Players' Guide to Fair and Safe Combat

This rule set is not intended as strict guide to tournament match play. Instead it is a general guide on what a player should keep in mind to ensure more fair and less dangerous FNC matches.

Follow this link for a strict set of rules for use by referees and tournament directors.

  1. Between points

    Once you begin juggling, acknowledge to your opponent you are ready to begin playing and await a response before starting to move or attack.

    If you or your opponent scores a point, you should begin juggling again as soon you are both ready, with the aim to begin in under 25 seconds. You don't need to wait for the announcer to tell you to begin.

    If both you and your opponent drop at the end of a point, you should aim to begin playing again in under 15 seconds.

    Ask the referee or tournament director if you have any issues with the timing.

  2. Winning a point

    At the end of a successful attack, your aim is not to be the last player to drop, but instead to be the only remaining player with full control over a three club juggling pattern.

    For the ease of deciding whether you deserve to be awarded the point or not, please keep your three club pattern going for at least 6 throws and catches after your opponent is out of the point.

    The referee or tournament director will inform you if you repeatedly fail to show full control over your three club pattern after your opponent is out of the point.

  3. When Making an Attack

    Aim for your opponent's clubs, not their hands, arms or body. If you attack a club held in your opponent's hand, aim for the body of the club to avoid accidentally hitting their fingers. If you attempt to attack an opponent's pattern and miss, do not let your club carry on its swing into the body of the juggler.

    Any attack aimed towards the head of your opponent is forbidden. If a player is behind you, and you can't see them, don't swing your arm backwards at their head height.

    Accidents happen, but if you harm your opponent due to a wild or blind attack, especially on their hands, face or head, you may be penalized with a loss of points or worse.

    Do not grab, grapple, pull or push your opponent's hands, arms or body. Only their clubs. No bodychecks or intentionally bumping into your opponent's body with your own.

    Attacking from behind is allowed.

  4. When You've Been Successfully Attacked

    If your club is attacked by your opponent and it flies out of your reach, beyond any possible chance of you catching it again, you are considered out of the point, even if your attacked club has not yet hit the floor.

    From the moment you are out of the point on you must not intentionally disturb your opponent's clubs or pattern in any way:

    • Do not try to grab any of their clubs.
    • Try to not to move into their path.
    • Let go of any club of theirs you maybe holding.
    • If one of their clubs is trapped somewhere, don't pull on it. Instead try to untangle the club without disturbing the rest of their pattern or other clubs.

    Intentionally disrupting your opponent's pattern after they have successfully attacked your club, or you are otherwise out of the point, will result in a warning followed by further punishments.

    If you intentionally disrupt your opponent's pattern after you are out of the point, they may be awarded the point anyway if they clearly would have been able to continue their pattern for 6 more throws and catches without your deliberate disruption.

  5. Stealing an Opponent's Club

    You must be the player to decide it is time to steal an opponent's club. This can't be decided for you by your opponent successfully attacking one of your clubs, nor by you otherwise dropping a club.

    You must make a successful catch of an opponent's club before any of your own clubs hit the floor.

    To avoid any ambiguity in timing ("did your hand close around the stolen club before your high throw hit the floor?"), your intention to steal the club must be clear to the referee or tournament director well before your own club hits the floor. This intention can be shown by, for example, looking away from your own high throw and fixing your attention on the club you intend to steal, or by not making any effort to catch your own discarded high throw and instead moving your hand towards the club you plan to steal.

    If you weren't the last player to throw a specific club, and you find yourself with only two clubs and your third already dropped or out of play, don't try to catch that club. A club in the air belongs to the pattern of the last player to throw it. This includes a club stolen into a four club pattern without any drops.

    If both you and your opponent end up catching the same club out of the air at the same time, and you both continue to juggle your remaining two clubs in the other hand, the disputed club is considered to be in the pattern of whoever carries on and manages to throw that club next.

    If a club is already in your opponent's hand, and you try to steal that club from their hand, but you don't manage to have sole control over the club before your own club hits the floor, let go.

    Juggling two clubs in one hand while trying to steal an opponent's club after your own club has hit the floor is not allowed.

  6. Fumbles and Recoveries

    During the point, you must aim to keep three clubs in a steady juggling pattern. If you fumble and make a recovery, you must do so in a way that continues a three club pattern. This generally means at least one club in the air at all times.

    As a juggler, you will probably be able to feel if you have stopped juggling three clubs. But more specifically:

    While holding two clubs, you are allowed to hit the third club back into the air. The one or two points of contact must be moving upwards when hitting the descending club. These points of contact may include the back of a hand, an elbow, a foot, both clubs in the hands, one club and one arm, a club or arm while the falling club also bounces off of a head or shoulder, etc.

    While holding two clubs, performing a single scooping motion to redirect the third club upwards is only allowed if there is a single point of contact with the redirected club.

    While holding two clubs, performing any catching and throwing motion, or scooping motion, to redirect third club upwards with more than one point of contact is not allowed (no catching then throwing a horizontal club with the forearms or pair of clubs, no kickups, etc). Any form of holding or stopping the third club's motion is also not allowed (no traps, no holds, no grabs, no catches, no balancing on two points, etc).

    If your own club bounces or rolls off your own body by accident, it is still in your pattern.

    If your club bounces or rolls off your opponent's body by accident, it is also still in your pattern. Your club is only considered stolen if your opponent is the last person to catch, to hold, or to trap your club (more than one point of contact) without any continuing or remaining contact with you.

  7. Fair Play

    If your opponent makes an unforced error, dropping before they have attempted to attack you and you have attempted to attack them, it's considered fair play to not accept the point.

    If your opponent makes an unforced error after either they have attacked you or you have attacked them, feel free to take the point without shame. Especially if you are behind in the score, or if you are playing a higher ranked opponent. Especially if there have already been many times where both you and your opponent dropped. Especially if the match is otherwise taking a long time.

    If you strike your opponent in a way that causes them obvious harm or pain, and you are the one to blame (after a blind or wild attack, overly physical play, etc), leading your opponent to drop, or even after they have dropped, it is likely you won't be awarded your point. To avoid further penalties, it is best to admit responsibility and not try to claim the point.

  8. Warnings and Penalties

    As a player, you should expect a warning or penalty for the following fouls, listed below in order of severity. Each is generally only considered a foul if it is a consequence of intentional action or unsafe play:

    • Wasting time between points.
    • General unsporting behavior.
    • Attacks that hit the opponent's hands or arms.
    • Disrupting an opponent's pattern when already out of the point.
    • Attacks that hit the opponent's body.
    • Attacking with the body against the opponent's body.
    • Attacks that hit the opponent's face, head or neck.

    Penalties include:

    • Not being awarded a point.
    • A point deducted from your score.
    • A point deducted from your score and a point being awarded to your opponent.
    • Forfeiting the match.

    Guide last updated: 2015-06-05

© Copyright 2024, Luke Burrage. All rights reserved.