Some questions about Close combat (foil)

Discussion in 'Rules and Referee Questions' started by Archerlite, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. Archerlite

    Archerlite Rookie

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    Hi,
    I'm now referee for almost two years (District grade) and, as an exam is coming for improve this grade, I have some doubt to check with you :
    – Reversing shoulders is now available (since 1st January), but when is there correct reversing and wrong reversing ? I mean, I believe you can't be En Garde with the non-armed shoulder in front of you...

    – When do you say there is a pass (when left fencer is behind right one) ? When shoulders cross ? Or feet ? I don't know.

    I forgot a third one so it's all for now. Thank you very much, and I apologize for the grammar.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
  2. Zebra

    Zebra DE Bracket

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    There is no official interpretation from FIE, USFA, or the Referees' Commission that I'm aware of. One head referee that I have worked for says to not call the halt until the fencers have completely passed, and I would interpret that as clear space between the torso of one fencer and the torso of the other.
     
  3. jdude97

    jdude97 Podium

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    Your description of a grade I've never heard of makes me think you're an international referee, but as it is what I am familiar with and this is a primarily US-facing forum, I will answer with respect to the USFA rules. These are based on the FIE rules, and as far as I know, none of these rules are different between the USFA and FIE levels.
    1. Since reversing the shoulders is now legal, there is no such thing as correct versus wrong reversing. All forms of reversing are equally legal. With that said, t.21.2 states It is forbidden to turn one's back on one's opponent during the bout. Should such an offense occur, the Referee will penalize the fencer at fault as specified in Articles t.114, t.116, t.120 and any touch scored by the fencer at fault is annulled (emphasis original). Translating, turning the back results in a Group I penalty (yellow card for first offense) and annulment of any touch. The two biggest issues referees have with calling this rule correctly is determining if a turn occurred, if the turn occurred before any touch was scored, and if a touch was scored by the fencer who didn't turn, is the touch valid. As these questions are beyond what you asked, I will not answer them for the time being. I will note that the biggest mistake I see from new refs is calling turning the back when the fencer only turns their head or not calling it when the fencer turns their back without turning their head due to their misconception that this rule is in place for safety reasons (i.e. since the mask does not protect the back of the mask, it would be unsafe for a fencer to turn their head to their opponent), when in fact this rule exists (at least in part/originally) due to epeeists turning and hitting their own toe, then pretending to have hit their opponent. The reason I bring up this rule is that turning could involve the reversing of the shoulders, and therefore is the most relevant rule on the question of reversing currently in effect.

    To answer your hypothetical about being en garde with the shoulders reversed, I cannot find anything in the rulebook that would disallow it. In fact, I cannot find any definition whatsoever of the en garde position, even though the term "on guard" appears thirty times and is referenced extensively. Referees generally give a good bit of leeway on what is acceptable en garde, most notably (in terms of opposing convention) allowing fencers to be en garde mostly standing up with knees barely bent or with front foot pointed with their toe on the ground and heel on their back calf. I have known at least one top referee who did not allow fencers to be en garde literally standing up, but that may be a personal interpretation. I doubt the position you describe would be allowed, but again, I don't see strictly speaking why it wouldn't be allowed.

    2. The answer to this question originates in t.21.3: When a fencer goes completely past his opponent during a bout, the Referee must immediately call "Halt" and replace the competitors in the positions which they occupied before the passing took place (emphasis original). The wording of this rule changed relatively recently, with the introduction of the word completely. When that occurred, I recall refereeing bodies emphasizing that the change was strictly a clarification of the existing rule and not a change in rule. With that said, the old and new interpretation among (good) referees seems to be that fencers are passed when their torsos are completely passed, with trailing (and flailing) arms and legs not factoring in. A tip I've been told is to look for light between the torsos before calling halt. Generally referees (at all levels short of FIE) call halt too soon, depriving the fencers of their right to in-fight, so do your best to hold off. Remember that for the purpose of annulling or awarding touches, the "Halt" occurred when the pass itself occurred, not when the utterance "Halt!" actually came from your mouth; therefore, it is advisable to err towards waiting to call "Halt" for a pass to see if the pass really did occur, since if you call it too late, you can retroactively announce that the halt should have been sooner and annul/award touches appropriately, whereas if you call a premature "Halt", there is no remedy.

    P.S. Your grammar was fine, and had you not said anything, I wouldn't have noticed anything off about it!
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018
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  4. Archerlite

    Archerlite Rookie

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    Hello,

    Not at all ! I just start in the hierarchy !

    So it would be pretty fun to referee bout with fencer going forward with the wrong shoulder...

    OK, I'll remind it.

    Thank you. I'm actually from France, but I come here because the French fencing forum (which is called "Escrime-info") has a [Trump's word] community. That's why IItold about the grammar. I think it's also why there is a confusion about my refereeing grade. The district I'm talking about should be like a county in the USA. It's something we call "Département", which is a part of the "Région". These "Régions" are like your States (California, Columbia, Texas...) but with less rights (we are not federal). Each "Region" counts five or six "Département". The "Départements" count around 200 Thousand people.

    Thank you very much to both of you for your answers ! It will help me a lot for my competition, sure.
     
  5. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    Thanks for the re-statement. New refs pick up the incorrect application from refs or coaches either never- or no longer active at the national level. At a huge regional event, even after correcting such a ref at breakfast, I heard his incorrect application from an adjacent strip. Since an Olympic fencer/national ref was fencing in that pool and didn't intervene, neither did I.
     

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