weapon, or runs out of bounds immediately following his/her strike will not be awarded the point for Quality. Withhold the Quality Point for:
  • Blows that are sloppy, wild, twist in the strike, or otherwise fail to show authoritative control, angle, and blade presence. Judges should especially look for these indicators when single-handed/off-handed strikes such as daz gayszlen are performed with a longsword.
  • Blows made with the strong (stark) of the sword, especially during a grapple.
  • Weak blows made blindly against an opponent in a grapple, such as “wrap shots” around the opponent’s back or over one’s own shoulder with the back edge.
  • Strikes that ever-so-barely scrape an opponent’s clothing or mask, but made no significant contact.
  • Blows made wildly from “Hail-Mary” leaps, rolls, stumbles, etc. If it doesn’t look like it would have hit with presence and placement, it should not get the point for quality.
  • The standards will be universally applied to all fighters, regardless of the perceived skill level of the fighter in question.

4. Target

These bonus points are awarded for strikes to the head and neck, and thrusts to the head, neck, and torso (except for blows to the back of the head or neck, which are illegal). The top of the shoulder, to the “seam” at the point of the shoulder, is considered part of the torso, as the inside of the hip and any torso or hip area normally covered by the fighter’s jacket just above the hip. This criterion awards two points, for a total of four (4).

5. Control

Control (of the opponent’s weapon). These bonus points are awarded when the scoring action is performed on an opponent who is unable to immediately respond due to active, intentional techniques performed by the scoring fighter.

Examples include attacks from crossed swords or the bind which momentarily trap or frustrate the opponent’s weapon, offhand grapples which allow for an undefended strike, and slicing or pushing actions which unbalance an opponent prior to striking (the follow-on strike must still be performed). This point is not awarded for striking an opponent who has missed wildly, fallen down, voluntarily turned their back, or has otherwise become ineffective through their own actions; to earn this point, the Judges must rule that the scoring fighter has actively controlled his opponent’s ability to immediately respond or defend himself with his weapon. This criterion awards three points, for a total of seven (7).

Examples of Control

  • Red binds Yellow sword-on-sword, then thrusts down along Yellow’s blade. Yellow’s weapon is momentarily trapped in the action and cannot be used for defense or offense.
  • Red kicks Yellow in the chest and strikes at his head while Yellow staggers back. In this example, the kick gains no extra points, but allows Red to earn points for Control.
  • Red wraps his left arm around Yellow’s weapon and strikes Yellow in the side or with the pommel to the mask.
  • Red uses a “slice” to push Yellow’s arms back or to the ground, then follows up with a strike to the mask or chest.

Common Longsword Techniques likely to earn the Control Point

  • Absetzen
  • Abwenden
  • Verkehrer (elbow push and strike to the back)
  • Mutieren
  • Duplieren
  • Zorn-Ort (if bind is maintained)
  • Schielhau vs. Plfug or vs. Oberhau
  • Zwerchhau vs. Oberhau
  • Abschneiden or Hende Trucken, if followed by a strike to the head or Torso
  • Throw or takedown performed with the point against the torso in half-sword (c.f. Codex Wallerstein); see below for more information
  • Straight Kick (“Talhoffer/Wiggins/Sparta Kick”) followed by head/torso strike
  • Most thrusts made from the bind as a result of winding
  • Arm trap with thrust, pommel-strike, or controlling slice to the neck
  • Weapon-grabs followed by a strike or thrust (c.f. Fiore)
  • Disarms followed by a strike or thrust (c.f. Fiore)

Exchange and Scoring Criteria

Types Possible

There are six (6) types of exchange possible, and the scoring depends in large part on which one the judges determine. The types of exchanges (and the maximum points possible in each one) are:

  1. Clean Hit (7)
  2. Failed Withdrawal (1)
  3. Open Double-hit (penalty)
  4. Closed Double hit (0)
  5. Grapple (6)
  6. No Exchange (0)

Failed Withdrawal


A Bad or Failed Withdrawal (Abzug) is when a fighter lands a successful hit as given above, but fails to defend himself afterward; in a sense, it is the opposite of Control. Once a hit is scored, the Director will allow a brief moment to elapse before the bout is stopped (roughly the time required to execute a single step), during which time the other fighter can attempt a “revenge strike”.

