The upcoming meeting of the board of directors for USA Fencing will vote on two motions that will impact fencing for this season. The motions will cover changes to the rules for non-combativity as well as qualification paths for the Division IA events at the 2012 Summer National Championships.
Div 1A Qualifying and ROCs
The new qualification paths to the Div IA events spurred a great deal of discussion the forums, including requests by fencers to change the rules from a “Hard 8” to a more lenient 8 qualifiers per ROC, skipping those who are either ineligible or pre-qualified for Division IA.
There is a very long discussion in the forums about the qualification issue. The removal of Sectional qualifiers and replacing it with the Div IA ROC results finds some regions with no drivable events to qualify for the Div 1A events. (Though even with sections, fencers in several sections faced overnight stays and long drives or flights to compete in the sectional qualifying events.)
The proposed wording for qualification (changes in bold/italics) for Division IA is:
Placed in top 8, of those eligible and not already qualified, at any current season Division I-A Regional Open Circuit tournament
USA Fencing currently enforces an older version of the non-combativity rules. These rules govern the penalties and bout procedure should fencers “demonstrate their unwillingness to fence”; this was originally referred to as passivity and changed to non-combativity.
The FIE recently changed the procedure for non-combativity to remove the penalty card assessed to both fencers when the rule is invoked. This is following a number of incidents in which the fencer that was behind in the match gamed their opponent into a red card from this call to even or pull ahead in the match.
One painful incident for US fencing fans occurred during world cup competition in 2007:
Seth (Kelsey) was up 11-10 against the French fencer Boisse, round of 16, well into the 3rd period. Seth has a yellow, Boisse does not. At the “fence” command, Boisse steps back, and put his weapon behind him, like he’s content to let time run out and go to priority. Seth bounces a couple of times and stops. There are a couple of beats of time…and the ref calls halt…calls passivity, and pulls cards. Seth gets a red, Boisse a yellow…11 all…go straight to the priority extra period. Three double touches later on Seth’s priority, its 14-all. With but a second or two on the clock, Boisse drives Seth to the end line and scores a one light win.
The FIE has not changed the non-combativity rule to simply move the bout along to the next period in the DE match without a minute break for rest or coaching. If non-combativity is called in the 3rd period, then the match goes to a one minute overtime (regardless of score) and the entire minute is fenced.
USA Fencing still has the old rules that include penalty cards on the books. The motion before the board is to adopt the current FIE rules surrounding non-combativity.
The USA Fencing board meeting will be held on August 31st at 9pm Eastern time. Members may call in toll-free (from the US): (866) 205-3978 and the meeting passcode is: 2353754 (USA Fencing Announcement)