We get a lot of questions about the equipment in fencing, usually about what’s needed for our classes. To start, Emerald City Fencing Club provides all of the fencing equipment that you’ll need. You just have to wear athletic shoes and pants and you’re ready to go!
Here, we’ll go over the equipment you’ll see around the club in the beginner classes. You can also read more about the requirements for competitive fencing equipment.
All of the equipment icons were provided by www.clubweapon.com with their permission.
For our classes we use padded, back-zip jackets. These have the benefit of being usable by both left and right handed fencers, with the drawback that you might need to ask a friend to help zip you up. The padding also helps increase the comfort level of getting hit in a beginner fencing class.
When you purchase your own jacket, we can’t recommend getting a front-zip jacket enough. It will definitely improve your fencing life.
In fencing, you only need one glove on your weapon-hand. We sometimes see beginners stuff the cuff of the glove into the sleeve of the jacket, but the cuff needs to be on the outside to protect you from a point slipping up the sleeve. In class, we use standard fencing gloves that range from XS - XL.
In fencing, each weapon has its own specific mask for competition. Foil masks have lamé material on the bib of the mask for use with the electric scoring system. For our beginner classes, we provide standard epee masks that have all the same safety features as the foil mask, just without the scoring part necessary for competitions. If you buy your own, you’ll want to get a standard foil mask along with the cords to attach it to the rest of the scoring equipment.
Chest Protectors & Underarm Protectors
Underneath the jacket, you’ll wear an additional layer of protection. The hard plastic chest protectors help with the impact of being hit while the soft underarm protector serves as a redundant safety layer on the weapon-arm side where you’ll receive the most hits. Competitions require a layer of approved foam over the hard plastic to reduce any ‘skipping’ of the opponent’s point on the hard surface. The hard plastic chest protector is optional for men, but mandatory for women. Underarm protectors are mandatory for everyone in competition.
In class, we use standard practice foils with French grips. These are inexpensive and can be a good starter weapon for your own, but we usually recommend that if you’re going to buy a weapon you go ahead and get a competition-ready foil. They’re a little more expensive, but overall more cost-efficient if you’ll end up competing later since the competition foil can still be used in practice.