Epee - body cord protruding beyond guard?

Discussion in 'Rules and Referee Questions' started by noahz, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. noahz

    noahz DE Bracket

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    My understanding was that, in epee, the body cord plugged into the weapon socket cannot protrude excessively from beyond the guard.

    However, I read the latest USA Fencing rulebook and could not find concerning the cord specifically, only the "socket" (in the same passage referring to crossguards, which are prohibited).

    Several times in my career, I've made a thrust at my opponent's wrist, become entangled in their excessively protruding body cord, and received a touch. My opponent technically benefited from a defensive action "not with the guard or blade" of his weapon.

    In Charlotte yesterday, a referee told me that "some body cord is allowed" to go beyond the guard (huh? it seems like the rule book doesn't say either way).

    (He also told me to "leave the rules-lawyering for veterans - okay...? This was Div 1, Day 2. But that's neither here nor there).

    Thoughts?
     
  2. keropie

    keropie Podium

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    I don't have a specific rule to reference one way or the other, but I would say that if you at/near the beginning of the bout mentioned it, I would ask the other fencer to pull some cord back. If you wait until something happens, I'd likely ask the fencer to pull some back, but unless it actually is significant I wouldn't actually penalize or annul a touch.
     
  3. noahz

    noahz DE Bracket

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    I did ask the other fencer, he refused. The referee also refused. I asked him if he would anull the touch if my blade got caught in his cord. Referee ignored my question.

    m4 item 5 (page 114 of the current USA Fencing rule book:

    Also, t24 comes to mind:

    If my weapon becomes entangled in my opponent's body cord, while we are in close quarters, I can't "correctly wield my weapon" and the referee should halt and disallow any touch. I asked the ref about this, correct answer from him should have been "yes, touch would be annulled."

    Side note: I'm increasingly encountering referees who seem definitely ignorant of these rules - which in epee, not having right-of-way, can decide bouts. I had a referee at an ROC threaten me with a card for questioning my opponents "C" curve blade. Said referee insisted that epee allows 3 cm bend (??!)

    Been in this sport 28 years, you can call it "rules lawyering" or "knowing wtf I'm talking about."
     
  4. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    Spoken like a Veteran :)

    I agree with you about the cord.

    I also agree with you about encountering refs who don't know the rules. Epee is not easy to ref; I had to ref some epee a few months ago and I was reminded of how hard it is to call foot touches on ungrounded strips, for example.

    But a subset of epee refs are, I am convinced, just assigned to epee because they're the worst refs in the room and no one trusts them in ROW weapons. Not every epee ref, there are some excellent dedicated epee refs out there, but a subset are just in the "He's hopeless but he's here, shuttle him off to epee where he won't call any actions wrong." No, but he'll not know the rules and not pay attention. Thanks guys.
     
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  5. tbryan

    tbryan Podium

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    Right. The socket (and bodycord plug) cannot extend beyond the guard, but there's no real rule about the bodycord. I'd probably just point it out to the referee / fencer, as you did. If the fencer doesn't want to pull in the slack, and the referee doesn't ask him to, I don't think that there's a rule that you can reference. Normally, if I mention it, the fencer pulls in the slack, and if he doesn't, the referee asks him to.

    I've always thought of excessive slack in the body cord as a safety issue. I know that this rule only applies to the clothing and not the weapon, but I think of it like M.25.2
    I really don't want a blade to get tangled up and trapped, especially not right by the opponent's hand. It's going to happen from time to time no matter what we do, but having too much slack in the bodycord seems to me to make that more likely.
     
  6. tbryan

    tbryan Podium

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    That's a little more complicated. If your blade becomes trapped, the referee should call halt. No new actions should be permitted. But, just like if you drop your blade, if the opponent is starting his action just as your blade becomes trapped, any touch scored by that action is generally allowed.

    Of course, when I referee, I generally ask the fencers to pull in excessive bodycord slack before they start fencing.

    Careful. You're starting to sound like a "grumpy old man." I guess that means that you're almost ready for vets. ;)

    I saw a referee try to award two points when a fencer was hit and went off the back of the strip at JOs once, but that was more than 10 years ago. (The call was corrected on appeal.) I honestly haven't noticed referees getting worse in that regard in the last 20 years, but I don't have much experience at the Div 1 level.

    Maybe your referees have always been defiantly ignorant, but you're just talking to them more now that you're older! ;)
     
  7. nyacfencing

    nyacfencing DE Bracket

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    I thought that rule was specifically around the sockets because the old sockets had the metal band all the way up the backside....so a protruding socket would mean extra grounded coverage of your hand. The cord plug didn't matter because it's insulated. I don't think that rule was designed for your tangle-hazard use case
     
  8. tbryan

    tbryan Podium

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    I also don't think that m.4.5 has anything to do with my tangle-hazard use case. I just meant that I personally view excessive slack in the body cord as a tangle hazard.

    It could be that noahz is talking about a little extra slack, and I'd just say, "No, that's fine." But I was imagining those fencers who come on guard with 12+ inches of cord exposed between their wrist and the socket, which I would generally ask the fencer to "fix." I've never had a fencer say, "no," or even give me a weird look about it when I ask.
     
  9. jjefferies

    jjefferies Podium

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    Just a tad puzzled about the complaint. IMO unless the body cord plug is conductive then it constitutes a valid target and it is the owner's concern. Excess body cord could be an issue if it traps your blade but I've never had an issue with either a fencer or referee declining to have it pulled/tucked in tight. Oh, BTW, my body cord plug is on the back side of my hand which may make it more vulnerable to my oponent's making a touch but I favor that so my fingers have more room.
     
  10. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    On this reasoning alone one could carry a net, like the Roman retiarius, and it'd be OK... ;)

    Actually that might actually make epee more interesting.
     

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