Protective Clothing Used In Fencing Tournaments

To maximise the sport's efficiency and offer the best safety available, the clothing has changed a lot of the last one hundred years. What was once a bloodsport often even ended in injury when taking part in tournaments.

However due to past incidents in which one person has died and a variety of other casualties with injuries, the material used in the white get up is far more versatile and strengthened in areas which a weapon or top can be more fatal.

Kevlar was integrated into the uniform after 1982 but due to the problematic cleaning process, Dyneema - a ballistics fabric is now widely used. rules with regards fencing clothing today ensure that any fabric must resist puncture at 800 newtons (180 lbf) and that any mask bib must resist double that amount.

There are several areas that the clothing most protect more than any other, these are the groin, heart, face and head. Therefore the first vital piece of kit is the mask. The mask is a one piece unit which has a bib attached.

There are two kinds, a wire mesh which all have to try and see through or there was one with a visor also, however this has recently been banned as it was pierced during one bout. The big exists to prevent the tip of the blade finding it's way under the mesh edges and into the neck and face area.

For the upper part of the body there are two formal protective clothing units. The first is the jacket which covers the torso, arms and groin, the second a plastron which coves the weapon arm and side of the torso with more cushioning against hits.

The lower half of the body is equipped further with knickers or breeches. These cover again the groin and the legs, just below the knees. High knee socks are used for the remaining leg coverage. A glove with gauntlet is used on the weapon arm, with a secondary glove for the other hand to offer suitable cover, though this arm usually stays behind the fencer's back.

Lastly the shoes, which are reinforced to enable better lunging and wear on the sole. Women are required to use a chest plate, these are worn outside of the normal uniform. To complete the electronic score box circuit, a lame is worn to enable the correct recording of hits. This is often connected to a a body cord in certain variations of the sport.

There are variations on the equipment and clothing which can be worn but the above are the official versions which are required in all tournaments.