The FIE Congress voted on a number of rules changes for FIE competitions, which should trickle down to the national federations (including the US) in the next few months.
As of now, there are no announced rules changes by the Fencing Officials Commission (FOC), so this is only applicable for international competition until the FOC gets the proper English translation from the FIE and makes the updates to the USA Fencing Rule Book.
Based on the FIE Congress results, these changes will be implemented starting January 1st , 2014 unless indicated otherwise:
Rules Changes Testing at Jr. World Championships:
- At the Junior World Championships, the top 16 places in team competition will be fought for. From 17th place onwards teams will be classified within each round of the table, according to their initial places in the table. (This also applies for Junior World Cup competition.)
- Junior Team World Cups – the FIE has added Junior Team World Cups to their regulations. The official Junior team ranking takes into account a team’s four results in the Junior Team World Cup competitions, irrespective of continent, plus the junior team world championships and the junior team Zonal Championships.
- During the 2014 Junior World Championships, the FIE will test the shortening of the relay from 3 minutes to 2 minutes. (Each bout is five hits and 2 minutes maximum.)
- During the Junior World Championships the FIE will test reducing DE bouts from 3 to 2 periods with a one-minute rest in between for individual competitions in all 3 weapons. The rule being tested reads, “for direct elimination bouts, 15 hits maximum 6 minutes divided into 2 periods of 3 minutes, with one minute’s pause between the two bouts.”
- Testing the reduction of pool bouts from 3 minutes to 2 minutes instead at the Junior World Championships.
Visor Masks – Now Banned
- As of March 1st, the FIE will “prohibit the use of masks with transparent visors in all weapons until a protocol is developed and instituted that will determine the integrity of the visors once they have been used.”
Wear proper gear for warm-ups:
It will be a yellow card offense for not wearing fencing clothing and equipment which conforms with FIE regulations during warm up or training on site at an official FIE competition.
Foil: Beats to the lower 1/3 of the blade count as a parry: A new rule to clarify the beat attacks in foil similarly as in saber. The addition reads:
o Attacks by beats on the blade:
A) in an attack by beating on the blade, this attack is correctly carried ut and retains its priority when the beat is made on the foible of the opponent’s blade, i.e. the two-thirds of the blade furthest from the guard.
Changes to Non-Combativity:
The “absence of blade contact” portion of the rule is being pulled out. The rule now simply reads, “Excessive distance (greater than the distance of a step-forward-lunge) during at least 15 seconds.”
Changing of Corps-a-Corps
Corps-a-corps in sabre and foil are being changed to follow the same wording as in epee so that incidental contact will not cause a penalty.
No More “FIE-N” Blades
- Non-maraging steel blades are no longer accepted for Homologation after January 1, 2014 and non-maraging steel blades with current homologation are acceptable for use until December 31, 2015.
It will take a few months for this all to filter down to the local level, and most of the rules changes will not impact how the right of way weapons are called. Getting rid of the blade contact portion of non-combativity is a most welcome change as some of the epee exchanges at the 2012 Olympics to get around that rule were laughable.