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WSG Ladder 2024 Launches

Thanks to everyone who has entered the WSG Ladder 2024. If you didn’t get around to entering the first round, don’t worry, you can still enter whenever suits you and you will simply be added to the next round. We are aiming to run one round every month.

We have put together the initial divisions based on HEMA Ratings, where available, and using overall HEMA experience for those who do not yet have a HEMA Rating.

Matches

Fencers now have until the end of February to complete one scored match against everyone else in their pool, in their own time, whenever is convenient. Find the people in your pool/division (I’m going to be using the terms Pool and Division interchangeably) on the ladder page.

If there is someone in your pool who you haven’t met yet, you first call should be to contact us and ask to be added to the Waterloo Sparring Group chat, where you can meet everyone in the ladder and arrange when to meet for your match.

Coming to a Waterloo Sparring Session is a great way to find time to complete your match. Book your next session.

At the end of each round (one per month) the top fencer from each division will move up and the bottom fencer will move down.

3 points are awarded for a win, 2 for a draw and 1 for a loss. This is intended to incentivise completing as many fights as possible, even if you think it will be hard to win.

Rules

Matches will be fought under the Wessex League rules and scoring system. We recommend setting a phone with a timer to one side of the piste with a countdown timer to prevent matches running on forever. Wessex league matches run for 3mins, but the timer is stopped for any points discussions. To save faffing about with phone timers, we recommend setting your timer to 3m30s, and playing the last exchange when the timer goes off.

Matches will be self judged. This should mean that matches will be less competitive than some tournaments, as it is impossible to simply advance while cutting wildly and to hope that you get awarded the points by an overwhelmed judging staff; fencers must agree on the exchange. Fencers may, if they wish, ask someone to act as judge for them (but we do not recommend having two judges). The Judge can then cast the deciding vote in the case of split decisions on points. If you do use a judge, give your phone timer to the judge and have them pause it while discussing an exchange, as there will inevitably be more discussion than without a judge. There shouldn’t be any appeals on points. If there are three separate opinions on the exchange, simply replay it. The emphasis should be on friendly competition, not absolute judging accuracy.

Equipment

As competition will be less intense than a weekend tournament, kit requirements will simply follow the London Historical Fencing Club standards for steel sparring. Full tournament kit will not be required. All matches must be fought with steel weapons and the appropriate safety kit. Synthetic swords are good training tools, but are not suitable for competitive fencing as hit quality becomes far too subjective.

Results

Results should be submitted on the WSG Ladder Page. The google form permits editing of responses if you make a mistake when filling out your form. Results will automatically be updated on the Standings, found on the same page.

You’ll need your fencer ID to submit a result. This can be found on the standings table on the same page.

Joining the Ladder

If you haven’t already entered the ladder you can still do so. The below links will let you select the weapon you wish to compete in and to pay your entry fee. You will be entered into the next round (the month following when you submit your entry) and will be entered into a division according to your experience and/or HEMA Rating.

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WSG Ladder 2024

Thanks to everyone who completed our feedback form. We have enough people interested that we are going to launch our competition ladder this year. Signups are now open and will close on Feb 4th. There’s a small admin fee to sign up, just so people don’t sign up for free and then forget about it.

We will run three weapons; Longsword, Sabre, and Rapier and Dagger. We are going to run a “Box Ladder” competition, which will can run indefinitely, as nobody is ever eliminated. We will group fencers based on their HEMA Ratings rank into divisions on the ladder. Fencers will then have a fixed period of time (we’re planning to start with a month) to complete a match against every other fencer in their division. These can be done at WSG, club sparring or privately, in the park. At the end of each period the top fencer will move up a division and the bottom fencer will move down

Matches will be fought under Wessex League rules and will be self-judged. The fencers will report the results with an online form, details TBD.

Right now, we only have enough interested participants to run an open ladder, but due to the nature of ladders, you will always be fighting against the people who are closest to you in ability and experience.

There is a small fee for entry (£5) to cover admin expenses. 

Select the event you wish to enter below (you can enter as many as you wish) and checkout to confirm your entry.

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WSG Mini-Tournaments

Hello from WSG Towers! Today we have an exciting announcement for you, on 22 Jan we will be running an informal longsword practice tournament at WSG, run by Tea Kew of New Cross Historical Fencing.

