Introducing the inaugural HEMA tournament for

Columbus Saber Academy and the Ohio River Valley League

Our goal for the event is to present an environment that supports the personal growth of the fighter, as well as the growth of our HEMA community throughout the region.

To support that goal and as part of the first place award for each tournament, CSA will pay the winner’s registration fees for their next ORVL event!

Good luck to all our competitors!


  • Initial Registration – All Participants: $25
  • Tournament Registrations – Longsword and Sabre: $20 each event
  • Event T-Shirt: $20
  • Event Patch: $5
  • On-Site Professional Portrait: $5
  • Group Dinner @ CSA on Saturday Night: $10

Register Here!

The longsword and sabre tournaments will follow the same general structure (details outlined in the sections below):

  • Progressive tiered pools with eliminations
  • 20’x20′ rings with four (4) line judges and a director
  • 3min continuous fight clock
  • Head and torso strikes are worth 2 points
  • Arm or leg strikes are worth 1 point
  • Points awarded during each exchange will include any valid in-tempo after-blow actions
  • First fighter to 5 points or time expiration
  • Strikes must of be good quality to be awarded – excessive force is not allowed and insufficient contact will not be awarded
  • Take-downs are NOT allowed
  • Final match score will be determined through a point differential scoring system – the expectation is that this scoring model will promote and reward proper defensive actions and discourage simultaneous strikes (i.e. don’t get hit, hit your opponent, don’t get hit back)
  • Fighter elimination and advancement to next round of pools will be based on sum of point-differential scores after matches are complete within each pool

Example of Point Differential Scoring: If fighter A wins the match 5-2, fighter A will receive 3 points for that match, fighter B will receive 0 points for that match


All fighters will present themselves and their equipment to the equipment inspector prior to the beginning of the tournament for compliance inspection and approval. Loaner gear MAY be available, we recommend contacting us in advance if you need something.


  • All weapons will be inspected for “fit for use”, including acceptable amount of flex
  • Tips should be rolled OR covered with plastic/leather/rubber blunt
  • Blades should be free of nicks and burrs that would tear fabric or skin
  • Fighters wishing to use a sword not on this list must inquire with us at least one week before the tournament date – the tournament staff and administration will not review off-brand/off-model weapons on-site at the tournament unless previous arrangements have been made

Approved makers and models for Sabre:

  • Regenyei
  • Darkwood
  • Castille Armory
  • Alchem
  • Arms & Armour
  • SGT
  • Viktor Berbekucz (VB)
  • Kvetun Armory
  • Ensifer

Approved makers and models for Longsword:

  • Regenyei Feders
  • Pavel Moc Feders
  • Ensifer Feders
  • Chlebowski Feders
  • Albion Meyer (longsword)
  • Arms & Armor Fechterspiel or Fechtbuch Sword
  • Comfort Fencing “Dobringer” Feders
  • Neyman Fencing Feders
  • Castille Armory Feders
  • Blackhorse Blades Feders
  • Viktor Berbekucz Feders
  • Kvetun Armoury Feders


  • 3-weapon mask in good condition with no discernible rusting, breaches of the mesh, tongue, or bib. The mask must completely cover the participant’s ears and be neither too large nor small to snugly fit the competitor. Other headgear (i.e. steel helmets) will be allowed pending inspection for similar criteria as above.
  • Some form of rigid neck protection that covers the larynx must be worn.
  • Fighters must wear gloves or gauntlets which protect the hand, fingers, and the portion of the wrist nearest the hand. Gauntlets that are used without the added coverage of a protective hilt must have rigid or heavy protection on the hands and fingers. Unpadded gloves alone are not sufficient.
  • Groin protection is mandatory for men, and strongly recommended for women. Rigid chest protection is highly recommended for all participants.
  • Fighters must wear a padded jacket that completely covers the torso, back, and arms. Fencing jackets or padded reproduction gambesons are recommended. Unpadded jackets (such as the JF fencing jacket) must have a padded undershirt.
  • Use of rigid elbow and knee protection is mandatory. The protection must completely cover the knee and elbow.
  • Fighters must wear some kind of enclosed toe footwear. Historical reproduction footwear is acceptable, as are “five fingers” style shoes.
  • Rigid or equivalent of 8oz hardened leather shin/forearm protection is mandatory for the weapon arm and both legs.



