Tournament Bouts: When To Stop The Action?
by Matt Galas - March 2013
In fencing and martial arts practice, there is an unspoken but critical decision that must be made by those controlling the fight: That is, the question of when to stop the action. Two opponents face one another, and are given the command to begin the fight. Eventually, one of them strikes the other. Does the fight stop there and then, or does it continue? If it continues, how long is the fight allowed to go? At what point - after how many blows, or upon what occurrence or event - is the action stopped?
The answer to this question has a huge impact on the nature and character of the fight. However, it is a subject that is seldom, if ever, discussed in any detail. The goal of this article is to examine this question, to show how it has been answered in various martial traditions, and to discuss the consequences of the different decisions. Ideally, this will help modern practitioners of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) in constructing rule-sets for tournaments, free-play, and sparring.
Looking at historical examples of armed combat and martial arts, it becomes clear that the solutions to this problem range across a continuum: At one end of the scale, the action is stopped immediately upon a hit; on the other end, there is theoretically no stop to the action. Of course, there are many shades in between these two extremes. The most common solutions are these:
- Immediate stop to the action after a hit;
- Allowing one extra blow after a hit (the after-blow rule);
- Fighting to a pre-determined number of blows, regardless of hits landed;
- Fighting until one of the fighters falls or is disarmed; and
- No stop to the action.
Each of these stages on the continuum will be examined below, along with their consequences for the nature and character of the fight.
Immediate Stop to the Action
This is the solution adopted by modern sport fencing. As soon as a fencer touches his opponent, the action comes
to an immediate halt. Nothing that occurs after this hit has any validity in terms of scoring, even if the interval is extremely short. In electrical fencing, "immediate" is further defined by mechanical means, namely the scoring machine's setting to disregard any additional hit that occurs after a pre-defined period, which is a mere fraction of a second. From a HEMA perspective, this practice is often criticized for its artificiality, since it allows fencers to disregard their own safety when they attack, and thus to score using fencing behaviors that would be far too risky with a sharp blade.
This practice appears to date as far back as the late 18th century. Here is an example taken from the rules for foil fencing published by the Amateur Fencers' League of America in 1891:
"Any judge upon seeing a touch shall stop the bout, and thereupon a vote shall be taken. [...] A touch, whether fair or foul, invalidates the riposte." (1)
The After-Blow Rule
In several countries in Europe, competitive rules for fencing allowed a fencer who had been hit to take a final, parting blow at his opponent. This attack was known in Flemish as a Naerslag (after-blow) or Naersteek (after-thrust); however, the practice was used in France, Italy, the Netherlands, and likely in England as well.
Typically, the rules stated that upon receiving the hit, the fencer must immediately initiate his after-blow, which must be delivered within a pre-determined number of steps (examples range from one step to as many as three). This rule, which has become common practice in the international HEMA community, forces the fencer to attack only when he is confident that he can parry or avoid a possible after-blow, and thus seeks to promote good swordsmanship. This practice appears to date as far back as the late 15th century, and likely earlier.
Here is an excerpt regarding the after-blow from the longsword rules of the fencing guild of Mechelen, dating to the 17th century:
"Whoever fights the defending King at the Knightly Sword must strike him with a valid hit, on the head, shoulders, back or chest, above the elbows and above the belt, as shown by the [chalk] marks, remembering that the King has his after-blow, which must be delivered at once, without following the challenger or opponent more than three steps to give this after-blow, on pain of losing it." (2)
Fighting to a Set Number of Blows - The Chivalric Tradition
In many martial traditions in Europe, and across many time periods, still another approach was adopted: Namely, to allow the fighters to exchange blows, regardless of the result, until a certain pre-determined number had been reached. Thus, in knightly feats of arms in the fourteenth century, it was common to see challenges which specify that the fight will continue until three blows were exchanged. Such feats of arms took place with the poleaxe, the sword,and even the dagger. It appears that the number referred to the number of blows thrown by each fighter.
