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Headhunter Fechtschule Longsword Tournament

Headhunter Fechtschule Longsword Tournament


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    The Headhunter Longsword tournament is based on rulesets used in fechtschules run by Joachim Meyer in the 16th century. For Steel Jam, Derek Quintana (Meyers Combat Academy - Cape Coral, FL) and Victor Rodriquez (Medieval Sword Arts - Miami, FL) have adapted a ruleset developed by Octoberfecht, and upcoming tournament in October in Cape Coral, and Madtown Fechtschule.

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    The tournament structure will proceed in two sections, one leading to the next. The first section will be seeded POOLS of fighters where the top half of each pool will advance to the next section. The second section will be the SINGLE ELIMINATION brackets where the places for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th will be determined.

    Pools will consist of matches of continuous fighting where both fighters will attempt to be the first to gain 4 points or to have the most points within the 3 minutes time limit.

    Eliminations will consist of matches of continuous fighting where both fighters will attempt to be the first to gain 4 points or to have the most points within the 3 minutes time limit. Winner of each match will advance in the bracket.

    Headhunter Fechtschule Longsword Tournament




    When Registering for Steel Jam, please be sure to choose the registration type that fits with the activities you are going to participate in at the event (See below for Details).

    If you have selected General Admission, you will be asked which tournaments you would like to participate in. Where applicable select the level that you want to compete at and press the "+add" button to place them in your cart for checkout.

    You will have the opportunity to review your selection on the "Cart" page, if everything is correct, please select the "Check Out" button to proceed.

    You will also be asked if you would like to purchase a pizza ticket or pizza pass, which will enable you to join us in ending the day with a Pizza Party.

    Next you will be asked to complete registration form for the person attending the event, name, contact info, club or school affiliation, and to sign the Release and Waiver of Liability Agreement.

    If you are registering for a minor that you are a parent or legal guardian of, please fill out the registration with their name. The waiver will switch to asking for parental consent once you put in their date of birth. 

    Once you complete the registration form and signed the waiver, press the "Submit" and "Checkout" buttons to proceed to the payment form.

    Once you have paid for your registration, you will receive an email receipt as well as an additional email to access your tickets electronically.

    Should you have any trouble through this process please do not hesitate to connect with us either through the chat button or emailing us at


    During both the first and second section of the tournament (Pools and Eliminations) will proceed in the following manner:

    1. All matches are continuous action where there will be NO break in action to compile and evaluate the score of an exchange
    2. All exchanges will continue seamlessly though the match except for penalties, warnings, or safety calls
    3. Once one fighter has reached 4 points, “HOLD!” will be called and the Director will stop the fight and announce the winner of the match


    Steel Jam will be using HEMA Scorecard to determine the ranking of the fighters at the conclusion of a pool by using their algorithm which generates a score using a fighter’s overall points, total wins, total points against, and total doubles. If there are any ties found while ranking the pool’s fighters, the tie will be broken with the following priority

    1. Algorithm score
    2. Wins
    3. Points against

    The formula for creating a fighter’s Algorithm Score is as follows:

    Hits Scored + (2 x Wins) - Hits Taken


    All fighters are required to have no visible skin showing where a steel sword can make direct contact with the skin of a fighter 

    All fighters are required to wear the following protective gear AT MINIMUM:

    • Padded Gambeson or Jacket rated to at least 350N (NOT including motorcycle jackets or padding)
    • Fencing pants that extend at least from the knee to the waist, rated to at least 350N.
    • Steel Mesh Helmet rated to 350N or above
    • Gloves or gauntlets rated for longsword fighting (NOT including hockey, lacrosse, or motorcycle gloves)
    • Back of Head protection or Mask overlay covering the back of the head
    • Athletic Supporter/Cup and/or Hard Chest Protection/Plastron depending on each fighter’s personal anatomy
    • Hardened elbow and knee protectors/guards that offers protection that includes the sides of the joints
    • Shin protection/guards that cover the ankle bones
    • Gorget or other throat protection
    • Closed toe shoes that are mat-safe*
    • GOOD Ex. Running shoes washed soles, wrestling shoes, soft rubber soled shoes, etc
    • BAD Ex. Hiking boots, work boots, cleats, God-forsaken CROCS, etc.
    • Forearm protection/guards are NOT required but are highly recommended

    *All Fighters are asked that they bring separate clean shoes to wear while on the Dojo mats or to consent to having the soles of their Approved shoes cleaned in order to keep the Dojo mats clean of any streaks and prevent damage to the Dojo mats

    All fighters participating in the Head Hunter Fechtschule - Open Steel Longsword Tournament are required to bring their own sword that is free of any significant bends or warps and contains no cracks or sharp burrs.

    All swords are subject to integrity and quality inspections by Steel Jam Staff All gear is subject to integrity and quality inspections by Steel Jam Staff.


    The Head Hunter Fechtschule - Open Steel Longsword Tournament requires fighters to provide their own feders.

