In the 16th century, the use of a thrust to settle local disputes was considered a grave offense that could lead to execution or banishment. So fights between two citizens of the same town were often conducted with only cuts or, for less serious arguments, only the flats of the sword.
To simulate how a such a fight can escalate, this we have devised this tournament format:
Each match is played to 9 blows received. There are no holds called when a point is scored and participants must track their his received. At the beginning of the round, both fencers can only use the flat of the sword.
If you receive 3 blows, you may start using the edge. After 6 blows, the point is also allowed. Note that you are not required to escalate, you merely have the option to.
Highest honors goes to the fencer who wins only using the flat. The fencer who wins using the thrust is considered to have barely won.
This ruleset was designed for the longsword, but you could modify it for other forms. For example, an escalation fight with rapiers may limit target zones to just the arm, then the arm and leg, and finally add the body.