Several examples of this kind of combat are described by Jean Froissart in his Chroniques. In 1386, a feat of arms took place between a French and an English knight before the Duke of Lancaster in the city of Betanços. The relevant portion of the challenge reads as follows:
"Sir Regnault asks of him, in the name of love and his lady, that he consents to deliver three blows with steel lances on horseback, three sword blows, three blows with the dagger, and three blows with axes..." (3)
Froissart specifies that the weapons used in this affair were all of good Bordeaux steel, sharp and well-tempered. After running three courses with sharp lances, the knights dismounted and fought with each of the designated weapons in turn. This passage makes clear that the number of blows to be struck refers to blows thrown by each fighter, rather than a combined total:
"After finishing their encounter with lances, they took up their axes and completed their encounter with them, each giving the other three blows with them on their helmets; and the same with swords and then with daggers." (4)
Over time, the number of blows in knightly feats of arms steadily increased. In some challenges from the 15th century, ten or twelve blows were common; by the early 16th century, the number of blows exchanged could reach into the twenties or thirties. Once the required number of blows were achieved, a marshall (sometimes assisted by a team of armored assistants) would part the combatants, by brute force if required.
One challenge, sent by a Spanish squire to an English knight in April 1400, involves combat with multiple weapons. The rules specify that there will be no break in the action during the fight with each weapon, moving without pause to the next weapon, until the requisite number of blows with all the various weapons has been achieved:
"Firstly, to enter the site on foot, each of us being armed as seems best to him, and each of us having his sword and dagger on his body, in whatever place pleases him, and each of us having a poleaxe, of which I will specify the length. And the number of blows with each of the weapons will be as follows: That is, ten blows with the poleaxe without stopping, and once these ten blows are completed, and the judge says, 'Ho!', we will carry out ten blows with the sword without stopping or separating one from the other, and without changing armor. And when the judge says, 'Ho!' to the swords, we will come to the daggers and will carry out ten blows by hand. And if one of us should lose one of his weapons, or let it fall, the other may carry out his pleasure with his weapon, until such time as the judge says, 'Ho!'" (5)
A final example is instructive. In the Chronicle of Mathieu d'Escouchy, the chronicler describes a feat of arms known as the Pas de Belle Pellerine, which took place near Calais in July 1449. According to the rules of the encounter, the challenger could take his choice of running 13 courses with the lance, 17 blows with the poleaxe, 5 blows with the short sword on horseback, or 19 blows with the longsword. No grappling was allowed, only blows with the weapon. The rules specifically state that the fighting would continue until the designated number of blows had been completed by one of the two knights: "...fighting with the spiked poleaxe until 17 blows have been struck and landed by one of the two knights....fighting with the sword until five blows have been struck and landed by one of the two knights..." (6)
In this case, it is clear that the judges were counting blows, with the intention of stopping the action as soon as one of the combattants achieved the set number of blows.
Fighting to a Set Number of Blows - The German Gang
In a very different context, a similar approach has been used by German student fraternities in their Mensur duels since at least the early 19th century, and likely earlier. Although each fraternity has its own house rules (known as a Comment) for the conduct of duels, a common feature is the use of the Gang (literally, "go") to divide the fight up into rounds.
A Gang (plural Gänge) normally consists of a certain number of blows struck by each fencer. The precise number is specified in the house rules, but often consists of 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 or even 10 blows, struck with a sharp sword at the opponent's head. Once the duel commences, the fencers cut at each other until their seconds have counted out the requisite number of blows. Then, the seconds use their own swords to strike up the blades of the fencers, stopping the action. As a general rule, the action continues even if a fencer is wounded before the number of blows has been achieved, although the action may be stopped if the wound is deemed too severe for the fight to continue.
Here is the definition of a Gang, taken from the website of Landsmannschaft Cimbria, a German fraternity that still practices the Mensur: "A Mensur extends over thirty Gänge; a Gang is a four-fold exchange of cuts." It is important to bear in mind that this number can vary widely, depending on the Comment, or house rules. (7)
Although detailed rules for the German Fechtschule competition have not yet been discovered, it is known that they
also used the concept of the Gang. It is common to read of fencers challenging their opponents to fence a Genglein (single round) or several Gänge (rounds) in Fechtschule competitions:
Therefore, we must go one little Gang 
and I will hit you with my little staff  (8)
Thus, we fight with high spirits -
one Gang, two or three with the sword. (9)
Three Gänge, in particular, appears to have been most common, and is frequently mentioned. In the following passage, taken from a religious text, the author uses a fencing analogy that must have been commonly understood by his audience to describe the actions of Christ:
"But our Lord Christ, as is usual and customary at all proper fencing competitions, went three Gänge with them..." (10)
At the end of each Gang, however that was defined, the victor was the fencer who struck his opponent the highest bleeding hit. This formulation (die höchste blutruhr) is commonly found in descriptions of fencing. Considering the fencers fought with minimal protective gear, using wooden Dussacks and staffs, and steel longswords, loss of blood was inevitable, a part of the game: 
"He fought for the highest bleeding hit, he fought for the wreath, he fought for the school, he fought for a glass of wine..." (11)
Here is another example, taken from a rhymed description of a Fechtschule in Zwickau in 1573. The nobleman sponsoring the event put a money prize for each fencer who scored the highest bleeding wound on his opponent:
So that you are aware, heed what I say: 
The Elector is offering money
as often as one strikes a blow
making the highest hit, so long as it bleeds, 
(and this in the weapons which I show to you)
he will earn four Gülden each time.
