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Some thoughts on tournaments

The club I hang around with has just had it's annual open invite tournament.

It's the first time I've been in a "proper" tournament, i.e. formal and interclub, in a very long time. I was competing in Longsword, Singlesword and Spear and line judging in Rapier. These are just some thoughts on it:
  • It's the first "proper" tournament I've done that followed a Franco-Belgian ruleset which was interesting. Surprisingly given that the main argument I hear in favor of the ruleset was that everyone does more fighting, I actually felt like I was standing around more and fighting less than at a "normal" tournament. This could have been down to the number of people, 25+. Each bout was over very quickly and if you didn't spend much time as the King then you didn't do much fighting at all. At least with a "hierarchical" type ruleset you are either progressing up the ranks or you are knocked out and can toddle off to free play. The result was that I didn't really engage with the tournament and lost interest in the whole thing pretty quickly.  
  • I noticed that who won the tournament was largely dictated by the first good fencer to become King, they could follow the simple formula of rushing and scrapping. The scrappier you were when King the better as any ambiguity was a default win. I found it extremely hard to fight like this, which was a massive weakness.  
  • It yet again highlighted my need for patience. Yes there is a time limit but this doesn't mean I have to go all out to win instantly!
  • My style of fighting didn't lend itself well to this ruleset, I either went slower and got nice unambiguous strikes on my opponents, but they were able to double me and win so this counted for nothing. Or I was too fast and the judges missed it and my opponent would ignore it as a "tap." I'm not really sure how to resolve this, perhaps more focus on binding, slicing and clashing actions that are both unambiguous and close the line better?
  • Line judging for competition with people relying on your call is much harder than I remember. especially where you are also judging something of the quality of the hit. The rule was that competitors were supposed to call hits first and 90% of people were very honest with this. But there were a significant number of people who were leaving it to the judges to call hits (what the point in having judges right?). On the flip side the judging, especially mine, was awful and very rarely tallied with the feedback from players so I doubt the outcome of the tournament really reflected what actually happened in the bouts. 


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