The Longpoint Triathlon, the most prestigious award at Longpoint, was introduced in 2013 as a meta-event to recognize those fighters who demonstrate a range of skills and knowledge rather than expertise in one. A fighter who can blast through the Open Longsword eliminations but cannot consistently cut a target with a sharp sword is a great fighter, but is missing an important skill set. Likewise, a fighter who can consistently cut but cannot demonstrate knowledge of the historical sources is missing an equivalent skill set. The Triathlon combines these three events, Longsword, Cutting, and Paired Technique, using a normalized scoring rubric based on the placement of fighters in each event.
Steel Longsword - Cutting - Paired Technique
Each event within the Triathlon can also be entered individually. The rules for Open Steel Longsword, Cutting, and Paired Technique will be posted here in draft form once they are available. Open Steel Longsword rules also cover Women's Steel Longsword.
Steel Longsword - BYOS
In 2012 we had decided to do something a little different from what everyone else was doing—not to be different, but because we felt that we could positively impact the quality of tournament fighting through a custom-built rule set focused on rewarding the behaviors that we, as tournament organizers, wanted to see. Our experimental Longsword rules went over better than we might have anticipated. Fighters and judges responded positively, the internet was kind to us, and other events either used the rules almost completely (Kriegschule, Capitol HEMA Open, Fechtschule New York) or incorporated some of the conventions first used in Longpoint rules (Boston Sword Gathering, Fechtschule America, International Lowlands HEMA Gathering, SoCal Swordfight), just as we had done by borrowing rules and features from Fechtschule America, Swordfish, and the Arts of Mars Worldwide Open Championship. Our goal in designing these rules was to promote and reward safe, “technical” historical fencing without arbitrarily limiting or forbidding the “freestyle” approach to HEMA competition that has become the norm in past years.
Critics bemoan the scarcity of strong technical fencing in competitive HEMA. Apologists have rightly pointed to community skill levels, the developing nature of interpretations, the use of inadequate simulators, and the lack of purpose-made protective equipment. As each of these problems is being solved, we must now turn to the rules that we fence under.
If all targets are worth equal points, and all techniques are judged the same, then it stands to reason that a fencer will opt for the closest target using the simplest technique in order to win. Tournaments are games. Games have rules. In all games, rules are exploited by both sides, and the side that performs the best under the rules’ framework wins. Instead of seeking to prevent “gaming the system,” the Longpoint rules are meant to use gaming the system to promote what we believe is better fencing. More carrot, less stick.
In developing the Longpoint rules we operated on the following assumptions regarding “good technique” as broadly found throughout our interpretations of the historical sources:
- It leads to hitting the opponent without also being hit at the same time or shortly thereafter.
- Movements are measured, balanced, and stable.
- Good technique ultimately leads to a wound to the head or torso.
- Technical skill is best demonstrated by techniques which actively interrupt and control the opponent’s weapon while striking.
We acknowledge that there are other approaches, interpretations, and thoughts on the matter. In the case of Longpoint rules, however, this is what we’re looking for.
Approved Models of Longswords
- Regenyei Feders
- Pavel Moc Feders
- Ensifer Feders
- Mac Arms Feders
- SGT Blades Feders
- Black Horse Feders
- Chlebowski Feders
- Albion Meyer
- Arms & Armor Fechterspiel or Fechtbuch Sword
- Comfort Fencing “Dobringer” Feder
- Darkwood Armory Feders
- Baltimore Sword and Knife Works Feders
- Castille Armory Feders
In 2012, Longpoint held the first HEMA cutting tournament of its kind, one based on a consistently measurable display of comprehensive cutting skills. From that very first tournament, the goal has been to proliferate the practice of cutting throughout the HEMA community in an effort to strengthen the art’s martial focus. Part of that was encouraging people to acquire their own sharp swords.
When planning that first tournament, we knew that few people owned their own sharps, so we approached Albion, who generously provided an extremely expensive longsword not only as a cutting loaner, but as a prize to be given to the winner. They supported not only Longpoint, but other events that followed in our footsteps and held similar tournaments. Their contribution was twofold, first it provided quality weapons for the tournaments, and second, by giving the swords away as prizes, Albion placed swords in the hands of individuals and clubs, giving them a means to practice cutting without the usual cost of entry.
From the start, we knew that this boon would not last forever, and that as the practice of cutting and the desire to compete spread in the community, more and more people would either win their own cutting swords or buy them. For three consecutive Longpoint events, we have provided a loaner sword, but for Longpoint 2015, we will be doing away with that practice. To be clear, there will be no loaner swords provided to anyone. People who do not own their own cutting sword and cannot afford to buy one can still use their club loaner or borrow a sword from a friend. Those concerned about lending a sword should know that the donated Albion longswords have survived multiple cutting tournaments with absolutely no damage. It is our hope that this next step will further encourage people to acquire their own swords.
