Fighting Rules

For the safety and enjoyment of everyone, any one not willing to follow these rules and the directions of the group leaders will be asked to leave. These rules are in place to promote an enjoyable time and safe environment. We use the honor system and we expect honest and honorable behavior from all fighters. Intentionally not taking shots is cheating and will not be tolerated.

 

General Rules

  • Never call shots – A called shot does not count even if it really did hit
    • It is acceptable to politely ask if or where a shot hit
    • Anyone the 5th rank of orange or higher or a field leader with a designated orange knot in their sash may call blatant shots they see not being taken
  • The command FREEZE is used to pause or stop the battle
    • Freeze is called for injuries, dangerous situations, or non-combatants on the field
    • During a freeze stop fighting until READY and LAY ON are called again
    • During a freeze remain where you are unless circumstances require you to move and do not talk about tactics or give orders
  • Eye protection is mandatory during all practices, demonstrations, and fighting activities
    • Anyone on the field without eye protection is automatically dead
    • Anyone may point out that someone is not wearing eye protection and call them dead
  • Broken weapons may not be used
    • Inspect all weapons before using them
    • If a weapon breaks call FREEZE and remove it from the field
  • Always use control, ensure that shots are safe, avoid illegal targets, and do not hit too hard
  • Never fight from trees, roofs, walls or other unsafe places
  • Dead people cannot talk to fighters still in the battle
  • When asked, fighters must answer in a reasonable amount of time:
    • If they are dead or alive
    • What wounds they have suffered
    • Which team they are on

Rules on Hits

  • All hits to a valid target count no matter how light
  • Shots that hit only clothing do not count
  • A hit to the body or the loss of three limbs results in death
  • A hit to a limb disables the limb (See section VII for limb boundaries)
    • A disabled arm may hang at one’s side without moving or holding anything
    • A disabled leg may be walked on, but may not be used to run or kick
    • If both legs are disabled, fighting on one’s knees is required
      • If terrain does not permit fighting on knees, it is acceptable to stand but one’s feet must be planted together and not move
      • If not in combat it is acceptable to stand and move at very slow baby steps over terrain that would be uncomfortable to kneel or crawl on
    • Multiple hits to the same limb do not count
    • Moving a dead limb to block a shot is illegal and you are dead
  • When killed, call out DEAD and leave the battlefield with weapons held by the blade and raised in the air to make it obvious
  • A single swing hitting more than one legal target (such as both arms, or a leg and then the body), counts as a hit for all locations
    • This does not apply to range weapons or flails – see section IV and V
  • The following areas are not valid targets and hits to them do not count:
    • Hands and wrists when holding a weapon’s handle
    • Feet and ankles when feet are on the ground or in a normal moving position
    • Head, neck, and groin are illegal shots and should be avoided
  • Any hits in the same swing as an illegal hit or any shorts after do not count on the sufferer of the illegal hit
    • Hits from other fighters do not count on the sufferer
    • The sufferer’s hits on opponents count as valid hits
  • Friendly fire counts
    • Hits to teammates count
    • A sword that an enemy forcefully hits into a teammate does not count
    • Hitting one’s self does not count unless an enemy has a hand on the handle of the weapon
  • Strikes from opponents happening within moments of each other both count if they were in motion at the same time
    • In the event of uncertainty, the individual who thinks they are surviving should ask if their opponent’s shot was late
    • If someone is hit and then they change the trajectory of their shot, a “death twitch,” everything after the change does not count
      • This includes if an arm is lost, unless both hands are on the sword
  • Grabbing an opponent’s weapon by the blade counts as a hit to the arm and the weapon must be let go immediately
    • If someone’s weapon is held, all shots on them do not count until the fighter is able to fully reset from the grabbed weapon

Melee Weapons

  • Remove the red packing strings from shinais
  • Do not tape up shinais so that the slats cannot compress
  • Weapons on the ground may be struck to call them dead
    • They are unusable for the rest of that battle unless noted otherwise
    • If the game allows for respawning, dead weapons may respawn with fighters
    • When convenient, remove them from the field to avoid confusion over which weapons are still in play
  • Homemade Weapons
    • A group leader must approve any homemade weapons before they can be used
    • All striking surfaces need to be padded and require thrusting tips even if the weapon will not be used to thrust
    • Homemade weapons should have their striking areas and handles clearly marked with different colors
    • Hits with the area marked as handles do not count as valid hits

Range Weapons

  • A ranged weapon is any weapon that is thrown or shot (arrow, javelin, throwing knife etc.)
  • Hitting someone in the head, neck, or groin with a range weapon results in the death of the person using the range weapon
    • This does not apply if the projectile bounces first, such as off a shield or the ground
  • Ranged weapons can only hit one body part – In the event that the item hits multiple locations without bouncing, use the most severe
    • Example: A throwing knife hits your arm and then bounces into your chest. Only the arm hit counts. If the throwing knife hits your arm and chest at the same time, the chest hit counts.
    • Severity: torso > dominant arm > non dominant arm > leg
  • Throwing axes, knives or similar weapons that tumble must be completely padded
  • All arrows must be easily wider than the orbit of the eye to be used on the field
  • Only designated throwing or shooting weapons may be used as a range weapon
  • Range weapons may not be thrown or fired at a range of less than 10 feet
    • Hits from range weapons fired from less than 10 feet do not count
  • A bow may be used to block once, but after blocking is dead and may not be used
  • Ranged weapons, except arrows, may be used as melee weapons before being thrown
  • Any projectile once shot or thrown is dead and may not be used even for melee combat
  • If a range weapon is caught by the handle before hitting anything, it may be re-used
  • Hits from handles of tumbling weapons count
  • Hits with the shaft of a javelin or arrow do not count

