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 Fencing Rules - The Annulment of Hits at Épée 
  1. The Annulment of Hits


  1. In arriving at a judgement, the Referee will disregard hits which are registered as a result of actions:

    • started before the word ‘Play’ or after the word ‘Halt’ (cf. t.18);
    • caused by the meeting of the points of the épées or by a hit made on the ground;
    • or which are made on any object other than the opponent, including their equipment (cf. t.36 Judges, t.67/e).

    Any fencer who, intentionally, causes the apparatus to register a hit by placing their point on any surface other than that of their opponent, will be penalised as specified in Articles t.114, t.116, t.120 Schedule of Offences.


  1. The Referee must take note of possible failures of the electrical equipment and must annul the last hit registered in the following circumstances:

    1. If a hit made on the guard of the fencer against whom the hit was registered or on the conductive piste causes the apparatus to register a hit;

    2. If a hit properly made by the fencer against whom the hit was registered does not cause the apparatus to register a hit;

    3. If the apparatus fortuitously registers a hit on the side of the fencer against whom the hit was registered, for example, after a beat on the blade, by any movements of their opponent, or as a result of any cause other than a properly made hit;

    4. If the registering of a hit made by the fencer against whom the hit was registered is annulled by a subsequent hit made by their opponent.

    5. Special cases

      • If a double hit is registered and one hit is valid and the other is not valid (such a hit made on some surface other than on the opponent (cf. t.66) or a hit made after leaving the piste (cf. t.26ss Stopping the bout)), only the valid hit is scored.

      • If a double hit is registered by an established hit and a doubtful hit (failure of the electrical apparatus), the fencer who has made the established hit may choose to accept the double hit or ask to have it annulled.


  1. The Referee must also apply the following rules regarding the annulment of hits:

    1. Only the last hit which precedes the establishment of the failure of the apparatus may be annulled and only if it is the fencer against whom the hit was registered who is placed at a disadvantage by the failure.

    2. The failure must be determined by tests made immediately after the bout was stopped, under the supervision of the Referee and without changing anything whatever of the equipment in use.

    3. With these tests, one is trying only to establish whether there is material possibility of a mistake in the judgement as a result of a fault. The location of this fault in the electrical equipment, including that of either of the fencers, is unimportant in reaching a decision.

    4. A fencer who makes any modification in, or changes their equipment without being asked by the Referee to do so, before a judgement is pronounced, loses their right to the annulment of the hit (cf. t.35/d The Referee). Similarly, after again coming on guard and after the bout has effectively recommenced, a fencer cannot claim the annulment of a hit registered against him before the said recommencement of the bout.

    5. It is not necessary, in order to justify the annulment of a hit, that the failure should repeat itself each time a test is made, but it is essential that the fault should be established by the Referee without the possibility of doubt at least once.

    6. If the incidents mentioned in Article t.67 occur as a result of the fencer’s bodywire being unplugged (either near the hand or at the back of the fencer), they cannot justify the annulment of the hit registered.

    7. However, if the safety device prescribed by Article m.55/4 is missing or not functioning, the hit should be annulled if the plug at the fencer’s back has become unplugged.

    8. The fact that the epee of a fencer has large or small areas of insulation formed by oxidation, by glue, paint or any other material on the guard, on the blade or elsewhere, on which their opponent’s hits can cause a hit so be signalled, or that the electric tip is badly fixed to the end of the blade so that it can be unscrewed or tightened by hand, cannot justify the annulment of hits registered against that fencer.

    9. When a fencer against whom a hit has been registered has broken their blade, the hit must be annulled unless the breaking of the blade has occurred clearly after the hit has been registered.

    10. If a fencer tears the conductive piste by a hit made on the ground and, at the same time, the apparatus registers a hit against their opponent, the hit must be annulled.

    11. Whenever, owing to some accidental cause, tests cannot be made, the hit must be considered as doubtful and must be annulled (but cf. t.67/e).

      The Referee must pay particular attention to hits which are not registered or which are registered abnormally. Should such defects be repeated, the Referee must ask the members of the Committee for Electrical Apparatus and Equipment present or an expert technician on duty to verify that the equipment conforms to the Rules.

      The Referee must ensure that nothing is altered either in the fencer’s equipment or in the whole of the electrical apparatus before the expert makes the check.


  1. The Referee must supervise the condition of the conductive piste; he must not allow the bout to commence or to continue if the conductive piste has holes in it, which might affect the proper registering of hits or cause accidents. (The organisers must make the necessary arrangements to ensure the rapid repair or replacement of the conductive piste.)

FIE  t.66-69