Our position is that event organisers should penalise unsafe fighting, and should make it clear to all tournament participants that even though it is a tournament, they still have a duty of care towards each other. Participants still have a responsibility to look after their training partners, and being part of a tournament does not diminish these responsibilities.
Before the tournament begins, the event organiser should explain what the judging staff will see as “safe” fighting and what will count as unsafe fighting. The organiser should also explain that there will be penalties attached to unsafe fighting that can range from merely a warning through to instant disqualification. Furthermore, the judging staff should be empowered to issue these warnings and punishments for unsafe behaviour, and should be confident to do so in a situation where a competitor behaves unsafely.
When deciding what counts as unsafe behaviour, and how to deal with it, you should consider what your event insurance does and does not cover, what sort of medical provision you have arranged, and how you have set the tone for the event. You should also consider how you have advertised the event: have you suggested that it will be a “no holds barred” event, or have you told people that it will be “a bit of fun, nothing serious”? What are the potential legal ramifications and financial liabilities that might come with unsafe fighting behaviour?
You should have a solid working definition of “unsafe fighting” that you can communicate clearly to both staff and competitors. Your staff should know how to recognise it and what to do about it, and should be able to arbitrate the event in an objective, fair, and unbiased fashion. The primary goal is for everyone to leave the event at least as healthy as when they arrived; whoever wins the event is secondary to this.
Book a judge training workshop
We offer judge training workshops to help your staff and/or club members improve their judging skills. Becoming a better judge usually leads to developing skills that are useful for fencing, such as perceiving openings and predicting an opponent’s behaviour, so judge training has a wide range of benefits.
If you would like to book a judge training workshop, then please send us an email to discuss your requirements, and we would be delighted to help.