Copyright Iron Will HEMA Academy (internal document)..

        Drepturi de autor Iron Will HEMA Academy (document intern).

www.ironwill.ro; https://www.facebook.com/ironwillhema

IWHA CUP Ruleset and Organisation

Human Resources Needed Per Fighting Ring

1 Referee

1 Spotter

1 Score Keeper

Ring Details

Each fighting ring will be clearly delineated on the ground of the venue. Ideally, without using materials of a different height // level than the ground level of the venue, so that ring outs are easily possible and the fencers don’t trip on the lines of the ring.

Each fighting ring will be EITHER circular in shape, OR square.

If circular, it will be 10 meters in diameter.

If square, it will be a square with each side measuring 10 meters.

If it is not possible to organize fighting rings in a circle or square shape, they may be rectangular, with at least two sides measuring 10 meters and the smaller sides no smaller than 8 meters.  

Ideally, at least 2 rings (with their own required staff), will be operating in parallel to save time with the fights. But the more that can be organized in parallel, the better.

Objective

IWHA’s topmost priority when it comes to sparring is to promote martial behavior as much as possible.

As a consequence, the ruleset should be created in such a manner that suicidal behavior, actions without proper body mechanics and power generation, overly sporty behavior or bad fencing in general should be discouraged and punished.

Towards this end, we have kept experimenting with different rulesets since our club’s founding and we still tweak the ruleset whenever we feel we can improve it.

We believe this most recent iteration is the best for the stated objective because it has in it several institutions that, together, as pylons, fulfill our objective.

These pylons are:

- mentality of the Eastern, Polish-Slovakian system of judging (only 1 person, the Referee, has the final word and is the decision-maker)

- communication between fencers, Referee and Spotter is encouraged so that the Referee has maximum information available to make his/her decision; this is also why the fencers have the right to Protest
- punishment scoring AND reward scoring are mixed into one system

- absolute score caps for defeat and victory

- after-blows and doubles are treated differently (as they ARE different in nature)

- after-blows are sanctioned proportionately, on a case by case manner

- doubles are sanctioned EQUALLY for both fencers; AND there is a limit for doubles allowed per match

Scoring System
Both fencers start at
30 hitpoints!

There is an absolute cap for VICTORY at 45 points.

And an absolute cap for DEFEAT at 0 points.

The first fencer to reach 45 points has won the match.

If any fencer reaches 0 points, the match is over and the other fencer has won.

If both fencers reach 0 points at the exact same time (or the exact same score but lower than 0), the match is considered a draw (see below at “Match Scoring”).

If neither fencer reaches the Victory Cap (45 points) OR the Defeat Cap (0 points), then the fencer with the highest positive score within these 2 limits is considered the victor.

If after the last exchange, the score is equal between fencers, but neither has reached the Victory Cap or Defeat Cap, then the match is considered a draw.

Special mention! If there are 4 doubles in the same match, the match is over, and both fencers have lost the match. This is called a “Double Failure” and is one of several results that can be achieved for a match and that allocates a certain score to said match. Make note that it is NOT a draw! (see below at “Match Scoring”).

We define a double as an exchange in which both fencers attack each other near simultaneously, which results in their attacks (thrust, cut, slice, pommel etc.) landing AT THE SAME TIME on each other’s body or very very close to the same time. In other words, we use the objective(-ish) criteria for determining a double. Especially the sound the attacks make when they land on the target. Ideally, there should be only one sound for both attacks landing, without delay. If there IS a delay, it should be very very small. And it is up to the Referee to decide, subjectively if it was a double or not.

We define an
after-blow as an exchange in which one fencer acted correctly in initiating an attack, landed this attack on the opponent, but failed to defend afterward, as the opponent hit him/her back before the Referee stopped the exchange. We use 2 criteria, to help in determining an after-blow: 1 subjective, 1 objective:

- the time that has passed between the initial attack landing and the after-blow landing is a sufficient delay to not make it a double; as a rule of thumb, about 1 second, but in any case BEFORE the Referee said stop (<- subjective criterion)

- the after-blower had his/her weapon armed; meaning that if the after-blow was a thrust, he/she was in a point forward position and simply extended to thrust; if the after-blow was a cut, he/she was in an edge forward position, with the blade raised for an Overcut or lowered for an Undercut and simply extended the arms to cut; if the after-blow was a slice, he/she had the blade in contact with the initial attacker’s body and simply sliced; in other words, NO PREPARATORY action was needed for the after-blow! (<- objective criterion)

Points are awarded in a mixed manner.

A fencer gets positive points if he/she lands a correct hit or performs a correct action (disarm for example), WITHOUT being hit back with either a double or an after-blow. So, only clean hits or actions are awarded positive points.

