Ars Gladii 20th Anniversary Invitational

This year, 2019, represents Ars Gladii’s twentieth year of operation. We’ve come a long way, from our beginnings in a baseball field with homemade wasters, winter dagger fencing in Josh’s basement, all the way to the Redford park and now, finally, our home within Salle d’Etroit. With this, we’d like to celebrate in style with our Michigan HEMA friends. We wish we could invite more, but since this is our first foray into tournaments, grander scales will have to wait.

For this event we will be hosting two events: an Open Steel Longsword tournament and a lower gear requirement single hand sword tournament using single-sticks.

Event Details

When: June 29th, 2019. Registration begins at 9am. Fencing at 10am.
Where: Salle d’Etroit, 36745 Amrhein Rd, Livonia, MI 48150
Cost: $35/person, including registration in one or both tournaments

Open Steel Longsword

The Open Steel Longsword event will be run using Ars Gladii’s tournament rule set (see below for full details). Pool winners will move on to the Tier I eliminations, whereas the next 8 top scoring pool fencers will move on to the Tier II eliminations. Prizes will be given for the Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners of each Tier.

UPDATE – Specifics on Tier creations and the elimination rounds will be given after Jun 26th, as it will depend on the numbers of registered participants.

Gear Requirements

Each fencer in the Open Steel Longsword event will require the following:

Mask/Helmet: A fencing mask or purpose built for HEMA helmet in good condition with back of the head protection attached.
Gorget: A gorget that covers the throat is required.
Jacket: A padded coat (or unpadded coat reenforced with additional non-steel hard protection) designed for use in fencing is required. The coat (or coat plus additional protection) must cover all exposed skin at the torso, neck, and arms to the wrist. No open armpits are allowed.
Elbows: Rigid or mostly rigid elbow protection is required.
Hands: HEMA-specific hand protection is required. Red Dragon gloves, Absolute Force gloves, and lacrosse/hockey gloves are not acceptable.
Knees: Rigid or mostly rigid knee protection is required. Knee protection should wrap enough around the knee so that strikes from the front or slightly to either side of the front do not strike the bone or tendons of the knee.
Groin Protection/Chest Protection: Men must wear a rigid cup. Women are recommended to wear a chest protector.

Accepted Weapons

Any steel longswords in good condition that meet the following requirements are acceptable for use:

  • Manufactured by a known HEMA company/smith
  • Blade must be “federed” – thick edges with distal taper and a flexible blade. Traditional longsword blades such as the Albion Liechtenauer are not acceptable.
  • The tip must be covered in leather or a rubber blunt unless it is at least 1″ wide and at least 1/4″ thick.
  • Not longer than 40″ in total blade length from cross to tip and capable of being easily wielded in two hands.

The following are general examples of accepted weapons, though not an exhaustive list and some individual weapons that don’t match the above will not be allowed:

  • Albion Meyer
  • Arms and Armor Fechterspiel
  • Ensifer Light, Heavy, & Long
  • Regenyei Standard & Short Feders
  • VB Techniques Steel Longsword & Steel Tournament Feder
  • Chlebowski Feders
  • Pavol Moc Feders

Single-hand Sword Tournament

For this tournament, we will be using singlesticks as a simulator for a wide range of singlehanded sword types such as messers, dussacks, sabers, broadswords, etc. We’ve selected singlesticks to allow participation by fencers who don’t have a full set of tournament appropriate protective gear.

The Single-hand Sword event will be run using Ars Gladii’s tournament rule set (see below for full details). Pool winners will move on to the Tier I eliminations, whereas the next 8 top scoring pool fencers will move on to the Tier II eliminations. Prizes will be given for the Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners of each Tier.

UPDATE – Specifics on Tier creations and the elimination rounds will be given after Jun 26th, as it will depend on the numbers of registered participants.

Gear Requirements

Each fencer in the Single-hand Sword event will require the following:

Mask/Helmet: A fencing mask or purpose built for HEMA helmet in good condition with back of the head protection attached.
Gorget: A gorget that covers the throat is required.
Jacket: A traditional fencing jacket, school sweatshirt, or HEMA wrestling jacket at a minimum. HEMA-specific padded coats may be worn.
Elbows: Rigid or mostly rigid elbow protection is required.
Hands: Hockey/lacrosse gloves, “rapier” gloves, etc. Gloves should cover at least the wrist with a rigid layer or heavy padding. Forearm guards are highly suggested if not wearing a padded jacket.
Knees: Rigid or mostly rigid knee protection is required. Knee protection should wrap enough around the knee so that strikes from the front or slightly to either side of the front do not strike the bone or tendons of the knee.
Groin Protection/Chest Protection: Men must wear a rigid cup. Women are recommended to wear a chest protector.

