USA Fencing Rules shall be the rules that govern, unless expressly changed in these rules.

1.         A team consists of nine total competitors - three each in sabre, foil and epee.

2.         Failure to field a complete squad will result in a forfeit of the missing fencers' bouts.  Forfeits will be scored as a victory for the opponent but will not count in the cumulative score of the present individual’s victories.

3.         A fencer may fence in only one weapon per meet, and for a total of three bouts.

4.         Substitutions are permitted.  Notice must be given to the director (referee) one bout prior to the change.  When the meet has been decided, substitutions may be made at any point. ("Mercy Rule").

5.         Once a fencer is substituted out of the match, he/she may not return.

6.         A match will consist of 27 bouts - nine each in sabre, foil, and epee.  Fourteen bout victories or more will constitute a team victory.

7.         In each weapon, the three competitors from one school will fence each of the three competitors from the opposing school, for a total of nine bouts (in each weapon).  The order of bouts shall be: 3-6, 1-5, 2-4, 1-6,3-4, 2-5, 1-4, 2-6, 3-5.  The home team shall be Team A and use numbers 1, 2, 3.  The visiting team will be Team B and use numbers 4, 5, 6.

8.         A match will consist of three sabre bouts, then three foil bouts, and ending with three epee bouts.  A two-minute team break will be taken after nine total bouts have been fenced.  Nine more bouts will then take place in the same manner ending with a second two-minute team break.  The final nine bouts will then be fenced.

9.   A bout will be to five touches and for three minutes stop time for foil and epee.  If there is a tie at the end of three minutes, priority will be determined by the machine or a coin toss done by the director (referee) and will be fenced to the next valid touch or the expiration of an additional minute. Should the additional minute expire, the winner will be the fencer who was awarded priority prior to the start of the additional minute.

10.   A one-minute time-out may be called by a coach or their designee during any valid stoppage of a bout.

11.   At the beginning of the match the fencers will salute their opponent, the referee, and the spectators.  At the conclusion of the match the fencers will return to the on guard lines, salute, then approach each other to tap blades after the bout has ended.

12.   The USA Fencing penalty chart will be enforced.  Equipment penalties will be given with illegal equipment confiscated for the bout. Currently, we are using the August 2022 USA Fencing Penalty Chart.

13. Sabre gloves will be marked with the FIE/800N label from the manufacturer. If an overglove is used, the glove underneath it must be FIE/800N.

14. All female fencers must wear chest protection. Foil fencers of any sex must have one that has the padded covering of 4mm thickness and density of 22kg/ m3.  The material must have the SEMI technical mark at the center of the upper edge. USA Fencing rule m.25 4c.

15. Masks worn by competitors must be specific to the weapon they are fencing.

**For the 2023-2024 high school season, the following will be required of all high school competitors in any and all Section XI-sanctioned events: For masks with a metallic tongue, the mask must contain a horizontal safety strap at the rear of the mask, with the two ends of the strap firmly attached to the two sides of the mask. This strap may be elastic or of any other material that may be approved by the US SEMI Committee. For masks without a metallic tongue, the proper use of an approved magnetic neck strap is mandatory. (USA Fencing rule Book 3-Material Rules, Chapter 2-Clothing, Mask-m25 7f)  The strap must contact the wearer’s head.                                           

08/2022 USA Fencing Rules for Competition

Section XI Team Championship Qualification
.500 or better to qualify.  One playoff bracket (updated 10/4/23)

Teams qualify for the playoffs and are seeded based: (Per Section XI Rules)

  1. League record
  2. Head-to-Head competition
  3. Head to Head against the highest seed outside the tie and continue through the full league standings
  4. Coin toss

Section XI Individual Championship Tournament

Top 18 in each weapon/sex through the season advance to individual playoffs;

a minimum of 24 bouts must be fenced throughout the season.

1.         The top 18 fencers in each sex/weapon, as determined by season records at the end-of-season coaches’ meeting, will be placed into 3 pools of 6 fencers based on their season record.

2.         Pools will consist of 5 bouts of 5 touches each for each fencer.

3.         At the end of pool one, the bottom 6 fencers will be eliminated and placed as 13-18.

4.         At the end of pool two, the bottom 6 fencers will again be eliminated and placed 7-12. The remaining 6 fencers will be promoted to the Championship round.

5.         At the end of pool 3/Championship round, fencers will be placed 1-6 and subsequent medals awarded.

Section XI Team Tournament Procedures

1.         At sign-in, each coach will list the team members in order of strength with the weakest fencer in each weapon designated as number one, the middle fencer number two, and the strongest fencer number three.  This order may not subsequently be changed.  A fencer may be removed from the competition and a substitute put in.  However, once a fencer is removed they may not return.  The replacement is not eligible for the individual championships. Substitutes must be announced prior to the beginning of the preceding bout. Substitutes may not enter in mid-bout except with the approval of the tournament’s appointed head director.

2.         Any delay due to an equipment failure with the machine, reel, or strip that will unnecessarily prolong the proper running of the competition will be fenced on available strips.  The existing team order will remain intact regardless of a change in strip.

3.         The bout committee for resolving protests will consist of the first three available (present and impartial) of the following list: fencing sports chairman, fencing official rules interpreter, president of fencing officials association, host coach, impartial fencing officials, impartial fencing coach.


Updated 11/12/2022