+5 points         => hitting the head OR neck CLEANLY (thrust, cut, slice)

+3 points         => hitting the torso* CLEANLY (thrust, cut, slice)

+3 points         => pommel to opponent’s head

+3 points         => disarming your opponent CLEANLY

+3 points         => pressing your opponent out of the ring CLEANLY, without being hit

+1 point           => hitting any other target CLEANLY (thrust, cut, slice)

*Note that “torso” does not include shoulders and anything below the belt (a modern belt, that sits on the hips, not the medieval kind that sat on the navel).

A fencer gets NEGATIVE points, in other words, he/she is deducted points, if he/she hit the opponent in that exchange BUT ALSO got hit in return in that exchange. So, in effect, if an exchange had an after-blow or double in it, BOTH fencers will receive negative scores!

-5 points        => being hit in the head* OR neck (thrust, cut, slice)
-3 points        => being hit in the torso** (thrust, cut, slice)

-3 points         => receiving a pommel to the head

-3 points         => being disarmed

-3 points        => exiting the ring voluntarily OR being pushed out of it after or before having hit the other fencer, but before the Referee has said stop

-1 point        => being hit in any other target (thrust, cut, slice)

-5 points         => being hit in a double!

Regarding doubles, the -5 points deducted for a double are NOT added to the other negative points deducted for the target that got hit.

So, for example: if fencer A hits fencer B in the hand and fencer B hits fencer A in the head, IN A DOUBLE (not an after-blow), then the final score will still be -5 points fencer A, -5 points fencer B. Not -6 points fencer A (-5 for the double + -1 for being hit in the hand) and -10 points fencer B (-5 for the double + -5 for being hit in the head).

Attention! If a fencer performs two clean hits on the other fencer before the Referee says “Stop!”, only the first hit will be counted and awarded. The same applies in the case of an exchange with afterblow. If there are two clean hits by one fencer landed on the other fencer, followed by this second fencer landing an afterblow, all of this before the Referee has said “Stop!”, the negative score deducted from the second fencer will be the one allocated for the target where he/she was hit by the first fencer with the first hit!

Attention! If a fencer pushes another fencer out of the ring, but he/she also exits the ring while doing so, and both of them have both their feet out of the ring before the Referee says “Stop!”, this situation will be treated just like an after-blow: ring out for both fencers, -3 points each.

Attention! If a fencer, without any interaction or contact with the other fencer, hits him/herself with the weapon, he/she will suffer negative points adequate for the target hit.

Attention! All of the scores above, both positive and negative, are diminished by 1 point in the case of one-handed attacks (thrusts, cuts or slices), EXCEPT for targets that normally score +1 point or -1 point (so, any other target EXCEPT the head, neck and torso) AND EXCEPT FOR DOUBLES, which will always score -5 points for both fencers!

For example, a clean thrust to the head but performed one-handed will be awarded +4 points. A thrust to the head performed one handed followed by getting hit with an after-blow to your torso performed with two hands means that the fencer you hit in the head will be deducted -4 points and you will be deducted -3 points. If the afterblow were performed to the torso ALSO one-handed, you would lose -2 points instead. If both the initial strike and the after-blow are one-handed attacks to any other target than head, neck or torso, the points deducted will be the usual -1 for the initial strike and -1 for the after-blow.

*Note that if you let go of the weapon and raise your hand to protect from an incoming cut or thrust to the head, this will be considered and Obstruction and you will still suffer -5 points as if it were a hit to the head (if it was part of an after-blow), or your opponent will be awarded +5 points (if it was a clean hit for him, not part of an after-blow). The same for a cut or thrust to the torso. An Obstruction here will result in -3 points for you (if it was part of and after-blow), or your opponent will be awarded +3 points (if it was a clean hit for him, not part of a double). But in both cases (against an attack to the head or an attack to the torso), if you keep both hands on the blade and raise them to parry, then the usual -1 point for being hit in the hand will result (if it was part of an after-blow), or your opponent will be awarded +1 point (if it was a clean hit for him, not part of an after-blow).

**Note that “torso” does not include shoulders and anything below the belt (a modern belt, that sits on the hips, not the medieval kind that sat on the navel).

0 points         => attacks that are either weak, performed with the flat, or incidental***

***Note that we define

- weak as: an attack that is not performed with correct body mechanics and power generation (<- this is subjective and for the Referee to decide);

- flat as: any attack in which the blade connects with the target without proper edge alignment (in the case of a cut or slice), or without making contact with the tip (in the case of a failed thrust, for example); (<-this is subjective and for the Referee to decide);

- incidental as: an attack that was aimed at a different target, but got parried (badly), its energy dissipated, but the blade got redirected to another target that it glanced on. (<-this is subjective and for the Referee to decide);

As can be seen from the detailing of the system above, if a fencer fights cleanly (“hit and don’t get hit”), he/she will gain positive points and will get closer to the 45 points Victory Cap.

