Whitchurch Fencing Club

Competition rules

For full details, please consult the BFA competition rules on the BFA website.

In the meantime here is a very condensed summary of some of the salient points.

Coming on guard
Competitors come on guard when the Referee gives the order ‘On guard’, after which the Referee asks, ‘Are you ready?’. On receiving an affirmative reply, or in the absence of a negative reply, he gives the command for fencing to commence with the word ‘Play’.

Fencing at close quarters
Fencing at close quarters is allowed so long as the competitors can wield their weapons correctly

Corps à corps
Corps à corps is said to exist when the two competitors are in contact. When this occurs the Referee must stop the bout.

Displacing the target and passing the opponent
When a fencer goes past his opponent during a bout, the Referee must immediately call ‘Halt’ and replace the competitors in the positions which they occupied before the passing took place.

  • When hits are made as a fencer passes his opponent, the hit made immediately is valid
  • a hit made after passing his opponent by the competitor who has made the passing movement is annulled,
  • but the hit made immediately, even when turning round, by the competitor who has been subjected to the offensive action, is valid.

Ground gained or lost
However, if the bout has been stopped on account of corps à corps, the fencers are replaced on guard in such a position that the competitor who has sustained the corps à corps is at the place which he previously occupied; this also applies if the opponent has subjected him to a flèche attack, even without corps à corps.

Crossing the limits of the piste
(a) Stopping the bout

  • When a competitor crosses one of the lateral boundaries of the piste with one or both feet, the Referee must immediately call ‘Halt’.
  • If the fencer goes off the piste with both feet, the Referee must annul everything that has occurred after the boundary has been crossed, except a hit received by the competitor who has crossed the boundary, even after he has crossed it, provided that this hit results from a simple  and immediate action
  • However, a hit scored by the fencer who leaves the piste with one foot only is valid, provided that the action was started before the “Halt”.
  • If one of the competitors leaves the piste only a hit made by the fencer who remains on the piste with at least one foot can be counted valid, even in the case of a double hit.
(b) Rear limits
Should a competitor cross the rear limit of the piste completely — i.e. with both feet — a hit will be scored against him.

Extracted from the BFA competition rules


Fencing kit
For competition fencing, the masks & clothing of the correct standard must be used, and the organisers have the right to exclude anyone, whose kit does not meet the BFA standards.

BFA competition rules   O'Sullivan Cup regulations

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