Therefore, flourish your arms, don't let them rest!
Let no-one, then, value his skin too highly!  (12)
What remains unclear, however, is how the Marxbrueder and Federfechter defined a Gang - that is, of how many blows it consisted. Some Fechtschule rhymes refer to fencers completing nine or even twelve Gänge without either one being hit. This would appear to indicate that the judges were counting blows, similar to the method used in the older chivalric contests in France and Burgundy. It also speaks to the high level of skill at these Fechtschule competitions:  
Peter Müller, the Elector's bodyguard,
quickly took note of Lorentz Schuhknecht.
They went after each other until the ninth Gang,
each one going hard against the other,  
but neither one did a thing to the other, despite
how much as they wanted to, and they had to withdraw.
And this took place with the staff;
and so they had to let it go.
Nickel Dacha - I'll point him out -
and the Carpenter, they accomplished
twelve Gänge, that I can announce;
and neither one was able to hit the other.
This took place with the Dussack;
they both had to let it go.
In Dussack, Bernhardt the Clothmaker                      
from the city of Freiburg, went nine Gänge
with Lorentz of Bamberg; and I can tell you, 
that neither of them was able to wound the other.
This took place with the Dussack,
and they both had to leave each other. (13)
Perhaps a key to the definition of a Gang, as used in the old Fechtschule tradition, can be found in a fictional work. Written by a German university professor in 1689, Portugalische Clara und Affrikanischer Tarnolast contains several scenes in which the Gang is defined; although the definition varies depending on the scene. In the first scene, a Gang is defined as consisting of three blows:
"Oran said: 'Since you were the one who first issued the challenge, and unless you wish to be held for dishonorable, then you must hazard a Gang with him.' The other began to scratch his head and started whining, asking the Prince how many blows did a Gang consist of, and whether one could strike another dead in such a Gang. 'Three blows make up a Gang,' replied Palapastus, because the rest of them could not speak, they were laughing so hard, 'and you may well be killed by the first blow, if you don't pay enough attention to it.'" (14)
However, the same work later defines the Gang as consisting of twelve blows, showing just what a chimerical term this is:
"'No,' said the nobleman, 'I must at least have three Gänge with you, and in each of them twelve blows, for the duel must be fought honestly and cannot be completed with blows that miss.'"  (15)
Later, the Gang is again defined as consisting of twelve blows, but specifies further that each party must give and receive twelve attacks:
"Alopoch said, 'Anyway, this will not be resolved with but a single Gang; rather you will have to do at least three Gänge, and in each of them you must deliver and receive twelve blows!'"  (16)
These latter examples are of great interest, since they make clear that in counting attacks, those which missed (Fehlschläge, literally "missing blows") were not counted, but only those which struck the opponent's body or weapon; also, that the number refers to the blows struck by both fighters.
It is easy to conceive of a competitive HEMA format in which fencers would be instructed to continue until each of
them had delivered a set number of blows (such as 3 or 4), at which time they would be separated by the referee. At
that time, the action would be analyzed by the judges. The use of chalked blades could substitute for a bleeding
wound, with the highest chalk mark indicating the loser of the exchange. Only blows which struck the opponent or
his weapon would be counted by the referee. This method is also ideally suited for those competing in armored
combat. Such a method of regulating the fight holds potential for HEMA, and is definitely worthy of further exploration.
Fighting Until A Fencer Falls or Loses His Weapon
This format was a common feature of knightly feats of arms in the 15th and 16th centuries. The rules typically specified that the fight would continue until one of the combatants fell (for example, defined as touching the ground with his hand, knee, or any other part of his body than his feet) or lost his weapon (such as by being disarmed or having it knocked from his hand). Judging by contemporary accounts, these rules resulted in an extremely demanding fight for the combatants. Combat often began with a hail of blows by one of the fighters, with the tide shifting to the other as his opponent ran low on energy. If neither opponent was wounded by the (sharp) weapons, they would eventually close and grapple to a conclusion.