Any fighter who Fails to Withdraw safely following a valid strike (i.e. fulfilling the criteria for Contact) can only receive one (1) point for Quality (see above). Any potential points for Contact and Target will be negated (obviously, a fighter who earns Control points will not be vulnerable to a revenge strike in the first place). If the scoring blow receives no point for Quality, the fighter receives no points for the action.

Points gained from a Failed Withdrawal that raise the lead of any fighter above six points will not end the match. A match will only be stopped (through points) after a Clean Hit or grapple.

Double-Hit (Open and Closed)


Double-hits are those which occur when two fighters strike each other at the same time, often as their first action. Double-hits also include near-simultaneous hits, such as those landing immediately after a successful hit from the opponent but which were begun at the same time as the successful attack.

Double-hits may be open or closed. An open double hit means that the blades made no contact and the blows were delivered “freely” along non-intersecting lines. An open double hit suggests that neither fighter made an attempt at defense. A closed double hit happens when the weapons are in contact but both blows managed to go through anyway, indicating a failed defense or single-time attack under cover.

Only open double hits will be penalized as a foul against both fighters. Closed double hits will be thrown out as “no decision”.

  • If three (3) open double-hits are accumulated in a single pool match, the match will be stopped and both fighters will record a loss for that match. If three (3) or more open double-hits are accumulated in an elimination match, the winner will progress to the next fight, but his/her next opponent will begin the match with 3 points. There is no additional penalty for open double-hits in the finals.
  • A Failed Withdrawal differs from a double-hit in that a double-hit requires both fighters to compromise their defense before the scoring strike, whereas a Failed Withdrawal begins as a Clean Hit, but the scoring fighter drops his/her defense after the strike lands.



As with Clean Hits, there are four scored criteria for Grappling; however, since there is only one category of technique that fulfills each criterion, those techniques are referred to by name: RingOut, Takedown, Throw, and Control. If a fighter succeeds at both a Clean Hit and a qualifying Grapple in the same match, he/she will be awarded the higher score value between the two. Grapples which do not result in a scoring action will be halted by the Director after a verbal three count.


A fighter is out-of-bounds when both feet clearly leave the ring, whether they touch down or not. It is the Director’s responsibility to assign points for this situation. If the Director or ANY Judge determines that a fighter has been forced out-of-bounds, the fighter remaining in the ring will earn one (1) point.

  • A fighter does not need to physically push or throw his/her opponent out of the ring to earn this point; any method pressuring an opponent out of the ring is acceptable.
  • If a fighter strikes his/her opponent and then travels out-of-bounds (even under his/her own power), no points will be awarded for the scoring action and the opponent will be awarded one point for the ring-out.
  • If both fighters exit the ring before the Director stops the bout, the exchange will be judged as a Double-hit; if both fighters were in contact during the Ring-Out then it will be thrown out as a Closed Double, whereas if the fighters exited the ring separately (including one fighter shoving the other out and then stumbling out after him/her) then it will be recorded as an Open Double.


A Takedown is defined as an intentional technique whose result is to bring an opponent to the ground and immediately establish a position of dominance, and in which the dominant fighter also leaves his/her feet. A Throw is defined as any technique whose inherent nature is to project the opponent to the ground while the applier remains standing; these include shoulder throws, hip throws, and tripping or shoving techniques. The opponent is “on the ground” when any part of his/her torso, hips, head, or shoulders touch the ground. The Director will determine the assessment of these points in conference with the Judges. A clean Takedown or Throw awards four (3) points total, equivalent to the Target criteria.

If both fighters go to the ground but neither establishes clear dominance, the exchange will be thrown out with no score.


This is actually a special case of the Control criteria listed under Clean Hit. A fighter who sends his/her opponent to the ground as described above, retains his/her sword, and shows capability to immediately strike the grounded opponent with a scoring hit has achieved Control. This criterion awards three points, so a Takedown or Throw with Control awards six (6) points total.

