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Simple rules

Postby knirirr » 29 Sep 2015 09:56

We tend to change the rules around quite often for assaulting at the LSD, and one we've tried recently is this. I can't remember whether I thought of it or whether I got it from somewhere else; probably the latter. If anyone knows then please tell me.

Anyway, the rules:

- Bouts are timed for two minutes, with the clock stopped whilst each hit is adjudicated by the referee.
- If there's no winner by the end of two minutes then it's a double defeat (with pressups, if you like).
- If an exchange results in a clean hit for one fencer then they have the advantage.
- If a fencer scores a clean hit when they have the advantage, they win.
- Doubles or afterblows reset the advantage (tippy-tappy flapping, brushes or scrapes after one has been parried and received a riposte doesn't count).
- If the exchange is unclear then it could be replayed, leaving the advantage as it is, or treated as a double/afterblow (I favour the latter). How to treat such eventualities should be decided before the pool commences.
- Count up the number of victories over the course of the evening to get the winner.

Example:

A hits B, A has the advantage.
B hits A, B has the advantage.
Double - neither has the advantage.
B hits A, B has the advantage.
B hits A again, B wins.

As with all rules sets there's probably some way to game this, but it was still quite interesting to try.
"FOR, to my certain knowledge I can affirm, that no People in the World, have a swifter Hand in Thrusting, nor any, a more loose or uncertain Parade, than the French."
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Re: Simple rules

Postby KeithFarrell » 29 Sep 2015 10:59

That's virtually the same as the "short play rules" that we use in the Academy of Historical Arts. However, it's entirely possible you came up with them independently, since it's quite a simple idea :) we also reset the points back to 0-0 with a double, an afterblow, or just a generally scrappy exchange.

I really enjoy this way of structuring fights. It's not as swift and final as "one hit and you're out", it does give some leeway for interesting recoveries from a bad situation. It also removes the problem of luck, since you would need to be lucky twice in a row to win, and that sounds more like skill to me ;)

It is probably not the best way to run big international competitions, but for a training method and a friendly competition, I think it works quite well and forces people to focus on what they are doing.
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Re: Simple rules

Postby knirirr » 29 Sep 2015 11:04

KeithFarrell wrote:That's virtually the same as the "short play rules" that we use in the Academy of Historical Arts. However, it's entirely possible you came up with them independently, since it's quite a simple idea :)


Indeed, it would not surprise me if similar rules had cropped up independently on many occasions. How does your version differ?

One other thing that strikes me about these rules is that it is much easier to keep track of what's going on. I often find that my students have trouble with keeping score on pool sheets, but if one only needs to keep track of how many fights each person has had and how many victories they've obtained then it becomes a lot easier.
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Re: Simple rules

Postby KeithFarrell » 29 Sep 2015 11:35

In our method, if the score resets to 0-0 three times (by doubles, afterblows, or general scrappiness), then both fighters lose. In a training session, this would usually result in press ups - in a competition situation, we tend to award 0 points for a double loss, 1 point for being beaten cleanly, 2 points for a draw, and 3 points for a win.

I'm quite happy for there not to be a winner at the end of three minutes - it shows that neither fencer has been able to demonstrate his or her superiority in skill twice in a row, but it also shows that they have managed to fight cleanly (without double hits, afterblows or scrappiness) for three whole minutes.

From our point of view, we are punishing scrappiness and suicidal fencing. It is a bit harsh to treat doubles, afterblows and general scrappiness all the same, and to count all of these towards the 3 reset limit - but it has encouraged our students to be much more clean about their fighting.

Gaming the rules also encourages people to think, and I don't really mind this kind of gaming :) for example, if the score has reset twice by double hits, your opponent has the advantage and has just struck you, then do you: 1) cause a double hit or afterblow, and force him to lose the match (you both get 0 points towards your overall score)? or 2) accept it without giving a hit in return (you get 1 point towards your overall score)?

While I'm aware that this can lead to strategies, vindictiveness, and all that jazz, the main benefit in my opinion is that it causes my students to THINK while they are fighting. If they gain the control of their physical and mental faculties to be able to stay their hand at will, or make a hit at will, then this is a good state of personal control. It's not a good solution to a large international competition, but for a training method, I think it produces fairly intelligent and clean fighters.

knirirr wrote:One other thing that strikes me about these rules is that it is much easier to keep track of what's going on.