Starting at 30 hitpoints, this Victory Cap is MUCH closer (15 positive points up), than the Defeat Cap is (30 negative points down). In short, a 2:1 ratio of absolute point difference with 2 thirds of the 45 points being below the fencer’s starting position and 1 third of these 45 points being above him.

As such, the motivation is CLEARLY to strike cleanly and not get hit, because it allows you to win very fast, as opposed to exchanges with after-blows and doubles which will lose you points (doubles more drastically than after-blows and with the threat of being disqualified after 4 doubles).  

However, it is our experience at IWHA based on observing past matches both internally and in competition, that mistakes DO happen in a fight and there is no way to attack safely, despite good technique and form. There is always a risk.

That is why the Defeat Cap is far lower than the Victory Cap. If a fencer suffers some exchanges that have an after-blow, he/she will indeed lose points, because he/she failed to defend after attacking and that should be sanctioned. BUT, he/she will:
a. lose far fewer points than for doubles (which are a sign of a graver mistake)

b. be able to recover lost points and still climb towards the Victory Cap by hitting cleanly and not being hit, which grants positive points.

Forbidden Actions

It is forbidden to grab the sword with both hands on the blade and hit with the crossguard or pommel as a blunt weapon (The Mortschlag).

It is forbidden to perform a
half-swording attack, meaning to grab the Longsword on the middle of the blade to make it more rigid so that it thrusts more powerfully.

It is forbidden to strike or manipulate any of the other fencer’s joints so that they move contrary to their natural mode, which may lead to them breaking.

It is forbidden to
intentionally throw the other fencer to the ground in any way. If the other fencer falls due to bad footwork or posture, the original fencer will not be punished.


It is forbidden to hit the back of the other fencer, especially the back of
head.

It is forbidden to continue fighting or to hit after “Stop!”.

It is forbidden to strike with anything other than the weapon (headbutt, fists, elbows, knees, feet etc.).

Attention! Grabbing the opponent’s blade for strategic advantage is NOT forbidden. But such an action must meet the following conditions cumulatively:

- the blade was not travelling towards the fencer that grabbed it when he/she grabbed it

- once the blade was grabbed, the grip is rigid, flexing the blade so that no further blade movement is possible or observed (no slicing)

Grabbing the blade in the conditions above awards no positive points (unless followed by a disarm, which does but for the disarm), and it also does not result in any negative points.

If any of the conditions above is not met, grabbing the blade will be treated as a regular hand hit (+1 point if the fencer striking is not hit back, OR -1 point to the fencer that grabbed the blade if he also struck back one-handed with the other hand in which he/she is holding the weapon and the appropriate negative points cost from the other fencer, depending on the target that was hit with one hand).

Sanctions

For Mortschlag or half-swording attack, a fencer will be immediately disqualified from the Cup.

For any of the other forbidden actions he/she will first receive a Warning from the Referee. If the fencer performs another forbidden action after the warning, he/she may lose the match with 0 points allocated to the match, as in the case of a Double Failure, but WITHOUT the other fencer suffering the same penalty. If the fencer in question performs any of these forbidden actions again in following matches, he/she may be disqualified from the Cup.  

The Referee’s Conduct

At the beginning of the match, the Referee will ask:
A.
“Score Keeper ready?” and wait for express confirmation.
B.
“Spotter ready?” and wait for express confirmation.
C.
“Fencers ready?”. No need for express confirmation. Just allow 1-2 second pause. If no fencer raises his/her hand or says otherwise, the fencers are presumed to be ready to fight.

After the above, the Referee will say “Fencers, salute!” and wait for the fencers to salute each other.

Then he/she may start the match using the formula “Start!” or “Fence!”.

The fencers will fight until they hear the formula
“Stop!” or “Halt!” from the Referee.

So, an exchange lasts from when the Referee says “Start!” to when he/she says “Stop!”.

The Referee says “Stop!”:
- each time the Referee is sure there was weapon to body contact.

- each time the Referee believes there MIGHT have been weapon to body contact.
- each time the Spotter raises his hand suggesting there was weapon to body contact, IF the Referee decides to accept the Spotter’s signal; he/she may also IGNORE this signal and let the exchange continue.

Whenever there are weak, flat or incidental hits (which are not scored), the Referee must use the formula “Keep fencing!” + [“weak”] // [“flat”] or // [“incidental”].  