The Scoring Process

The basic steps for scoring

  1. When a Line Judge witnesses a scoring action, he/she calls out “POINT!”
  2. The Director will wait for a brief moment (to allow for the Withdrawal), then stop the match by calling “HALT!” After a halt the fighters should immediately return to their corners. The Timekeeper stops time.
  3. The Director will call “Judges?”
    • The Senior Judges will raise their batons/flags to indicate if there was a Clean Hit, a Failed Withdrawal, an Open or Closed Double-hit, or a Grapple.
    • The Assistant Judges will raise their batons/flags to indicate if the fighter made contact or if a special scoring consideration such as a throw or a fighter stepping out of bounds took place.
  4. The Director interprets the judges’ batons/flags and calls out the type of exchange:
    • Clean Hit [color]
    • Failed Withdrawal [color]
    • Open Double-hit
    • [Grappling action]
    • No Exchange

    If at least two Line Judges do not agree, and the Director is unable to make a decisive call, the Director calls out “No Score” and resumes the match. Note: If at any time the Line Judges fail to come to agreement, the Director may make his/her own determination by choosing a Line Judge to support, though the standard response should be to go with the higher scoring vote. He/she may also ask one or more Line Judges to explain what they saw before deciding the score, and should do so if the various Judges make strongly contradictory calls (the Director may even call in all the Line Judges for a private conference, though this is discouraged).

  5. The Director calls out “Score”, and the Assistant Judge indicates his/her call with the appropriate semaphore; the Senior Judges should also flag Quality, Target, and Control if they have clear memory of the strike (bringing the total potential Line Judges for each color to three). If they are uncertain about further scoring, they should simply show crossed flags. Note: If the bout was called as a Failed Withdrawal, only the Quality is considered and the highest possible score is 1 point.
  6. The Director interprets the Line Judges’ batons/flags and calls out the points earned to the scorekeeper one color at a time (e.g., “One Point Red!”) If at least two Line Judges do not agree, the Director either makes a determination or calls out “No score” and jumps to Step 8 (below).
  7. After the Director calls out the result, all Line Judges will lower their flags/batons. The Scorekeeper repeats the type of exchange and the number of points awarded.
  8. If either fighter has accumulated seven (7) more points than his opponent (after a Clean Hit or Grapple), the scorekeeper will call “MATCH! - Red (or Yellow) wins” and the final score. If neither fighter has yet accumulated enough points to win, the Director will call “Ready, FIGHT!” and the match will continue.

Line Judges’ Semaphores

All flag positions should be held out along bold, clean lines, to prevent confusion. When not scoring an action, the flags should be at rest, pointed vertically down beside or behind the judge. It is appropriate for a Judge to speak their ruling out loud as well as show it with the semaphore.

Semaphores for Determining Type of Exchange

Senior Judges Only

  • Abstain/Nothing Seen (0 pts) – Baton and arms sweeping outward from a downward position.
  • Clean hit for [color] – Baton of the fighter who delivered the clean hit held horizontally outward.
  • Failed withdrawal for [color] – Baton of the fighter who made the initial (lead) hit held horizontally outward; Baton of the fighter who struck the revenge blow held directly upward.
  • Open Double-hit – Both batons held out horizontally outward.
  • Closed Double-hit – Both batons swept from the “abstain” position out to the “open doublehit” position repeatedly.
  • Grapple – as a clean hit

Semaphores for Scoring the Lead Hit

Senior and Assistant Judges

  • Abstain/Nothing Seen (0 pts) – Baton and arms sweeping outward from a downward position.
  • Contact Only/No Quality (0 pts) – Forearms held crossed in front of the chest/neck, with baton back over one shoulder.
  • Contact + Quality (+ Target) (1 pt/3pts) – Baton held out horizontally, then brought in to point at the body part struck. If Baton is directed at the Head, Neck, or Torso (for thrusts), the Target points are awarded.
  • Contact + Quality + Target + Control (6 pts) – Baton is held directly upward above head, with a periodic “rally” motion.
  • Out of Bounds (1 pts) – Line judge points at the ring edge and says, “Out of Bounds on [color].”
  • Takedown or Throw (3 pts) – Line judge points at the ground and says, “Takedown (or throw) by [color].”
  • Throw or takedown with Control (6 pts) – As Contact + Quality + Target + Control, baton is held directly upward above head, with a periodic “rally” motion.
  • Line Judge Requests Conference – Baton pointed at Head Judge. Head Judge should get all other judges’ votes before calling them together for conference all other judges’ votes for conference.

If you are unable to see the Disqus Comment section below, please click here. If this doesn't resolve your issue please contact the site administrator, thank you.

The gadget spec URL could not be found