Fencing

Introduction

You must refer to the Requirements for All Sport and Physical Activity to understand your overall compliance responsibilities.

Parents must be informed of full details of the location, supervision to be provided and activities to be undertaken when seeking their written permission.

Teacher/Instructor Qualifications and Experience

The teacher/coach must have as a minimum a Level 1 coaching accreditation with the Australian Fencing Federation.

Supervision

Where an adult other than a teacher is engaged to provide instruction, a teacher must be present to take overall responsibility. A teacher must be present who has recognised current training in emergency care.

The teacher to student ratio must not exceed 1:20.

The teaching program should include progressive and sequential skill development and instruction in correct footwork.

Protective Clothing Requirements

Students must be suitably attired for practice and competition.

Body

All students must wear a fencing jacket of minimum 350 newton for practice and competition. For competition, a commercially available under-plastron, also minimum 350 newton, must be worn.

Tracksuit pants (to the ankle) are suitable for school practice and competition for foil and sabre. Fencing breeches of minimum 350 newton, which come to just below the knee and are coupled with knee length socks, which must stay up are required for epee practice and competition.

All female fencers, regardless of age or physical development, are required to wear a commercially available breastplate for protection. Groin protection is mandatory for male fencers for epee practice and competition and recommended in foil and sabre.

Mask

The fencing mask must comply with NSW Fencing Association standards and have a strip of elastic across the back, which must be used. The mask must be snug enough not to slip off when bending forward. The bib of the mask should be firmly fixed. The mask should be clean and free from rust.

Glove

A commercially available fencing glove must be worn to protect the weapon arm. The cuff of the glove is worn outside the sleeve of the fencing jacket, to prevent the possibility of the opponent's blade slipping inside the sleeve.

Footwear

Sport shoes or indoor court shoes with good grip are essential.

Equipment

At school practice, non-electric fencing is adequate. Regulation fencing blades must always be used. Broken and severely bent blades must not be repaired.

Weapons

There are three types of fencing - epee, foil and sabre (see glossary for details). In foil and epee, points can only be scored by the point of the weapon. In foil, only a hit on the torso counts. In the epee, the whole body is the target. In sabre, points can be scored with the side and the point of the blade. The body above the waist is the target.

School Competition Requirements

 All school competitions are fenced using electric equipment and therefore the fencer must meet the requirements for their weapon. The specific requirements are outlined on the NSW Fencing Association website at www.nswfencing.org.au. National competitions are conducted under different guidelines and the fencer must meet FIE standards. These can be found on the Australian Fencing Federation website at www.ausfencing.org

Maintenance of Equipment

All equipment must be well maintained and removed from use if defective.

Venues

A school gymnasium or school hall is suitable. Safe viewing areas, preferably so participants waiting for their turn are able to see any fencing matches, must be established. The area used for fencing lessons must be inaccessible to passers-by. At least two metres on either side of the area of instruction should be marked and designated a restricted area.

Safety

The instructor must brief all participants in the use and fitting of the equipment, basic fencing techniques, target area for each weapon, appropriate communication signals and safe working practice.

Students are to be instructed not to engage in fencing activities unless the instructing teacher is present to ensure correct clothing is worn and all safety precautions have been taken. The instructor is to check equipment prior to any match commencing.

Any student engaging in violent actions which results in jostling the opponent, hits delivered with undue violence or hits delivered intentionally at parts of the body other than the target area is to be excluded from participation.

Students must remove jewellery and other ornaments likely to cause injury.

Should an injury occur involving bleeding these procedures should be followed.

  • All clothing, equipment and surfaces contaminated by blood must be viewed as potentially infectious and treated accordingly.
  • Participants who are bleeding must have the wound dressed and securely covered.
  • Any blood covered body area (and surface area where appropriate), must be cleaned thoroughly and any blood covered clothing and equipment cleaned or removed prior to the participant recommencing the activity.

A well-equipped medical kit must be readily available.

Glossary

Under-plastron
A half jacket, worn on the fencing arm, underneath the fencing jacket, (i.e. right arm for right-handed fencers and left arm for left-handed fencers). This provides extra protection for this region of the body.

Fencing breeches and socks
Fencing breeches which come down to just below the knees. Socks must be long and must stay up. Socks should generally be white, but for team events, fencers may wear socks in the team colours.

Fencing jacket must be a minimum 350 newton material.

Glove - the cuff of the glove is worn outside the sleeve of the fencing jacket, to prevent the possibility of the opponent's blade slipping inside the sleeve.

Mask must have elastic at the back. The mask must be snug enough not to slip off when bending forward. The bib of the mask should be firmly fixed. The mask should be clean and free from rust.

350 Newton
Equipment manufacturers submit sample items to the FIE for approval. When an item is approved, it will bear a logo indicating its safety level which will be displayed on the exterior of the item. The logo will state the level of resistance (in newtons) offered. 350 newton is approved for school fencing practice and competition.

Electric Jacket or Lame
This is a metallic jacket which is worn over the white jacket, covering the scoring area and which conducts electricity. Every time a hit is scored on the electric jacket, a lamp lights up on the scoring equipment.

Body Wire
This is a wire worn under the white jacket which connects the weapon to the scoring apparatus. A weapon will have one of two types of socket in the guard. The bodywire plug must match the socket.

Electric sabre gauntlet
This is either incorporated into the fencing glove (lame on sleeve and no lame on hand and worn over the sabre jacket) or is a separate item (lame only, with elastic strap over the thumb, worn over and fully covering the upper portion of a fencing glove which is over the sabre jacket).

Weapons

There are three types of weapons used in fencing - epee, foils and sabre.

Foil - The foil blade is usually made from high carbon steel and designed to bend when striking an opponent so as to prevent injuries and the blade breaking. The foil is used as a thrusting weapon only and so any contact with the side of the blade (or a slap) does not count as a score. This weapon uses the 'right of way' rules. This means that the first fencer to hit does not always receive the point, but rather the fencer who hits with priority. Moves, such as making a parry, allow the fencer to initiate a counter attack or riposte. The priority continues to exchange between the fencers until a hit is scored. The scoring zone is the torso.

To fence Electric Foil requires an electric jacket or lame, which is worn over the scoring area of the white fencing jacket and conducts electricity, plus an electric foil and a body wire.

Epee - With the epee, points can only be scored with the point of the weapon. The epee is the heaviest of all weapons and has a stiffer blade than the others. The blade is also V-shaped in cross-section and has a larger bell guard. The technique varies from the other two, as there are no rules regarding priority and right of way. The whole body is the target area.

To fence Electric Epee requires only an electric epee and a body wire.

Sabre - The main difference with sabre is that scoring is accomplished with the edge and the point of the blade. As a result, movements with the sabre and the ensuring attacks are very fast. As with the foil, sabre uses the convention of right of way to determine who acquires the touch. The target area is from the waist up, but excludes the hands.

To fence Electric Sabre requires an electric sabre jacket that is worn over the white fencing jacket, a bodywire, electric sabre gauntlet and an electric sabre mask (because the sabre target area includes the head, a special mask is required instead of the standard fencing mask), plus a mask wire which connects the mask to the electric jacket.