TCSL rules question

Discussion of Chinese historical swordsmanship from all styles.

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Eric_H
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TCSL rules question

Post by Eric_H » Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:23 pm

Hello,

I was recently discussing the TCSL with one of my students and they had a question I could not answer, I was hoping to get some clarification here.

Under the TCSL, my understanding is that body shots are weighted more heavily and offer the chance of a "Kill shot."

If a practitioner hits his opponent on the arm - in a move that traditionally would sever the arm/render it unusable and the opponent is then able to counter back to the body because his arm is still attached to his body/usable - what happens?

In sticking with the idea of real swords, the comeback is not legitimate, but would it be scored?
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Re: TCSL rules question

Post by Aidan O'Brien » Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:38 am

I'm not sure of the TCSL rules, however, in historical European records, they had what was called the 'After-blow' in training.

There are reasons for it, since due to the way the human body reacts to a mortal wound, unless it's a beheading or other dismemberment, the adrenaline running through your body gives you quite a few seconds to do things after.

Unlike in Hollywood movies, a person who is stabbed doesn't spend their remaining time staring down at their chest. Historical accounts repeatedly state how a person with a mortal wound would kill their attacker and then take 2-3 more steps killing everyone they could in the meantime.

Now, where does this leave us? Well, having an afterblow rule teaches you better defensive techniques, since it doesn't really matter who hit first, if you're both dead at the end of it. While training for the potential that they can strike back afterwards, improves your guard and doesn't involve the massive lunges we see in Fencing.

Now I come to the crux of the matter. Considering the sheer amount of armour most people on the battlefield wore, while I have no doubt about the cutting ability of any sword, they were moving, well protected targets, so dismemberment was comparatively rare. So it'd be decent cuts to body parts, which would enable the after-blow, but once the initial adrenalin wore off, their arm would go dead.

Hence, my view of the matter is that they should be able to strike back for a while. Or have a rule that you must strike at a more valuable target than what got hit, as happened in certain schools.

Now, I know that this is not CMA, or even entirely linked to the TCSL, however, the West had a lot more written on training techniques, compared to what has survived/been translated int English/was ever written in Chinese, sinec they were so often oral histories.

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Re: TCSL rules question

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:31 am

Eric_H wrote:... Under the TCSL, my understanding is that body shots are weighted more heavily and offer the chance of a "Kill shot."

If a practitioner hits his opponent on the arm - in a move that traditionally would sever the arm/render it unusable and the opponent is then able to counter back to the body because his arm is still attached to his body/usable - what happens?

In sticking with the idea of real swords, the comeback is not legitimate, but would it be scored?
What you are suggesting could certainly be true in a real sword fight. If the sword hand were severed, or just incapacitated, the fight would be over, even if that wound alone was not necessarily lethal. What we look to provide at b]Traditional Chinese Sword League[/b] (TCSL) Tournaments is the opportunity to both test one's skills and improve upon them. So we want the matches to be as realistic as possible, thus the heavy solid weapons for example. With this in mind, a solid cut to the sword arm forearm, should end the match. I've seen European Swordplay tournaments that did just that. The downside with this approach is that matches can be quite short, over in seconds. That means that contestants who have flown in from hundreds of mights away might get in less than 2 minutes of match time in the entire tournament. That's not much opportunity for learning for either contestant that way. And naturally, kind of boring for the audience (though that is not our real concern). So we went for a middle road where one can win by points or the kill shot. The result is that while some matches do end in seconds with a quick kill blow, most matches last one minute. That means that if one contestant has been hit on the arm or hand several times, he or she may figure out what to do to counter that attack & perhaps even land a counter-blow. Having reversed the tables thusly, this gives a player who might have been dominating the match with one favorite move, the chance to improve by either learning how to deal with the counter to his or her technique, or to find a new way to land a blow.

Concerning the come back blow, it depends on the blow that has landed before the come back and the timing of that blow. Usually the answer is no. However, if one's left arm were slashed while the right was moving in, and one landed the bow, both cuts would be counted. If, on the other hand, one was swinging the arm forward for a blow and that arm was solidly struck and then it continued thru to strike, that strike would be nullified. If one is cut, regains a good position and lands a counter-cut, that cut would be good.

