Buying equipment for your young fencer can be confusing for the novice parent, and even sometimes for the not-so-novice parent. We have children too, we get it! No parents want their kid to be the only one who’s not prepared. You want your kids to have what they need, but you don’t want to buy anything they DON’T need.
Our most recent post on fencing equipment touched on what children really need. Basically you don’t need to go overboard and this post helps you decide when to make key investments. We also have a full section in our book for fencing parents and plan to write another eBook on the topic soon!
This post is intended to fill in a few blanks not covered in the first post.
If you’re joining a fencing club for the first time, you can most likely hold off on buying any equipment. Fencing clubs typically provide basic equipment for an initial period. We all know that children are unpredictable and often change their minds, so it makes sense to try the sport before buying your own stuff. Check with your specific club to make sure before showing up for your first lesson!
You WILL need things like sports clothes (t-shirts, sweatpants, athletic shoes), a towel, a water bottle—typical athlete attire and gear!—but no fencing-specific equipment just yet.
Then, if your child plans to keep fencing, it’s time to invest. Most clubs expect you to purchase your own equipment after a certain trial period (maybe six-eight lessons). If at that point your child is excited for every fencing lesson and wanting to learn more, it’s time to go shopping. Again, check out our previous post on what you really need when your children are still young and growing.
Another important point is that the requirements may be different for training at your club versus going to a competition. Once you start competing, you must own a full set of equipment.
Wait, what is a “full set of equipment”? We thought you might ask, so we’ve included a handy list at the bottom of this post!
Before competing, you may get by with one weapon, one set of basic gear, and maybe skipping the knickers. For example, many clubs allow kids to train in sweatpants or something similar as long as their legs are covered—but come tournament time, knickers are required. Again, check with your club to be sure.
When it’s time to buy, where do you go? You may have noticed that you won’t find fencing equipment at your nearest sporting goods store. However, you do have three options for purchasing equipment: physical stores (when available), online, or through your club. The following table taken from our book breaks down what you need to know in order to decide where to buy:
|Through your Club||
Fencing Equipment List:
- Chest protector (or chest guard): required for female, but males may choose not to wear (strongly recommended for younger children regardless of gender)
- Underarm protector
- Lame (for foil/sabre only): electrical vest
- Mask (weapon-specific)
- Gloves (foil/epee gloves are different from sabre gloves)
- Foil, epee, or sabre (2 required at competitions)
- Body cord (or body wire) (2 required at competitions)
- Mask cord (for foil/sabre only) (2 required at competitions)
- Knickers (required for competitions, depends on specific club whether required during training)
- Long socks (required for competitions, depends on specific club whether required during training)
- Fencing shoes (recommended, but not required; however, many clubs require clean, non-street shoes as a protective measure for the fencing floors and you are expected to respect these rules)
- You can also consider buying a cup for a boy if you are concerned with that area. However, from my experience, the vast majority of guys on all levels fence without one.
Note that for all electrical equipment, fencers are required to bring two pieces of equipment for competition; this is because electrical equipment can malfunction and a backup is necessary. Advanced fencers generally have three or more weapons and body/mask cords.
We hope this post will help with your shopping as you head into the new 2014-2015 fencing season!