Tag Archives: referee

New Tournament: Noblesville HS Fencing Club Invitational

I received an email from the Noblesville HS Fencing Coach about a tournament coming up next week. This will be their second annual fencing invitational, and the event will be on Friday, May 17. Here are the details:

General Information – Competition is open to any high school fencer between the ages of 14 and 19. Students may fence 1 or 2 blades. The competition will be single elimination because of limited time. The fencing program has grown steadily over the past few years, however they do not have any electric scoring equipment. This will be a “dry” tournament (so all you will need is your practice equipment). Schools/teams entering are asked to supply 2-3 fencers to officiate bouts. Concessions will be available. All proceeds will go to fund the Noblesville HS Fencing Club and cover awards.

Date/Time/Location – Friday, May 17, 2013 starting at 4:30 pm. Competition will take place at the Noblesville High School Freshman Campus Gym located at 1625 Field Drive, Noblesville, IN 46060 (see map below).

Registration – Fencers must complete and submit the attached entry form. There is not entry fee, but spectators will be charged $2 for admission. Any student may enter at no cost with a student ID. All entries are due no later than May 14, 2013 (Mail your form to the address noted above or email directly to the club sponsor). All questions can be directed to the club sponsor, Cathy Dwyer, cathy_dwyer@nobl.k12.in.us.

FormsNHS Fencing Invitational Entry Form NHS Fencing Invitational entry form (Excel); NHS Fencing Invitational Entry Form (Word)


Tournament Basics

When it came time for a tournament, I always got a little more anxious than normal anticipating the bouts ahead. Here are some tips (gathered from personal experiences) for preparing for a fencing tournament.


Prior to the tournament

Day of the tournament

  • Eat a light breakfast at least 90 minutes before fencing starts. You should never start your day nor a tournament on an empty stomach.
  • Report on time and get suited up quickly. Even better, come already dressed to fence. At check-in you will learn which strip to report to first for your first round of bouts.
  • While checking in have your mask inspected (this is a requirement). Fencing with a mask that has not been inspected will cost you a red card. Masks are tested with a 12K punch and examined for safety–no holes in bib, rust on mask or dents permitted. If you see gaps in the mesh, use an awl or small screwdriver to re-position the mesh. If you have a dent, tap it out from the inside with the back end of a large screwdriver and hammer.
  • A proper warm-up is critical to good fencing. Give yourself enough time to go through your normal routine of warm-up, stretching and drilling.

Experienced fencers and captains – help your teammates with advice and encouragement when you aren’t fencing. I will also be going around to as many of you as I can to give as much advice as I can.

Before your bout

  • Before your first bout, the Director or Referee will check your weapon to see that the handle and barrel of the tip are not loose, that the tip has two screws, the blade is not rusty, and that the wires of your weapon are glued down properly. Inside the guard the two wires must be covered with spaghetti insulation all the way up to the nut.
  • Before each bout, the Director will test your foil or epee to see that it supports the 750-gram weight. This is to insure that your tip is functioning correctly.
  • The Director will then have you and your opponents test your weapons on each other’s lames. Holding your mask in front of your face, touch your opponent’s lame with your weapon to ensure that all scoring equipment and weapons are functioning correctly.
  • Salute your opponent, salute your Director, and put on your mask. Have fun!

During your bout

  • If you disagree with a director’s or referee’s judgement, you may not protest it, even if it is poor judgement. However, if a rule is misapplied, you may politely lodge a protest. Do not continue to fence until the protest has been dealt with completely. If you continue to fence, you will lose your right to the protest. Have a teammate call me to the strip immediately if there is a rules question.

After your bout

  • Do not wander too far from your strip until all of your bouts for that round have been completed.
  • After the round has been completed, you will await the results to find out who will be advancing and what the strip assignments will be. Between bouts, observe some of the other bouts since everyone is a potential opponent. Take stock of strengths and weaknesses so that you are better prepared when you face that opponent.

Remember to relax and enjoy what you’re doing!

Unofficial Road Trip: Midwest High School Open 2013

We discussed the possibility of traveling to the Midwest High School Open 2013 in Culver, Indiana. Here are the details:

The tournament is open to high school fencers in the Midwest, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan. I have even seen fencers from Minnesota and Pennsylvania at this event, though few and far between since it is a long distance to travel. This year’s tournament will be in Culver, Indiana on Saturday, January 26.

This will be a good opportunity for all of you to get a sneak peek of what a regional fencing tournament is like. Some of the fencers that will be there have USFA ratings. Though the event itself is not rated, it’s always a good opportunity for unrated fencers to see how they would do against rated fencers. To get a look at who is registered and will be competing at the event, go to the tournament event page at askFRED.net. There are several fencers from WLHS attending, so it would be nice to cheer them on and offer some support. 😀

You’ll also get to see how bouts are directed (or refereed) and how scoring and electrical equipment is used. I suspect there may be some questions that you will have while at the tournament, and I will be happy to address them.

The venue is the Steinbrenner Athletic Center at 1300 Academy Road, Culver, Indiana (see map below). There is no fee to view the event, but you should bring pocket money for buying your lunch or pack your own. One of the equipment vendors, Physical Chess, will be there, so if you are hoping to buy another weapon or other gear, bring some extra spending money.

This is not a school-sponsored field trip, so we would just be traveling as a group. You can work out rides amongst yourselves, or we can get an idea of how many want to go and recruit other parents/responsible individuals to drive. I don’t expect to stay for the whole tournament, so let me know if you are more interested in seeing the early rounds (in the morning) or the final rounds (could be early afternoon). I don’t know exactly how late the tournament will go.

Share this information with your parents (or print it out for them) and let me know if you will be coming on this trip. I have included a poll (see below) so that we can get an idea of which of the day the majority wants.

What is Fencing?

Do you have friends and family members who ask you about fencing? Since it’s a sport that you don’t normally find televised on a Monday night, I’m sure that you’ve gotten questions from time to time. If so, pull them in front of the screen, sit them down, and watch the following video put together by the Royal Arts Fencing Academy in Columbus, Ohio:

Any questions?

Our Field of Play: The Piste

In modern fencing, the piste or strip is the playing area. A regulation piste is 14 meters long and between 1.5 and 2 meters wide. This narrow pathway is where all of our fencing activity will take place, and why our movements are so linear in nature.

electric piste

Fencers must be on the strip to score touches. In electric fencing, the strip is grounded so that if a weapon hits the strip, no touch is registered. There is a center line; most scoring equipment will be aligned with the center of the strip, set off to the side. Every bout begins at the on guard or en garde line (located two meters either side of the center line) with a fencer on each side. There are warning areas at the end of each strip two meters before the end of the strip. The President or Referee will halt the action when a fencer passes this line to give him or her a two-meter warning (so named because there are only two meters of strip left). It merely serves to let the fencer know that he or she is nearing the end of the strip.

If a fencer goes off the end of the warning area with both feet, essentially off the strip, the opponent is given a point even if there is no actual hit. Going off the side of the strip with one or both feet halts the fencing action and is penalized by allowing the opponent to advance one meter before being replaced on guard. If the offending fencer would then be replaced behind the rear limit of the strip because of this, a tough is awarded to the opponent. If play is halted for any reason other than stepping off the side of the piste, a fencer may never be replaced on guard behind the rear line.

Once a touch has been scored, fencers begin again at the en garde line and action resumes as directed by the Referee. If no touch is scored but play was halted, the fencers come en garde at the position they were stopped.

The video below shows some of the strips that were set up for the London 2012 Olympics. Strips such as these will not be found at the local, regional or national level. They will most likely be found at international competitions. Enjoy!