Competitive Fencing Equipment

Last week, we talked about the basic fencing equipment that you would see in the beginner fencing classes at Emerald City Fencing Club. This week, we’re going to talk about the gear required for competitive fencing.

All of the equipment icons were provided by with their permission.

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Competitive Fencing Jackets

When you purchase your own jacket, we highly recommend getting a front-zip jacket enough. Any standard jacket is legal for competition in the US. For international competition, the FIE (the international governing body of fencing) requires FIE-certified jackets.

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Competitive Fencing Pants

Competition requires pants specifically for fencing. These pants will fasten just below the knee, so you’ll also need to wear long socks that cover the knees. Some vendors sell fencing specific socks, but any soccer socks will do. International competition requires FIE pants as well.

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Fencing Glove

You’ll need one fencing glove for your weapon hand to compete. Foil does not require an FIE certified glove, but competitions do typically inspect your glove for any holes or significant tears. Your glove will need to be in good shape to be approved for competition.

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Competitive Foil Fencing Masks

In foil competition, you’ll need a mask with lame material on the bib as this is part of the target area. In the us, a standard foil mask is legal, but international competition requires and FIE-certified mask.

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Chest Protectors & Underarm Protectors

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. Any standard underarm protector is legal in the US, but international competition requires FIE certification.

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Electric Fencing Foils

To compete, you’ll need to bring two competition-ready foils with you. These electric foils have a plug so that they can be connected to the electrical scoring equipment. US competitions don’t require FIE certified foils like international competitions do, but this is one place where we do recommend making the upgrade anyways. An FIE foil can be twice as expensive as a non-FIE blade, but it can easily last more than twice the lifespan before breaking.

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Foil Lame

For electric fencing, you’ll need to wear a special vest that designates the target area in foil fencing (the torso). You only need one foil lame to compete. The inexpensive lames are typically lined with copper which can oxidize and turn green over time. The more expensive lames typically use nickel and other tarnish-resistant materials.

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Body cords & Mask cords

Electric fencing will require a body cord that runs from the weapon, up the sleeve of the fencing jacket, and hooks into the electric scoring system. You’ll also need a cord that connects your foil lame to the bib of your foil fencing mask. Competition requires two body cords & two mask cords.