The following is an example of the conditions of victory established in the rules of a feat of arms by Jacques de Lalaing at the court of the King of France in 1446:
"The third article is, that we shall fight with poleaxe or with sword, until one of us two is brought to the ground with his entire body." (17)
In 1450, Jacques de Lalaing fought another feat of arms, this time against all comers in Chalons-sur-Saone. Lalaing's challenge stated that the challenger should specify the number of blows, but his opponent had other ideas:
"Shortly afterward, the knight guarding the pass [i.e., Lalaing] sent for the judge, because the said Saint-Bonnet had not specified the number of blows with the poleaxe, as required by the rules, but instead wanted to fight until one or the other was carried to the earth with his entire body, or disarmed of his poleaxe with both hands. Without delay, the judge sent for him, informing him that he could ask for as large a number of blows as he liked; but that he must specify a number. He was content with this, and asked for the number of 43 blows with the poleaxe." (18)
This type of bout (fighting until a fighter falls or is disarmed) is obviously well-suited to those competing in armored combat. It should be mentioned that some Filipino stick-fighting schools engage in this kind of competition as well. However, in the context of unarmored combat, this format has clear drawbacks. For example, nothing prevents a fighter from ignoring blows to the head or other areas covered with protective gear, and simply rushing in to grapple with his opponent. Such tacticswould make no sense in the context of an unarmored fight with sharp swords, and would need to be penalized. The difficulty in effectively doing so makes this a less than ideal format for unarmored combat. However, it would seem this is an ideal format for armored combat in HEMA.
No Halt to the Action
This is the logical end of the spectrum, only adopted in extreme contexts such as gladiatorial combat in ancient
Rome or in judicial duels.
In terms of effects on the nature and character of the fight, each of these stages on the continuum seems to involve an increasing level of "realism" in the sense of a more free-form, uninterrupted flow to the fight. On the other hand, the fight also becomes increasingly more difficult to govern in terms of safety to combatants and spectators. It also becomes increasingly difficult to judge, since the number of blows is so great, making the action difficult for judges to follow. Those forms towards the right end of the spectrum also run the risk of artificialities resulting from the use of protective gear in the case of unarmored combat. (That is, the temptation for fighters to simply ignore blows that would be painful or even debilitating in a combat with sharps.) On the other hand, where protective gear is integral to the fighting system (as in armored combat), the forms to the right end of this spectrum are ideally suited for adoption in modern HEMA.
Over the course of history, there have been many approaches to regulating fencing and armed combat. In recent times, both sport fencers and HEMA practitioners have focused on a limited range of the possible spectrum. Experimentation with other documented approaches holds great promise, and will undoubtedly yield fresh insights into the Historical European Martial Arts. Doing so will also link us more closely with the actual practices of historical fencing masters and fighters. Ultimately, it is the "H" in HEMA that sets us apart from other martial arts across the world; if we are truly interested in resurrecting the Historical European Martial Arts, we cannot in good faith ignore the historical fencing practices associated with those arts.
End Notes
1. Spalding’s Athletic Guide and Hand Book of the Amateur Athletic Union, pp 87-88 (New York, American Sport Publishing Co.,1891)
2. Statutes of the Fencing Guild of Mechelen, Article IX, Municipal Archives of Mechelen, Belgium. Original text: "Item soo wie den staende koninck metten Ridderlycken sweerde bevechtende is die sal moeten den selfven slaen een vry roer, tzy aen het hooft, schoudere rugghe ofte borste, wel verstaende dat het zelfve roer sal moeten geslagen wezen soowel boven den elleboghe als boven den riem, naer uytwys van de teekenen daer toe synde, mist hebbende den koninck synen naerslagh, die instantelyck sal moeten gegeven worden sonder den campioen ofte bevechter meer dan dry passen te mogen vervolgen om den selven naerslagh te geven, op de berbeurte van daer af vervallen te zyn."
3. Jean Froissart, ed. J.A. Buchon, Vol. X, pp. 378 (Paris, Carez, 1825). Original text: "...messire Regnault lui prioit, au nom d'amour et de sa dame, que il le voulsist délivrer de trois coups de lances acérées à cheval, de trois coups d'épées, de trois coups de dague et de trois coups de haches..."