After each exchange has ended, the referee must follow the pattern below to narrate what he/she saw in the exchange and announce the score:

1. [color of fencer - Agent] + [cut / thrust / sliced / pommeled] + [color of other fencer - Patient] + in the [body part] + (if applicable) with a light hit / incidental blow / the flat.

2. (if applicable) [color of other fencer - now Agent] + [cut / thrust / sliced / pommeled] + [color of the first fencer - now Patient] + in the [body part] + (if applicable) with a light hit / incidental blow / the flat

3. (if applicable) After-blow // Double // Nothing done.

4. [exact number of points scored - positive or negative] + [color of fencer they are scored to - both if necessary].


Specific examples: 

Exchange1: 

Black fencer cut Red fencer in the arm.

1 point Black fencer.

Exchange2: 

Black fencer cut Red fencer in the arm.

Red fencer thrust Black fencer in the head with a light hit.

1 point Black fencer.

Exchange 3: 

Black fencer sliced Red fencer in the arm

Red fencer cut Black fencer with an after-blow to the head.

After-blow.

-1 point Red fencer.

-5 points Black fencer.

Exchange 4: 

Red fencer cut Black fencer in the hand.

Black fencer thrust Red fencer in the torso.

Double.

-5 points EACH fencer.  

Exchange 5: 

Black fencer cut Red fencer in the arm with a light hit

Red fencer cut Black fencer in the head with the flat.

Nothing done.

No points awarded.

IF the Referee is unsure of what happened in an exchange, after calling “Stop!”, either because he/she saw something but not clearly, either because he/she decided to accept the signal to stop from the Spotter, it is the Referee’s DUTY to gather as much information as possible, before giving his/her decision.

This means:
1. First consulting with the Spotter. And/or
video camera if available.
2. Secondly, consulting with each fencer.

After gathering this information, the Referee is STILL the only decision maker and will rule according to his judgement. Despite input from the Spotter and/or fencers. He/she may accept said input or discard it completely.

However, there are a few rules of thumb we recommend:


1. If one of the fencers (or both), admit a hit against them or a higher scoring target against them than what the Referee saw, the Referee should accept their information as altruistic and with a high probability of being true.
In general, the fencers know best if they were hit (with some exceptions in the case of some extra-protective gear). In general, they SHOULD know better than the Referee. And as such they MUST be honest and honorable and admit it. When they DO admit it, we are of the opinion that the Referee should agree with their version of events. And in such cases, the Referee should also use the formula “Thank you for the honor!”. HOWEVER, the Referee is under NO obligation to always agree with the fencers version if they protest to their detriment. If the Referee believes the fencer is being too modest // indulgent // friendly or just plain confused as to what happened, the Referee STILL has the final decision and should exercise his/her own judgment!


2. If there is complete consensus among fencers and spotter as to what happened, the Referee
should accept the information.


3. If there is consensus ONLY between the fencers as to what happened, but the Spotter disagrees, the Referee should accept the fencers’ version.


4. If there is disagreement between the fencers as to what happened, and the Referee has no clear idea of the exchange, he should accept what the Spotter saw.

5. If there is disagreement between the fencers as to what happened, the Spotter did not see clearly either and the Referee did not see clearly either, the exchange will be ruled as a “Nothing done” and no points will be scored.

The Referee will also discipline the fencers if:
1. They perform any of the forbidden actions.

2. They display aggressive or uncivilized behaviour towards each other, the staff, or other people in the room. Aggressive behaviour is not limited to physical manifestations, but includes verbal assault and swear words.


3. They talk out of turn or try to influence the Referee or the Spotter (especially before the Referee has given his decision and allocated the score).


4. They display any other disruptive behavior considered unacceptable by the club and Referee (stalling for time, taking off gear while in the match etc.).

5. They performed a double. And advise them to fight less recklessly and focus on clean hits.

Note: Regarding the “Fencers ready?” prompt it is our decision that it is a useful prompt and the Referee should use it before every exchange, before he/she says “Start!”.

Last but not least, the Referee should raise his/her hand and call out “GEAR CHECK!” or “MEDICAL!” if he/she notices that one of the fencer’s gear pieces is falling off or is otherwise improper or if he/she notices one of the fencers having medical difficulties.

NOTE: The Referee is NOT static. He is mobile, moving on his part of the ring, opposite to the Spotter, but complemented by the Spotter, at all times, for maximum coverage and best angles to see what is going on. (The Spotter tries to move in sync with the Referee, not the other way around).

The Spotter’s Conduct

The Spotter is simply there as an extra set of eyes and ears for the Referee.


The Spotter is located completely on the other side of the ring than the Referee.