The Director starts and stops the fight, communicates with the fighters, ensures all participants are ready, controls safety in the ring, and interprets the Line Judges’ calls for the Scorekeeper and the audience. The Director may also overrule the Line Judges in some situations. The Director may halt action for any reason including grappling stalemates, immediate safety hazards, injuries, equipment failures, Ring-Outs, or any other reason. 

The Director is the final authority in the ring and will coordinate with the other ring officials to resolve any problems or issues arising from concerns of the competitors and may call point if they feel the judges have missed a call.

All competitors, coaches, and spectators will obey the Director at all times. Violations of this rule are punishable by ejection from the tournament and/or the venue.

Line Judges

The role of the Line Judges is to observe, identify, and indicate valid scoring techniques performed by the competitors in accordance with the tournament rules.

There will be four (4) Line Judges for each match. They will each have a red baton and a blue baton. At no point should anyone but the Fight Table or Director address the Line Judges or otherwise communicate with them. Any fighter or coach attempting to communicate directly with the Line Judges will receive a warning.

During a match Line Judges will call “POINT” when they witness a valid scoring technique during the match. Line Judges will position their batons or flags to indicate votes after the director calls “HALT”

  • Abstain/Nothing Seen (0 pts) – batons crossed low in an “X” pattern.
  • No Quality (0 pts) – Action was seen but did not have quality – batons crossed in an “X” pattern in front of the face
  • Scoring Action – Fighter(s) performed a scoring action/after-blow with quality. The baton(s) of the correct color fighter will be raised straight overhead for head or torso hits, or out horizontally for arm or leg hits

Fight Table

The Fight Table assists in organizing the queue of fighters for the ring, designates colors, fields any ring-specific questions from the fighters, tracks the time and action of the match, and updates the scores as reported.


Fighters are expected to conduct themselves in a mature and sportsmanlike manner throughout the tournament. There will be no derogatory insulting, back-talk, or baiting of other fighters, coaches, Director, Line Judges, staff, or spectators by any fighter or coach during the tournament.

Fighters must report to the ring when called and may be attended by a coach. The coach may enter the ring when invited by the Director but must otherwise stay outside of the ring and may not interfere with the Line Judges, Director, other fighters, or any tournament staff. The coach is expected to help the fighter with any needs that may come up during the match.

Bout Logistics

Sequence of Actions

  1. Gear check will occur prior to the start of each event
  2. Fight Table will announce the scheduled fighters as well as the names of those fighting in the following bout (e.g., “On deck”)
  3. Fighters competing in the bout must check in with the Fight Table to verify names and color assignments
  4. Fighters will enter the ring, dressed to compete, and take positions at the starting markers in accordance with their assigned colors following a pre-fight gear check
  5. The Director will invite the fighters forward to shake hands or touch swords at the center of the ring
  6. Fighters must begin each exchange with their weapons in their hands and all equipment up to the standards given in Required Equipment, above
  7. The Director will ask the Fight Table, Line Judges, and Fighters if ready and then signal “FIGHT” to begin the bout
  8. If the fighters are not engaging each other the Director will start a verbal ten (10) count-down at their discretion
  9. Upon witnessing a valid scoring technique, Line Judges will call “POINT”, Director will call “HALT”, and fighters will stop and return to their starting marks
  10. The Director will then request Line Judges to semaphore for the appropriate quality scoring actions by calling “Judges?”.
  11. The Director will then resume the fight by asking “Fighters ready?” and then “Fight” to signal the resumption of competition
  12. If a fighter steps out of the ring with both feet (a “Ring-Out”), Director will call “HALT” and request fighters to reset to starting marks and no points will be awarded
  13. Any means of intentionally delaying the action during a bout are forbidden and violators may be given a yellow card or an Administrative Warning at Director’s discretion. Examples include, but are not limited to, walking slowly back to the corner between exchanges, communication with anyone outside the ring that delays action, excessive celebration, etc
  14. The Fight Table will announce when 1 minute, and then 30 seconds, remain, and will call “Final Exchange” when time reaches zero if an exchange is in progress
  15. A “Final Exchange” call will extend the action until natural resolution
  16. The Fight Table will announce the winner, and the Director will reiterate
  17. Fighters should proceed back to the Fight Table to return arm bands
  18. The Fight Table will then call the next competitors into the ring