I hope his helps. Obviously, there are many situations that are open to interpretation which is why the judges are thoroughly trained and we review the video of previous tournaments before each new tournament. As I said above, we are looking to provide the best environment for student of the art to improve.

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First TCSL European Chinese Swordplay Tournament

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:39 am

Just a quick note for those who might not have already heard...

The First TCSL European Chinese Swordplay Tournament is being held Saturday, May 28, 2011 at the Oldampt Taiji Festival, Sporthal Stikkerlaan, Meester D U Stikkerlaan 6, 9671BZ Winschoten, for more informations about the Festival, please see: http://oldambttaichi.nl/joomla/index.ph ... &Itemid=96.

Breaking news... it is the League's Traditional to award the Tournament Champion with a Sword fitting his or her achievement.
This year CAS/Hanwei has donated their Han Sword as the Champion's Prize Sword-

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The Han Sword is a cavalry pattern from the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD), which reunited China and established boundaries very similar to those existing today. The rosewood grip and scabbard are inlaid with silver in an intricate scroll pattern, while the gilded steel guard, pommel and scabbard decorations feature the “crouching tiger” motif. The random pattern K120C Damascus blade, with its ridged central fuller and reinforced point is admirably suited for slashing cuts and powerful thrusts from horseback.

Recreated by the craftsmen of Hanwei from the swords of the Lords of the great dynasties, these Chinese Gongfu swords represent the pinnacle of the sword maker’s art, vividly illustrating the skills and creativity of the smiths of Imperial China. (See: http://cashanwei.com/prod_Detail.aspx?id=SH2005)

Not a bad prize, eh?

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Eric_H
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Re: TCSL rules question

Post by Eric_H » Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:21 pm

Scott,

Thanks for the rules clarification. Can't wait to get my crew trained up and over to one of your tourneys.

And that is a cool prize.
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Re: TCSL rules question

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:15 am

Eric_H wrote:... Can't wait to get my crew trained up and over to one of your tourneys...
Looking forward to meeting you, if you need any help with equipment, have any other questions, etc, please feel free to give me a call. The easiest way to reach me is to call me at GRTC, mid-mornings East Coast Time, at: 703-846-8222.

Everyone might also like to look at the thread: TCSL questions in this Forum that includes a FAQ's -
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=967

& everyone please support the League by becoming a member. TCSL membership is required to play in all TCSL sponsored tournaments...
For a membership app, please see: http://swordleague.com/forms/TCSL-MembershipApp.pdf

Some of the action from last year's National he'd here in Washington, DC.
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Re: TCSL rules question

Post by paulandrews1982 » Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:35 am

I have another couple of rules question but they may be a bit subjective appologies if these questions have been answered before:

There is a rule which disallows excessive force in the cut/strike. But is there any standard for how much is too much?

I assume this is at the discretion of the referee and the rule is primarily in place for safety and sportsmanship. However, I train with some big guys who even when they "pull" their cuts or don't have any intention of causing actual harm they can still land very heavily, I also have experience of at least one style swordsmaship where large heavy slashes are the primary method of engagement so I'm wondering how far can you push the interpretation of the rule.

Also how much is too little force?

If i had a live blade and simply pulled it across someone's hand it would still make a cut though no striking force would be present, would such a "pull cut" constitute a scoring cut in a TCSL competition or does there have to be some impact? do the rules assume that the opponent would be armoured and therefore a certain amount of force is required to simply penetrate the armour?

My concern here is that say in striking at the head a contestant pulls all the power off the cut in order to avoid injuring their opponent would the cut still be counted?

Finally, Scott is membership of TCSL strictly on an individual basis? I ask because I'm pretty much representing myself at the European tournament and though there are guys in my association who practice jianfa there are others who do their own thing and don't do any jianfa and who may not want to be associated with sword competitions or TCSL etc. I hope to be able to catch you at the TCSL event and discuss things further.

