Multi-Format Tournament 2012 Report

On June 23rd and 24th, a number of Academie Duello students and a few out-of-town friends joined together in some friendly competition at the annual Multi-Format Tournament. This year we had four different categories to compete in, over two days: Saturday we held longsword and sidesword tournaments, and on Sunday we ran beginner and open rapier. With the exception of the beginner rapier tournament–which required that participants be of a beginner rank in their school–competitors could sign up for as many of the tournaments as they wanted.

The whole even was capped off with the first-ever Academie Duello Rapier Championship after the other rapier tournaments on Sunday.

Each category ran three tournaments:

In King of the Hill each participant was given five lives The first pair of fighters were chosen at random, and fought to first valid hit. The victor stays in and the other fighter loses a life and goes to the back of the line. Fighters are eliminated as they lose all of their lives, with the overall winner being the last fighter standing.

In Sudden Death each round consisted of random pairings of fighters. First hit ends the fight, and winners are randomly paired off against each other round-by-round until only one fighter remains undefeated.

The Timed Rounds tournaments were seeded with the top 8 combatants of the previous two tournaments and were single-elimination tournaments. Each match was for most clean hits in 3 minutes.

Double-hits: If you strike your opponent while they are in the middle of a strike of their own, and your strike leaves you uncovered so that they hit you it’s a double-hit. In the King of the Hill tournaments, the first double-hit was a warning, and a second double hit was a loss for both fighters. In the Sudden Death tournaments there were no warnings, and a double-hit meant both fighters out. Double-hits in the Timed Rounds tournaments, and the finals of the other two, just meant wasted time.


Longsword: King of the Hill

The king of the hill tournament saw a lot of calibration as our out of town visitors and newer-to-freeplay members all got used to our blow-calling scheme. The tournament moved along pretty well, and overall the fighters were quick to pick up on calling hits (and calling them back!). After a whopping 57 fights between 13 competitors, Walker and Griffin squared off as the last fighters standing, with Walker taking the final victory with a clean blow across Griffin’s throat.

Longsword: Sudden Death

With all of the fighters getting into the swing of things, we got to the sudden death tournament. This time the finalists were Matheus and Mike, a visitor from the interior who’s been doing swordplay in various forms for quite some time. They certainly put the “sudden” in sudden death, with a quick victory to Matheus by a solid shot through Mike’s defense.

Longsword: Timed Rounds

The top eight longsword fighters, which included all four of our guests from out of town, squared off for three minute rounds. As exhausting as the timed rounds proved to be with the other categories, longsword, with all the extra gear, was extra-grueling. The finals saw Walker, the King of the Hill winner, against Kip, from Seattle. After three minutes both fighters were tied for clean hits at six apiece (I think), so they went to a sudden-death tie breaker, which Walker won with a hit to the forearm.

Sidesword: King of the Hill

There was a quick breather between the longsword and sidesword tournaments while a few longsword fighters geared down, and a few new faces geared up, for sidesword. We allowed a variety of styles, ranging from a few free-form fighters to a sabre-wielding hungarian. The bulk of the students were working from Academie Duello’s sidesword curriculum, which is mostly based on 16th century Italian traditions. The first tournament ended with Roland squaring off against Matheus. Roland won with a thrust under Matheus’ arm.

Sidesword: Sudden Death

Due to a double-hit eliminating a fighter early, the Sidesword: Sudden Death tournament saw the first of two three-way finals over the weekend. Matheus, Walker, and Erik squared off against each other in a format that required one fighter to beat both of his opponents in succession in order to claim victory. After a few tentative passes (and double-hits) Matheus beat Walker to take on Erik, who then beat both Matheus and Walker to claim victory overall.

Sidesword: Timed Rounds

There were only eight competitors in the sidesword category, so everyone made it in to the Timed Rounds tournament, which ultimately saw Roland up against Erik, who spent his three minutes filling openings in Roland’s attack and defence with pointy sword, claiming a second tournament victory.


Beginner Rapier: King of the Hill

There were thirteen Academie Duello green cords competing in the beginner rapier tournament, ranging from people just three months in to people who’ve been coming for a while but have also taken some time off. The marshals took a much heftier hand with the blow calling, since for most of our competitors this was their first tournament, so having to fight and remember what just happened was sometimes a tall order. The first tournament’s final saw the amazingly tall Shaun against Anton, which Shaun ultimately won.

Beginner Rapier: Sudden Death

Unfortunately our iPad ran out of juice just at the beginning of the sudden death tournament, so I don’t have a finals video for you. But after a bunch of near misses, close calls, and generally hard-fought matches, Aaron ended up the winner.

Beginner Rapier: Timed Rounds

The camera still wasn’t in order at this point, but we had another bunch of great fights by our green cords, some of them successfully employing techniques that they’d only learned the day before! This tournament was won by Steve, who’s been a regular in the swordfit program and longsword classes for a while, but has also recently turned his hand to the rapier.

Open Rapier: King of the Hill

The open rapier tournament allowed all comers to compete with their choice of sword alone or sword and dagger. The finals saw a few familiar faces from day one’s competition squaring off, Roland and Matheus, with Matheus claiming victory with a cut across Roland’s face and arm.

Open Rapier: Sudden Death

Another three-way final for the open rapier: sudden death tournament, this time between Matti, Phil, and Tao. Matti is a very active sword fit and Open Floor participant (who also takes mastery class from time to time), Phil is active both in mastery class and the demo team. Tao is a red cord who’s been away from class for a while to focus on his work, but he still makes it out to Open Floors from time to time, and in the sudden death tournament his caution served to get him to the finals. After a full cycle through each finalist once, Matti ended up with a much-deserved victory.

Open Rapier: Timed Rounds

The competition was fierce, but after three rounds of eliminations Matheus and Erik stood face to face as the Timed Rounds finalists. After three minutes Erik claimed victory of the open rapier tournament with five hits to Matheus’ one.

Academie Duello Rapier Championship

Seeded with the top fighters from both beginner and open rapier, as well as the winners of our monthly mini-tournaments (the third Friday of every month), sixteen rapier fencers took to the field in a double-elimination best-of-three tournament. Each match was the first to two touches, with a double hit taking it to the final pass. It was a grueling tournament that eventually saw Matti and Erik squaring off against each other in the finals, with Erik undefeated and Matti winning the lower bracket. In order to win the tournament, Matti wouldn’t need to beat Erik two out of three just once, but twice! Ultimately, Erik scored two successive hits against Matti, running through the entire tournament undefeated and placing him as Academie Duello’s Rapier Champion!

Final Words and Thank-Yous

All in all it was a great weekend, with all of the fighters doing a great job of keeping their cool and valuing their lives. The folks at Lonin also put up a blog post about us, which you can read here.

Also, I can’t thank our volunteers enough:

Marshals – Greg, Andre, Devon, Rodge, and Kat

Video – Ian and Devon

Scorekeeping – Athena, Ayla, Kat, and Shaun

Thanks a bunch, everyone, for helping out, participating, cheering, and so on and so forth. If you have any questions/comments/requests/feedback/etc. please let us know!

See you next time,



devonboorman Devon Boorman is the Co-Founder and Director of Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay, which has been active in Vancouver, Canada since 2004. Devon’s expertise centres on the Italian swordplay tradition including the arts of the Renaissance Italian rapier, sidesword, and longsword, as well as knife and unarmed techniques.
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