Traditional Chinese Sword League

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: The League logo has two crossed jian. Do I have to use a jian in the TCSL competitions?
A: No. Most competitors use jian, but others have used peidao & miaodao. The only restrictions are that the blade can not exceed 31", measured from the base of the guard, weigh a minimum of 650 grams & the weapon must be historically accurate.
Q: Can I use different weapons during a single tournament?
A: Yes, but you can only use one weapon per match. You can change weapons between rounds.
Q: Are kicks & strikes allowed? Can I close & grapple?
A: Yes. Essentially everything you might do in a real fight is allowed, except trash talking.
Q: Can I borrow or rent the required equipment at a TCSL Tournament?
A: No. Every competitor must supply his or her own gear. This gear will be inspected by the Head Referee before the start of the tournament.
Q: How many matches should I expect to play at a TSCL Tournament?
A: Every player will play every contestant in their pool, then at least one match in the direct elimination part of the tournament that follows the pool bouts. The maximum pool size allowed is 9. In this case a player would have at least 9 bouts, 8 in his or her pool & one DE bout.
Q: Can I wear any kind of armor or gambeson?
A: No. All protective gear/armor must be of a Chinese historical style. However, a Chinese style jacket can be worn over modern sport padding, such as that used in lacrosse.
Q: Is TCSL membership required to compete in League events?
A: Yes.
Q: Is the swordplay in the TCSL Tournaments like kendo or Olympic fencing?
A: No. Those are martial sports with rules of engagement & restricted target zones. The TCSL promotes the martial art of Chinese Historical Swordsmanship, so the weapon used is solid wood & must weight at least 650 grams & the entire body is a target.
Q: How is the winner of a bout determined?
A: There are severals ways one can win a bout. One is to score a "killing" blow to the head or torso. Another is be the first player to score 10 points, or if time has run out, be the player with the highest score. Other ways one might win is if the opponent is forced off the platform, or in the case of the Beginners Level Tournament, forced out of bounds. And one's opponent may withdraw, or bow out during a match or the referee can stop the match & award a victory if he or she feels one player is not about to effectively defend him or herself & is in danger of being seriously hurt.

Greg Wolfson and William Nicholson in a friendly duel

After a day of judging at the Inaugural TCSL Tournament (May 10, '08), head judge William Nicholson invited a competitor to a friendly match. Sadly our good friend, Big Willy, passed on soon after, he is sorely missed by many.