Fencing on the Frozen Tundra

Foil Rules

Milwaukee Classical Fencing Society Foil Fencing Rules


Right of Way: For a fencer to have right-of-way three criteria must be met:

1)The fencer must be in lunging measure.

2)The fencer’s arm must be fully extended, with the point threatening the opponent.

3)The opponent does not have right of way.

Target: The target is the traditional foil target: the torso excluding the arms, and above the points of the hips (excluding the groin area), and below the chin.  The back is also considered target area.

Required Equipment:

Safety equipment will include a mask, a white fencing jacket, athletic pants (this can include fencing knickers, gi pants, sweat pants, and similar.  Jeans and shorts are not acceptable), a fencing glove for the weapon hand, gender appropriate protective equipment, and extra protection at fencer’s discretion.  A foil is required to participate; it is recommended that fencers bring a spare foil.  Traditional grips are explicitly required, no pistol or orthopedic grips are permitted at the Milwaukee CFS Sala.  All equipment will be checked when the fencer checks in for safety.  The organizers reserve the right to exclude any weapons that they deem unsafe.

Scoring and Bout Length:

Touches will be scored against fencers, and the fencer with fewest touches wins the bout.  A palpable hit is required for a touch.  This can generally be determined by some degree of bend in the blade.  Bouts will be fought to 3 against touches or to 5 minutes, whichever occurs first.

General Rules for Fencing:

We will use Eugenio Pini’s rules for the incontro (double touch).  These are an addition and clarification to Right-of-way:

1. when an attack is performed correctly in or out of measure, and is opposed with an arrest, time thrust, or body evasion in which the counterattacker neither covers himself with opposition of the hand, nor selects the propitious moment to initiate his action, the counterattacker is at fault;

2. when, following a riposte with feints, the counterattacker effects the replacement in time, the counterattacker is in error;

3. when the simple replacement or second thrust is accomplished against an adversary who ripostes rapidly, and without a retreat, there is a double hit, the fencer who repeats the thrust is at fault;

4. when a fencer has parried an attack and rests on the parry, and then ripostes late and is touched by a simple replacement or second thrust, the defender is responsible for the double hit and error;

5. when during the execution of an attack the opposing steel is not sufficiently deviated from the line and therefore causes a double hit, the attacker is at fault;

6. when, during an attack with an advance, the attacker stops or hesitates after the first step, and then invites or feints, thus provoking a counterattack, he is in error;

7. when two fencers launch an assault at the same moment, both are at fault.

In the last case, as both fencers are at fault, the point will be fenced again.  If at any point the action is unclear, the point can be fenced again at the Director’s discretion. (Taken from M. William Gaugler’s The History of Fencing, p. 313)

Any physical contact between the fencers is a corps a corps, and results in a halt.  Also, if the blade of one fencer is caught in the furniture of the other, this is also a corps a corps and results in a halt.  Deliberate corps a corps, or attempts to grapple will result in a disqualification.

Fencers must stay within the piste.  Leaving the piste will result in the first instance in a halt, and in the second and thereafter a point against.  A fencer will be considered on the piste as long as one foot is on the piste.

A disarm results in a halt.  Dropping of the weapon to avoid a touch will result in a touch against.

Fencers will not speak unless asked a question by the director.  Complaining or disputing a call with the Director is not allowed and can result in a disqualification.

Directors have the final say in all cases.  There is no recourse to their ruling.

Fencers are encouraged to call out when they believe they are hit, ‘touched!’ or ‘touche,’ or, ‘toccatto.’  However, the bout is halted only when there is a ‘Halt!’

Anyone may call a halt in the case of a safety issue.

Fencers may be disqualified by the organizers if they are fencing unsafely, or if they are behaving disruptively.  Misbehavior or distractions perpetrated by spectators will be similarly sanctioned.  No foul language or flash photography.


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