His/her job is to pay attention to each exchange and:
1. Raise his/her hand if he/she considers there was blade to body contact.


2. Give information to the Referee regarding what happened in the previous exchange, but only IF solicited by the Referee! The spotter may give this information orally (<- faster) or by a system of sign language (<- more formal; more appropriate for big tournaments where talking might be hindered by background noise).

3. If the Referee did NOT consult the spotter before giving the decision and the score, and the Spotter disagrees with it, he/she should raise his/her hand immediately after the Referee has said the score, to signal the Spotter disagrees and has different information.

4. Raise his/her hand and call out “GEAR CHECK!” or “MEDICAL!” if he/she notices that one of the fencer’s gear pieces is falling off or is otherwise improper or if he/she notices one of the fencers having medical difficulties.

5. Keep time of the match, starting the timer when the Referee says “Start!” and STOPPING it each time the referee says “Stop!” or there is a gear or medical problem. In other words, the match lasts 3 minutes of ACTUAL, EFFECTIVE fighting, with the times for deliberation, scoring or other issues, not being taken into account!

NOTE: The Spotter is NOT static. He is mobile, moving on his part of the ring, opposite to the Referee, but complemented by the Referee, at all times, for maximum coverage and best angles to see what is going on. (The Spotter tries to move in sync with the Referee, not the other way around).

The Score Keeper’s Conduct

The Score Keeper’s job is to:

1. Write down the appropriate scores for each fencer (positive or negative), as they are called out by the Referee after each exchange and perform the calculations to update, in real time, each fencer’s hit points based on the scores.

2. Call back the scores he heard from the Referee and wrote down, after each exchange.

3. Keep track of doubles that take place in the match and call out: “Double Cap!” when 4 doubles have been recorded and the match is over, with both fencers disqualified.

See the Score Keeper’s standardized Score sheet below, at Annex 1.

The Fencer’s Conduct

A Fencer will take his/her position in the designated part (corner) of the ring and will await commands or instructions from the Referee.

When the Referee says “Fencers ready” before each exchange, the fencer must not do anything UNLESS he/she is NOT ready, in which case he/she should signal to the referee by raising his/her hand and calling out verbally.

A Fencer may ONLY begin fighting AFTER he/she has heard the “Start!” command from the Referee.

After hearing the “Stop!” command from the Referee, the fencer MUST stop. Any continuation or new action of attack after “Stop!” will receive a warning. And if the fencer continues he/she may be disqualified.

After the judge calls “Stop!” both fencers must go to their starting/marked positions and may not leave them until given permission from the judge. (i.e. fencers can't chat with each other or do other things, while the judge is deliberating the call).

The ONLY actions a fencer should do after stop is to BACK AWAY slowly, facing the opponent, to confirm that the opponent has also heard the “Stop!” command. If NOT, the fencer is allowed to DEFEND, but only to DEFEND, while backing away.

After “Stop!” the fencer will wait for the Referee to deliberate and give his/her decision and score.

Only AFTER hearing THE SCORE, the fencer may Protest. 

The Protest is a tool that the fencer has to contest the Referee’s decision if the fencer considers the Referee did not see correctly what happened.

To Protest, a fencer must raise his/her hand and CLEARLY SAY: “Protest!”, sufficiently loud so that the Referee hears it.

If the Referee allows the fencer to speak, the fencer may explain what he thinks happened in the exchange as opposed to what the Referee said happened.

The Referee may then ACCEPT the Protest and change the score, or DENY it.

If the Referee DENIES the Protest, the fencer must stop contesting the exchange and has no recourse left.

However, the fencer is allowed to Protest as many times as he/she wants per match. Even after every exchange if he/she deems it necessary.

More importantly, the fencer can Protest AGAINST himself or herself. Informing the Referee that he missed a hit that the fencer felt. Or that the referee saw a hit to a higher scoring target as a hit to a lower scoring target.

We recommend all fencers act honorably at all times and use Protest in such a manner.

A fencer may also raise his/her hand and call out “GEAR CHECK!” or “MEDICAL!” if he/she notices that one of his/her gear pieces is falling off or is otherwise improper or if he/she is having medical difficulties. This also applies to the other fencer!

Match Scoring

Within the internal year-long competition or in case of an event with a tournament, where pools are organized, each match will be scored as follows:

5 points        => Flawless Victory (fencer won by Victory Cap WITHOUT getting hit, without getting any negative scores)

4 points         => Clear Victory (fencer won by Victory Cap but got hit and had negative scores too)

3 points         => Victory (fencer won by score difference, but his final score was between 0 and 45 hitpoints)

2 points         => Draw

1 point         => Loss

0 points        => Double Failure (match was lost by making 4 doubles).

