Whether you’re just starting out, or have been fencing for years, gathering your own set of gear is an exciting experience. Having your own ‘kit’ will help you to improve your skills more rapidly and it’s fun to have your own things. Once you have your own gear, you won’t have to struggle with differently weighted or tailored supplies from week to week. And, it helps individualize you and your style.
However before you go on a shopping spree, please consult with an Officer first. There are distinct differences in quality and longevity between manufacturers of fencing gear. Over the years we have discovered how to get the most out of our money, and if you participate in group orders there may be group discounts.
All fencers must wear appropriate safety gear any time they are fighting, and all weapons must be blunted and safety rated through an approved manufacturer before being permitted in combat. A complete base kit includes a helmet, gorget, vest, gloves, proper base clothing and a sword.
We use a standard fencing mask that provides protection to the front and side of the head. To properly fit the helmet, make sure you select the correct size between Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large which is marked on the side of the helmet.
You can fit the helmet on, ensuring that you chin is rested comfortably in the chin pad. You can then gently compress the sides and back of the helmet to fit it securely to your head without adding uncomfortable pressure.
Your helmet should sit on your head snuggly and should not shift significantly when you shake your head violently. The mesh should not touch any part of your face, even when forceful pressure is applied. If you are unsure of the fit of your helmet check with an officer.
The word “gorget” (pronounced gore-jay) comes from the French word, “gorge” which means throat. Gorgets are typically made from steel or rigid leather. The tongue or flap of the gorget should be in the front and when tightened with the leather straps on the sides, the gorget should allow your neck to move naturally without having a large gap or causing any discomfort to your neck. Again if you are unsure of the fit of your gorget check with an officer.
Fencing vests are made from thick, puncture resistant fabric that helps soften blows as well as protect from any blades that might lose a tip or break. A proper vest should consist of layers of heavy fabric like denim or could be made of welders quality leather.
Vests should fit comfortably and not inhibit your ability to move your arms. In some cases, a thick jacket may suffice. Consult with an Officer if you think you have one that may work.
Gloves are the only piece of equipment we use that are not offered by the group. Every person should bring their own pair of gloves when they begin fencing. Leather work gloves from any hardware store should work. We recommend gloves with some wrist protection. They should fit well without too much bulk and allow ample movement in your hand.
Proper Base Clothing:
Before putting on any armor, you should come to practice already dressed properly. Proper base clothing consists of long pants, and closed toed shoes. Long sleeves are highly encouraged. These offer some protection and keep fencers safe.
The swords we use are called Rapiers, and they were primarily used during the Renaissance period all across Europe. They are elegant weapons designed to thrust and stab, not hack and slash like a broad sword or sabre. Light and quick, they were the weapon of choice for personal defense for Nobles and unranked individuals alike.
Where to Buy?
There are several great gear makers out there who we are happy to recommend. When you are ready, please work with an Officer to purchase gear. We are happy to help, and we are excited to see you progress.