    Below is the list of currently approved options:

    • Albion: Meyer
    • Arms & Armor: Fechtbuch, Fechterspiel
    • Aureus: All feders
    • Blackfencer: All feders, Sparring longsword
    • Castille Armory: Standard Feder
    • Comfort Fencing: Dobringer
    • Darksword Armory: Feder
    • Ensifer: All feders
    • Mac Arms: All feders
    • Pavel Moc: All feders
    • Regenyei: All feders except Strong
    • SGT Blades: All feders
    • Sigi Forge: All standard and shorter models


    More feders from different manufacturers may be added later, with the approval of Steel Jam Staff. Other makers' feders can be considered, but may be disallowed and are up the the standards of the officiating staff.

    Some blunt (non-feder) swords will be allowed, however they will be assessed on a sword-by-sword basis. 

    All swords and equipment will be checked prior to the event for edge thickness (at least 2mm), damage, durability, and flexibility (director’s discretion).



    Steel Jam will ask for and use volunteers to fill all staff positions but if Steel Jam is not able to fill the necessary positions, fighters may be asked to volunteer in the missing staffing positions (provided the staffing position does not interfere with them competing in the Head Hunter Fechtschule - Open Steel Longsword Tournament)

    Steel Jam Staff will include the following: Table, Judge, Director, and Tournament Manager. A coach may be made available by a volunteer Steel Jam staff at the request of the fighter. Their individual duties and persons assigned to fill the role are as follows:

    Table - Will operate HEMA Scorecard and keep track of time and points awarded for both fighters. Will inform fighters of their position in the fight order (Up Now, On Deck, or In the Hole) and will ensure that each fighter wears the correct color identifying bands before match start

    • 1 position, volunteer or Steel Jam Staff Member

    Judge - Will observe a single fighter assigned to them by the Director and determine when that fighter makes a clean hit, when an abzug occurs and another exchange may begin, when their fighter has gained the required 4 points to win

    • 2 positions, volunteer or Steel Jam Staff Member

    Director - Will oversee an entire pool of fighters whose duties will include (but not limited to) relaying information between fighters and Steel Jam Staff, coordinating with judges and their conclusions after an exchange, giving warnings and penalties to fighters as necessary, etc.

    • 1 Steel Jam Staff Member, no volunteers

    Tournament Manager - Will oversee the entirety of the Steel Jam event whose duties will include (but not limited to) stepping into a secondary role such as a judge, proctor, table, etc as staffing needs, will handle any disputes that arise during the event, will give penalties and warnings to fighters as needed, etc.

    • 1 Steel Jam Staff Member, no volunteers

    Coach - Will offer advice on methods and techniques to improve the defensive and offensive capabilities of their fighter

    • Fighter may choose to decline a coach
    • May be a spectator or another competitor as the fighter chooses
    • May be a different person for the same fighter in a different match
    • May NOT change in the middle of a match


    While judging, each judge is to remain focused on the match and their assigned fighter in front of them and judge the Purposeful actions made by both fighters, ignoring any hit not deemed to be “Sufficient Contact” some examples lacking “Sufficient Contact” are as follows:

    • “Incidental” hits or hits made without intention
    • Slices made with less than half the blade
    • Laying a blade against an opponent without performing a cut or attempting a slice

    This is not a comprehensive listing but should be used as reference material in a judge’s determination of what a hit of “Sufficient Contact” should entail

    To deliver a correct legal hit, a fighter must be purposeful in their attack.

    The list of potential exchanges with their requirements and their individual semaphore descriptions are listed below:

    Scoring Hit: When a fighter delivers a purposeful cut or slice to the head or upper opening of their opponent ONLY and followed by an Abzug (Withdrawal) afterwards

    • MUST include an Abzug action
    • New exchange after EACH Abzug action
    • Further explanation below

    Simultaneous Hit: When both fighters deliver purposeful hits to each other within a single tempo to include any Afterblows or Doubles

    • Performing a proper Abzug action will negate any simultaneous hit and result in a Scoring Hit instead
    • Further explanation below
    • Single Tempo refers to the time to take a Single action (parry, cut, slice, etc)
    • Includes both Doubles and Afterblows

    Ring Out: When a fighter purposefully or inadvertently steps out of the ring

    • When both of a fighter’s feet have a portion of themselves land outside of the ring

    The Director retains the right to call the judges into the center to conference an exchange if they deem it necessary.

    The Director retains the right to refuse a single judge’s call if they deem the call illegitimate.

    The Director retains the right to have any judge step out of the rotation if they deem it necessary. This removal does not negatively affect the fighter in any fashion other than they are no longer able to re-enter their judging rotation during a pool or bracket.


    This is a continuous exchange event where all exchanges by both fighters will lead seamlessly, one to the next, without any stoppage to the match except for penalties, warnings, or safety calls. Each exchange will begin with a purposeful action taken by a fighter against their opponent and ends when one or both fighters perform an Abzug (Withdrawal) action. After each Abzug action, it is possible for one or both fighters to immediately start another exchange against their opponent (explained below). 

