These pages have been created from material presented to a refereeing seminar given by Keith Smith at Bristol (and later at Kingston Fencing Club).   The pages have been photocopied, scanned then OCR'd (converted to text by charcter recognition).   There will inevitably be errors which were not present in the original.

Article from the Sword, part 1

Article from the Sword, part 2

Hand signals

Faults and penalties

(list for overview)

Fundamentals of fencing

General hints for better refereeing

Epee refereeing hints

Foil refereeing hints

Sabre refereeing hints


by Keith Smith, Chairman, Referees Committee

There has been much comment on the standard of refereeing in  recent editions of The Sword. This article is a report on a recent Referees' Seminar I attended run by the FIE Refereeing Committee and attended by the junior and cadet world championships referees selected by the FIE

Rules Referees are expected to tighten up the rules in the following areas:

1 . Closer attention must be paid to the equipment regulations. For example coming on to the piste with a weapon that exceeds the blade bending limit - epee I cm, foil 2cm and sabre 4cm - should be punished by an immediate yellow card. Similarly, all the rules concerning clothing, such as the need for coloured clothing, must be strictly enforced.

2. To help publicity, the rule concerning the name on the back of the jacket must be adhered to. The characters have to be between 8 and 10 cm high and have a width of 1 -5cm. They must be in dark blue and not handwritten. Instructions to this effect have been issued to national federations. I know that at the foil A-grade in Paris a fencer was thrown out for having an incorrect name on his jacket.

3. Corps-a-corps is allowed too much at all weapons. Simple bodily contact must receive a yellow card at foil and sabre and the referee must call halt at epee. Jostling or causing a shock to your opponent is penalised with a red card. Intentional violence will receive a black card. Referees who do not enforce this rule will not be used by the FIE and so I imagine referees will be very strict. Referees should also be stricter about shoulder inversion and covering at foil. The message seemed to be that, if in doubt, give a warning and the fencers will obey!

4. For this season the FIE is experimenting with a new interpretation of the rules about going off the piste. If a fencer puts one foot off the piste, the referee must call halt. If the fencer does it a second time in the fight, he receives a yellow card and a third time will result in a red card. This applies even if the foot goes off the piste accidentally. It is considered to be an abusive interruption of the fight and will be punished as such. This rule may well be stricter next season with a yellow card being given the first time a foot leaves the piste.