Equipment Failure during a Bout

In the event that competitor-provided equipment fails in some way during a bout, the Director will call a “Safety Halt” The Director will assess the equipment failure. The match may resume immediately if the issue can be corrected immediately. Fighters who have frequent equipment issues (three or more in a bout) or whose equipment issues take longer than 1 minute to resolve (cumulative across all issues within a bout) may be penalized with a yellow or red card (Director’s discretion).

Safety Halts

After any safety halt (ring-out, equipment failure, or grapple ten (10) count), the Director will ask the judges if there was any scoring action before the halt. If there was none, then the fighters will reset to their corners.  The fight will then resume.

Injuries during a Bout

Fighters must act in a prudent and reasonable manner at all times in order to avoid injury to themselves, their opponents, tournament staff, and spectators. Any fighter who acts in an unsafe or malicious manner may receive a red card or be disqualified from further participation in the tournament at the discretion of the Tournament Administrators.

No fighter, coach, or spectator will enter the arena to assist with an injury unless called for by the Director or Tournament Administrators.

If a fighter injures his opponent to such an extent that he is unable to continue participating in the tournament following a five (5) minute recovery period, the bout will be recorded as “incomplete due to injury”. In evaluating such cases, the Director and will ask the injured party if he can continue; however, the ultimate decision to allow the injured fighter rests with the Director, Tournament Administrators, and the on-site medical personnel.

If the competitor later feels they are able to complete the match, AND if opportunity exists within the tournament schedule, as determined by the Tournament Administrators, the completion of the match will be allowed. If for any reason the match cannot be completed, it will be recorded as a Loss for the injured participant.

In all cases of injury, the judges and tournament administrator will make an assessment as to whether the injury was inflicted maliciously. A fighter who injures his opponent maliciously shall be disqualified from the tournament.

Injury inflicted on any other party (Director, judges, administrative staff, spectators), accidental or otherwise, may result in disqualification, depending on the circumstances and at the discretion of the Tournament Administrator in conference with the match Director and the match Line Judges.

Penalties (Cards)

The Director may assess penalty points to a competitor, after a warning, for any disallowed technique.

  • Yellow Card: first time a fighter uses a disallowed technique or intentionally strikes an unapproved target area, the Director shall issue a penalty warning
  • Second Yellow Card: the infraction is repeated, the Director may disqualify the fighter from the match
  • Red Card: gross misconduct, example – intentionally endangering competitors, you may be given a red card and immediately disqualified from the match or the event

In the event that the Director, in conference with the Line Judges, determines that a competitor has egregiously and intentionally used one or more disallowed techniques, the Director may escalate such penalties immediately to point penalties (second yellow card) or disqualification (red card). Fighters who are identified by the Tournament Administrators as consistently using disallowed techniques across multiple matches may be ejected from the tournament.


In the event of a disqualified from a Match, the disqualified fighter’s scores will reflect losing every exchange in that match.

If a fighter is Disqualified from the Tournament, every exchange they already completed, and are scheduled for, will be recorded as a loss and their opponents get the win.

We do not want to see anyone get disqualified, from either a match or the tournament as we are all friends and competitors, but we will not tolerate intentionally breaking the rules or endangering other competitors.

