Traditional Chinese Sword League

Tournament Rules (September 1, 2010 - subject to change)

Tournaments will be single elimination with ceding determined by the result of pool matches held before the direct elimination portion of the tournament. The contestant with the greatest number of victories will be ceded first, the contestant with the second highest number of victories second, and so on.. In the case where two contestants both have the same number of victories, the contestant with the highest indicator will be ranked higher. The indicator is determined by the number of hits a contestant scores in all his or her pool matches minus the number of hits received.

The maximum number of contestants in any single pool is nine. So, for example, if there are ten contestants in a tournament, then there will be two pools of five contestants each. Any students attending any tournament from the same school will be placed in separate pools as tournament size allows.

There is only one division for all players regardless of sex or weight. There are separate divisions for youth, beginners, with two or less years experience, and an open division. Local TCSL Groups may host regional or invitational events that are limited to contestants from within a particular geographic region.

Field of Play:
Raised Platform, 24' X 24'


The two players, upon mounting the platform with their helmets off, will stand at the platforms edge, opposite each other. They will, at the referee's instructions, bow to the judges and referee and then to each other, before putting on their helmets and beginning the match. When the referee calls ready, the contestants may move forward from the edge of the platform, no more than one step and await the referee's call to begin.

The play will be continuous unless the referee or a judge calls halt. If action is stopped by the referee or judge, the two players should remain standing where they were when halt was called. If the match is to continue, the two players will center action with their sword tips where the referee indicates, and start again from that spot on the platform.

Each contestant may be accompanied by one coach and/or one second during his or her match.

Neither the contestants nor their coaches may call time outs during a match.

Match results may not be appealed.

Greg Wolfson and Ian Glazer duel


Pool matches are one, two minutes round. Direct elimination matches are one, five minute round. The clock will be stopped whenever the referee call a halt to action. Contestants may not call time out.


One Referee, Four Judges. and a time keeper. The referee's role is to control the match, the judge's job is to score the match.


1 point is awarded for a cut to the arm, 2 points for a cut to the hand, 3 points for a cut to the leg or light touch on the torso. 1/10 point for a strike, kick or throw.

A solid blow with the blade edge, to either the torso, neck, or head, will constitute a "kill" and determine the match winner regardless of the points accumulated before that point. Before declaring a victor, the referee will conference with the judges.

Multiple points maybe awarded for cuts that contact more than one target with sufficient force, i.e. a slash that cuts both arms would result in two points, or an upward up the cuts both the leg and an arm would result in four points. Multiple point may also be awarded for combinations of cuts.

At the judges sole discretion, No points will be awarded for light grazing cuts or cuts that simply brush a contestants gambeson.

No points are awarded either player for simultaneous cuts by both players.

No area of the body is disallowed, the entire body is a target for sword blows.

No points are awarded to a player who grabs the blade of his opponent's weapon and then scores a cut and the player who's sword was grabbed will receive two points for a cut to his opponent's hand.

In the case of a match that ends in a tie score, the winner will be determined by a one minute sudden death match, with who ever scores the first point or points of any kind being declared the winner. If this one minute period produces no winner, then after a one minute break, there will be a second one minute "sudden death" round. If no points are scored during this second round the judges will meet to chose a winner.

Match Winner Determination:

A contest will be declared the winner of a match by the referee when he or she either:

is the first contestant to reach ten points by the head judge's point count,

delivers a clean "killing" blow to his or her opponent,

forces his or her opponent off the platform once,

if his or her opponent concedes the match,

or if he or she has the greatest number of point when the the time limit of a match is reached.

Legal Techniques:

All techniques with the sword are allowed, however, while all cuts maybe delivered as full speed, no full power blows with the weapon are allowed. At the referee's sole discretion, a player maybe penalized or forfeit the match for using excessive force without warning.

Players may not grab the other contestants face mask.
Kicks to the knees are not allowed.
Grabbing the sword blade with the hand will count as a cut to the hand against the contest who grabbed the blade. However, a player may use his or her palm to push a weapon off target and not loose points if his or her palm pushes on the flat of the opponent's weapon.

Match Termination:

At the referee's sole discretion, a match may be stopped and awarded to one player if the difference in skill between the two players is great enough to create a hazard to either player's physical safety.

At the referee's sole discretion, a match may be stopped and no player declared the victor if both lack the skill to effectively protect themselves.

A player's designated coach may stop a match, forfeiting, by throwing in their towel.

A contestant may chose to bow out and concede a bout by retreating, calling "halt", bowing and saluting his or her opponent and stating, "I concede this match."

A match will be terminated if a player's weapon breaks or becomes unsafe to use with his or her opponent being named the victor of that match.

Penalties and Disqualifications:

Striking with excessive force, -3 points.
Disregarding referee instructions, -3 points.
Foul Language or disorderly conduct of player, team mate, or coach, -3 points.
Striking after the referee has called a stop in action, -3 points.
Any conduct considered unsportsmanlike by the referee, -3 points.
At the referee's sole discretion, he or she may give a warning instead of a penalty for the first offense.

Weapons and Safety Equipment:

Contestants must supply their own personal weapons, safety equipment and a towel for his corner.

All weapons and other equipment will be inspected by the head referee before the tournament.

Contestants may change weapons between matches, but not during the match.

Contestants may use only ne sword during a match, no second weapon is allowed.

Swords must be made of wood but may have internal metal parts, however, no metal parts may be exposed. The surface of the swords must also be smooth and free of splinters. The sword must have a blunt tip and the edges must be at least 1/2" wide. The maximum blade length allowed is 31", measured from the base of the guard and all swords must have a minimum weight of 1.54 pounds (700 grams).

Contestants must wear a padded vest (gambeson) of light color with a collar that protects the throat and neck and that extends 3" (7.6 cm.) below the hips. This gambeson must be of Chinese style within historical reason.

In place of a gambeson, contestants may wear modern sports armor/pads that fully cover all the areas described above with a historically acurate Chinese jacket over the armor.

Contestants must wear hard plastic protectors on their forearms and shins. These maybe worn under the sleeves of a long sleeve T-shirt or under light, thin fabric pants.

Contestants must wear a helmet that provided full face protection, protects the ears and sides, top and back of the head.

Contestants must wear groin protection.

Contestants must wear athletic shoe, no hard soled, or steel toed, footwear will be allowed.

Contestants may choose to wear additional protective gear, such as, but not limited to: padded sleeves, tassets, etc, at their own discretion.


Though the safety gear of each contestant will be inspected by the head referee, neither the referee, the judges, other contestants, tournament organizers or any tournament sponsors are responsible for any injuries caused by faulty or inadequate safety equipment.

Greg and Ian duel