When most people think of fencing, they think
of swashbuckling battles mixing poise, skill, and the grace of a
dancer. We don’t usually think of the rapid, subtle movements
of the fast paced fencing of today’s sports world. In fact,
the action is so fast that opponents must wear protective equipment
that doubles as electric scoring equipment.
Modern fencing equipment is divided into two types: protective
and weapons. The weapons consist of: a foil, which is like a modern
day rapier; epee, which is reminiscent of a dueling sword; and an
updated version of a cavalry sword called a sabre.
The protective equipment is the same no matter the weapon used:
• White Jacket – The official fencing jacket is a long-sleeved,
padded white jacket. It is tight fitting and has a high collar and
fastens on the side opposite of the fencing hand. It is usually
long enough to cover the groin area.
• Underarm Protector – A padded underarm protector is
worn under the jacket on the arm holding the weapon.
• Gloves - The white gloves cover half the forearm and have
extra padding on the back of the weapon hand.
• Mask – The wire mesh mask protects the head and face.
It has a padded bib to cover the neck, and it will withstand 25
pounds of force.
• Pants – The white pants can either be ankle length
or above the calf and work with white socks.
• Shoes – Fencing shoes offer extra support to the inside
of the soles. For competitive purposes, they are optional.
Fencing equipment can be bought at any one of a number of specialty
shops. Blade, Blue Gauntlet, and Santelli Fencing are three of the
most popular. Fencing equipment can be expensive, so if you are
just starting out or on a budget, look to buy used.