The standards for swords have not changed from previous years, and are as follows:
- Sturdy construction with a tight hilt.
- Reasonable degree of historical accuracy (no “fantasy” swords).
- Blade length less than 40” from cross (no zweihanders, spadone, etc.).
- Double edged European swords only (no messers, etc.).
- Weapon must be of hand-and-a-half hilt length (i.e. longswords only).
Swords meeting these basic requirements will be examined by the tournament staff before approval on a case-by-case basis. That staff’s decision is final. It is recommended that your sword be extremely sharp. Swords from Albion and Arms & Armor in good shape that meet the above criteria are the most reliable choices.
Paired Technique - BYOS
Tournament fighting competitions can be wonderful tools that pressure test and provide strong feedback for a fighter’s interpretations, training, and implementation of techniques. However, as useful as these fighting competitions are, they have limitations and only address some of the skills that should be expected under the heading of Historical European Martial Arts.
Tournament fighting mostly focuses on the spontaneous implementation of previously trained or improvised tactics and techniques against an unwilling opponent, utilizing blunt weapons which cannot simulate the effects of their sharp counterparts, oftentimes leading to less than ideal form. This type of competition does not accurately measure a fighter’s ability to use an actual sharp weapon correctly, nor one’s ability to execute historical techniques in idealized form as described in the primary sources.
Therefore, in order to remedy the shortcomings of tournament fighting, we encourage fighters to engage in another method of competition.
The Paired Technique Competition will consist of several teams of registered training partner pairs, who have previously studied and practiced the set plays from a specific historical source, who perform and are evaluated on several criteria by a panel of judges in a series of elimination and final rounds.
The goal of the Paired Technique Competition is to promote and encourage the implementation of the historical techniques found in HEMA in relatively pure form. Each year, a single source work will be selected and announced by the end of December. It is the responsibility of the pairs to work through the source to familiarize themselves with the material. Shortly before the event, around ne week, the specific plays from the source will be announced and the teams can begin concentrating on them. Pseudo-Peter von Danzig (Codez 44 A 8) was chosen in 2014 due to its relatively pervasive nature within HEMA to test out the rules. Future events may choose less commonly practiced sources, and even sources that are not longsword.
2017 will focus on the Zwerchau and its techniques, with plays pulled from a variety of german sources. The specific plays will be released much closer to the event. In the meantime, fighters will have to become familiar with the Zwerchau sections of each of the following sources.
The Zwerchau and its Techniques
- Pseudo-Peter von Danzig Rome Version (Codex 44.A.8) & Salzburg Version of 1491 (MS M.I.29)
- Jud Lew (Cod.I.6.4º.3)
- Sigmund Schining ain Ringeck (MS Dresd.C.487)
- Paulus Hector Mair (MSS Dresd.C.93/C.94)
- Joachim Meÿer (Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens)
Champion/Gold: Sean Franklin, Blood & Iron Martial Arts, Canada
Silver: Dustin Reagan, Redlands Fencing Center, USA
Bronze: Bill Grandy, Virginia Academy of Fencing, USA
Winners: Virginia Academy of Fencing, USA (head coach: Bill Grandy)
Open Steel Longsword
Gold: Axel Pettersson, GHFS, Sweden
Silver: Ben Strickling, Triangle Sword Guild, USA
Bronze: Sean Franklin, Blood & Iron Martial Arts, Canada
Technical Award: Ben Floyd, Krieg School, USA
Women’s Steel Longsword
Gold: Kiana Shurkin, Maryland Kunst des Fechtens, USA
Silver: Katy Kramlich, Wisconsin Historical Fencing Association, USA
Bronze: Amanda Trail, Iron Crown KDF, USA
Technical Award: Amanda Trail, Iron Crown KDF, USA
Gold: Tristan Zukowski, New York Historical Fencing Association/Sword Class NYC, USA
Silver: Ben Hawkins, Academy of Historical Arts, Scotland
Bronze: Bill Grandy, Virginia Academy of Fencing, USA
Source: Danzig Longsword
Gold: Betsy Winslow & Josh Hawley, MEMAG, USA
Silver: Dustin Reagan & Casper Andersen, Redlands Fencing Center/Triangle Sword Guild, USA
Bronze: Steve Viani & Justin Apperson, NYHFA/Sword Class NYC