Gear Required To Participate[1]

  • Fencing mask (FIE level 2 recommended)
  • Back-of-head protection (occipital overlay), specialised for HEMA
  • Gorget (neck protection), RIGID, specialised for HEMA
  • Gambeson (fencing jacket) adequate for STEEL sparring
  • Plastic chest protector (worn under gambeson) OR leather chest protector (worn over the gambeson)
  • Elbow protection, specialised for HEMA
  • Adequate forearm protection, specialised for HEMA[2] 
  • Gloves adequate for HEMA and STEEL sparring (Red Dragon not allowed)[3]
  • Hard shell groin protector for the men.
  • Minimum 350N (foam) padded fencing pants, specialised for HEMA or sufficiently safe hips and thigh protection (like a thick leather “skirt” or apron)
  • Adequate knee protection, specialised for HEMA
  • Adequate shin protection, specialised for HEMA

Attention! Custom gear or gear produced by a vendor which is not recognized internationally in the HEMA community for its quality and safety can NOT be used, unless approved by the organizers.

IWHA Cup Organisation And Match Planning 

Iron Will HEMA Academy hosts its own yearly internal competition called the “IWHA Cup”.

The purpose of the IWHA Cup is to have an x-ray of the level of skill and technique of each fighter that is part of the club, relative to the rest of the fighters, in the course of one study year (a Season).  

Also, the purpose of the IWHA Cup is to serve as motivation for each fighter to improve his/her level of technique as well as to familiarize him/her with competition mentality, with a view to participate in competitions that are external to the club (regional, national or international).

Each IWHA Cup Edition lasts for approximately 1 year.

It starts at the beginning of October (1st training session in October) and is finished at the end of August next year (the last training session in August). The month of September is used for processing results, announcing the Champion and other administrative tasks that might be needed.

Everyone that joins the club and comes to training is taken into account and registered in the IWHA Cup automatically. If new members appear during the course of one Edition, they will be added, from the moment they have joined. But they must be aware that they might not be able to win the Cup, due to other fighters having played more matches than them!

Being registered in the Cup does NOT mean that the person in question HAS TO participate in the Cup and fight duels. This decision belongs entirely to the person in question, during each Edition, as will be explained below.

The matches in the IWHA Cup ARE NOT planned in advanced!


Any person that is automatically registered in the Cup has the possibility, if willing, to Challenge to a Duel, within any regular IWHA training session, any other person automatically registered in the Cup.

These Challenges are made at the beginning of the training session, AFTER THE WARM-UP, publicly, in the following manner: the Challenger goes to the IWHA Instructor self-delegated as Clerk for that particular training session and asks him/her to accompany the Challenger to issue a Challenge. The Challenger then proceeds to go to the person he/she wishes to challenge and, with the Clerk in tow, publicly issues the Challenge.

There can only be ONE Clerk per training session!

The time-frame to issue Challenges is decided by the Clerk present in the room.

He will announce the beginning of the window of time in which Challenges are accepted by clearly and loudly saying, after the warm-up is complete:
“We are now accepting Challenges!” 

When he deems sufficient time has passed (2-3 minutes rule of thumb), he will again clearly and loudly say:
“No longer accepting Challenges!” 

The person that is Challenged to a Duel has the right to Refuse the Challenge, in the presence of the Challenger and Clerk. If this happens, the Clerk will take note of the Refusal and later write it in the special document for keeping track of Refusals.

If a person Refuses a Challenge from the same Challenger three (3) times, not necessarily in a row, the person in question loses the right to participate in the current Edition of the IWHA Cup anymore.

The same is true for a person that
refuses 6 challenges in a row, regardless of the person that challenged them.

*Note that: 6 Refusals “in a row” does not mean in consecutive training sessions, by calendar date, but consecutive sessions at which the person that refuses was actually, physically present at training. In other words, if a person participates at 5 consecutive training sessions and Refuses a Challenge to Duel in each of these training sessions, then skips the next training session (is absent), this does not reset the Refusal streak. At the next training session at which the person is present, if he/she refuses another Challenge, the sanction will be applied.


The person that suffers such a sanction (losing the right to participate in the current edition of the IWHA Cup) is considered to have
RETROACTIVELY cancelled ALL the matches, with ALL the other active IWHA Cup participants, with the matches being scored as a Draw (2 points for each match, for both fencers), regardless of the actual score that was registered in the matches or if the person that was disqualified from the current edition of the IWHA Cup or the other fencer had won said matches, made a draw or had any other results.

