Some people act like hand sniping is some crappy, fake, or sporty swordsmanship approach. No, you cannot just cut the hand from the safest distance possible! After all, damaging your opponent while keeping yourself safe is not what fencing is about. It’s about manfully whacking the other guy on the head, while he is joyfully pulverizing your ribs.
Making fun of people who don’t want tappy fencing aside (and they are right, but the problem is in judging), not all think so.
The people behind the Icebreaker HEMA tournament certainly don’t seem to.
The annual event, which will be held for the 5th year in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota, US, is open for registration and coming in April 2019. While their ruleset awards 3 points for head and just 1 for hand, as is typical, they have a special award (more than one, actually) for hand sniping.
The skeletal hand is custom-made by the tournament director Paul Bates, and the wide cuphilt you see is a vintage Toledo letter opener.
From what we know, Steve Mattsen from the Center of Blade Arts, Minneapolis won the trophy for the last two years. And he is a top fighter in single rapier and a respectable one in longsword.
What exactly is the award given for? The organizers explained:
Our judges keep track of each time a competitor hits their opponent between the elbow and the finger tips. These are recorded separately from the match score, and tracked throughout the competition. Whoever scores the most hand shots over the weekend is awarded the much-coveted trophy!