Steel Cup Rules 2022

In the event that anyone in attendance calls "HOLD!" all fencers at the piste should immediately stop fencing.

All fencers must ensure that they have all required equipment and that it is in good working order. Fencers will have their equipment and weapons checked by a judge prior to taking part in any matches. A judge may re-check equipment at any point (for example to make sure that a piece of equipment has not been damaged to the point of no longer being safe).

Steel / Advanced Tournaments
HEMA CEN Level 2 Mask (1600N rated)
Full mask overlay or back of head protector
Gorget/throat protector
HEMA fencing jacket or good quality gambeson
Knee and shin protection
Elbow protection
"Heavy" HEMA gloves (i.e. SPES Heavy Gloves, HFA Black Knights, Kvetun Xiphosura, Thokks with "Badass" mod, etc.)
Groin protection (required for men, recommended for all)
Chest protection (required for women, recommended for all)

Synthetic / Basic Tournaments
HEMA CEN Level 1 Mask (350N rated)
Full mask overlay or back of head protector
Gorget/throat protector
HEMA fencing jacket or good quality gambeson
Knee and shin protection
Elbow protection
HEMA gloves (i.e. Red Dragons, Firestones, Thokks, etc.)
Groin protection (required for men, recommended for all)
Chest protection (required for women, recommended for all)

Fencers will have their equipment and weapons checked by a judge prior to taking part in any matches. A judge may re-check equipment at any point (for example to make sure that a piece of equipment has not been damaged to the point of no longer being safe).

Fencers for the current match will be assigned their colours and stand at their corners.

Fencers taking part in the next match will be informed of their colours and remain ready and "on deck".

The judge will ensure the table and fencers are ready and the exchange will commence at their mark.

Fencers will fence until the judge calls "hold", actions taken after the call of hold will not be counted (excluding afterblows within tempo).

When the match timer reaches zero, the table shall call "last exchange" and the match will conclude at the completion of the current exchange.

In cases of unclear exchanges no points will be scored.

After an exchange, once they have returned to their corners, a fencer may raise their hand and wait for a judge to speak to them in order to provide additional information on what happened so that an accurate call can be made.

Fencers are encouraged to be honest and to notify a judge when they have been hit, however, the judges' decisions once made are final.

Note: A fencer may feel they were hit but a judge may see that the edge alignment or quality were not good; equally a fencer may feel they landed a strike but a judge may feel it was incidental or a would not have landed on their target's body if protective equipment were not being worn (i.e. a glancing hit to SPES Heavy may not have made contact with unarmoured hands).

Basic Tournaments
Pool matches are subject to a two minute timer and a point cap of 10.
Elimination matches are subject to a three minute timer and a point cap of 10.

Advanced Tournaments
Pool matches are subject to a two minute timer and a point cap of 15.
Elimination matches are subject to a three minute timer and a point cap of 15.

Match timers will be stopped when a judge calls hold and resume at the start of the next exchange.

When the match timer reaches zero, the table shall call "last exchange" and the match will conclude at the completion of the current exchange.

When a fencer reaches the match point cap then the match will conclude.

Strikes
3 points : Thrust, cut or controlled pommel strike to the head.
3 points : Thrust to the body.
2 points : Cut to the body.
1 point : Thrust or cut to the arms or legs.

Grappling
3 points : Opponent is disarmed (and there is no ongoing grapple).
3 points : Opponent is taken down to the ground and clear dominance is maintained (i.e. point on throat).
2 points : Opponent is taken down to the ground.
2 points : Opponent taps out of a grapple.

Technical
+2 points : Bonus awarded for demonstration of excellent technical skill.
+1 points : Bonus awarded for demonstration of technical skill.

Strikes should be made with good edge alignment and with sufficient cutting power; if the edge alignment is good, pressure and a slicing action will also score as a cut.

Strikes with the flat will not score.

Note: A judge may elect to add or subtract points depending on the quality of the cut/defence (to a maximum of 3 or a minimum of 0 points). For example, a cut against an arm raised to cover the head may be counted as a strike to the head if the judge feels it is decisive with good edge alignment and power; alternatively, a very "tippy" strike to the head may have a point deducted at the judge's discretion.

Grappling actions will only score if one fencer enters a position of clear dominance, is disarmed (intentionally releasing one's own weapon in order to grapple is not considered a disarm), is made to tap out or is thrown to the ground.

If a fencer lands a low scoring strike before entering the grapple and then moves into a position of dominance, they will be awarded the full score as opposed to the initial scoring action.

A fencer who is forced out of the piste will be treated as being thrown. A fencer who is chased out of the piste may reset once with one foot in the ring, if they are chased out a second time, it will count as being thrown.

Any fencer who loses their footing and falls on the floor will be treated as having been thrown and any scoring action they may have landed prior to falling will be discounted.

Steel / Advanced Tournaments

Grappling actions such as sword/arm wraps, etc. may be used freely.

Major joint locks (such as arm bars, shoulder locks, etc.) may be applied with absolute minimal force and shall be released as soon as your opponent taps out (or says "Tap"). There shall be no small join manipulation.

Takedowns and throws should be completed and a fencer on the ground may choose to yield or may continue attempting to defend themselves until a strike is landed or a position of clear dominance is achieved.

Synthetic / Basic Tournaments

Grappling actions such as sword/arm wraps, etc. may be used freely.

Major joint locks (such as arm bars, shoulder locks, etc.) may be applied with absolute minimal force and shall be released as soon as your opponent taps out (or says "Tap"). There shall be no small join manipulation.

Takedowns and throws may be indicated but shall end at the point that an opponent's structure has been broken, they do not need to be followed through to completion.

Note: A fencer who does not wish to be thrown in an Advanced Tournament may opt out by informing a judge and their opponents. In this case basic rules will apply and advantage will be given to their opponent in the case of unresolved grapples.

A technical bonus of 1 or 2 points may be awarded by a judge to a fencer who demonstrated good martial skill or executed a clean and clearly recognisable play or device (for a maximum of 5 points).

Doubles and/or afterblows will be weighted. For example if fencer B lands an afterblow to their opponent's arm following a strike to their own head from fencer A then this would result in fencer A receiving 2 points (3 points for the head strike, -1 point for the afterblow to the arm).

An afterblow is only counted within one tempo (i.e. a single cut and step without hesitation) following the initial strikeĀ unless it is made against a fencer who is entering to grapple.

A judge may deny the afterblow if they feel that the initial strike would prevent the opponent from landing the afterblow (i.e. a decisive cut to the wrists wrists before they change direction).

A judge may deny the afterblow if they feel a fencer is attempting to 'game' the system. For example, repeatedly making no attempt at defence or "eating" strikes to the body in order to land a cut to the head.

Strikes with anything other than an approved weapon (punches, kicks, etc.) will not score and may result in penalties or warnings.

Strikes to the back of the head, spine and groin will not score and may result in penalties or warnings.

Small joint manipulation is not permitted, it will not score and may result in penalties or warnings.

Weapons may not be thrown (though they may be dropped for the purposes of grappling), doing so may result in penalties or warnings.

Intentionally exposing the back of their head (i.e. to prevent an opponent striking at them) may result in penalties or warnings.

A judge may issue penalties or warnings for overly aggressive behaviour; conversely, they may be issued for passivity, time wasting or "taking a dive".

In the event of an equipment malfunction (i.e. an elbow guard or other piece of kit falling off) or other safety issue anyone may call "HOLD!".