This will be a friendly event for fencing and judging practice – results will not be reported to HEMA Ratings. Fencers should arrive in time for a prompt 2:15 start. Rules and equipment standards as per the Wessex League. The expected format is one large pool, depending on numbers. Any modifications will be explained on the day.

The practice tournament will take up one of our usually running two pistés for the majority of the session, although you by no means have to compete. If you want to come down for the usual sparring with any weapons, we will still be running one piste for free sparring for the whole session.

Entry into the mini-tournament is free along with your usual sparring cost, but please book your sparring early so we can get an indication of numbers.

-Dan

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Bulk Fencing is Back

Happy new year everyone! Waterloo Sparring will be back from January 8th this year, same time, same place (2pm, Christ Church, Southwark).

This year, we have brought back bulk purchase discounts on our fencing sessions, offering discounts of up to £30 if you buy in bulk.

In December, we offered free sessions to medallists in the Wessex League event held in Oxford. If this was you, you should soon be receiving an email from the Wessex team with details on how to claim your prize.

For everyone else, feel free to avail yourselves of the bulk fencing discounts and save more money for beer and burgers!

If you had pre-paid sessions from before the pandemic shutdown, you will soon be able to use these again, in exactly the same way. Stay tuned for details, and rest assured your pre-pandemic purchases have not gone to waste.

Hope everyone is doing well, and hope to stab you soon!

Dan

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Policies, Insurance, COVID and Kit

We in the WSG team decided it was about time that we documented a few things that have always been implicitly part of Waterloo Sparring, but need to be written down for the avoidance of doubt. We’ve put together some rules and guidelines on kit requirements for sparring, personal conduct on and off the piste, insurance and conditions of entry.

WSG Entry and Conduct Policy

Entry

Waterloo Sparring Group Ltd reserves the right to refuse entry to anyone.

If you have any outstanding bans from any UK Club or Tournament you will be refused entry to Waterloo Sparring.

Insurance

WSG maintains public liability insurance cover, so if you accidentally injure someone other than your fencing partner while fencing you will be covered. However, we do not have personal injury cover in case of injury during a fencing bout, to either fencer. All fencing is undertaken at fencers’ own risk.

Personal Conduct

We lack the resources to maintain a full code of conduct policy and complaints procedure but here are a few guidelines.

1.       Any transphobic, racist, sexist, ableist or any other discriminatory behaviour will not be tolerated. You will be asked to leave and may be subject to a permanent ban.

2.       Anyone putting themselves or their sparring partner in danger through repeated and intentionally unsafe fencing will be asked to leave and may be subject to a permanent ban.

3.    Anyone intentionally trying to hurt or injure their sparring partner will be asked to leave and may be subject to a permanent ban.

4.    Anyone intentionally striking or swinging at their sparring partner after sparring has stopped will be asked to leave and may be subject to a permanent ban.

5.       If you see any of these behaviours don’t be afraid to speak up and call it out, or make an anonymous complaint to admin@waterloosparring.com

6.       Please change discreetly and be mindful of who is around you

7.       Discuss with your training partner, and stick to, desired intensity levels when sparring

8.       Keep kit in the storage room to avoid trip hazards and save space in the hall

9.       Keep off the piste when not sparring

10.       Be excellent to each other!

COVID Measures

COVID-19 is very much still a thing, so we’ll be introducing a few measures to keep everyone safe. Most of this is second nature to most of us by now, but here’s a reminder all the same.

1.       If you have a positive COVID test, have been in contact with some who has or are displaying even one symptom of COVID, please stay away! Any pre-paid sessions will still be valid.

2.       Hand Sanitisation points will be available throughout the venue. Please wash your hands when you arrive and when you leave.

3.       COVID Track-and-Trace QR codes will be available at the venue for contact tracing

4.       We will also be keeping contact details of everyone who attends in the event of a positive test.

5.       If you share any kit, please wipe it down with hand sanitiser and a paper towel before and after you lend/borrow it.

6.       Close contact and grappling will be at fencer’s discretion. Just as we always do when discussing sparring intensity levels, if someone asks to not grapple, please respect their decision.

7.       Maintain a safe social distance from other fencers when not sparring.

Kit Requirements for Sparring

Note that there must be no exposed bare skin, including at the nape of the neck, the back of the shins, the palms, and the wrists.

