Rapier Rules Vasaslaget 2017

General regulations

  • Matches will be fought to 8 points, or to the duration of 3 minutes. 10 seconds from the end the timekeeper yells “Last exchange” and the fighters are allowed to fight the last exchange without a timelimit, though if the referee deems the fighters passive he may at any time end the match by calling break. If that last exchange ends with a ”no exchange” judgement (the judges could not agree on what happened) the match is still ended.
  • Finals (there will be no match for third place) will be fought for one 3 minute round with no point limit.
  • Rapiers will not be provided. Rapiers must be flexible and have a blade length between 39″ and 45″. They must have a tip that is safe for thrusting (either a rolled tip, a flared steel tip or an added blunt tip).
  • No daggers are allowed.

Judges, referees & judging

There will be one referee and three or four judges for each match.

Points are awarded for:

  • Hitting, thrusting or slicing with the blade.
  • Creating dominance in wrestling (a few seconds of clear dominance for example by pinning or by lifting the opponent) or getting the opponent to tap out (three claps at whatever you can reach).
  • If your opponent steps outside the arena with both feet.
  • Pommel strike to the mask of the opponent.

Weighted Scoring

Weighted scoring means that different target areas are worth different points. All of the scoring situations can be ignored by judges if they consider them harmless. This is not to encourage striking hard, but striking clearly.

  • Thrusts to the opponent’s head or neck (not the back of the neck) = 2 points.
  • Thrusts to the opponent’s torso = 2 points.
  • Cuts, thrusts or slices with the weapon to the rest of the body (allowed target areas) = 1 points.
  • Forcing the opponent out of the fighting area = 1 points.
  • Pommel strike to the mesh of the mask (marking a pommel strike to the mesh of the mask is enough) = 1 points.
  • Dominance by grappling = 2 points. Grappling with the sword is scored as above. Throwing the opponent is not allowed in rapier to avoid falling on the complex hilts.
  • Disarming the opponent does not award any points. Points are awarded for marking a hit or according to the previous scoring criteria. Remember that you must be very careful when attacking a disarmed opponent, so making it clear that you are threatening is enough. Hitting an opponent that is closing to wrestling is perfectly fine and will score as a regular hit. Disarms in  rapier must be made carefully to avoid catching the hand in the complex hilt.

It is allowed to deflect a thrust with the off-hand. It is also allowed to grab a blade that is stationary, but if the opponent attempts to slice the hand when the blade is grabbed it will count as a slice to the hand, even if the blade is held fast. Protecting a 2-point target area with a 1-point target will result in the higher point being awarded (e.g. catching a thrust to the chest with the arm or off-hand).

Afterblows and double hits

See the longsword rules.

Illegal techniques

  • It is forbidden to attack the back of the head, back of the neck, the groin, the hamstrings, back of the knees, achilles tendons and the spine.
  • It is forbidden to turn the back or the back of the head to the opponent. This limits the opponents possibility to hit and increases the risk of damage. Running past the opponent can have the same effect, but must be judged on a case-by-case basis.
  • Throwing or tripping the opponent may not be done in the rapier tournament. Lifting the opponent is allowed, and will be scored as wrestling dominance.
  • Hand/foot techniques are not to be carried out against the natural direction of the joint (e.g. front kick to the front of the knee). It is forbidden to grab the opponent’s mask.
  • No techniques are to be carried out towards an opponent if the mask has fallen off.
  • At least one hand has to be on the grip of the sword at all times (i.e no Morthschlag techniques).
  • No punching is allowed with the rapier hilt or cross guard.

Tournament structure

Vasaslaget 2017 will be a Swiss-system tournament. In the first round fencers will be randomly paired, trying to avoid bouts between competitors from the same club. In subsequent rounds competitors will be sorted according to performance to meet another competitor with the same score or as similar score as possible. Exceptions can be made to avoid that competitors meet each other more than once. After four rounds the top 4 fighters will meet in semi finals and finals. There will be no match for third place, since there will only be 16 fencers.

Match points are used as the primary sorting criterion for making the ranking. Our goal is to use strength of schedule (the one who lost against a more high-ranked fencer gets a higher ranking) as the second criterion, followed by point difference in the matches.

Match points are awarded as follows:

  • Winning: 9 pts
  • Draw: 6 pts
  • Loss: 3 pts

1 match point is deducted for every second double hit in one match.


See the longsword rules.


See the longsword rules.

Penalty system

See the longsword rules.

The spirit of the rule set

See the longsword rules.


There will be a coordinator on sight to check your equipment. If some part of a fighter’s equipment is not deemed safe by the coordinator we will try, as good as we can, to help to replace that piece of equipment.

  • No bare skin is allowed.
  • Fencing mask (at least CEN level 2 or 1600 N) with protection for the back of the head and neck. The fencing mask must not have any large dents or damages.
  • Separate throat protection.
  • Padded fencing jacket or gambeson that covers the full arm and has no gaps in the armpit. The jacket must not rise above the trousers so that the jacket does not protect the torso. In the rapier competition a jacket with light padding is allowed.
  • Trousers with a high waist, preferably of thrust resistant material.
  • Hard elbow and knee protection that also protects side of joint.
  • Padded gloves. The padding can be light for rapier fencing. It is recommended to have more padding on the off-hand glove.
  • Metal gauntlets are not allowed.
  • Cup for men. It is recommended the women wear groin protection too. The cup or groin protection must be worn under the trousers.
  • Breast protection (worn under the jacket) is required in the rapier competition.
  • Hard protection for shins is recommended, but not required.
  • Padding for hip bone (usually covered by the padded jacket) is recommended but not required.

Remember, a steel tournament is full contact with a high risk for injury if the fighters are not properly protected. Every fighter is responsible for his/her own safety and you should make sure that you not only meet these requirements but also that your gear can take a good hit. There will be a coordinator on site to check your equipment. You are allowed more protective equipment as long as they follow our rules. Participation in the tournament is at one’s own risk and all participants must have a valid insurance (this is their own responsibility).

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