Accepted Weapons

Ars Gladii will provide sets of singlesticks with hilts. Participants are allowed to use their own singlesticks, within the following guidelines:

  • Maximum stick length of 39″
  • Sticks must be rattan and 1″ in diameter or smaller and in good condition
  • Baskets must be rigid, such as the Purpleheart hardened leather or Stryker baskets
  • Stick must be able to slide in the hand during a thrust
  • The tip of the stick must be covered in tape

Event Structure

Both events are using the same rule, scoring, and advancement framework. For full rules, please see the document linked below, but this section will sum up the scoring structure being used.

Match Structure

Each individual match is 60-seconds stopped clock. The clock will stop at the call of Halt from the Head Judge (or anyone in the case of a safety hold). The Table Judge will call ’15 seconds remaining’ once 45-seconds have elapsed – this does not stop the action and is only a noticed to the fencers. If the match is halted and 8 or less seconds remain on the clock, the Table Judge will announce ‘Final Pass’ and the match will end once a halt is called regardless of whether there is time left on the clock unless the Head Judge assigns more time due to a mistake. In any case, a match only ends on a halt from the Head Judge even if time has gone passed the 60-second point.

The Head Judge can, at their discretion, assign an additional 5-seconds to the clock if the pass was stopped due to a Judges mistake (unintentionally calling halt, etc. ), calling halt for a safety reason, continued ring-outs, fencer misconduct, etc.

UPDATE – Matches will consist of 5 passes each, with a hold called by the Director based on a call of ‘Point’ from the Judges. There is no time limit for each match, but the Director can give a Yellow card for stalling or failure to engage. The Director may also call for a replay of a pass if they believe the hold was called in error (e.g. a Judge calling ‘Point’ for an illegal or blatantly incorrect action) or if the hold was for a safety or ring-out reason.

Basic Scoring Structure

In each match, both fencers begin with 10 points. As they are struck by their opponent, they will lose points based on how and where they were struck. At the end of the match, each fencer’s remaining points will be added to their total for that round.

  • 3 points: Thrust to the head or torso, Cut to the head
  • 2 points: Successful takedown or disarm, slice to the face, head, or neck
  • 1 point: All other legal and successful actions

Double Hits

In any pass where both fencers are struck with a valid blow simultaneously or near simultaneously, the judges will determine if the exchange was open or closed:

  • Open exchanges occur when neither fencer attempts to defend against the other’s strike or both fencers attack at the same time without closing the line of the other.
  • Closed exchanges occur when one fencer is struck as they were attempting to defend against an attack or attempting to close the line of an initial intention but were able to also launch a successful counter-attack in close time to the attack that landed against them. Examples include incomplete parries, responded to feints or changes of line, etc. Judges must see a legitimate intention to defend for an exchange to be called a closed exchange.

the Director and Judges should call the exchange as a Double.

Open exchanges are scored as a double hit (D on the score card). The first double in a match is score as a D. Additional doubles are score as D5, which counts as -5 to each fencer’s score. If this brings one or both fencer’s score to or below zero, the match ends.

Closed exchanges are scored as if each attack was landed separately. If either fencer’s action is scored as No Quality, this negates the double condition. For example, in an Open Double exchange, if one fencer’s attack was determined to be No Quality, the exchange is scored as if a Double did not occur.

If one fencer strikes their opponent with a valid blow, but is also then struck in a separate time before a Hold is called, this will be counted as a Failure to Withdraw. Priority of the hit goes to the first blow. That blow will be scored as normal. The fencer that failed to Withdraw properly will be given a -1 to the total score. Directors will not be calling Hold immediately on the call of ‘Point’ so as to allow any actions in progress to complete. 

