How safe is fencing?

When my children asked to start fencing like their dad, my initial reaction was slight panic. I didn’t know much about fencing and how safe it was. I didn’t want to disappoint my husband or my children by saying no, so I frantically started to search all the data about fencing I could find. After all, in movies and books fencing is a matter of life and death!

What I found was a completely anti-intuitive answer to this question: fencing is among the safest sports on the planet (along with swimming, golfing, and tennis). If you are interested in safety statistics, I combined everything I learned about fencing safety here.

In a nutshell, what makes fencing safe are two major things:
a) Technological innovations in the last 100 years in weapons and protective gear, and
b) Strict safety rules in clubs, in general, and at AFM, in particular.

Needless to say I was relieved after completing my research. I have completely entrusted my whole family, husband and kids, to this very safe and wonderful sport!

How technology innovation makes fencing safe

All fencers are required to wear protective clothing and masks when they train and when they compete. To make fencing safer, fencing gear companies heavily invest in the gear’s design with many technological advances in all levels of gear.

1. Weapons – Modern weapons are not sharp. They are blunted with either a rubber end on the training weapon or a button on the electric competition one. Also, for the last few decades, they have been manufactured from steel that bends to absorb the impact and break into halves if hard contact occurs.
2. Masks – All masks are made of very strong meshed steel. They are designed to withstand tremendous impact. Standard ‘cheaper’ masks sold in the United States all pass rigorous testing to sustain minimum required pressure. More expensive FIE approved masks take the requirements to an even higher level.
3. Clothing – The protective clothing is made from lightweight yet strong, resilient material. Leading competitive clothing brands are made either from ballistic nylon or bullet-proof Kevlar fabric.

With proper fencing attire fencing is really safe. We at AFM help our students regularly check their fencing gear for any signs of significant wear, tear or damage, and follow clear rules when it comes to utilizing their gear for training and competition.

How strict safety rules make fencing safe

Fencing has a strict code of etiquette. It doesn’t matter whether you watch a small local club’s bout of beginning fencers, a private lesson, a fencing sparring match, or a competition at the regional, national or international level. All around the world, you will see the same imprinted etiquette and behavior of mutual respect to each opponent and mostly the same code of conduct.

This etiquette is passed from generation to generation, across international boundaries, and it is what makes fencing so safe. It’s the nature of the sport. It is the philosophy and approach that has been set in stone and codified over the centuries and is honored by millions of fencers.

AFM instills this tradition and etiquette in all of our athletes from their first lesson. You can review our safety rules and behavioral code.