Special Weapon Rules

  • Flails: Any weapon with a striking surface (head) at the end of the rope like section
    • All striking surfaces on a single rope count as one head
    • Only the first thing the head makes contact with per swing counts as a hit
      • This includes things like hits to people, other weapons, or the ground
    • The rope is not a striking surface and does not count as a hit
    • If the shaft of the flail is padded it can count as a striking surface
    • Hits to teammates and yourself count if it is the first thing the head contacts
    • A flail may be used to tangle other weapons
      • If the fail gets tangled around any part of someone’s body the flail must be dropped and freeze called
      • If a weapon is tangled in the flail and either is dropped, they must be untangled before either weapon may be used to attack again
      • Freeze may not be used to untangle a flail from a weapon
  • Spears
    • Spears must have stabbing tips that must be checked before use
    • A spear handle does not count as a striking surface

Armor, Helmets and Shields

  • There is no armor in our fighting except for a couple of cases in specific games
  • Weapons or other gear worn (such as a knife in a belt), are not armor and do not deflect shots that would otherwise have hit
  • Overly bulky gloves make any strike to the glove count as an arm hit
  • Protective helmets can be worn for protection or to make the head/neck a valid target resulting in death
    • Wearing for protection only, removes the illegal status of the head/neck, but does not count as a target – Clarify before the start of the fight
  • A shield must be worn or held on the arm and only one shield may be worn
  • A shield worn on a long dead arm or strung across the back does not protect and any hit to the shield counts as death, even if it would not have connected otherwise
  • Shields may not have sharp edges or points on them
    • Padding or rubber hose around the edges of shields is encouraged
  • Pushing with shields is acceptable
  • Striking with a shield is not allowed, unless the shield is padded to be a weapon

Hit Location Boundaries

  • When in doubt for any of the below locations, error on the side of the more severe location
  • Hands and wrists start past the styloid processes (bone bump)
    • With a horizontal arm, and a vertical hand, anything that contacts from a horizontal direction counts and hand, and anything from a vertical direction counts as arm
  • Arms start at the shoulder, but do not include the shoulder blade or arm pit, and proceed to the wrists
    • With an arm at a slight angle to torso, draw a line up the edge of the torso and continue it around the armpit over the shoulder - Anything outside of the line is arm and anything inside is torso
  • Feet and Ankles start past the lateral malleolus (bone bump)
    • This should be the narrowest portion of the leg
  • Legs start at the hips and proceeds to the angles
    • With thigh lifted to a horizontal position, draw a line around the hips – Anything below the line is leg and anything above the line is torso
  • Head and Neck starts above the collar bone, but does not include the collar bone or most of the trapezius muscles
    • Place two fingers horizontal at the top of the neck on either side and drop them straight down – Anything covered is neck and anything uncovered is torso
  • Groin is the triangle created by the bottom of the torso and the top of the legs
    • Use the horizontal line described in the leg section and form a line on each side from the top of the inseam to the top of the hips

Guidelines for Picking with Two Teams

  • Two team captains are selected
  • The captains decide between them what weapons will be used for the battle (such as “all weapons”, or “single sword”)
  • Someone picks a number from 1 to 10 and the captains guess the number
    • The closest decides who picks first or if a consensus of what weapon set could not be reached, they may elect to pick the weapon set instead
  • The captain with first pick picks one person to be on their team and then picking alternates, each captain picking two people after the first pick
  • If there are an odd number of fighters then the last person goes to the captain that originally picked second
    • This is to keep one captain from having both the first pick and a larger team

Guidelines for Picking with More Than Two Teams

  • Team captains are selected and form a line
  • The captains decide between them what weapons will be used for the battle (such as “all weapons”, or “single sword”)
  • Someone picks a number from 1 to 10 and only the captains at the end of the line guess the number – The closest gets the first pick
  • Picking moves down the line until it reaches an end of the line, the end picks two people and picking order moves back down the line in the other direction until all the fighters have been picked

Guidelines for Fighting Battles

  • Battles are fought in sets of best two of three
  • A battle is won when one side is completely killed off (also see note on “singles” below)
  • The two teams separate to different sides of the field and the captains give orders to their teams as needed
  • When one team is ready to fight they call out “READY” and hold up their weapons
  • The other team does the same when they are ready to fight
  • The first team then calls “LAY ON!” to start the battle
  • After the battle, the teams switch sides of the field and fight again
  • If necessary, the teams switch again for a third battle
  • After the set, team captains pick their replacements for the next set

Singles

  • To request singles a fighter must be the last person on their team
  • The other team has the option of granting the request or just continuing to attack
  • If the request is granted the single fighter’s team loses the battle
  • The fighter picks one person at a time to face until one whole team is dead
  • All fighters keep their wounds from the entire battle