General Rules

Individual Competitions

In general, fencing competitions have a format of one round of pools, followed by a Direct Elimination.


Pools normally contain between 5 and 7 fencers. Each fencer faces every other fencer in their pool without elimination. There may be more than one pool in the same competition. The winner of these matches is determined by whoever is first to reach five points or whoever has the most points after the time period of 3 minutes has elapsed.

In very large events, a number of fencers may be eliminated after the round of pools. However, in FencingSA and AFF competitions, all fencers proceed from the pools to the DE.

Direct Elimination

After the rounds of all pools are completed, fencers are ranked according to their results - this is often referred to as 'seeding'. A Direct Elimination (DE) table is drawn up, in which fencers are assigned positions due to their seeding rank. Depending on the number of fencers, the first round of the DE may be an incomplete tableau, in which the higher ranked fencers have byes and are automatically advanced to the next competition round.
The victors of each DE bout promote to the next round, the defeated are removed from the competition. The competition continues by knockout until the winner is determined.

Direct Elimination bouts are longer than pools matches. The number of points to victory is higher, and there are multiple periods of fencing time with 1 minute breaks between. These points/periods differ depending on the age brackets of competition:

Competition Brackets

Points to Win

# of 3 minute Periods

U9, U11, U13 10 2
U15, U17, U20, Open-B, Open 15 3
Veteran (40+) 10 2


On some occasions, the format may differ, and eliminated fencers will have the opportunity to fence-off in further rounds.
FencingSA reserves the right to change the format of competitions on the day as it sees fit to facilitate the best fencing experience for its members.



In fields of six or fewer, the defeated fencers of the semi-finals will have a fence-off match for 3rd place. Ranking points and medals will be awarded as normal.

Unwillingness to Fight

The Australian Fencing Federation adopted the FIE's new rules around Unwillingness to Fight (AKA 'U2F', AKA 'passivity', AKA 'non-combativity') in 1 January 2023. These rules apply to DE bouts and Team matches - but not to pool bouts.
Downloadable pdf of this is available below.



All State and National age bracket events are calculated upon your age at 1st January of that year.
The 'U' before the number stands for 'Under', thus: U15 means 14 or younger.


This year, Sam is turning 13 in April - but their age on 1st January is 12.
They are eligible for the Under 13 competitions for the whole year (even after turning 13!)
Next year, Sam will be aged 13 on 1st Jan, therefore ineligible for the Under 13 bracket.




Team Tournaments are fenced between teams of three fencers. Each of the three fencers from one team shall fence each of the fencers from the other team. During each bout the fencers shall have to try to reach a target score, which shall increase by five points each bout. When either fencer reaches that score the bout will end, and two new fencers will fence, trying to reach a different, higher target score.

During the tournament each team shall fence every other team exactly once, in accordance to the draw, which will be published by the Tournament Management Committee prior to the start of the tournament.

After the round robin has been concluded, a final of two or four teams may take place depending on the number of teams entered and the amount of time available.

Team Eligibility

A team may have a maximum of four fencers.

Every team tournament shall have a maximum number of teams permitted to compete. The number shall be decided according to the amount of time available to run the tournament.

  1. Every full or associate club will initially be offered the opportunity to enter one team.
  2. If the number of teams entered by the clubs is less than the maximum number the association shall offer the remaining places among the states school clubs.
  3. If the maximum number has still not been reached the remaining places shall be offered to the association at large on a first come first served basis. Any club which has already entered a team shall be permitted to enter a second team.
  4. Combined or social teams are freely permitted.

Fencer Eligibility

Any fencer may fence for any team, on the condition they do not compete for more than one team during any given tournament.


Equipment rules for a team event are the same as for the same category individual event.



The School Competition format will vary from year to year, depending on the number of schools running fencing programs, and at the direction of the FSA Board. 

FSA aims to deliver an Individual and Team event for school fencers at least once per year.  

Team events will be fenced round robin whenever possible, but depending on number of entries and time constraints the events may be fenced knockout from the first round.

Fencer Eligibility

Refer to the Categories page for details. A fencer must be attending either a primary or a secondary school, and must be affiliated with FencingSA. 

Team Eligibility

A team may have a maximum of four fencers (3 plus one substitute), and must all be participating in the same school program (or, members of the same club if the event is opened to school-age fencers). 

Equipment Rules

Refer to Equipment for details.

[UPDATED 7 Nov 2023]


When the registered enrolments for a competition event totals fewer than 4 fencers (combined genders), that event will be cancelled.
When more than 4 fencers have registered enrolment for an event but fewer than 4 fencers of either gender are registered, the following table will be used to determine the format of the event.

Direct Elimination

When 3 fencers of the same gender complete the pools round, standard gender split elimination rounds will occur.
When there are only 2 fencers of a single gender completing the pools round (see table below: Mixed Pool, Mixed DE), if ALL parties of that gender agree, and at the discretion of the DT, the elimination format may be changed to a mixed gender competition.



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