Men at Arms tournament rules


As previously said, the TOURNAMENT was often a pretext to show the power and richness of a lord compared to others.

This TOURNAMENT in closed field is not an end in itself, and it can neither be merely related to a sporting event. What we wish to achieve by hosting this event is reenacting – as realistically as possible – a half/late XV century tournament on foot.

Let us not forget that documentation concerning tournaments on foot is really scarce, if not totally absent. Big tournaments were on horseback, of course, but for obvious reasons (money and logistics), it is not possible to take on this rather daunting challenge given the features we want the tournament to have. For this reason, we have decided to focus on the fringe activities relating to these events, that is to say combats on foot in closed field.

The rules come from a number of documents, more or less renowned, part of which relate to horseback combats, which will be adapted to the context and the goals we aim at achieving, with the participants’ safety in mind.

The tournament regulations take their cue from the chronicles of some TOURNAMENTS which took place between the XV and XVII century. There are no specific historical documents on this topic and the chronicles themselves often lack in information.

However, we have decided not to take our cue from treaties on historical fencing, not because we do not respect them, but because we aim at creating something different from what has been seen so far. We do not want to be bound to a specific current, but we would like to give participants freedom of stylistic and martial choices.

Renato d’Angiò himself, although he lists a series of rules in his treaty, explains that such rules had to be codified by the lord organizing the event. Our regulations are based on this principle.

Men-At-Arms Tournament Rules

Final and official regulation.


The Men-At-Arms (MAA) are expected to maintain a worthy and respectful demeanor toward adversaries and judges. The Men-At-Arms are expected to respect each decision made by the JUDGES without complaint or disagreement.


The field judges are OFFICIALI outside the fence and the MAESTRO DI CAMPO is inside the fence. The MAA are expected to refrain from complaint or disagreement regarding decisions made by the JUDGES, penalties or, in more serious cases, expulsion from the Tournament entirely.


Only full ARMOUR will be permitted and must reflect the original form and material from the 1440-1490 period.
Particular attention must also be given to the place of origin of the man-at-arms or his historical background.
All exposed parts must be protected by a mail standard, a padded doublet or suitable historical protection must be worn beneath all armor. Arms, hands, and legs must be protected by plates.
Helmets must have a visor and cannot have slits longer than 2cm.
In addition to being protected by a rigid material, it must also be protected by a mail standard.
The Field Judges may request an equipment check either before or during the sporting event.
In case the MAA protection is ruled insufficient, the person in question may be excluded from the competition.


Only WEAPONS authorized by event organized will be considered VALID. Any alteration or substitution with other models will be penalized with immediate removal of the Man-At-Arms from the Tournament.
Only SWORDS made by ROBERTO SAPORITI ( specifically for the TOURNAMENT will be accepted, with the same measure and shape regarding the blade and hilt, whereas the type of pommel as well as the shape and length of the handle may be personalized. Each Man-At-Arms must arrive at the TOURNAMENT with his own sword.


The MAA will be expected to stop and return to their corners ONLY when signaled to do so by the OFFICIALI as indicated by the sound of a whistle and/or the interference of the MAESTRO DI CAMPO.


All COMPLETED HITS in the following parts of the body will be considered valid: ARMS, LEGS, CHEST and HEAD.
COMPLETED HITS are intended as blade or tip hits inflicted with appropriate force and movement.
All hits will be considered valid, EXCEPT HITS to the HEAD, hits to the back and hits that are NOT delivered with the blade of the sword.
At the MAESTRO DI CAMPO’s signal, MAAs must separate and retreat to their own corner.
The MAESTRO DI CAMPO will then communicate who wins the point or, if necessary, consider the hit invalid or simultaneous.
The MAESTRO DI CAMPO’s verdict is irrevocable.
Both MAA will receive a point for simultaneous hits.


The following actions will be punished with a penalty:
Hits intentionally made with parts of the sword other than the blade.
An MAA touching the adversary’s blade or parts of the body in an attempt to shield, prevent or shift the hit.
An MAA who touches the fence with his body while retreating will be punished with a penalty.
Actions considered unsportsmanlike by the judges.
Upon the first penalty, the participant will lose a point. If he does not have any points, a point will be given to his adversary. Upon the second penalty, the participant will lose the battle.
At the end of the battle, warnings will be annulled.


Immediate loss of the battle will be assigned under the following conditions:

  • Voluntarily inflicted hits with the tip of the sword against the HEAD and/or NECK.
  • Voluntarily inflicted hits to the HEAD with the GUARD or Pommel.
  • Voluntarily inflicted hits to the back (when the hit is loaded and inflicted from behind the adversary’s line).

Example: RED hits his adversary from the side, partially hitting his back following WHITE rotation or lateral movement. VALID HIT.
With a jump, RED finds himself behind his adversary and hits WHITE back. RED is eliminated.
WHITE intentionally turns his back on his adversary, causing him to hit his back… WHITE is given a penalty.


The battle may be interrupted by the field judges in cases of damage to an MAA’s protective wear.
The MAA may request a momentary interruption during the battle to repair any damage. If need be, he may agree with his adversary to suspend the battle (passing to the next battle).
In case an MAA is unable to return to the field under the appropriate safety conditions, which will be determined by the GIUDICI DI CAMPO, he may be excluded from the battle or tournament.


In case of an MAA’s withdrawal or expulsion from the tournament, the victories of the current battle and battles not carried out will be forfeited.
In case of a tie, battles carried out against a withdrawn or expelled MAA will not be counted.


Victory will be awarded to the first contender to receive 5 points.
In case of a tie, the battle will continue until one of the two participants gains an extra point.


The TOURNAMENT victory will be awarded to the MAA who wins the most victories at the end of all the battles.
In case of a tie between two contenders, a knockout battle will be judged.
Victory will be awarded to the winner of the knockout. In the case of a tie between a larger number of contenders, the MAA with the least amount of points will be awarded.


How to partecipate?