Fencing and I – Week 2

Preston Fencing Club

Week Two

Having had the “Taster Session” last week and having thoroughly enjoyed the experience I decided that I wanted to continue the experience. I signed the clubs paperwork and paid the 10 week course fee. It also seemed that everyone who attended the taster session also turned up for the class.

We got right into some warm-ups, jogging around the perimeter forwards and backwards, did some leg stretches and ended with some upper body stretches.

For this week Liz (The main teacher for the beginners) talked about the same thing we did last week but in more depth, we also got our first lesson in full fencing kit.

Going through in order the kit one would have to wear: First thing someone would have to put on would be the breast plate, now this is mandatory for females but there is a chest plate that males can ware but this is not required. To protect your sword-side body and arm you would put on a half jacket called a plastron. Over your plastron you would put on a padded fencing jacket, it zips up the back and for this you would need to get help from someone. It also has a strap that goes between the legs and also should be form-fitting to help cover the groin area. Last for your sword hand is to slip on a glove that also covers the sleeve. The other hand is held behind your back used as balance so won’t be in any danger if played right.

The last thing we are required to wear for this beginner’s class is the mask. All the masks have a bib to protect the neck. Some of the clubs masks have silver on the bib, this is to do with the new 2010 rules. It’s a layer of our electrically conductive silver to allow the area to conduct when the opponent foil makes contact scoring a point as this area is now classed as a target.

There are a few other things one would need if the sport was taken up beyond the beginners class. To protect your legs you would put on breeches or knickers that fall just below the knee. The lower legs are covered with knee-high or thigh-high socks. For your feet, flat-soled athletic shoe are recommended, but now major trainer companies such as Nike are making purpose made fencing shoes that have specially-designed soles to grip fencing surfaces and withstand the wear from lunging.

For matches competitive or friendly an electronic scoring vest also called a lame. The lame is made of conductive wire mesh and when your opponents foil hits your vest it completes the circuit from there foil and your vest where is then registers as a hit.

Now we are all kitted up and looking the part we lined up and practiced the moves we were shown last week. Starting off in the en garde stance we began to practice the lunge move now warning the kit minus the mask for now. Having done the en garde and lunge move without and now with the kit on I must admit I feel much more combatable wearing the layers of padded clothing, I’m sure some something can be read into that.

Now, nothing against the club but I soon came to the conclusion that I will have to get my own equipment; I could not see myself using the shared equipment for much longer, I was reassured that the kit was washed but still Liz gave me a web address of a good fencing equipment suppliers.

Having practiced the lunge we moved onto doing movements. One of the harder things I have had to learn is moving forward. The key to good movement is to maintain the en garde position keeping the knees bent and feet apart move your front foot forward and back one same distance, but also making sure you are maintaining your straight lines of your body, arms and feet positions.

As it was getting on 20:45 and only 15min left of the class she issued us all a French grip training foils and got us to pair up with similar sizes partners. We stood in front of our partner and asked to put on our mask and to hold the foil in safe position. As we did last week where we practiced lunging we are now with the foil to lunge at our partner’s chest. I was first to practice and at start I was quite hesitant to put too much power into it as I didn’t want to hurt them, even knowing full well that the jackets and other layers are rated to around 350 newton’s of force and some of the upper ones go up to 800 newton’s. After making sure I wasn’t hurting I steadily increased the power. Now was my turn, I stood tall holding my foil down, my partner got into the en garde position, I held my breath wondering what the feeling would be but as I was thinking that he asked me if that was ok. It’s an unusual situation to be in, there is when done at a proper force a pushing feeling to the chest where the foil hits but with all the layers the force is distributed; also there is the sight of someone lunging at you with a foil, that’s unnerving at start.

To end the class we were shown how to take off the layers in order and how to fold them back into the clubs gym bag.

Next week I will remember to get some pics of me and class, and i might even have my own kit by then 🙂

Things Learnt

  • How to put on basic fencing kit
  • Lunge with kit on and how it would feel to be hit

My Fencing Order

All my equipment is purchase from leonpaul.com

Reference Description
6PF-RP Standard Non-electric Foil
F100C Arena Mask – Size: L
006 Phoenix Range Jacket – Size: 40
404 Economy FIE Plastron – Size: L
G126 Advanced Glove – Size: 10
FBLDS Foil Blade Size – Size: 5
FHDLT Foil Handle Type – Handle Type: L Pistol
500 Select Latitude Bag Colour – Colour: Black
FK2-EUP1 Upgrade Pack | Electic Foil Mask (FF100C) and Connecting Cable (F17)
006BM Phoenix Range Breeches – Size: 36
D108 Intermediate Fencing Sock – Size: 9-11
TS18FS Details3 – sleeveing?: Add plastic blade sleeve


And the price i hear you say!

All the equipment listed above. Well, let’s just say i didn’t have much change from £500. Now that’s a lot to of money to put into a sport i have only done twice, but if you know me then you would know my reasons.

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