WBC Rules 2018

NOTE: These Rules are a work in progress, and may change before the Event.



  1. Authority to interpret these rules will reside in the Chief Stickler.


  1. Weapons must be judged safe by the Head Stickler, with all sharp edges, points and burrs removed. If a point is considered too pointy, it must be covered by a rubber blunt.


  1. Weapons must be British civilian or military style weapons c.1600-1900 suitable for fencing in the documented style of “English Backsword,” “Highland Broadsword” or “British Military Swordsmanship”. This includes backswords, broadswords, sheering swords, spadroons, or military sabres, or any Regulation pattern military swords used during the 19th Century. Other styles of weapons – Spanish style cup-hilts, Renaissance cut-and-thrust swords, medieval crosshilts or hand-and-a-half swords – which may indeed be documented in British use during this period, are nonetheless not permitted. (Schiavonas, due to their ubiquitousness, are allowed, although we ask that you do not finger the cross, but wield it hammer-grip, as with a broadsword.)


  1. All parts of the body are considered valid targets.


  1. Suitable defensive armour must be worn, consisting of:
    Fencing Mask or equivalent with back-of-head protection.

Gorget for the neck.

Solid vambrace on the sword arm.

Elbow protection on the sword arm.

Solid or padded protection for the body.

Knee and lower leg protection for at least the forward leg.

The sword hand must be gloved, if the sword has a basket or shell to protect it.

If the sword hilt is less protective – for example, a simple knucklebow – the sword hand must be suitably armoured.


  1. Any Stickler may at any time stop a combat if they consider that one or both of the Players to be fighting dangerously, to be contravening these rules or be using any item of equipment that is unsafe.


  1. Any Player may refuse to enter into or continue combat, and need not specify a reason for doing so to the other Player.


  1. Any Player known or suspected of being under the influence of any intoxicating drug (including alcohol) will be barred from taking part in combat.


  1. No one shall interfere in a combat in which they are not involved.


  1. The overriding concern throughout the Tournament is to encourage and reward Skill, Chivalry and Showmanship in equal measure. Swordsmanship is as much about character as it is about combat, and your conduct on the field is at least as important as you prowess.


To this end, any conduct deemed Brutal, Boring or Cowardly may result in penalties or disqualification.




  1. Each bout will last for 3 minutes, or until one Player has reached 5 Points. The Stickler responsible for timing the bouts shall only pause the stopwatch in the event of a major disruption (such as equipment failure) that requires the bout be temporarily suspended.


  1. The cuts and thrusts must not be given too heavily; hard hitting does not constitute good play. Especial care should be taken when attacking more vulnerable parts, such as legs.


  1. Trifling or scurfing blows or thrusts shall, at the pleasure of the Sticklers, be disallowed.


  1. For each effective blow or thrust on any part of the body, the Player shall receive one Point.


  1. Players are expected to loudly acknowledge any hits received, tapping the part struck. This is partially for the benefit of spectators, in the interest of making the Broadsword Championship an enjoyable and entertaining spectacle.


Should a Player not acknowledge a hit, but strike their opponent instead, the blow shall be considered a foul and they shall receive a warning.


If they do so again, they shall have a Point awarded against them in addition to the Point scored for the hit.


In the third instance, the match shall be awarded against them, regardless of the Points accumulated.


  1. Players are expected to deny any hit they have made on their opponent that they knew to be of poor quality (misaligned edge, snagged only clothing, etc).


  1. If both Players are hit at the same time, and neither is found at fault, the hit shall count to neither.


  1. If both Players are hit at the same time, and one is obviously and clearly at fault, a Point shall be awarded against the at-fault party.


Reasons for being found at-fault include;


– Counterattacking without attempting a defence


– Attacking in such as way as to give no thought to personal safety (for example, diving deeply at the lower legs)


– Redoubling an attack when it is not safe to do so, and at the same time be hit by the riposte of their opponent


  1. After a hit is effected, both Players must retire to guard at their starting marks, out of distance. Should either strike their opponent before coming to guard, such a blow is a foul and they shall have a Point awarded against them.


  1. In recognition that sword fighting is an inherently dangerous activity, if injury should occur as part of the normal rough and tumble of combat, no penalty shall be awarded against the Player responsible.


  1. If a Player is disabled, or their play in any way impeded by the injury caused by excessive brutality, the party who has given it must be disqualified at once, as it is obviously wrong that they should be allowed to continue playing under an advantage caused by their own brutality.


  1. If one should disarm their opponent, or if the opponent should lose their weapon by accident, it counts of a Point against them.


  1. Disarms and grapples are permitted; however, if after 5 seconds no advantage has been gained, the Sticklers may cry “Break!’ and end the combat. If the grapple is dynamic, however, the Stickler may choose to let it continue longer.


  1. A Player will gain one Point should their opponent move out of the bouting area during a round. Physically pushing or shoving the opponent out of the bouting area likewise counts as a disarm and scores a Point.


  1. In any individual match, a Player who continually retreats from combat in order to deny their opponent a chance to score shall receive a warning for being Cowardly.


If they continue they will receive a second warning and have a Point awarded against them.


In the third instance, the match shall be awarded against them, regardless of the Points accumulated.


  1. In any individual match, a Player who refuses to initiate combat when it is appropriate to do so shall receive a warning for being Boring.


If they continue they will receive a second warning and have a Point awarded against them.


In the third instance, the match shall be awarded against them, regardless of the Points accumulated.


  1. In addition to the above specific rules, the Sticklers may penalise any conduct they deem Brutal, Boring or Cowardly, either by awarding a Point against them, awarding of the Match against them, or disqualification, depending on the seriousness of the offence.


  1. For Junior Players, for every Year of School or Age difference (whichever is greater) between the Players, the junior of the pair will be awarded ¾ Point advantage for every year, rounded up to the nearest ½ point. For example, if a 13 year old in Year 7 is fighting a 14 year old from Year 9, they will be awarded a 1½ Point advantage. If the 13 year old in Year 7 is fighting a 17 year old from Year 12, they will be awarded 4 Point advantage.


  1. If at the end of a Match both Players scores are tied, a one-point sudden-death tie-breaker shall be played, during which double hits are to be ignored.


  1. For the purposes of determining total scores got the Finals, Rankings shall be arranged by total Matches won, then fewest Points incurred.


  1. Double Hits shall be recorded during the course of the Tournament. In the event of tied scores or rankings when determining playoffs for the Finals, the Player with the fewest Double Hits accumulated shall be given a ½ Point bonus for the purposes of Ranking.