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Category: Rules and Regulations Page 1 of 7

Code of Honor – Understanding the Black Card in Sports

Code of Honor - Understanding the Black Card in Sports

Getting kicked out of a match is something that many fencers have thankfully never experienced. In fencing, the black card is the method that officials use to remove a fencer from competition when they break the code of honor. Severe offences mean an ejection in fencing. While sport is at its heart about good will and good sportsmanship, unfortunate events like ejections do happen.

After the USA Fencing strengthened its protocols on the black card a few weeks ago, it’s been on a lot of people’s minds. Black cards are serious, and they are necessary. Bad behavior or dangerous actions should never be tolerated by the fencing community, or any sport. The new protocols emphasize the seriousness of the black card offense. 

With all this thinking about the black card, we started thinking about how ejection plays out in other sports. Events like the Olympics and World Cups have had a fascinating history of players being removed from matches. Fencing has some remarkable stories too. 

The black card is the end of the road for an athlete in a competition. It marks the definitive and negative end of competition for a fencer, or for any athlete. It’s not even a loss, though the opponent technically gets a win. A black card is worse than a loss, because it is not a measure of athletic skill or prowess. It’s a demonstration that the athlete could not hold up the code of honor within the sport.

A black card ejects an athlete from competition for egregious behavior. 

To be clear, this behavior does not have to be vile or violent. An athlete can get a black card for not showing up to the match on time or for leaving the match early. If they simply stop participating, for any of a number of reasons, they can get a black card. 

It’s notable that the black card is not just for athletes. Coaches, spectators, and even referees (in theory) can get a black card and get ejected from a match. If a parent is disruptive, even if it is through overly loud and inappropriate cheering or repeatedly getting too close to the strip during the match and not following a referee’s instruction, they can be ejected from the tournament with a black card. 

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How to Strategize Regional Path Qualification in Fencing

How to Strategize Regional Path Qualification in Fencing

Regional path qualification for Fencing Summer Nationals is an important path to the big competition. It’s a path that offers what I think is one of the most accessible ways to get to Fencing Summer Nationals, and it’s a way that I encourage my fencers to pursue.

Strategizing for regional qualification is important! To make it to Fencing Summer Nationals is no easy task, and it’s one that requires thinking ahead. If you plan things out smartly and with the help of some good advice, well you can make everything not only possible, but a lot easier. 

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Fencing Safety Rules [Infographic]

Fencing Safety Rules Infographic

Fencing is a very safe sport, actually one of the safest. But as with any physical activity, especially those that involve swinging swords, it is up to fencers and everyone else in the venue to ensure the safety.

In the past we extensively wrote about fencing safety rules and measures and I’ve decided to convert this post into infographic.

If you want to print and hang it in your club, please let me know and we will send you a high resolution printable version.

How to Qualify for 2020 USA Fencing Summer Nationals [Infographic]

How to Qualify for the 2020 USA Fencing Summer Nationals - Infographic

Fencing season 2019-2020 had started! Which means you should start thinking about how you want your fencing season to go. Every year there are some changes to the rules and qualifying paths for USA Fencing Summer Nationals, not to mention that fencers progress through the age divisions and previous year path might be not relevant anymore. 2020 USA Fencing Summer Nationals are not exception.

This year there are not that many changes in the qualification process for USA Fencing Summer Nationals, but there are some changes to the eligibility and format for some divisions and the youth 12 and 14 events. In the previous post we covered all these changes.

To summarize these changes:

  1. All initial seeding will be based on national points, which is applicable for Division 1 and Junior events
  2. Division 2/3 eligibility will be based on the classification at the time of registration for the appropriate event at the nationals.
  3. Youth 12 and Youth 14 events will have an 80% cut off from the pools
  4. The maximum DE table will be 256 fencers

Everything you see on this infographic is information you’ll find on the USA Fencing website and in Athlete Handbook. We’re simply presenting it in a format that is visual and hopefully easy to follow.

Click here to view the updated infographics for USA Fencing Summer Nationals 2020 qualification.

Please share with your fencing friends on social media! Spread the word about how to qualify for USA Fencing Summer Nationals, and see you in Louisville, Kentucky next July!

Essential USA Fencing Tournament Changes for the 2019-2020 Season

Essential USA Fencing Tournament Changes for the 2019-2020 Season

There are some big changes coming to fencing tournaments for United States fencers this season. Most of the changes will affect the USA Fencing Summer Nationals that will happen in Louisville, Kentucky on June 28-July 7, 2020.  

While it might feel like it’s a little bit too soon to be talking about what’s going to happen with fencing next summer, given that this season has just started, it’s better to know ahead of time than to get behind! 

New rule changes

Fencing rules change every single year. This is because there is a belief that we can always make things better, and that’s of course true. 

The USFA Fencing Board met back in February during the Junior Olympics in Denver, and during their meeting they talked about a lot of things, one of which was how the USFA will improve its tournament structure next year. Every year, the USFA adds new updates to its existing rules to make things better for fencers who compete in USFA sponsored tournaments. 

Frankly, with some changes it will take space to make sense of whether they will be good or bad changes. How this might play out is something that I’ll explore below in depth, though the reality is that it just takes time. I find myself arguing internally about how I think these will unfold, which makes me all the more excited to talk about the changes and to see how they change fencing in the next year and beyond. 

Here are the major changes coming to fencing for the 2019-2020 season, as well as my commentary on what I think they mean. 

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