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Bowie DVD Special This Week!

American Bowie Combatives Seminar (4 DVDs)
Mobility, Attack, Defense & Fighting Drills
Plus Bonus DVD of WWII USMC Combat Training Films

These four discs capture the essential drills for the Bowie knife. Blend this material with what you have learned from MAA Keating and you will be on your way! These exercises will help you win when it comes to sparring with the Bowie. The WWII Marine films teach Biddle / Steyers knife, stick, bayonet, hand to hand, and conditioning. (Normally 148, Just 98 This week)

The Rules Make The Fight Sport

Howdy all! A lot of you wrote me e-mails about last week's article on the lightsaber combat seminar so I linked the article on the "what's new" page of Alliance. It also inspired me to write more about this fast growing hobby and sport.

Like many of you, we got a foot of snow dropped on us Sunday / Monday so with the roads impassible it gave me extra time to study. Specifically I learned the rest of the Shii-Cho form (or "Dulon" as they call katas). This was slightly complicated because various groups perform the Shii-Cho differently, but fortunately I was able to find one performed as we'd learned it.

Next came study of the sparring rules...and again there was great diversity between the organizations. Now in many ways fighting is fighting, competing is competing whether you are fencing with Bowie knives or lightsabers because you deal with the same emotions, physical and mental stress, etc. but without knowing the rules of a competition winning will be difficult against someone who's used to working under the rule set.

First off, the required equipment varied between groups. For some just a fencing mask and lacrosse gloves were enough but in others considerable amounts of armor must be worn. Target areas also varried, with some groups allowing hits below the knee and others not. Also some groups count blows to the hands or the saber hilt.

In watching a number of matches, some of them resemble point Karate with it's start / stop action where after each touch the referee will call out something to the effect of "Hold, judge's call, point red, fighter's ready, fight!" There is less flow in these fights, more a series of lightning fast single encounters.

Saber Legion Championship Match 2019

Other organizations do not call a break on a strike and the judges simply record points silently for the duration of the time (usually 3-5 minutes). At the end of the match they may announce the score or simply say which fighter they think won and that person moves on in the tournament.

Some groups weight the scoring by giving more points for a strike to the head or body compared to strikes to the limbs. For example, 5 points for the head, 3 for the arms, and 2 for the legs. Others simply award 1 point for any valid strike, regardless the target. Some groups also give bonus points if the strike is clean and not countered in any way.

Lightspeed Continuous Sparring Saber Rules With Onscreen Scoring

Perhaps the largest rule difference is in the set being used by the French Fencing Federation (FFE) now that lightsaber is considered an official 4th form of fencing.

Brief Explanation Of French Fencing Federation Rules & Demo Match

Under the FFE the concept of "right of way" or "priority" is introduced. Priority means that you have an obligation to defend against a blow before counter striking, so you can not just try to throw a counter-hit - you must evade or parry and then return with a riposte. This causes the match to have a back and forth, you hit then I hit feel to it.

In many ways this is similar to Tapi-Tapi of the Filipino arts which is a game of give and take, and of course it is the same as in the French sport of LaCanne or cane fighting. Also like in LaCanne the weapon must be brought back before striking, which is technically bad fencing but makes the blows much easier to see for the audience.

Each of these rule sets brings out a different kind of action and requires a different mindset and approach, so in entering a lightsaber competition it's important to know what rules you're fighting under.

This is no different than in the early days of sport Karate where you had to know tournament to tournament what techniques you could use. In some you could foot sweep, in some your could throw as long as you didn't follow up, in some the groin was a legal target, and in some you could kick to the head but not punch to the head.

I think the best rule I saw out of the many sets was called "Compensation". It meant that if the judges awarded you points but you were honest and told them you were actually hit first in the exchange it was only considered a 1 point hit against you, regardless of the actual scoring value. I think this rule is excellent because it rewards good sportsmanship.

All my very best to you,

Pete Kautz

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