4. Jean Froissart, ed. J.A. Buchon, Vol. X, chapter LVI, page 384 (Paris, Carez, 1825). Original text: "...Apres les armes faites des lances, ils prirent les haches et en firent les armes et s'en donnerent chacun trois coups sus les heaumes et ainsi des épées et puis des dagues."
5. La Chronique d'Enguerrand de Monstrelet, ed. L. Douet-d'Arcq, Vol. I, pp. 11-12 (Paris, Renouard, 1857). Original text: "...à faire les armes qui s'ensuivent: premièrement, d'entrer en place à pié, et d'estre armé chascun ainsi que bon lui semblera, et d'avoir chascun sa dague et son espée sur son corps , en quelque lieu qu'il lui plaira, aiant chascun une hache, dont je bailleray la longueur: et sera le nombre des cops de tous les bastons ensuivans: c'est assavoir , de la hache, dix cops sans reprendre, et quant ces dix cops seront parfais, et que le juge dira: Ho! nous ferrons dix cops d'espée sans reprendre ne partir l'un de l'autre, et sans changer harnois. Et quant le juge aura dit: Ho! d'espées, nous venrons aux dagues et en ferrons dix cops sur main. Et se aucun de nous perdoit, ou laissoit cheoir aucun de ses bastons, l'autre peut faire son plaisir du baston, qu'il tendra jusques à ce que le juge ait dit Ho!"
6. Chronique de Mathieu d'Escouchy, Ed. G. du Fresne de Beaucourt, Vol. I, pp. 255-57, (Paris, Renouard,1863). Original text: For poleaxe: "...combattre de hache à dague, tant que xvii coups soient feruz et assis par l'un des deux chevalliers..." For the sword: "...combattre de l'espée, tant que v coups seroient ferus et assis par l'ung des deux chevalliers..."
It is curious that this "struck and landed" language is similar to that used much later in the German Mensur duels, where a blow is said to have "landed" on the opponent. Literally, both "assis" and "bessassen" mean "seated"; given the very similar nature of the rules, and the very similar language used, it is tempting to speculate about the possibility of some sort of distant connection.
7. Website for Landsmannschaft CC Cimbria,, accessed on 24 March 2013. Original text: "Eine Mensur geht über dreißig Gänge, ein Gang ist ein viermaliger Hiebwechsel."
8.  Fastnacht Spiel, 855, 10/11. Cited by Alfred Schaer in Die Altdeutsche Fechter und Spielleute, p. 127 (Strasbourg, 1901). Original text:  "...dorumb müszen wir tun ein genglein, / und triff ich dich mit meinem stenglein..."
9.  Trag. Joh. Q. 7. Cited by Alfred Schaer in Die Altdeutsche Fechter und Spielleute, p. 127 (Strasbourg, 1901). Original text: fechtend wir usz fryem muot / ein gengly zwei dry mit dem schwert."
10. Christoph Vischer, Ausslegung der Evangelien, from Die Ander Predigt am Sonntag Reminiscere (Leipzig, 1576). Original text: "Es thut aber der Herr Christus / wie auff allen freyen Fechtschulen üblich vnd breuchlich / drey genge mit jr..."
11.  Fischart's Gargantua, 188v. Cited by Alfred Schaer in Die Altdeutsche Fechter und Spielleute, p. 54 (Strasbourg, 1901). Original text, referring to a Marxbruder: "...[er] focht umb die höchst blutrur, umb das kränzlin, umb die schul, um ein glas mit wein..."
12.  Benedict Edlbeck, Ordentliche und Gruendtliche Beschreibunge des Grossen Schiessen, mit dem Stahl oder Armburst (sic) in der Loebl. Churf.Stadt Zwickaw, d. 25. August Angefangen, folio 81r (Dresden, 1574). This work is a rhymed description of a Fechtschule that took place during a crossbow-shooting competition in Zwickau in 1573.
Original text:
Da jrs kündt thun, merckt was ich meldt,
Der Churfürst gibt zuuor auch geldt,
Als offt einer ein schlagen thut,
Auff die höchst Röhr, vnd das es blut,
In der wehr das zeig ich euch an,
Dem wird so offt vier Gülden zu lohn,
Drumb hebt auff last die wehrn nicht feirn,
Es sol da kein sein Haudt nicht thewrn
13. Benedict Edlbeck, Ordentliche und Gruendtliche Beschreibunge des Grossen Schiessen, mit dem Stahl oder Armburst (sic) in der Loebl. Churf.Stadt Zwickaw, d. 25. August Angefangen, folio 82r (Dresden, 1574). This work is a rhymed description of a Fechtschule that took place during a crossbow-shooting competition in Zwickau in 1573.
