The Combat Handbook of Caid (Volume II)

Rapier Combat

Who can participate: All persons of age 16 or greater may participate in Rapier Combat following successful authorization.



Legal Rapier Combat weapons in the Kingdom of Caid (blades) consist of Standard Blades: foils, epees, and the theatrical "Musketeer" blade (also known as a double-wide epee), which may be used against one another. The "Schlager" or "theatrical Rapier" may also be used subject to certain restrictions (see below). Combatants may additionally use daggers, bucklers, cloaks and/or other defensive items as detailed below. The use of two swords shall be permitted provided the individual has shown an ability to utilize two weapons in a safe manner. The use of standard sabers is expressly forbidden

Blade Type Length (Tip to Hilt) Width Weight Cross-Section


Musketeer 35 inches 13/16" 5.5 oz triangular
Saber - not allowed

Schlager 35 inches 3/4" 9 oz oval

Note: Schlager-type theatrical blades, because of their greater weight and limited flexibility, require a separate authorization and additional armor. Schlager blades may only be used against other schlager blades. A combatant must be authorized in Standard Blades before attempting authorization with schlager blades.

The point of all blades must have a firmly attached (using tape if necessary), brightly colored (so its absence is readily apparent) plastic or rubber blunt at least 3/8" in diameter with rounded edges and no sharp points. A strip of 6 to 8 oz. leather folded over the tip, extending two inches down each side of the blade and secured with strapping tape shall be an acceptable substitute. The tip shall be attached with glue or tape and the actual metal point must be rounded so it is unable to penetrate the attached tip. All nicks in the blade must be ground down and the blades must be in good shape, showing no rust, pit marks or more than one gradual bend. All blades are considered to be double- edged and sharp from hilt to point. The tips of schlager blades (the last two inches) must be marked with brightly colored, contrasting tape.

Each blade shall have a bell or cross-hilt to prevent an opposing blade from traveling down the blade and striking the hand. Guards shall not possess sharp edges or corners. Cup, cage and bell guards are encouraged as they provide the best protection for the hand but cross and swept hilts are allowed. Any guard having openings large enough to admit a standard 3/8" tip shall have the openings covered or blocked by impenetrable material. Quillons shall be no longer than twelve inches (end-to- end) and the ends shall be blunted to prevent injury. Quillons shall be a minimum of 1/4 inch in diameter. Quillons designed to trap or break blades are prohibited. Pistol grips are not allowed.

Flexible daggers may be used, and are defined to be the "Flexi-Dagger" as made by France-Lame, or equivalent. These are acceptable provided they meet the requirements as stated above for standard blades. Daggers may be no more than 25" long and weigh no more than 1.5 pounds. Daggers must have tips as a standard blade . Daggers may not be made from broken blades. Quillons may be used if constructed as per blades, above. Guards and bells are recommended as per blades, above.

Bucklers shall only be constructed of lightweight materials. Quarter-inch plywood is recommended. The maximum size for a buckler is 18 inches in diameter. Other shapes are acceptable if the face does not exceed 250 square inches (roughly 16" by 16"). The edges shall be padded or rimmed is such a way to prevent splintering and to present no sharp surfaces that could damage a blade. Bucklers designed to trap or break a blade are prohibited. Bucklers may only be used defensively.

Cloaks (as in the garment) may be made any size or shape so long as it is recognizably a cloak and not a whip or flail. Cloak edges may be weighted with rolled cloth or rope. Rigid materials such as metal weights, chains, wood, strips of metal, rods and other similar materials are forbidden. Cloaks may be used against an opponent's blade, provided the fighter demonstrates they are safe with it in use. The cloak may be used only against an opponent's weapon, not the opponent's body. A hold need not be called if a weapon becomes entangled in a cloak used in this manner. Cloaks may not be thrown at an opponent, but may be cast aside as distraction.

Other defensive items (typically made of foam, fabric, tape, or other soft materials) may be approved on a case-by-case basis by the Marshal-in-Charge, provided a report of this waiver is attached to the event report.
No projectile weapons may be used in Rapier Combat.


Impenetrable material shall be defined as any fabric or combination of fabrics that will withstand four hard thrusts from a broken foil blade. Four layers of trigger cloth, 'three-weapon' fencing racket material, and four-ounce leather are known to be impenetrable; any other material must be tested (four-thrust test) by a Rapier Marshal in charge of the event or practice. .Kevlar is not an acceptable material.