    Points are gained ONLY when a fighter lands a Scoring Hit (described above) AND performs a proper Abzug. No points will be awarded by forcing your opponent outside of the ring, hits without an Abzug action, hits to any target of your opponent other than the upper opening. In the case of a simultaneous hit, neither fighter will gain any points.

    For safety reasons and to better support the spirit of competition this type of tournament is creating, there are various actions and techniques that, while not considered illegal actions, will be penalized to discourage unsafe fencing behaviors:

    • Turning of the head or body so that the opponent lands a blow on the back of the head, spine, or other illegal target rather than their intended, legal target
    • Running in towards your opponent such that neither fighter can easily attack with the “weak” or top half portion of the blade
    • Includes Ringen and Ringen am Schwert actions
    • Includes running after a successful attack to seek a late afterblow
    • Includes landing multiple strikes in succession on the same target area of your opponent
    • Includes failing to abzug after a successful attack
    • Stepping out of the ring while not under pressure to escape your opponent’s attacks

    Each match will consist of up to 4 points or a 3 minute time limit, during which both fighters will do their utmost to gain the most points and win the match. A Match ends when one of the above criteria has been reached. If a match ends with both fighters tied in points, the match will enter Sudden Death where the fighter who strikes the next clean hit will win the match.

    A description of an exchange in brief:

    1. Zufechten (Onset)
    • Cutting towards an opening, entering under guard, etc
    1. Krieg (Battle)
    • Where one or both fighters use their swords, footwork, distance etc. in order to attempt to strike a hit against their opponent
    1. Abzug (Withdrawal)
    • Leaving the exchange under a guard, parry an afterblow, footwork, etc
    • Once an Abzug is completely performed, simultaneous hits cannot occur and a new exchange can Immediately begin

    To Abzug properly and completely:

    A fighter who is attempting to Abzug properly and completely is a fighter who is attempting to end an exchange by disengaging from their opponent. For an Abzug to be completed, it must meet the following criteria:

    1. The fighter must create space between themselves and their opponent such that neither fighter is within the range of a single, simple attack from their opponents
    2. The fighter must avoid being hit by any attacks by their opponent 
    3. The fighter must remain within the ring 

    Example exchange(s):

    A fighter strikes their opponent on their upper opening and Abzugs under a guard safely away and out of distance of their opponent

    1. In this example, the fighter receives 1 point

    A fighter lands an opening strike against their opponent and parries their opponent’s afterblow while the opponent continues to seek to land an afterblow while the fighter is attempting to abzug

    1. In this example, the Director will forcefully separate the fighters and the opponent will receive a Running In penalty

    A fighter lands a strike in the same moment their opponent lands a strike

    In this example, both fighters will Abzug and separate or the Director will be forced to separate the fighters and both will receive a Running In penalty

    1. A fighter lands 3 hits quickly, one after another, and then Abzugs properly
    2. In this example, the Director will forcefully separate the fighters and give the fighter a Running In penalty up to a excessive force penalty (depending on severity of the repeated blows


    Actions below are examples of Legal and Illegal actions:


    • Open hand shove to create an opening for an attack
    • Blade deflection with open hand
    • Flick, Snap, or Tip cuts (flat or edge)
    • Pursuing your opponent around the ring attempting to land a scoring strike
    • Calling a safety hold for a safety issue
    • One-Handed techniques
    • Attacking non-upper opening targets
    • Abzug from an exchange without scoring


    • Bodily shoving your opponent around or out of the ring
    • Any Ringen am Schwert actions
    • Landed Thrusts
    • Running In at your opponent to close the distance and limit available strikes
    • Pommel Strikes
    • Half-sword techniques
    • Mordschlag
    • Striking the back of the head or spine
    • Throwing your sword
    • Striking with excessive force
    • Unsportsmanlike behavior
    • Ignoring a Director’s calls including to Hold



    If necessary for personal reasons, fighters or their coaches can request a 30 second break for the fighter to collect themselves once during a match. Feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, or overly-excited are all good reasons to take a break.


    Penalties are given in 1 or 2 ways: Warnings during a match or a Penalty for illegal actions

    Warnings are only valid during a single match and do not continue through the tournament used for Penalties are gained in or out of a match and will continue through the entire tournament and are indicated by gaining either yellow or red cards

    If a fighter gains a warning about an action, any subsequent actions will result in loss of points for that fighter. However, if a fighter continues the previously warned action(s), they may be subject to further consequences including attaining a Penalty or ending of the match before the time limit

    If a fighter performs an action that results in a penalty, the Director or Tournament Manager retain the right to assign a higher consequence up to expulsion and banning from the event depending on the action(s) performed by the fighter, the circumstances surrounding the penalty, and the action(s) that occurred leading up to the penalty.

    Examples of actions and possible outcomes:

    • Stepping out of the Ring while not under pressure - Warning
    • Striking with excessive force - Warning
    • Continuously Striking after Director calls hold - Banned from further events