The Association for Historical Fencing maintains the view that the Grand Assault of Arms should serve as the ultimate test of martial skill among classical fencers. To this end formal assaults are governed by the idea that they should, as closely as possible, mimic a serious encounter between skilled individuals, despite the fencing weapon’s point being covered. Consequently, fencers must primarily consider their defense in their fencing to achieve this ideal. To encourage this demonstration of skill in the Grand Assault, we have introducing qualifying rounds for foil only. They are designed to ensure that only fencers who adhere to sound martial technique will take part in the formal Grand Assault.
To qualify, each fencer must adhere to Classical foil technique and form, distinguished by clarity and distinction in the actions, precision in timed actions, and regularity in the execution of actions. Regularity refers to exact, orthodox execution as opposed to imprecise, unorthodox execution of technique.
The following are the nine criteria by which each fencer will be evaluated in the qualification assaults:
- Fencers must demonstrate fully developed simple and compound attacks.
- Precise blade control in all offensive and defensive actions.
- Awareness and control of the measure.
- Balanced controlled footwork.
- No jabbing; a thrust started with the elbow behind the body is considered a jab.
- No brutality and heavy handedness.
- No forcing “infighting”.
- No covering of target by doubling up or twisting the body or with the arms. In addition either twisting the body or passing must not bring the unarmed shoulder and/or arm forward.
- Fencers must demonstrate that they can sustain a phrase of arms.
Foil Qualification Procedure
- Each fencer is required to fence twice against an adversary designated by the host organization.
- In order to qualify, the fencer must receive a Satisfactory mark in all nine criteria from a panel of three judges evaluating the qualification assaults.
- It is the responsibility of each fencer to fence so that they can demonstrate all of the criteria required within the two assaults.
- The panel of judges will mark the fencer’s evaluation sheet as Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory for each criterion where the judgment is unanimous. If the judges disagree on any of the criteria after two assaults, the fencer will fence a third assault so that the judges can re-evaluate and reach a unanimous decision.
- All fencers who qualify will be entered into the formal Grand Assault, which will be held immediately after all the qualifying assaults are finished.
- Scores will not be counted in the qualifying assaults and will have no bearing on the placement of fencers in the tournament.