how to connect to fencing stripConnecting to the strip is one of those things that it seems like we just expect everyone to know how to do – often fencers really don’t get instruction on it. In the beginning when new fencers are just learning, coaches and assistants often connect them to the strip because we want them to focus on their skills and not to burden them with one more thing to think about. As a result, fencers can make it all the way to competition without understanding what they’re doing! In the end it’s actually more stressful and overwhelming because the fencer suddenly has to do it themselves.

Don’t worry! Simple training at a fencer’s home club can completely solve this problem. Plus we’ve got some really simple tips to help you “get connected.”

Questions and Answers about Connecting to the Strip

Here are some of the most common questions about connecting answered.

1 – Question:

What to connect first : body cord to weapon or body cord to reel ?


First connect yourself, that way any manipulations with the weapon in the air will be not be dangerous.  If you connect the weapon first then you’ll start turning back with the weapon connected, waving it in the air to all sides…. not safe.

2 – Question:

Which side of the jacket or lame should I connect to the reel – left or right?

Answer: Connect to the opposite of the fencing arm side, as this will give you freedom to move without touching the the wire.

3 – Question:

What this little “Alligator clip” is for?


Foil and Saber fencers  connect their alligator clips to their lamés (electrical vests/jackets). It is a simple mechanical device for creating a temporary electrical connection between the reel through the lame to weapon. It called alligator for its resemblance with alligator jaws. They attach this clip to the lamé from the weapon side in order to prevent accidental or intentional removal.

How to Connect & Disconnect?

Here’s the most important part! How do you actually connect to the strip?


Step 1.

(Foil and Sabre fencers) : Connect the alligator clip to the bottom of your lame/jacket on the weapon side when finished with the dress up. Put the other side of the body cord in the back pocket.

Step 2.

Connect a plug to the reel the fencing strip, secure with a special clip to keep it together.

Step 3.

Connect to the little hook on jacket/lame (opposite to weapon side)

Step 4.

Connect the second side of the body cord to the socket of your weapon and also secure with a special hook to keep it together.

Step 5.

(Foil and Sabre fencers) : Connect the mask cord between the mask and the special piece on the lame.


Now for the Disconnect! Disconnect in the right order for safety and for equipment protection :

Step 1.

Disconnect the weapon first to free the arms and to prevent unsafe situations

Step 2.

Disconnect and take off the mask

Step 3.

Walk to the reel and then disconnect yourself (jacket/lame and reel plug).

That’s it! It’s really incredibly simple. No more questions about “which side” to connect!  ….