We at the New Jersey Historical Fencing Association would like to invite you and your club to our first ever tournament, Fallhoffer! (Our planning took too long to actually host it in the Fall; oops). You are receiving an invitation because you and/or your club have trained with us in the past, and would be a wonderful asset to building the kind of culture we would like to see at Falhoffer!
-The tournament will be at the Vernon PAL in Vernon, NJ on Sunday, 1/21/24 from 1-4pm. Registration opens at 12:30pm. In case of inclement weather, the event will be on 1/28/24.
-At this first iteration, we will focus solely on the Longsword. Exchanges will be self-judged by the two fencers engaged in a match. A ring boss will preside over the matches to ensure things run smoothly, and to communicate scoring as decided by the fencers.
-This will be a team event. Participants must register with a team of 3-5 individuals. Fencing will be done between two individuals, as is typical, but scoring will be tracked as a team. There is no scoring benefit for larger or smaller teams- scoring will be scaled.
-There will be prizes!
Registration link with tentative rules attached
Our goal in hosting this event is twofold.
First, we want to highlight the importance of tournament-play in the study of the Art. Just as our other event Springeck is a crucial time of cross-club learning, we believe tournaments should also be a time of learning. Competition has its own inherent merits, but in regards to studying the Art, tournament-play has a unique sense of pressure not found in regular freeplay (in club sparring, etc.). Your fencing partner is rarely less cooperative than in tournament play, which offers a particularly strong litmus test for one’s grasp of the Art. The rules and regulations of tournaments also provide artifacts and foci that fencers must engage with; rather than obstacles for learning, these rules and regulations should be challenges for fencers to tackle. We see clearly the many contexts historical students of the Art had to engage with; we, too, should upset our comfort zones to further explore the Art and how we understand it.
Second, we want to encourage more fencers to engage in tournaments, and HEMA events in general. Competition can be intimidating, especially to those who are newer to HEMA or who have never tried a tournament before. To that end, Fallhoffer is going to be a team event, as detailed above. There are no restrictions as to who can make up a team; however, we encourage experienced fencers (especially those experienced in competition) to include newer or less experienced fencers on their teams to encourage them to get involved. The goal here is to have fencers work together towards the tournament by training and preparing together, but also to have a support network during the tournament itself.
Overall, we want this event to be one that everyone looks back on fondly (and hopefully, looks forward to again). Even in the face of competition, we want to build a culture of good-natured, humble students of the Art who join together to challenge, support, and encourage one another, wherever they are in their journey. We would love for you to join us in this venture.