Frequently Asked Questions


Things to keep in mind (TTKIM):


1. Treat the blades as sharp.  If a sharp blade “hit you there”, “dragged across there”, “stabbed your flat hand in front of your chest”, the sharp blade would have probably created a nasty bloody wound.


2. Treat your opponent with respect.  If the blow was questionable at all, it is better to refight it and to have a clear-cut victor, than to have bad feelings.

  Armor n Weapons
  Grabbing n Grasping
  Touch n Go
  Thrusts n Cuts
Grabbing n Grasping

What can I do once I've grabbed a blade without running afoul of the no-grappling rule?


The blade should not bend in any way.  The best method is to quickly shift the blade offline then let go of it. Consider that with blade grabbing you get one free shot at your opponent then they get their weapon back.


How close to the tip can I grab a blade without running afoul of the no-tip-grabbing rule?

If you feel it, DROP IT! If you think you might have pulled on it, it’s in your own best interest to call hold and ask your opponent to verify that the tip is still in place. If you feel tape, you're probably too close.

What am I supposed to do if I find that I have just grabbed the tip? Just let go? Give up my hand?


If you've only grabbed the tip release it immediately.   If you felt the “pointy end” of the sword in your palm you’ve probably lost your hand.  (See TTKIM #1)


What should I tell my opponent if I've killed him while inadvertently grabbing his tip?


If you defeated your opponent while performing a questionable technique you should reset and fight over. (See TTKIM #2)


If I grab a weapon by only closing my thumb to my index finger, does a twist cut my hand?


If you are restricting your opponents blade by applying pressure with only your thumb and fingers, but claim that you haven’t really "grabbed the blade" many would consider this an attempt to game the rule and would be displeased. (See TTKIM #2)


What should I do if I can't feel a weapon being twisted in my grasp?  More particularly, what should I do if I kill my opponent while inadvertently ignoring his twist?


If you got your shot at the moment they would have gotten their blade free, they would not have had enough time to deal you a lethal blow.  If your opponent claims that they twisted their blade before you threw your shot, refight.  (See TTKIM #2)


Can I pin my opponent's blade to the ground with my foot while standing or with my hand while fighting on my knees?

Never, EVER intentionally step on your opponent’s sword. You may trap your opponent’s blade to the ground with your hand, but then treat it as a grasped blade and react accordingly. (See TTKIM #1)

If I grab a blade or pin it to my body as my opponent is starting a draw cut, do I survive? Is that grappling?


The draw cut is good.  Your survival depends on what body parts are involved.  If you trap your opponent’s blade with other parts of your body, treat its effect as similar to blade grasping.  “If the blade that is grasped trapped moves or twists in the grasping hand against the body, that hand body part is deemed disabled.

Thrusts n Cuts

What constitutes a "good" draw cut

Draw cuts are typically 6 inches, but may be less depending on the location.  A draw cut across the throat wouldn’t need to be very long at all.

At what point during a draw does the recipient "die"? This comes up when the recipient gets off a thrust while being draw cut. Is it a double kill or not?


If the blade has been laid on, but not pulled, it is not a good draw cut.  If the thrust was in motion after the blade was laid on, but prior to it being pulled, then it's a double. (See TTKIM #2)


Does a draw cut count if it simultaneously draws across my quillions and my arm?


If I cut a piece of bread and an onion at the same time, is the bread cut? If you felt it, it's good.


Do thrusts to my shoulder change from disabling to fatal depending on the angle of the thrust?

Any thrust to the inside of the shoulder seam is lethal, regardless of the angle.  A thrust that lands just outside the shoulder seam but is angled towards the body is left to the individual fighter to decide.   If you feel that the thrust would have passed through your arm into your torso, take that geometry into account act accordingly. (See TTKIM #1)

Where's the dividing line between a disabling leg shot and a fatal torso shot? Where does that line run on my backside?


Assuming it’s not to the inner groin (to the fighter's hand width down the inner limb), which is fatal; think of where the line forms between the leg and torso when you sit down. Above, Torso. Below, Leg. Having your buttocks sliced open or run through is not normally a mortal wound, so the torso would start at the waistline.


Does a thrust count as a double-kill if I die as I'm throwing it or only if I die while it's landing on my opponent?


It's been generally accepted that if your thrust was was in motion at the time your opponents thrust landed, it is a double kill. (See TTKIM #2)


Where is the distinction between a lethal thrust that lands at less than a 90 degree angle and a non-lethal "flat" shot the lands at less than a 180 degree angle?


If there is positive pressure of the front surface of the tip, it's a thrust.  Anything else requires a draw. (See TTKIM #1)


What if my blade was not entirely perpendicular to my opponent's arm as I performed a draw cut?


Generally you want to be edge-on for the full draw.  (See TTKIM #1 & #2)


Does skipping affect the lethality of a draw cut?


Did it skip once in an 8” draw?  Did it skip once in a 12” draw?  First case, questionable; second case, good draw. (See TTKIM #1 & #2)

Armor n Masks
  Are Olympic-style Lexan fencing masks SCA legal?

No.  The SCA does not approve of them.  They tend to have fogging problems and with the high humidity situations (e.g. Pennsic, Gulf Wars, etc.). Also the life expectancy of the face plate is unknown.


As a note, the FIE and USFA (the European and American fencing organizations) have indefinitely banned the use of visor (Lexan)  masks from foil and epee competitions (still in place as of Jun 2010).





How big a hole can I have in a list-legal glove?


Probably no larger than the holes permitted in perf plate, 1/8" or 3mm.  Would a draw cut of normal pressure across the hole come into contact with the skin?  The owner should keep an eye on it and if it gets larger to "tape it up or replace it".


Are Costello masks legal?


Costello company stopped making masks in the mid-seventies but these masks are still turning up occasionally.  They were made before the 12 Kg mask standard was implemented so no Costello mask meets the 12 Kg standard, hence they should automatically fail the mask test.  Costello masks are not to be used in the MidRealm.  September 2001"Pale" Letter. KRM Max.

  Are Darkwood rapier tips legal in the MidRealm?

Yes, but. Darkwood rapier tips are made specifically for Darkwood rapier blades. They have a rectangular slot instead of the round hole of the typical bird blunt.  It is not required to have leather inside of the Darkwood tip since the inside of the tip is the same shape as the tip of a Darkwood blade, so the snug fit is sufficient. These tips are currently considered experimental and you should submit periodic reports accordingly.


Do I have to have metal inside of my plastic rapier tip?

No. This requirement came and went in 2010.
Touch n Go

If I take my opponent's arm should I wait for him to switch hands before taking a follow-up shot?


That is up to you. If you are fighting someone you feel is more skilled than yourself, it is completely within your right to press your advantage.  If you are fighting someone you feel is less skilled than yourself it would be better to let them switch.  Your opponent might drop his sword and ask permission to pick it up. Other opponents might immediately switch and hope to get in a shot before you retreat.  If you threw three rapid fire shots leg-arm-torso, would only the first leg shot count?  (See TTKIM #2)


How quickly must I go to my knees once I've been hit in the leg? What happens if I get off a lethal shot before I realize that I should have been on my knees already?


It is generally accepted that you can throw a shot AS you drop to your knees.  You should not throw a shot AND THEN drop to your knees.  Often when a shot is landed, opponents will disengage to see the results of the shot.   Call “good to the leg” and your opponent will more than likely stand back until you have dropped to your knees.  However, your opponent could, knowing the shot landed on your leg, immediately land a second lethal shot.  Your opponent is not required to wait for you to take a knee.