Attention! If a participant voluntarily decides to leave the current Edition of the IWHA Cup OR if a participant is eliminated from the current Edition of the IWHA Cup at the decision of the IWHA Administration (for example for disciplinary reasons for violence), the person in question will be dealt with in the same manner as above (all matches cancelled retroactively, as a draw).

A person that is not present in the training hall after the Warm-up is complete can NOT be Challenged to a duel.

A programmed, “in advance” duel can NOT be proposed to the Clerk. An exception to this rule exists below.

In the IWHA Cup, only one (1) direct match between 2 persons is possible. Once 2 persons have set up a match and it has taken place, none of them may challenge the other, within the same Edition of the Cup. For a new Duel, they must wait for the next Edition. 

Each match in the IWHA Cup lasts for 1 round of 3 minutes ACTUAL FIGHTING TIME.

Actual fighting time means that the timer is stopped when the Referee deliberates, gives the score and during any other administrative actions. The timer runs only from when the Referee says “Start!” until the Referee says “Stop!”.

Because of time constraints, the Clerk will approve or reject a Challenge to Duel, in the order that these Challenges have been presented to him.

As a rule of thumb, there can usually be only
2 IWHA Cup matches per training session, in the last hour of the training session, which is dedicated to Sparring.

This approval or rejection takes place in those minutes in which the Clerk is accepting Challenges. So the first 2 Challengers and their adversaries that get to the Clerk in time will receive the fighting slots for their matches (if there are no other causes to lead to rejection like medical issues or other cases of force majeure).

In principle, all other challenges after the first 2 are automatically rejected. BUT, if the Clerk discovers that there is enough time left at the end of the training session, he/she may invite the next Challengers in line to fight.

This implies that the Challengers in question (that didn’t catch the first 2 match slots) are already geared up when the second match is taking place!

Once the first match has started, the participants in the second match should start putting on their gear! (And so on for any number of matches approved by the Clerk. If your match is next in line, you should start putting up your gear immediately as the current match begins!).

Of course, participants in the Duel may start getting ready and put on their gear well in advance and this is quite recommended!

Attention! A person may Challenge or BE Challenged to a Duel only ONCE (1 time) per training session. This is to avoid the possibility of foul play and exploits via the mechanisms of Challenge and Refusal.

If the situation arises that in the same training session, several persons claim that they have issued their Challenge in the Clerk’s presence first, this situation will be resolved amiably. If it can NOT be resolved amiably, the Clerk will approve Duels in alphabetical order, based on the family name of the Challenger. The duels that do not get one of the available slots for that training session will not be held. And they are NOT “reserved” for the next training session. The Challengers in question will have to re-issue their challenge at the next training session.

In the exceptional cases in which the 2 available slots per training session are not taken after the Warm-up (because not enough Challenges have been issued), the Clerk will accept accept challenges up to the first 10 minutes of the last hour of the training session (the hour dedicated to Sparring).

In this situation, the persons that have Challenged already for that day or were Challenged (if they exist), are allowed to issue another Challenge or be Challenged again,
BUT only with a different person than their initial match! 

Also, as an exception, the people that were not present in the regular time when the Clerk was accepting Challenges (after Warm-up), may now Challenge or be Challenged.

Attention! When a person comes to training, it is presumed that he/she is fit for fighting and as such, may be challenged to a duel. Serious medical injuries, by their nature, imply recovery without being able to attend training. As for minor injuries they may be either ignored at the participant’s decision or if the person in question for some reason wants to attend training with these minor injuries, but does not want to duel so as to not aggravate them, he/she may resort to the Refusal mechanism and its limits.

Note that the Clerk and Instructors present may DENY participation of a person with minor injuries to a Duel even if he/she accepts the risks and wants to Challenge or accepts a Challenge! The decision is final, cannot be appealed. But does NOT count as a Refusal.

Five (5) documents will be made publicly available for the participants in the IWHA Cup (possibly separate or part of the same document like a Google Sheet):

- 1 document with the up-to-date ranking of all participants and other stats

- 1 document listing the matches that have been played, to the present moment
- 1 document listing the matches that each person has left to play, to the present moment

- 1 document showing the refusals to accept a Duel Challenge, tracked for each individual person

- 1 document showing the chronology of refusals

In this last document, there will be recorded:

- the date of the Refusal

- the name of the Challenger

- the name of the Challenged

- number of Refusals Suffered by Challenger FROM Challenged So Far

In the document showing the refusals to accept a Duel Challenge, tracked for each individual person, there will be a grid pairing each fencer in the Cup to every other fencer. In the field where the column and rows intersect for each pair, the number of refusals by one to the other will be marked. When it reaches 3, that fencer will be disqualified from the Cup. Another, separate column to this grid will mark the total number of refusals for each fencer, regardless of pairing. When this field reaches 6, the fencer will be disqualified from the Cup.


