The Paired Technique Competition has been a part of Longpoint since 2014, and in that time has introduced scores of people to the varied and unique plays of several fencing books. This year we are trying something a bit different. Longpoint 2019’s Technique Competition will be similar in many aspects to the competition of previous years, including competitors performing set techniques from historical sources, but with one big change; it will be a solo event. The decision to make this change came about for several reasons, some logistical, others to fix various problems with past iterations of the event, and still others involving the direction we want to take moving forward. Logistically, the Paired Technique event could not fit into the new event format due to the requirement to sign up with a partner and the fact that the performances required of each partner are not necessarily equal, but each would have been rewarded equally.
Whereas in previous years pairs of competitors would be judged upon their performances of sets of historical techniques, this year’s competition requires a single competitor to perform these techniques alone. Instead of a long list of increasingly complex techniques, only seven are performed by each competitor for the duration of the competition (five fixed and two variable). Competitors will compete against each other in head-to-head matches, two at a time, in an elimination style competition. This format has several benefits, including: competitors’ ability to practice without the need of having a partner present, competitors not having to rely on the skill of a partner, judges’ ability to clearly observe competitors’ actions, simplification of judging and scorekeeping, providing a direct competition aspect lacking in previous years, motivation for competitors to isolate and perfect their technical skills, and emphasis on fidelity to the sources while minimizing subjectivity.
Yes, one perceived downside of this format is the inability of the competitors to use Fuehlen, however this was already limited in the previous iteration due to the predictability of the partner’s actions, and we think that all of the benefits listed above make this new format preferable overall.
We hope that the newly redesigned Technique Competition inspires you to train harder, delve deeper into the sources, and develop a fuller understanding of the fascinating techniques used in Historical European Martial Arts. The techniques that will be included in this event will be released months ahead of Longpoint 2019.