To conduct the four-thrust test, lay the material to be tested on a penetrable surface such as the ground or a block of ethyl foam (used for archery targets). Holding the broken blade in both hands, punch the material four times, increasing the force each time. After each punch, examine the material. If it has been completely penetrated or seriously damaged, it fails. If there has been no damage, or only the top layer has been damaged, it passes. Note that the test blade should have a typical "flat" break, not a jagged point.

Resistant material shall be defined as sturdy cloth that resists tearing under normal combat activities. Unacceptable materials include cotton gauze, nylon tights, stockings or other thin cloth.

There shall be no skin showing or easily accessible on the fighter's body. All portions of the body must be covered with at least resistant material.

The face shall be covered by at least a "12-kilo" or "FIE approved" fencing mask. A "collegiate" mask is not considered adequate for Rapier Combat. A good field test is to press firmly on the mask grill with one thumb. If the grill flexes significantly, it is not strong enough. The mask shall be fastened securely so that it will not come off during a fight (the standard method of wearing a fencing mask is probably not adequate, considering the amount of movement possible in Rapier Combat). The mask must be secured such that a moderate pull upward while grasping the bottom of the mask does not dislodge it. All portions of the head not covered by the mask must be covered by impenetrable material.

The entire neck (throat, sides, cervical vertebrae, and first thoracic vertebrae) shall be covered by impenetrable material. It is recommended that this protection either be attached directly to a hood or be a part of the torso protection. If schlager blades are being used, additional neck protection is required. It shall consist of a minimum of 8 oz. leather backed by 3/8" of closed cell foam on the neck areas.

The torso shall be covered by impenetrable material including the chest, back, abdomen and sides up to and including the armpits (this may require a partial sleeve or a reinforced gore in the armpit) .

There shall be at least a three inches overlap between any separate pieces of head, neck and torso protection.

Male fighters must wear groin protection in the form of a standard athletic cup or equivalent with any holes covered by impenetrable material. It is recommended that female fighters wear a 'jill strap' or other impenetrable groin protection.

Female fighters must wear breast protection consisting of at least heavy padding under impenetrable material (a standard fencing jacket is not adequate). Fencing cups or leather backed with closed cell foam are recommended.

Arms and legs shall be covered with resistant material.

Hands shall be covered with a leather glove . The cuff of the gloves must overlap the sleeves of the arm protection by at least 3.0".

Feet shall be covered by closed toe shoes or boots, with a hard sole. No exposed skin between the leg protection and the shoe or boot is allowed regardless of the fighter's stance.

No clearly mundane or athletic gear may be worn undisguised. At a minimum all clearly mundane items such as name brands, etc.,-shall be covered with tape or cloth.


Combat is normally done in an open area, representing a street or mall, although the rules permit holding a more traditional 'fencing mat' style of combat. As many participants as can safely fight in an area are permitted subject to the availability of Marshals.

Blows are to be struck by thrusting with the point or draw-cutting with the edge of the blade. Draw- cuts require at least one-third of the blade length in contact and may be either drawn or pushed.

Killing zones for rapier thrusts shall be the head, torso, abdomen, groin. By convention, blows which hit the shoulder or hip joint and which would have penetrated on into the body cavity will also be counted as fatal.
Draw-cuts to the head, neck, torso, or inside the upper arm or upper leg are considered killing blows. Draw-cuts and thrusts to the arms, shoulders, hips, and legs are considered to have incapacitated the appropriate limb.

Killing zones for a schlager will be the same as with foil and epee, except that a tip cut to the front of the neck the inside of the upper arm, and the inside of the thigh are considered killing blows. (There are major arteries in these areas, and a schlager tip is considered sharp). Tip cuts are not considered a good blow on any other part of the body, or for any other weapon.

Blows need only be felt through the armor/clothing to be considered good. Complaints of excessive force are grounds for the holding of a Marshal's Court.

No pommelllng, grappling or wrestling is allowed.
Grasping, or trapping against the body any portion of an opponent's bladed weapon or buckler is not allowed. If combatants lock, a hold shall be called to separate them. Marshals shall call a hold immediately should the point of a weapon be caught in armor, clothing, or an opponent's hilt, but not a held cloak. When cloaks are used by either fighter, a hold shall be called if the cloak becomes entangled about either fighter.

A thrust may be parried by the hand or foot provided the blade itself is not grasped. The blade may be parried at any point along its length. If the hand alone is injured, the arm may still be used. Attempts to "parry" cuts/slashes with arms, legs, and hands will result in the loss of that appendage. An opponent that is disarmed or drops a weapon, must be able to draw another weapon from his/her person or yield. A HOLD shall be called while the fighter is re-arming with the secondary weapon.