Once a match has been approved in a particular training session and has actually taken place, the Clerk will write down in the document listing the matches that have been played, to the present moment (at least) the following:

- the date at which the match took place

- who were the fighters (including Challenger and Challenged status)

- the final score in match

- the type of result for the match (Flawless Victory, Clear Victory, Victory, Draw, Loss, Double Failure)

The document listing the matches that each person has left to play, to the present moment will then be updated. It consists of a first row with all the fencer’s names introduced column by column, followed by the names of each fencer that must be fought by the fencer whose name is in the first row (all other fencers than him/her).

Finally, the document with all the participants ranking and stats will be updated to reflect the changes after the match.

In this ranking document (apart from the total number of points accumulated for all the match result types, matches played, number of each type of match results), there will also be the following statistical columns for each fencer:

- “Total Number of Doubles”
- “Total Number of Afterblows Participated In (giver and receiver)”
- “Total Number of Afterblows (giver and receiver) AND Doubles Participated In”
- “% Percentage of Doubles out of Total Number of Exchanges Participated In”
- “% Percentage of Afterblows out of Total Number of Exchanges Participated In”
- “% Percentage of Afterblows (giver and receiver) AND Doubles out of Total Number of Exchanges Participated In”
- “Total Number of Exchanges Participated In”

- “Total Clean Hits Or Actions”;

- “Total Clean Head Hits”;

- “Total Clean Torso Hits OR Other 3 Point Actions”

- “Total Clean Hand Or Leg Hits”

- “Total Hits or Actions Suffered (Clean AND Afterblows AND Doubles)”;

- “Total Head Hits Suffered (Clean AND Afterblows AND Doubles)”;

- “Total Torso Hits OR Other 3 Point Actions Suffered (Clean AND Afterblows AND Doubles)”

- “Total Hand or Leg Hits Suffered (Clean AND Afterblows AND Doubles)”;

Apart from these (digital) documents, the IWHA Administration will also store the physical Score Sheets used for the official IWHA Cup matches (see Annex 1 below). In case any check-ups or reviews are needed in the future.

At the end of an IWHA Cup Edition, the final ranking will be decided by the following criteria, in order of importance:

1. Total number of match result type points earned at the end of the current edition of the cup. 

NOTE: if at the end of the current edition of the cup, the number of matches played is UNEQUAL between all fencers, for every unplayed match of each fencer, a default 2 points (draw) score will be allocated automatically. For any person disqualified from the league or that has left the league voluntarily, the same 2 points will be allocated RETROACTIVELY for ALL the matches played by that fencer against any other fencer until the time of disqualification or withdrawal. 

2. If all of the above are equal, the number of Victories.

3. If all of the above are equal, the number of Flawless Victories.

4. If all of the above are equal, the number of Clear Victories.

5. If all of the above are equal, the person with the SMALLEST percentage of Double Failures out of all the matches fought, ranks higher.

6. If all of the above are equal, the person with the most Total Clean Hits Or Actions ranks higher.

7. If all of the above are equal, the person with the LEAST Total Hits or Actions Suffered (Clean AND Afterblows AND Doubles) ranks higher.

8. If all of the above are equal, the Total Clean Head Hits, Total Clean Torso Hits OR Other 3 Point Actions, Total Clean Hand Or Leg hits numbers are compared. The person with the most ranks higher.

9. If all of the above are equal, the Total Head Hits Suffered (Clean AND Afterblows AND Doubles), Total Torso Hits OR Other 3 Point Actions Suffered (Clean AND Afterblows AND Doubles), Total Hand or Leg Hits Suffered (Clean AND Afterblows AND Doubles) numbers are compared. The person with the LEAST ranks higher. 

Good luck with your Duels!


[1] Beginner Level students that do not own all the gear required will receive it from the club if they want to participate.

[2] Extra forearm protection is not required for those fencers that own internationally recognized HEMA gloves that feature in-built forearm protection (example: "Sparring Gloves with Extended Cuffs").

[3] Gloves that are designed for steel sparring and are accepted in international competitions (Swordfish, Longpoint etc.) must be used. Non-exhaustive examples: Sparring Gloves, Koning Glove/St. Mark or SPES. If in doubt, ask the organizers in advance.

ANNEX 1

SCORE SHEET

Match number: ……………….                                 Date: ……………….

Fencer names: A ……………………………………  vs. B ……………………………………

Doubles:

☐   ☐   ☐   ☐

     Fencer A (color: …………………..)                 Fencer B (color: …………………..)

                               Starting score: 30                                                 Starting score: 30

Current Exchange

Current Total Score

Current Exchange

Current Total Score