Double == Same Tempo
Failure to Withdraw == Different Tempos

Quality for Exchanges

In keeping with our standards as martial artists first, Judges are looking for a specific quality standard in attacks. Blows or thrusts that just barely make contact due to distance [specifically, cuts to the head that only scrape the mesh front with the tip and cuts that happen to land on the gloves with only the tip where it was not a clearly intended cut to the hands should not be counted as quality and no Point should be called for], attacks that contact flat (even those that historically are designed to land flat), or short attacks made only with the hands or wrists with no body or hip engagement will be scored as No Quality. Judges are instructed to not stop an exchange for attacks that they deem as No Quality, signaling only a quick No Quality flag gesture. Fencers are therefore instructed to always fence until the call of Hold from the Director. Some passes that are stopped may still be judged as No Quality based on the Judges’ deliberation. Passes judged as No Quality do not affect either fencer’s score.

Fencers may declare a hit awarded against their opponent as No Quality if they feel the attack was not up to their own standards. This is the only form of self-calling allowed in this tournament.

For any other aspects, please see the full rule document.

Pools and Tiers

This tournament is structured as the following:

  • Initial round-robin pools with mixed experience-weighted seeding
  • Top fencer based on points from each Pool moves to the Tier 1 single-elimination round, seeded as 1v8/2v7/etc. based on their score from the Pool round. The fencer with the higher remaining score of each match moves on to the double-elimination semi-finals. Based on the score of the quarter-finals, fencers are re-seeded as before. The winner of each match fence for Gold/Silver. The losers of each match fence for Bronze.
  • The remaining fencers from the pools are ordered from top to bottom based on their pool score with tie-breakers applied. The top 8 fencers remaining are moved on to the Tier 2 quarter finals, which are run as the Tier 1 are.
  • The format for the elimination rounds will be announced once the final pools have been created

Ties and Tie Breakers

In the later rounds, matches cannot end on a tie due to the advancement structure. If, after the normal 60-seconds time allotment has expired 5 passes have been run, both fencers have the same score, they will fence until one clean exchange has occurred. Fencers who continue to spoil exchanges via double hits will be given a Warning and/or a Yellow card.

After a given round, some fencers may have the same score. To break the tie, we will first use each fencers combined points against their opponents in the current round followed by the total number of D’s in all rounds (open doubles). For example, Hans ends the pool round with the following match scores: 10 – 7, 6-9, 9-8, and 10-3. His total score would be 35 and his combined points against would be 13.

If two fencers have the same point total, the same combined points against, and the same number of doubles, the order will be determined by a coin flip with the older of the two fencers calling heads or tails.

Warnings, Yellow, and Red Cards

The Director can issue Warnings, Yellow, and Red cards to fencers during the tournament. Warnings are given to fencers in the cases where a fencer’s actions are straying close to being inappropriate for safety or sportsmanship reasons. Yellow cards are given for continued infractions of actions that have already generated a Warning or for more serious breaches of safety or sportsmanship rules. The following actions are considered worthy of Yellow cards:

  • Use of excessive force or illegal techniques not leading to injury
  • Patterns of behavior intended to “game” the ruleset – spoiling passes by unnecessary grappling, ring-outs, driving their opponent, flat or No Quality hits, etc.
  • Arguing or speaking back to the Judges or Director
  • Disparaging remarks about their opponent or the event staff

Red cards are issued in the case of a fencer already on a Yellow card performing another action worthy of a second Yellow. A Red card earned in this manner removes the fencer from the tournament.

Fencers can also receive a Direct Red for actions such as the following:

  • Use of excessive force or illegal techniques leading to injury
  • Intentional physical contact with the Director, Judges, or event staff
  • Striking at or hitting other participants while directly engaged with them in a match
  • Other exceedingly unsafe or unsportsmanlike conduct (e.g. chair/gear throwing, spitting, verbal abuse, racist/sexist remarks, etc.)

Any fencer that receives a straight Red will be removed from the event entirely and banned from future Ars Gladii events.

For further information about our tournament structure, please see the document linked below. In cases of discrepancy between what is in that document and what is written here, this page takes precedence during this event.

Ars Gladii Tournament Rules

Tickets

Please use the selector below to purchase your event ticket. Select a base ticket and then one or both event tickets. Please make sure that you qualify for the event you select in terms of gear. Due to the nature and speed of this tournament, we will not be able to support sharing gear between two fencers. Keep this in mind before registering. Ars Gladii students should select the Ars Gladii event tickets.

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