To be Awarded during an Exchange

  • At least two (2) Judges (including the Director) must agree that a fighter 1) hit their opponent with quality to a valid target area, 2) presented a pommel strike or point attack during a grapple, or 3) disarmed their opponent
  • Any scoring during a grapple must occur within a verbal 5-count by the director
  • An after-blow to be awarded if delivered with quality to a valid target area within tempo of the initiating action.
  • “With Quality” is defined as an attack delivered with sufficient authority, force, stability, balance, and poise. This does not mean that the blow needs to be “hard”. To earn this point the fighter must be in full control of his/her movement―balanced or grounded, not stumbling, falling, or wildly lunging.
  • Cuts must travel approximately 45 degrees or more and strike the target with obvious intent. The blow must hit with the weak of the weapon. Light snips that travel little distance, lazy blows, and strikes with the strong or flat will not score points
  • Any touch with the point with forward motion of the blade (motion towards the opponent with the point) that obviously makes contact – bending the blade is not necessary
  • Drawing cuts must be clearly demonstrated, drawing or pushing at least half the length of the blade
  • Blows that are sloppy, wild, twist in the strike, or otherwise fail to show authoritative control, angle, and blade presence.
  • Weak blows made blindly against an opponent in a grapple, such as “wrap shots” around the opponent’s back or over one’s own shoulder with the back edge.
  • Strikes that ever-so-barely scrape an opponent’s clothing or mask but make no significant contact.
  • Blows made wildly from “Hail-Mary” leaps, rolls, stumbles, etc. If it does look like it would have hit with presence and placement, it should not be awarded a point.

Allowed and Disallowed Targets and Techniques

  • The point and edge are valid striking surfaces of the sword over the entire target area
  • Invalid target areas include the groin, back of the head, neck, and spine
  • Pommel strikes are only valid when delivered to the mask during a grapple situation and should be presented only or delivered with minimal force
  • Short edge rising strikes are valid, as are all short edge and true edge techniques, providing there is good edge alignment and sufficient force/movement
  • Striking with the cross of the sword is forbidden, including punching with the cross and “mortschlag” type techniques
  • Blade grabbing is allowed provided the weapon’s energy has dissipated or the weapon is generally static.  For example, grabbing a blade immediately upon parrying is acceptable; grabbing a blade as it executes a cut is not. Grabbing a thrusting blade is acceptable provided the grab is performed in fashion consistent with the thrust. Judges have discretion in determining whether a blade-grab has been performed or whether to score a hit against the grabber for the blade contact.
  • Fighters who lose their weapon for any reason before, during, or immediately after a strike are considered disarmed and do not score a point although fighters may discard their weapons when performing grappling techniques with no penalty
  • Fighters who fall to the ground repeatedly will be warned and then penalized as with other disallowed techniques. If the Director perceives that a fighter is falling to the ground to exploit the rule against hitting fallen opponents, he/she will be penalized immediately and may forfeit the match at the Director’s discretion. The opponent is “on the ground” when any part of his/her torso, hips, head, or shoulders touch the ground.
  • Intentionally striking a fallen or incapacitated opponent is forbidden. Opponents on the ground are already considered down and points will be awarded appropriately. 
  • Throwing the sword, or other equipment is forbidden
  • Grappling actions will be halted once the Line Judges or Director identify a scoring technique or after a verbal 5-count, whichever comes first. 
  • Only “straight” kicks above the waist and below the neck are allowed. Kicks are not scoring techniques but may be used to set up follow-on techniques to create space, or to push an opponent out of bounds.
  • Closed-fist punches are forbidden, only open-palm strikes, “straight-arms”, pushes, traps, and checks are allowed (though non-scoring) although fighters wearing metal gauntlets may not strike with their hands in any fashion; violators will be penalized at the director’s discretion.
  • Submission grappling techniques whose inherent nature is serious injury (fractured bones, dislocated joints, suffocation, and the like) MUST be stopped short of full application by the competitors. Failure to do so will result in ejection from the tournament.
  • Throwing or takedowns of your opponent are not allowed
  • Neck-wrenching and small-joint manipulation techniques are forbidden.
  • At no point shall action continue after a fighter is down.
  • There is no ground fighting. Ground fighting will result in Disqualification.