Agreed! Reducing the mental "admin overhead" means that the fighters (and the coach!) can concentrate more on the quality of the fighting itself.
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Re: Simple rules

Postby Glyn » 29 Sep 2015 18:10

KeithFarrell wrote:I'm quite happy for there not to be a winner at the end of three minutes - it shows that neither fencer has been able to demonstrate his or her superiority in skill twice in a row, but it also shows that they have managed to fight cleanly (without double hits, afterblows or scrappiness) for three whole minutes.

I like the idea of this system of scoring, but I particularly like the idea that a good defence should be rewarded as much as a good attack. For me a no-score draw where strong attacks are defeated may be worth more than a win where multiple hits were received on both sides. The difficulty is ensuring there is a motivation to strive for a good attack and not just to sit there aiming for a perfect defence. I do wonder, however, if we should adopt different approaches for civilian and military systems, where defence may be slightly more significant in the former and attack in the latter.
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Re: Simple rules

Postby knirirr » 29 Sep 2015 18:35

KeithFarrell wrote:In our method, if the score resets to 0-0 three times (by doubles, afterblows, or general scrappiness), then both fighters lose. In a training session, this would usually result in press ups - in a competition situation, we tend to award 0 points for a double loss, 1 point for being beaten cleanly, 2 points for a draw, and 3 points for a win.


That is an interesting variation and I will have to give it a go.

But, I recall that we sometimes use rules where a certain amount of contretemping results in some sort of penalty, and then I find people asking "How many doubles are we on now? Does that count as a double or afterblow?" There is some convenience in simply saying that they both hit each other and so it's back to no advantage.

By the way, we do have a few fencers who are particularly awkward in various ways; when they fence each other it consists of a great many doubles - a favourite is to rush in very close with a feint to the head before attacking to the leg. The result of this is almost inevitably a double. Under your variant of the rules I think they'd be out a bit more quickly. ;-)
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Re: Simple rules

Postby KeithFarrell » 29 Sep 2015 18:40

Glyn wrote:I like the idea of this system of scoring, but I particularly like the idea that a good defence should be rewarded as much as a good attack. For me a no-score draw where strong attacks are defeated may be worth more than a win where multiple hits were received on both sides. The difficulty is ensuring there is a motivation to strive for a good attack and not just to sit there aiming for a perfect defence. I do wonder, however, if we should adopt different approaches for civilian and military systems, where defence may be slightly more significant in the former and attack in the latter.


That could be a fun experiment to produce two "flavours" of the system. I don't see this system as trying to replicate a "real life" or "fighting for real" situation though - simply as a method to get people to think about being clean with their fencing. If the system achieves that result, without simulating "real life", then I'm happy enough with the achievement.
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Re: Simple rules

Postby KeithFarrell » 29 Sep 2015 18:43

knirirr wrote:That is an interesting variation and I will have to give it a go.

But, I recall that we sometimes use rules where a certain amount of contretemping results in some sort of penalty, and then I find people asking "How many doubles are we on now? Does that count as a double or afterblow?" There is some convenience in simply saying that they both hit each other and so it's back to no advantage.

By the way, we do have a few fencers who are particularly awkward in various ways; when they fence each other it consists of a great many doubles - a favourite is to rush in very close with a feint to the head before attacking to the leg. The result of this is almost inevitably a double. Under your variant of the rules I think they'd be out a bit more quickly. ;-)


I often feel the same confusion trying to keep track of the number of doubles and/or afterblows and/or clean hits, etc etc. Anything to improve the convenience by reducing the mental overhead of "counting" the fight is, in my opinion, a great thing for a simple training system!

When I started using this system, most of the fights were very short and ended in both fighters doubling out. Now, fights tend to be cleaner, resulting in either a clean win quite quickly, or at least not doubling out. Of course, new students who have yet to learn self-preservation tend to throw this a little, at least until either they learn to defend themselves, or the other students learn how to deal with suicidal beginners! ;)
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Re: Simple rules

Postby knirirr » 29 Sep 2015 18:48

KeithFarrell wrote:When I started using this system, most of the fights were very short and ended in both fighters doubling out. Now, fights tend to be cleaner, resulting in either a clean win quite quickly, or at least not doubling out. Of course, new students who have yet to learn self-preservation tend to throw this a little, at least until either they learn to defend themselves, or the other students learn how to deal with suicidal beginners! ;)


