Art of Fencing, Art of Life

Category: Equipment Page 1 of 7

How to Convert a Foil Mask for Epee

How to convert foil mask to epee mask - final product, real epee mask

Fencing equipment is expensive and most of it will last for a long time. On the other hand, if your fencer decides to change weapons, do they need a new mask for their new weapon?

Every fencing weapon is different, from scoring, to some elements of the uniform, to the weapon. Though there are some things that are totally interchangeable, like fencing knickers and the fencing jacket, other things like the mask are not exactly the same for each weapon.

This is a problem we’ve come across recently as we moved from a foil/epee club to an epee-only club. Luckily, we found a simple solution!

Electric vs. Non-Electric Masks

The big difference between foil masks and epee masks is that foil masks are conductive in their bib. 

Epee masks are straightforward, simple insulated mesh coverings over the face and a plain white bib. The entire body is the target area in epee.

For the most part, a foil mask is the same as the epee mask – an insulated mesh covering over the face and a bib. The difference is that there is lame material sewn onto the bib at the neck, a potential target area during the match. The mask cord connects to the bib to allow for scoring to register. 

Quality, Growth, and the Future of Fencing with Leon Paul’s Director Ben Paul

Ben Paul in Leon Paul Fencing Club in London UK

For fencers, our equipment is a central figure in what we do. We talk about this all the time – our swords are an extension of who we are. For fourth-generation Leon Paul co-owner and Director Ben Paul, making top quality fencing equipment with compassion is clearly an extension of who he is.

Though we at AFM strive for neutrality and thus do not endorse any one equipment manufacturer, at the same time we recognize the good that everyone brings to the sport. This interview provides fencers with an inside look at what is really behind the fencing masks and swords that we can sometimes take for granted. Though there is a clear competition in the marketplace, it’s pleasantly surprising to hear that the philosophies of fencing that we hold so highly such as camaraderie and constant growth are mirrored at equipment manufacturer Leon Paul. It’s also fascinating to get an inside view into the impact of the pandemic on this storied and historic company.

The future of fencing is a subject that we are all interested in as we work to navigate the present ups and downs of COVID. What technology might bring to the sport and how we can expand access and excitement to fencing, it’s a subject that we are all interested in. Thank you to Ben Paul for his openness and insight into what might be on the horizon, as well as for his dedication to the sport of fencing.

How to Learn to Start Fencing Online

How to Learn to Start Fencing Online

Six months ago, I would have told you that this isn’t worth it. I would have said to you that it was all temporary and that start fencing online was a stop gap for a few weeks until we figured things out. 

Today of course we know differently. We know now that we have to adapt and learn in a situation that is far from what we have traditionally worked with. Learning fencing is different.

It’s important to realize here that adaptation is everything. There is not a straight line from the start of the pandemic to the end of the pandemic – it is back and forth, up and down. Moving forward and backwards on the strip. We have seen stay at home orders loosen and tighten, and who knows what will happen in the coming months. The only sure thing is change, so we have to change with it. If you want to fence and have not before, now is the time to start!

Most clubs and coaches in the world now see this online option as part of their job. It is what fencing is now, with all of its frustrating disadvantages and all of its wonderful advantages. We have learned, adapted, and created programs to teach fencers of any level, from total novices to the most advanced fencers.

You can start fencing online. Whether you are uncomfortable in person because of the pandemic or whether you have other factors that keep you away from physical instruction in person, it doesn’t matter. You can definitely start fencing right now!

Step-by-step guide to getting started with online fencing

Starting is the hardest part!  If you’re reading this, then you are probably lost with how to get going with your fencing. It can seem like a big task if you’re new to it, but don’t worry – we’re here to walk you through. Step-by-step and easy do it is the way to get going. 

A Comprehensive Guide to Cleaning Fencing Gear in the Time of COVID-19

A Comprehensive Guide to Cleaning Fencing Gear in the Time of COVID-19

We’ve written a lot about cleaning fencing gear over the years. In normal use, gear gets all kinds of stuff on it. Sweat, tears, more sweat, bits of fluff from the floor of the club, more sweat, etc. Fencing is a hugely physical sport, which means there are all of the normal things that you’d find with any sports gear. 

These are not normal times though. As fencers start to look towards getting back into clubs for socially distanced and safe fencing practice, cleaning fencing gear takes on a new significance. It’s not just about maintaining your fencing equipment anymore, it’s about preventing the spread of the coronavirus. 

The good news is that fencing gear is easy to clean. In an age where we have gotten to the point of washing our grocery bags, cleaning fencing gear will seem like a simple thing!

Note that these are our recommendations. We’re not health experts. We have read lots of guidelines from lots of experts. We obviously know our way around fencing gear already. These guidelines are what we are recommending to our fencers and their families as we reopen physically. Best practices. These guidelines are comprehensive, with instructions for every facet of fencing equipment that requires attention for cleaning, which is pretty much everything.

Some things might seem like they’re repeated. That’s on purpose. We want to emphasize that this is important, and that cleaning every piece of equipment needs to become a habit for the foreseeable future. We want you to be sick of reading the cleaning steps instead of actually getting sick. 

Now let’s get into it!

Important Fencing Safety Rules

Important Fencing Safety Rules

There are some general fencing safety rules that all fencers should follow, though sometimes they aren’t as obvious as we imagine they should be!

Fencing is naturally a sport of weapons. Despite this, it’s consistently one of the safest sports that anyone can participate in, regardless of age. Many people are shocked to realize that sports like soccer and gymnastics have much higher rates of injury. The most dangerous part of fencing actually isn’t from swords at all, it’s from muscle strains and other sports related injuries

That being said, there are some safety instructions that every fencer should be aware of. Many of you have heard these before, but it’s never a bad idea to review them again and again. Naturally your coach will have additional rules that you want to be aware of and follow, and always apply your best judgement 

Also, it is very important to realize that safety is not only a concern for the fencers themselves, but also for anyone around them. It is equally important that parents, siblings and other people visiting a fencing venue follow fencing rules. For example, don’t allow your loose toddler to run towards a strip when people are fencing there. Even if they themselves follow strict fencing safety rules, a small child who is running through can get hit. It is super important that anyone who happens to be in the fencing venue respects and follows safety rules. 

As it is impossible to state all situations and conditions, a good rule of thumb for fencing safety is this –  make sure there enough space between an unprotected person and a person with a sword. Always. Use your best common sense and judgement.

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