Fencing mask underarm

Guidance on the Practice of Fencing and HEMA In the COVID-19 Environment

Fencing mask underarmAs sessions resume in Okehampton, some changes are required in the conduct and running of classes and freeplay.

The officials of West Devon Swords are not medical professionals or scientists and will therefore adhere to best practice for indoor, group training sessions, informed by the government’s official policies and the recommendations of our coverning bodies, BFHS, Brtiish Fencing, with additional guidance from Sport England and the Accademy of Fencing Masters

This guidance refers to training and freeplay with standard sports fencing weapons and historical weapons of similar dimensions, excluding close-quarters weapons and any form of unarmed combat,  grappling and striking components within a historical swordplay systems. Our current advice regarding these activities is that they represent a greater risk than weapons-related training and should not yet restart.

West Devon Swords will comply with any further local restrictions which may be implemented.

Participants should continue to comply with general government guidance on anti-COVID measures such as hand washing and social distancing.

Policies for the resumption of sessions
Drills, coaching and freeplay may be conducted but always with due regard to distancing. In general, fencing with any weapon of modest length or greater places the participants 1m or more apart, so social distancing can be observed. However, any form of physical contact – such as grappling or disarming techniques – is precluded by social distancing rules.

Close-quarters techniques intentionally employed in tactical play are off-limits in the current conditions. Where close-quarters fencing occurs unintentionally in the course of drills or free-play, participants should abort the engagement and return to safe distance.

Group sizes will be monitored and divided where required to conform to government guidelines and any regulations imposed by the venue.

Equipment Guidelines
Without commenting on the medical efficacy of nose-and-mouth coverings, training sessions will require their use for drills, freeplay and lessons for indoor settings where participants are likely to approach to 1m distances. Fencing masks alone are not sufficient to contain particles in aerosol form, which is the most current cause for concern.

Participants must also consider contact transmission outside of drilling and freeplay. For example, by not putting down damp kit down where others can come into contact with it, by not mixing or lending equipment.

All personal kit be cleaned or disinfected on a regular basis, and that masks and other potentially contaminated items be kept separate from the property of other club members.

Club kit will be assigned to participants at the start of activities and segregated on return for storage/cleaning. Participants must not share personal or club kit during sessions.

Participants should be mindful of their habits within the venue, and take care to implement an alternative to habitual actions such as the end-of-bout handshake.

Ongoing risk assessment will take place as we progress through this return from lockdown.