I have had a similar experience; it's mostly just newer students and certain persistent offenders who keep doubling. Funnily enough I don't find it quite so bad with the small-sword, despite the reputation of thrust-oriented weapons for "contretemps, wounds and slaughter". I suspect the reason is that the left hand can be used for protection in many cases when it could not be so used against a blow.
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Re: Simple rules

Postby MEversbergII » 29 Sep 2015 19:15

knirirr wrote:
KeithFarrell wrote:When I started using this system, most of the fights were very short and ended in both fighters doubling out. Now, fights tend to be cleaner, resulting in either a clean win quite quickly, or at least not doubling out. Of course, new students who have yet to learn self-preservation tend to throw this a little, at least until either they learn to defend themselves, or the other students learn how to deal with suicidal beginners! ;)


I have had a similar experience; it's mostly just newer students and certain persistent offenders who keep doubling. Funnily enough I don't find it quite so bad with the small-sword, despite the reputation of thrust-oriented weapons for "contretemps, wounds and slaughter". I suspect the reason is that the left hand can be used for protection in many cases when it could not be so used against a blow.


When it comes to the smallsword, does location of hit matter to your system? This is something I've been thinking about lately. Also, what constitutes a real hit? Do you look for a degree of flex, or just contact?

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Re: Simple rules

Postby knirirr » 29 Sep 2015 19:20

MEversbergII wrote:[
When it comes to the smallsword, does location of hit matter to your system? This is something I've been thinking about lately. Also, what constitutes a real hit? Do you look for a degree of flex, or just contact?

M.


We change the rules around and sometimes there are extra points for certain hits (e.g. thrusts to the torso).

In all cases I expect there to be a decent amount of bend; SWH wanted 5-6" of penetration on a thrust. Though the LP blades are a bit too whippy overall they do at least allow decent bend safely and without much discomfort.
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Re: Simple rules

Postby MEversbergII » 29 Sep 2015 19:34

knirirr wrote:
MEversbergII wrote:[
When it comes to the smallsword, does location of hit matter to your system? This is something I've been thinking about lately. Also, what constitutes a real hit? Do you look for a degree of flex, or just contact?

M.


We change the rules around and sometimes there are extra points for certain hits (e.g. thrusts to the torso).

In all cases I expect there to be a decent amount of bend; SWH wanted 5-6" of penetration on a thrust. Though the LP blades are a bit too whippy overall they do at least allow decent bend safely and without much discomfort.


That may have been where I was getting 5" from; I made a note to look for 5" of flex once, but that doesn't seem to be a realistic thing. Will need to break out my foils and check again.

The LP blades: I only briefly interacted with one at the American symposium, but I don't recall that one being whipy. Where does it fail? I only use Absolute foil blades on my flourets.

M.
When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

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Re: Simple rules

Postby knirirr » 30 Sep 2015 11:01

MEversbergII wrote:The LP blades: I only briefly interacted with one at the American symposium, but I don't recall that one being whippy. Where does it fail? I only use Absolute foil blades on my flourets.


They seem to be very robust and resistant to breakage and developing kinks, but their great flexibility means that they can be a bit flexible if pressed hard, e.g. in binding or beating, or if facing heavier swords (e.g. rapiers).
The Triplette double-wide épée blade handles a lot better but is much less pleasant to be hit by; I would not trust some of my students not to injure each other with them.
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Re: Simple rules

Postby MEversbergII » 30 Sep 2015 14:34

knirirr wrote:
MEversbergII wrote:The LP blades: I only briefly interacted with one at the American symposium, but I don't recall that one being whippy. Where does it fail? I only use Absolute foil blades on my flourets.


They seem to be very robust and resistant to breakage and developing kinks, but their great flexibility means that they can be a bit flexible if pressed hard, e.g. in binding or beating, or if facing heavier swords (e.g. rapiers).
The Triplette double-wide épée blade handles a lot better but is much less pleasant to be hit by; I would not trust some of my students not to injure each other with them.


I've got a pair of those in 32" - not great. Too heavy for most of the hilts available, and as you said, not fun to be hit by. I'm considering slicing one up and turning it into a dueling epee, though.

Capt. Wayne's tract on the smallsword talks about using really stiff ones for assaults, however, exactly because it makes getting hit unpleasant. Might be something to give a try sometime.

I can see beats being a possible issue; when my strong hits their weak, the weak's going to waste energy in flex before it flies off out of line. That said, for smallsword, I can't say I'm a great fan of beats just yet.

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