Bolognese Open Competition Ruleset

The below video shows an example of how a bout will take place in the Helsinki Bolognese Open competition later this year. In the video myself and Tuomas have an unrehearsed fight under the competition rules. The video was shot with three camera’s but this edit is in real-time with nothing left out. I’m pleased with the efficiency of our judging personnell!

Almost a year ago I posted a summary of what we knew about the original Bolognese rules. This lead to a lot of discussion on Facebook and elsewhere (for reason or another, everything related to competitive HEMA is now generating more discussion than anything else), and as a result of all the discussions, thinking and visiting other events with a strong focus on competition, such as Swordfish and Longpoint, I was determined to have a go with a tournament based on those rules.

Right now we have the rules written, date set, venue reserved and have opened the registration for competitors at the official event website. Can’t wait for the event!

The only deviation from the rules in Manciolino is the cut to the hand. We decided to award points for hand hits because this makes the rules less eccentric, and modern hand-protection makes it possible to keep hands safe while not sacrificing manouverability too much. And after all the rules are a modern reconstruction based on Bolognese swordsmanship, beyond the few clues to the original rules. Cuts to the hand are essential in the tradition, and the Anonimo Bolognese has the cut to the hand as one of the most common initial actions that begin an exchange. Therefore not awarding them would go with the rules, but would perhaps be even against the overall thinking of the tradition if not separated into competitive play and actual fencing with sharp swords.