The Swiss Blades is an international event dedicated to Historical European Martial Arts that takes place during a weekend in August, with workshops, conferences, free sparring, and a competition area. The tournament is open to 36 people without gender categories and lasts from the Saturday (pools) tnoo the Sunday (elimination rounds).
Participants are supervised by a team of judges and referees who depend on a Desk settled for the occasion.
Bouts take place in one of the three halls, adequately adapted by our volunteers. Beverage areas are also provided for the participants’ comfort.
2.1 Executive Desk
The Desk is the meeting point of the several organs of the tournament. It is constituted by 1-3 people. The Desk is responsible for:
• Judges and referees
• Establishing the pools
• Establishing the elimination rounds
• Managing the ranking
• Managing the timing of each phase (pools, eliminations)
• Displaying the ranking on a board
Judges are responsible for :
• Calculating and validating points
• Give warnings
• Check on the timing
Referees are responsible for :
• Informing the judge
Fighters are dispatched at random in pools of 5-6 people. They are guided by the referees and the judge.
3. Tournament area
The Pool Rounds and the T16 and T8 elimination rounds will be held in Room 3. Fighters may leave their equipment in this room during Saturday, but make sure there is room for the workshop that takes place there on Sunday morning. The semi-finals and the final are held in the three indoor halls, assembled for the occasion with platforms.
3.1 Fight zone
Inside the hall, the fight zone is marked with cones. Fighters and public are asked not to encroach on the field or its immediate surroundings when a fight is taking place, as well as not to drop equipment nearby.
Referees observe and report zone exits as follows:
• Unintentional exit of one foot, followed by a return to the field: no interruption of combat.
• Unintentional exit of both feet: interruption of combat and replacement of fighters in the middle of the field.
• Intentional exit of both feet (self or opponent): interruption of the fight and warning (yellow card) for the offending fighter.
• Mask and overlay
• Reinforced gloves
• Groin protector (men)
• Chest protector (women)
• Closed shoes
• Chest protector (men)
• Leg protections
• Back protections
• Forearm protections
4.3 Equipment control
The Desk and the judges shall check the equipment of all fighters before the start of each pool and at each stage of the elimination phase and keep the right to refuse any equipment (weapons or protections) that would present a security problem.
Pools take place on Saturday and constitute of maximum 3 pools gathering each up to 6 fighters. A pool corresponds therefore to 15 bouts maximum. Before and after the pool, fighters are free to take part in the various workshops.
5.2 Elimination round
Elimination round takes place on Sunday and consists in an incomplete playoff table of 32 fighters. The number of qualified fighters depends on the number of participants (maximum 20% eliminated).
6. Rules for fighters
6.1 Fair-play and sport spirit
It is expected of all fighters a responsible and honest attitude, without a will to harm the integrity of people, animals and objects during the competition. In particular, it is required to limit physical and sound manifestations that could provoke a discomfort for the opponent or the referees (shouts, vindicative gestures, etc.). Referees and judges are entitled to interrupt a match momentarily in order to restore calm, and may also sanction any behavior deemed inappropriate
6.2 Call for fighters
The Desk makes a call for fighters 15 minutes before the attributed pool starts. Each fighters receives their pool in advance, with the timetable, by email.
Fighters go in the combat area and are coordinated by judges. Order to start bout is given by the judges. Fighters have to be ready for when the judges call for their next bout.
Combat is directed by the judge together with 2 to 4 referees. The judge starts and stops the fight, and validates the points according to 7 criteria, with the help of the referees is necessary. Judges and referees are specifically trained for this tournament.
6.4.1 Contact areas
Valid areas: head, arms, hands, torso, abdomen, legs
Forbidden areas: neck, back, groin, ankles, feet
Hit to the head: needs 3 criteria for 1 point
Hit to the body: needs 4 criteria for 1 point
• Exchanges : movements’ combination with the opponent before reaching the target
• Bind: extended contact with the opponent’s blade and work with the blade
• Style: gesture quality, based on fluidity, stability, coordination and initiative (for instance vor, indes, nach).
• Strength: adapted use of strength to reach the opponent.
• Speed: quickness of execution, no precipitation
• Distance: mastering of the distance to reach the opponent. It also includes the notion of retreating safely after a blow: in case of an afterblow, this critera cannot be considered as fulfilled for the first blow.
• Feint: mastering of the intention to hit in the second action
6.5 Close Combat
Wrenches, projections and submissions are allowed only with the approbation of both fighters before the bout, and only if both belong to the same weight category (max 10 kg of difference).
Hand percussions are forbidden. Pommel strikes are allowed, with reasonable force.
In the case of going to wrestling, the point is obtained by the control of the opponent on the ground or standing, that is to say a situation where one of the fighters is in a position which allows them to hit the other, who is no longer able to defend themselves. In this situation, and for security reasons, it is not necessary to make the blow to get the point.
Pommel strikes without going to wrestling do not fall into the close combat category and are allowed and judged according to the seven criteria for awarding the point.
6.6 Double Hit
Only one double hit is allowed per bout in the pools. The point can be acquired by each fighter if criteria are validated. Next double hits so not count and bring, for each fighter, 1 penalty point for the elimination round, which can lead to a negative starting score. At the start of each elimination match, the penalties of both fighters are calculated and the difference between the two determines the starting score, with a maximum of -5 points. During the finals (rank 1-2 and 3-4), only one double hit is allowed; following double hits are not counted.
Judges can give warnings to fighters in case of non-respect of the rules or if their attitude can be negative for the good progress of the tournament. Warnings are only valid for the duration of a fight. Sanctions can, however, be extended.
• First warning : yellow card = Not cool ! Obtaining two yellow cards in the same match causes a red card; successive yellow cards too.
• Second warning: red card = during the pools: a -3 point penalty for the elimination phase (can be cumulative). During the elimination round: a -3 point penalty for the next bout. These penalties add up to those obtained for the double hits. During the finals: a -3 points penalty immediatly.
• Third warning: black card = end of the bout and expulsion of the tournament.
The Desk is allowed to give a red or black card without other previous warnings. According to the seriousness of the case, the organization has the right to expel the person from the event, and can forbid them to take part for next editions.
6.8 Duration and score
During the pools and up to the quarter-finals included (round of 8), the bouts are limited to 3 minutes and 5 points.
Semi-finals and finals take place in 10 points and the time limit is 5 mn.
These criteria are valid for the first of the two terms reached. If the fighters are tied and the last touch is a valid double (the first of the fight), it is not counted. If the fight ends at the end of the time, the victory goes to the one who scores the most points (win 4 to 3 for example). If the contestants are tied at the end of the time, the victory is determined by a sudden death.
Sudden death: one winning touch (doubles do not count). If after 30 seconds no one has touched, the winner is the winner of the draw executed before the start of sudden death.
The statistical data for this tournament is likely to be used for improvement purposes or as part of HEMA-related work. If this is the case, the data will be completely anonymized.