Original text:
Peter Müller des Churfürsten Trabant,
Mit Lorentz Schuknecht merckt zu handt,
Gingn zsamen auff den Neundten gang,
Jeder starck auff den andern drang,
Aber keiner dem andern nichts gethan,
Wie gern sie wolten, mustn ablan,
Vnd solches in der Stangen gschach,
Vnd musten also lassen nach.
Den Nickel Dacha, zeig ich an,
Vnd den Schreiner die habn gethan,
Zwölff geng das melde ich itzundt,
Vnd keiner den andern treffen kundt,
Mit dem Dissacken das geschach,
Sie musten beyde lassen nach.
Im Dissacken den Tuchmacher, 
Der Bernhardt von Freiberg der Stadt, 
Mit Lorentz von Bamberg than hat, 
Neun geng, das thu ich euch zu kundt, 
Keiner den andern nit verwundt,
Im Dissacken geschachs der massn,
Vnd mustn bedt von einander lassn.
14.  Eberhard Werner Happel, Portugalische Clara und Affrikanischer Tarnolast, Vol. I, p. 1181 (Hamburg, Lindberg, 1689). Original text: Oran, angesehen dass Ihr die Anforderung zum erstenmal gethan / und wann ihr nun nicht wolt vor unehrlich gehalten seyn / so muesset ihr einen Gang mit ihm wagen. Dieser begunte sich auff dem Kopff zu kratzen / und fieng an zu weinen / indem er den Fuersten weiter fragte / wie viel Streiche dann auff einem Gang bestuenden / und ob man einen auch in einem Gange wol todt hauen koente? drey Streiche gehoeren in einem Gang / wiederantwortetePalapastus, weil die übrigen vor Lachen nicht reden kunten; und ihr könt wol im ersten Streich erleget werden / wofern ihr dessen nicht wahrnehmet.
15. Eberhard Werner Happel, Portugalische Clara und Affrikanischer Tarnolast, Vol. I, p. 1182 (Hamburg, Lindberg, 1689). Original text: "Nein / sprach der Edelman / ich muss zum wenigsten drey Gaenge mit dir thun / und in einem jeden zwoelff Streiche; dann der Kampff muss redlich und nicht mit fehl-schlagen vollbracht werden."
16. Eberhard Werner Happel, Portugalische Clara und Affrikanischer Tarnolast, Vol. I, p. 1183 (Hamburg, Lindberg, 1689). Original text: "Sprach Alopoch: sondern ihr werdet zum wenigsten drey Gaenge thun, und in jedem zwoelff Streiche ausstheilen und empfangen mussen."
17.  Georges Chastellain, Le Livre des Faits de Jacques de Lalaing, in Oeuvres de Georges Chastellain, ed. Kervyn de Lettenhove, Vol. VIII, p. 96 (Brussels, Devaux, 1866). Original text: "Le troisième chapitre est: que nous combattrons de hache ou d'espée, tant et si longuement que l'un de nous deux soit porté par terre de tout le corps."
18.  Georges Chastellain, Le Livre des Faits de Jacques de Lalaing, in Oeuvres de Georges Chastellain, ed. Kervyn de Lettenhove, Vol. VIII, p. 220 (Brussels, Devaux, 1866).  Original text:  "Tost après, le chevalier gardant le pas envoya devers le juge, pour ce que ledit de Saint-Bonnet n'avoit point dit le nombre des coups de hache, ainsy que les chapitres le déclarent; mais vouloit combattre tant que l'un ou l'autre fust porté par terre de tout le corps ou désarmé de sa hache des deux mains. Et alors, sans arrester, le juge envoya devers luy, en luy faisant dire qu'il pouvoit demander si grand nombre de coups de hache qu'il vouloit; mais il y devoit avoir nombre. Sy fut content et demanda de nombre quarante-trois coups de hache."


Tournament Formats for HEMA/WMA
Historical Rule-Sets
[Tournament Bouts: When To Stop the Action]
On the After-Blow
Guidelines for Running a Traditional Franco-Belgian Tournament
- Belgian Longsword Rules
- Belgian Rapier Rules - 1716