On January 13-15, 2018, we are proud to host the 3rd annual Washington DC HEMA Open! With 130+ participants in our first year, DC HEMA Open is back and better than ever! The 2018 DC HEMA Open will feature a number of competitive HEMA tournaments, including: Longsword, Rapier and Dagger, Sword and Buckler, Singlestick, Ringen (unarmed), and Cutting.  We are proud to be one of the only major HEMA events that includes Youth and Teen categories to go side-by-side with our Adult Tournaments!  

The Washington DC HEMA Open 2018 will be held at the luxurious Gaylord National Resort in beautiful National Harbor, Maryland, on January 13-15, so mark your calendars! As part of the Capitol Clash, the largest Olympic Sport Fencing youth tournament in the world, the Washington DC HEMA Open provides an incredible opportunity for a tournament on an unprecedented size and scale, a truly magnificent venue, highly trained professional staff, and an unforgettable experience.




VENUE Website:


Click here for the venue website! 

Click to Book Your Preferred Rate Hotel Room


Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

201 Waterfront Street   National Harbor, Maryland  20745 USA



January 13-15, 2018






  • LONGSWORD – Youth (ages 9-13), Teen (ages 14-17), Open Longsword, (18 and up), and Women's Longsword
  • RAPIER AND DAGGER– Youth (ages 9-13), Teen (ages 14-17), Open (18 and up)
  • SWORD AND BUCKLER - Youth (ages 9-13), Teen (ages 14-17), Open (18 and up)
  • LONGSWORD TARGET CUTTING– (must be 18 or older)
  • SINGLESTICK - Youth (ages 9-13), Teen (ages 14-17), Open (18 and up)
  • RINGEN -  (must be 18 or older
  • The HEMAthlon
    • Notes:

      ·        Registration is open all days starting at 7:30am

      ·         Individual event check-in starts 1.5 hours prior to the actual event and closes 30 min prior to event start, including equipment check

      ·         If a competitor is not checked in 30 min prior to event start he cannot compete.


the hemathlon

The top three winners of the HEMAthlon of the adult category in 2016. BRONZE: Doug Bahnick (right), Virginia Academy of Fencing; SILVER: Tim Kaufman (left), New York Historical Fencing Association; GOLD: Mackenzie Ewing (center, holding the coveted ASCALON trophy), Atlanta Freifechter Guild.

The top three winners of the HEMAthlon of the adult category in 2016. BRONZE: Doug Bahnick (right), Virginia Academy of Fencing; SILVER: Tim Kaufman (left), New York Historical Fencing Association; GOLD: Mackenzie Ewing (center, holding the coveted ASCALON trophy), Atlanta Freifechter Guild.


The HEMAthlon (pronounced “he-MATH-lon”, a pun on the term “triathlon”) is for competitors who sign up for three or more events. For every event competitors can gain points dependent on how well they rank. The better a person ranks in an event, the more points that person scores. At the end of the event, all points will be tallied, and the person with the highest score wins the HEMAthlon.

To win the HEMAthlon is to show that a person is more than a just a one-trick pony. In order to win, one must not only compete in multiple events, but do exceptionally well in multiple events. In doing so, the HEMAthlon winner shows the ability to be a well rounded martial artist, and therefore worthy of exemplary praise. This is the highest award given for the Washington DC HEMA Open, and one we hope everyone will attempt to participate in.

The categories for the HEMAthlon are divided by age group:

Youth (ages 9-12)
Teen (ages 13-17)
Adult (ages 18 and up)

The ASCALON Trophy

This Trophy is reserved for the champions of the HEMAthlon. Every year, one person from each age category per will have their name engraved on this coveted award to be displayed for everyone to see during the Washington DC HEMA Open.

2016 Champions Engraved on the ASCALON:
ADULT: Mackenzie Ewing (Atlanta Freifechter Guild)
TEEN: Juniper Humphrey (Maryland KDF)
YOUTH: Tina Gaughan (Virginia Academy of Fencing)

Why is the trophy called the Ascalon?

“In Saint George’s name, here begins the Art of Fencing…” These are the famous words that begin so many medieval fencing treatises within the tradition of Master Johannes Liechtenauer. Saint George was the patron saint of knighthood, chivalry and the art of combat. According to medieval legend, he slew a dragon with his mystical spear. This spear bore the name of Ascalon.

Due to the importance medieval and Renaissance fencing masters placed on Saint George, it was only fitting that the HEMAthlon trophy pay tribute to this legendary weapon.


SCORing per target area


Summary of the rules
(longsword, rapier, sword & buckler)

The illustration shows the value of points a competitor scores on a successful attack: A cut to the head is worth two (2) points, and a cut anywhere else is worth one (1) point. A thrust to the head or torso is worth three (3) points, whereas a thrust to the limbs is worth one (1) point.

A competitor who is able to hit without being hit, and does so with good mechanics, will be awarded a Technical Bonus. The Technical Bonus doubles the amount scored (e.g. a two point attack with a Technical Bonus scores four points). The amount of Technical Bonus gained will also affect the competitor's ranking.

In the event of a Double Hit, the higher scoring point still wins, but the lower scoring point is subtracted from it. (e.g. Fighter A hits a two point area at the same time Fighter B hits a one point area. Fighter A is awarded one point.) Further, every Double Hit will be recorded and will be tallied against a person's overall ranking. In other words, fighters that intentionally use double hits to win in the short term may find that they suffer in the long-term.

This scoring system is used for the Longsword, Rapier & Dagger and Sword & Buckler tournaments, however each tournament will have slightly different rules. In particular, it should be noted that for the Rapier & Dagger tournament, only thrusts can score a Technical Bonus. For more information, please see the individual rules of each weapon style listed below (coming soon).

Round 1- Pool Bouts: Fighters are broken up into smaller groups of people called pools. A fighter will face every person in their pools to figure out their ranking. The top 32 fighters in Longsword will advance to the next round; The top 24 of Rapier & Dagger and Sword & Buckler will advance.

Round 2- Elimination Bouts: The top ranked fighter will face the lowest ranked fighter, the second highest rank will face the second lowest rank, etc. Only the winning fighter advances. Eventually the last person left is the champion.

FULL RULES (click to download below):
Longsword (Adult Category)
Longsword (Youth and Teen Categories)
Rapier & Dagger (All Age Categories)
Sword & Buckler (Adult Category)
Sword & Buckler (Youth and Teen Categories)


target cutting (longsword)

2016-01-15 11.21.59.jpg

target cutting

The Target Cutting tournament will grade competitors on their ability to use proper technique and a sharpened Longsword to cut through targets. Fencing with blunt swords against an opponent might test distance, timing and performance under the pressure of a resisting opponent, but cutting through a target tests a competitors ability to use proper edge alignment, generate appropriate power and isolate physical mechanics that don’t occur when not actually cutting through an opponent. The targets will be rolled, soaked straw mats (tatami) as well as suspended hemp rope.

This tournament is for ages 18 and up.



RINGEN (grappling)


unarmed combat

The art of Historical Ringen is a form of unarmed grappling that dates back for hundreds of years. The word Ringen is the German word for “wrestling”, although the historical version is not quite the same as the modern counterpart. This bare handed form of fighting was trained by nobility and commoners alike, and was used by citizens for self defense, by soldiers who were disarmed, and even for knights in armor. Historically, Ringen was not only trained for "real life" combat, but it was also trained as a highly athletic sport. The sport version of Ringen requires speed, timing, and subtlety, but is also highly exciting to watch. Historically these bare handed martial artists were praised from city to city, and this athletic spirit is what the Washington DC HEMA Open wants to revive in the modern revival of Ringen.