Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Grasping - Physically holding onto something with a clenched fist. For example, grabbing a teammate’s uniform, or holding hands. The grasping skater’s arm, from the hand up to (but not including) the shoulder is considered to be part of the “grasp”. The teammate is not considered part of the grasp, unless the teammate is independently grasping.

Today's rule comes from the glossary. It defines grasping, which in turn is used in the rules sections for Passing the Star and Multi-Player Blocking. The Use of Forearms and Hands section uses the word "grab" instead of "grasp", which the definition for grasping makes clear is functionally the same thing.

Some months ago an argument circulated that the definition of "grasping" contains an inherent loophole. Proponents argued the use of the word "fist" indicates that all five fingers must be used. According to their logic, if the thumb is not used then it is not a fist and therefore not a grasp.

This is sophistry. The WFTDA rules do not define "fist", which means it is left to the discretion of the referees. I know of no referee who requires a thumb be used in a grasp, and by extension, would consider this "loophole" to be valid.