Sword & buckler Rules Vasaslaget 2018

General regulations

  • Matches will be fought to 10 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 (including fights for third place) will be fought for one 3 minute round with no point limit.
  • Simulators, both swords and bucklers, will be provided.

Judges, referees & judging

There will be one referee and one judge on each mat. The judge is assisting the referee in awarding points, but the referee has the final decision. The mats will be in a 4×8 m format.

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.
  • Striking with the front of the buckler to the mask of the opponent.
  • Covering the opponent’s expected line of attack, or creating a bind, before a point-scoring exchange. This can be awarded both to the attacking fencer (hitting fencer) and the defending fencer (the one getting hit).
  • Controlling the opponent’s sword (e.g. in a bind, locking it with the buckler or controlling it in a grappling situation) or the opponents line of attack after a point-scoring exchange. This can be awarded both to the attacking fencer (hitting fencer) and the defending fencer (the one getting hit).

It is allowed to grab a blade that is stationary. If holding the blade tight it will not count as a slice to the hand.


There will be no weighted scoring in the Sword & Buckler competition. 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.

  • Cut, thrust or slice to an allowed target area = 1 points.
  • Forcing the opponent out of the fighting area = 1 points.
  • Pommel strike, or buckler strike, to the mesh of the mask (marking a pommel strike, or buckler strike, to the mesh of the mask is enough) = 1 points.
  • Dominance by grappling = 2 points. Grappling with the sword is scored as above.
  • 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. If hitting or marking a hit when the opponent is disarmed 1 point will be awarded for the hit, but the additional scores (see below) will make the total 3 points.

Additional scores:

  • Covering the opponent’s line of attack or binding the opponent’s sword (or a clear attempt to do either) before a point-scoring exchange = 1 points.
  • Controlling the opponent’s sword with one’s sword, buckler or arms or alternatively closing the line of attack while backing out = 1 points.

This means that exchanges can give a maximum of 3 points per fencer. Examples:

  • A rushes in to B thrusting the chest without covering beforehand and without controlling the opponent’s threat afterwards. B does not land an afterblow. 1 point to A.
  • B stands with their sword by their right shoulder (I.33 2nd ward), A assumes an obsesseo (counter ward) covering the line of attack, attacks B and hits. Afterwards A keeps B’s sword safely away by remaining in a binding situation whilst backing out. 3 points to A.
  • B stands with their sword by their right shoulder (I.33 2nd ward), A strikes the front leg of B, B strikes A hitting A in the head and afterwards controls A’s sword arm by wrapping their buckler arm around it. 1 point to A, 2 points to B.

Afterblows and double hits

See the longsword rules.

Like in the other competitions one attempt to make an afterblow is allowed. However, if there is also a quick attempt to after the afterblow to control the opponent’s sword 1 additional point can be awarded to the fencer making the afterblow. The referee will often call break before there is time to control the sword in an afterblow situation, meaning that it might be better to attempt to control the opponent’s sword after being hit rather than make an afterblow.

Illegal techniques

See the longsword rules.

Tournament structure

Vasaslaget 2018 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 five rounds the top four fencers will meet in semi finals and finals (including match for third place).

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 made for HEMA fencing. The jacket must not rise above the trousers so that the jacket does not protect the torso.
  • Trousers, made for HEMA fencing and with a high waist, preferably of thrust resistant material.
  • Hard elbow and knee protection that also protects side of joint.
  • Good, thick, padded gloves with no or limited gaps at the fingers.
  • 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 for women.
  • Hard protection for shins.
  • Padding for hip bone (usually covered by the padded jacket) is recommended but not required.

Breast protection (worn under the jacket) is suggested for everyone. In the sword & buckler tournament, off the shelf lacrosse gloves are not allowed (lacrosse gloves needs to be reinforced and cover gaps). A few pairs of gloves might be provided to lend.

Cold steel plastic bucklers will be provided.

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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