Restarting indoor fencing sessions (BF)

Restarting indoor fencing sessions (BF)British Fencing has issued detailed guidance on restarting indoor fencing sessions from July 25.

The full text is re-posted below. We are consulting with colleagues in the BFHS regarding restart of HEMA sessions in August.

Indoor Fencing in England Restarts on 25th July (British Fencing Guidance)

BF is delighted to announce that with some adaptations, indoor recreational fencing can restart from 25th July in England.

This lifting of restrictions applies to indoor fencing activity from 25th July in England delivered by affiliated clubs and registered coaches to members of British Fencing. This is made possible by a series of measures (outlined below and in full here) which have been reviewed by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

These include the steps that should be taken by fencers, clubs, officials, volunteers, coaches, and spectators before, during and after all recreational fencing activity as well as specific advice and adaptations relating to clubs, coaches, lessons and sparring.

It is important to note that adaptations to fencing activity are at all times in addition to the expectations and requirements to follow Government Guidance including that around social distancing, health and hygiene and supporting NHS test and trace.  In particular we would draw attention to the requirement for risk assessments and accurate attendee records to be in place (and retained for a minimum of 21 days) for all groups/sessions.

Fencing specific adaptations include (but are not limited to):

  • Protocols around equipment usage – no sharing of personal equipment, minimising other equipment sharing and disinfecting protocols. (Specific cleaning info here)
  • Equipment adaptations – eg use of fencing mask liners in situations where face coverings under fencing masks are not appropriate.
  • Rule changes – no handshaking or any other type of body contact, certain types of moves no longer permitted to ensure that 2m social distancing is maintained where at all possible: Fleching/running attacks, corps a corps, deliberate close quarter actions and any actions that breach the 1m distancing are not permitted.
  • Group sizes restricted to 6. Multiple groups can train in the same venue, (subject at all times to government and venue guidance on maximum numbers and protocols being in place to avoid/limit interaction between groups.)
  • Restrictions around the length of activity to reduce the total time two people can spend together ‘on piste’ . For example, adapted sparring between two individuals in a group can take place but is limited to 1 x 15 hits or 3 x 5 hits, up to a maximum of 10mins of fencing time and 15mins of elapsed time. (This means, for example, a poule unique of 6 fencers can take place where everyone fences each other once only to 15 hits and each bout takes no longer than 10mins of fencing time and 15mins elapsed time including the breaks).

More details on these and the other measures and adaptations can be found here.

We will continue to update our COVID-19 advice here.