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Re: TCSL rules question

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Sat May 07, 2011 7:24 am

Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, I was teaching in Europe... Preparations are going well for the Tournament. We'll have contestants from Estonia, Germany, Holland & you from the UK.
paulandrews1982 wrote:... another couple of rules question ... There is a rule which disallows excessive force in the cut/strike... any standard for how much is too much?
FAQ's can be found at: http://swordleague.com/faq.html

Excessive force if not allowed, but naturally it is hard to define in practice. Essentially any blow that has enough power to break a bone is considered excessive force. If during a math I see a contestant beginning to bring out too much power, I'll verbally warn them as referee.
paulandrews1982 wrote:... I train with some big guys who even when they "pull" their cuts ... they can still land very heavily, I also have experience of at least one style swordsmaship where large heavy slashes are the primary method of engagement so I'm wondering how far can you push the interpretation of the rule.
Keep in mind that this is a martial art, not a martial sport like fencing or kendo. Tournament play is designed to be as close to real swordplay as possible without guaranteeing that someone will die or be serious injured. You can be injured. As the very least, expect bruises.
paulandrews1982 wrote:...Also how much is too little force?
Obviously, explaining these things is difficult without demonstrating, & we will go over all these questions at the Tournament check in the day of the contest. Light taps, or cuts that just graze, sliding off the surface, usually will not be counted or perhaps only give points instead of a "kill."
paulandrews1982 wrote: If i had a live blade and simply pulled it across someone's hand it would still make a cut though no striking force would be present, would such a "pull cut" constitute a scoring cut in a TCSL competition or does there have to be some impact?
There does not have to be impact, but there needs to be solid contact. So long as your body mechanic are good, points should be awarded.
paulandrews1982 wrote:... do the rules assume that the opponent would be armoured and therefore a certain amount of force is required to simply penetrate the armour?
The rules assume you are naked.
paulandrews1982 wrote:... in striking at the head a contestant pulls all the power off the cut in order to avoid injuring their opponent would the cut still be counted?
You don't have to hit so hard that you give your duifang a concussion, but you can not jump in & out with a light tap. Judges will be looking for good body mechanics & connection. But to be clear, as I said above, this is a dangerous activity. If you race cars, it is possible that you can crash & burn. Likewise, if you enter a full contact martial art tournament of any kind, including this one, you can be hurt, perhaps seriously, that is the nature of martial arts, dealing with danger is part of the practice. Honestly, I've never understood "martial artists" who are careful to never engage in any practice that might leave a bruise.
paulandrews1982 wrote:... is membership of TCSL strictly on an individual basis? I ask because I'm pretty much representing myself at the European tournament and though there are guys in my association who practice jianfa there are others who do their own thing and don't do any jianfa and who may not want to be associated with sword competitions or TCSL etc. I hope to be able to catch you at the TCSL event and discuss things further.
Typically yes. Running an international organization that puts on stand alone events on 3 continents requires some funding from its membership. The same is true of nearly every other similar organization. In this case, because the Dutch Jianfa Association has done so much to organize this Tournament, Friendship with that organization is required in place of TCSL membership. Please note that neither the League nor the play at tournament is limited to using a jian. Contestants have used dao & shuangshoudao at past tournaments.

Looking forward to meeting you in Oldampt, & Good Luck...

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Re: TCSL rules question

Post by paulandrews1982 » Tue May 17, 2011 8:02 am

Thanks for the clarification Scott, much appreciated.
that is the nature of martial arts, dealing with danger is part of the practice. Honestly, I've never understood "martial artists" who are careful to never engage in any practice that might leave a bruise.
Neither have I! I've had some bruises like you'd never imagine, some covering large areas of the body, others that haven't appeared for days and some that just didn't seem to want to heal :)

In my group we usually train without any protective equipment and hits can be heavy and hurt a lot, though learning to deal with the weapon and danger works well in this format the beginners usually find it hard to deal with the pain of being hit on the fingers with a chunk of hickory.

Looking forward to the comp and meeting likeminded martial artists.

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