Fencing Mask: FIE 1600N masks. Masks must not show signs of distress/damage that will impact on their use, like dents or rusting. Masks must come with an overlay.

Back of Head Protection: The back of the head needs to be covered by a solid, rigid protector, without significant gaps.

Gorget: We require a solid throat guard covering the front of the throat.

Jackets: Either a well-padded HEMA jacket, a padded sport fencing coaching jacket, or a sport fencing jacket over significant other protection (motocross padding, solid chest guards etc.). If the jacket does not have a blade catcher at the throat, a “Polish apron” or similar guard to prevent the blade sliding under the mask’s bib must be worn. For sabre and longsword, the jacket must cover the points of the hip – if not then padded fencing trousers or a SPES skirt must be worn. No gambesons with gaps allowed, including potential gaps at fastening points.

Elbows: Solid protection for longsword, sword & buckler and sabre. Recommended but not required for rapier & dagger.

Knees: Solid protection including the sides of the knee is required for all weapons.

Shins and Forearms: Solid protection is required for longsword, sword & buckler and sabre. Recommended for rapier & dagger.

Gloves: For longsword and sabre, thick fencing gloves with no or very limited gaps at the fingers – such as SPES heavy gloves, Koning gloves or Sparring Gloves. Metal gauntlets are not allowed. Unmodified Red Dragon or Lacrosse gloves are not suitable for Longsword but are allowed for sabre and sword & buckler (we suggest wearing fingertip protectors at least). For rapier, sport fencing gloves are allowed, but it is recommended to wear padded coaching type gloves or better.

Chest protector: Required for rapier & dagger. For longsword, sword & buckler and sabre tournaments required for women, recommended for men.

Groin Guard: Highly recommended

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Waterloo Sparring is Back!

Hi all, I know it has seemed very quiet recently, but we’ve been hard at work at WSG Towers getting everything ready for us to reopen.

Sparring is Back!

We’re going to be running two sparring sessions in August. The first will be August 14th and the next two weeks later on the 28th. Both will be at 2pm-4pm at Christ Church Southwark church hall. Opposite the Columbo Centre, where we used to spar. Please pay for your session on the day, through the website (links in a future update). We’ll be in touch with everyone who still has paid up classes soon after.

COVID Measures

COVID-19 is very much still a thing, so we’ll be introducing a few measures to keep everyone safe. Most of this is second nature to most of us by now, but here’s a reminder all the same.

  1. If you have a positive COVID test, have been in contact with some who has or are displaying even one symptom of COVID, please stay away! Any pre-paid sessions will still be valid.
  2. Hand Sanitisation points will be available throughout the venue. Please wash your hands when you arrive and when you leave.
  3. COVID Track-and-Trace QR codes will be available at the venue for contact tracing
  4. We will also be keeping contact details of everyone who attends in the event of a positive test.
  5. If you share any kit, please wipe it down with hand sanitiser and a paper towel before and after you lend/borrow it.
  6. Close contact and grappling will be at fencer’s discretion. Just as we always do when discussing sparring intensity levels, if someone asks to not grapple, please respect their decision.
  7. Maintain a safe social distance from other fencers when not sparring.

Insurance

The biggest change for WSG this year is that we now have our own Martial Arts insurance, provided through the British Martial Arts and Boxing Association (BMABA). Previously, like many events, WSG depended on the individual insurance of those attending. From now on all members of WSG (anyone who attends is nominally a member, for insurance purposes) will benefit from £5m public liability insurance. So if you accidentally injure or damage the property of someone, insurance will cover it.

Personal accident cover is not included. This means that engaging in a fencing bout is still at your own risk. So check in with your partner for their experience and desired intensity level before sparring, and look after each other out there.

Our insurance does require us to have first aiders on hand. If anyone has an up to date first aid qualification, or is interested in getting one please drop me a line. We’ll get a few people trained up and then make sure at least one of us is at each session.

Paying for your Session

We have moved the WSG bank account to an entirely new bank. Please delete your saved Waterloo Sparring Bank details. Please don’t pay for sparring by bank transfer any more. If you do, we won’t get it, and you’ll lose your money. We’ll be taking payments for sessions through our website, in future. Keep an eye out for the next update.

That’s all for now. Keep an eye out for the next update, which will include details on how to pay for sessions. Looking forward to sparring you all again!

-Dan Powell