Safety

Safety First

Epee mask

Our guidelines on safety are under constant review.

Also, beginners may appreciate the reassurance under Does it Hurt?

In short: no.

Introduction

Fencing is a safe sport. Regulation equipment conforming to safety standards and common sense fencing helps to maintain our good safety record.

If you are attending classes for the first time, please observe the dress code outlined in What do I wear?


Safety First

  • Always wear a mask when fencing.
  • Occasionally in a controlled lesson, the coach may dispense with the mask while demonstrating a particular point, but this is an exception.
  • Unless the coach says otherwise, the rule is PLAY IT SAFE.

Official Safety Guidelines

A summary of British Fencing Safety Guidelines is available as a PDF document.

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The Essential Equipment Guide is available as a PDF document. Indicative prices are correct as at September 2013.


General Safety Rules

Finally, a few common sense precautions. Although they apply to all, they are directed more at the younger fencer whose enthusiasm and exuberance is sometimes difficult to control!

  • First, NEVER wave your weapon about in front of people who aren’t wearing masks.
  • NEVER turn your back on the person you are fencing. This leaves the neck and back of the head exposed. In competition this is illegal and you will be penalised.
  • NEVER remove your mask in the middle of a fight expecting your opponent to stop without warning. The recognised way to stop a fight is to hold up your unarmed hand, palm facing your opponent, and step backwards. Do this BEFORE you take off your mask.
  • Finally, NEVER, NEVER slash at your opponent with your sword; this serves no purpose except to injure. There is no warning or penalty, you will be disqualified from a competition or banned from fencing for dangerous behaviour.
  • Remember, fencing is fun, providing you PLAY IT SAFE.

Safety Equipment

The mask
The plastron
The jacket
The glove
Breeches

Introduction to Safety

Sabre glovesFencing is a safe sport. Regulation equipment conforming to safety standards and common sense fencing helps to maintain our good safety record.

First, always wear a mask when fencing. Occasionally in a controlled lesson, the coach may dispense with the mask while demonstrating a particular point, but this is an exception. Unless the coach says otherwise, the rule is PLAY IT SAFE. …

General Safety Rules

Fencing maskFinally, a few common sense precautions, although they apply to all, they are directed more to the younger fencer whose enthusiasm and exuberance is sometimes difficult to control!

  • First, NEVER wave the weapon about in front of people who aren’t wearing masks.
  • NEVER turn your back an the person you are fencing, this leaves the neck and back of the head exposed. In competition this is illegal and you will be penalised.
  • NEVER remove your mask in the middle of a fight expecting your opponent to stop without warning The recognised way to stop a fight is to hold up your unarmed hand, palm facing your opponent, and step backward. Do this BEFORE you take off your mask.
  • Finally NEVER, NEVER slash at your opponent with your sword; this serves no purpose except to injure. There is no warning or penalty, you will be disqualified from a competition or banned from fencing for dangerous behaviour.
  • Remember, fencing is fun, providing you PLAY IT SAFE.

Safety: The Mask

Epee maskCheck that your mask has a backstrap fitted. This is a piece of elastic approximately 2 inches wide attached across the back of the mask to prevent it falling off during fencing.

The bib (the padded front piece of the mask that protects the throat) should be sewn on firmly with no holes that would allow a blade to penetrate.

The mesh of the mask (the face) should not be soft enough to push in using your thumbs, nor should it have any rust.

It is important to try and obtain the correct size mask to wear while fencing. It’s very difficult to concentrate on fencing while your head is rattling around inside a mask 2 sizes too big for you!

Masks come in different weights (measured in Newtons of force) offering levels of protection. 600N is the current minimum for club use. When buying new, get an 1600N mask.

Safety: The Plastron

Under plastronAlways wear an under plastron. This is a half jacket that covers your sword arm side and is worn under the fencing jacket.

Get one in the right size, wide enough to cover your torso to the centre line in front.

Plastrons come in different weights (measured in Newtons of force) offering levels of protection. 350N is the current minimum for club use. When buying new, get an 800N plastron.

Safety: The Jacket

Fencing jacketExcept for the pull-over style (a back zip, or collar fastening), the jacket should fasten on the non-sword arm side, that is, zipped on the left for a right-handed fencer. This is to prevent a blade penetrating through the opening. The jacket must not have any holes for the same reason.

Jackets come in different weights (measured in Newtons of force) offering levels of protection. 800N is the current minimum for club use. When buying new, get an 800N jacket.

Safety: The Glove

Sabre glovesThe glove should have a gauntlet (cuff) that reaches approximately half way up the forearm. Wear it on the outside of the sleeve. It should have no holes through which a blade may penetrate.

Safety: Breeches

Fencing_BreechesFencing breeches should be worn, not only for the neat image they present of the fencer and the club, they are also regulation equipment that must be worn in competition.

In training sessions, track suit trousers are the alternative NOT jeans as they allow more free movement.

Breeches come in different weights (measured in Newtons of force) offering levels of protection. 350N is the current minimum for club use. When buying new, get a pair of 800N breeches.