Restricted Sparring – No Lingering

When our club runs matches, our normal rules are:

  • Play to five points received
  • Head 3, Body 2, Other 1
  • No pauses (meaning you can win with a single combo to the head)
  • Both fencers may lose

Since we are focusing on Meyer’s devices for Tag, I added another rule: no lingering in a guard other than Tag. If you get caught in one guard for 3 seconds you receive a point.

It took a couple rounds for people to get the hang of it, but we quickly adopted a much more dynamic style than we usually use. Rather than hanging out in Pflug or Ochs while inching forward, everyone was constantly on the move. It wasn’t just good fencing in general, it actually looked like the style of fencing I imagine when reading Meyer or the Bolognese.

One of the things that surprised me is that no one lingered in Tag while in or near measure. I though they would because we’ve been practicing Meyer’s defensive techniques for Tag. But instead we only lingered to rest while well outside measure. Not that there is anything wrong with it, it was just not what I was expecting.

The matches were of reasonable length, a little shorter than normal but not by much.

The matches were far more energetic than normal for us, which I approve of. The rests between each exchange were very brief as no one wanted to stay in Tag for any appreciable length of time.

There were some doubles, but no more than usual.

After blows don’t really happen very often, as our rule set don’t allow for a free attack after receiving a blow. The no pause rule means that if someone hits you, they are probably going to use that moment of distraction to throw another blow. And the no lingering rule makes the follow-up attack even more likely.

This is definitely a format we are going to use again, though I plan to change the resting guard depending on what we are focusing on.

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