FIE, CE and safety guide lines
Types of Weapons and their
Before we go more
in detail into Fencing, there are some terms that need to be explained.
FIE – FIE stands
for Federate International Escrime. It is a governing board for the fencing
sport. All international tournaments require fencers to use FIE approved
equipment. It is the highest standard in fencing. FIE approved equipment
usually carries an FIE logo. USA local or national tournament does NOT require
FIE fencing equipment. The following are a main list of items that may have FIE
version: masks, jackets, knickers, underarm protectors and blades. There are no
FIE gloves, socks, shoes or electrical jackets (Lames) because they do not
protect life threatening part of the body.
CE. – This is a
standard for anything sold to European Community. This standard is NOT required
in US but it serves as a good reference for safety of your equipment.
fencing is an intensive sport that involves a potential risk of personal
injury. Fencers are responsible to check all fencing equipment for safety every
time before using it. Never fence with or against a broken blade or weapon.
Always wear all protective equipment when you fence. Practice foil or epee MUST
carry a protective rubber tip! We always recommend fencers to wear equipment
that meets the highest standard if financially allowed.
There are 3 types
of weapons in fencing: Foil, Epee and Saber.
Foil – This is the
smallest weapon of all. Most fencers start with foil. The target area for foil
is upper body only EXCLUDING arm and neck. Foil fencers must wear a metallic
vest called lame for target area. Lames do not protect fencers but it serves as
a target area. Some foil blades are FIE approved. The FIE approved blades are
usually made from a type of high-end stainless steel metal called Maragine. The
FIE foil blades are a little heavier and more expensive but it provides
substantial longer life span than the non-FIE blades. Foil masks used to be the
same as the epee masks. As of Aug 1st , 2011, the United States
Fencing Association adopted the new rule of having conducting bib on the foil
mask for all national level and open ROC tournaments. However, the local
tournaments may or may not require having the conducting bib for foil fencing.
Foil is the most popular fencing sport in US compare to Epee and Saber. FIE
foil blades are NOT required in US local or national tournaments but are
required for all international tournaments.
Epee – Epee has a
bigger guard compared to foil. The blade on the epee weapon is also wider,
thicker and heavier. The target area is from head to toe. Some epee blades are
FIE approved. The FIE approved blades are usually made from a type of high-end
stainless steel metal called Maragine. The FIE blades are a little heavier and
more expensive but it provides substantial longer life span than the non-FIE
blades. Epee blades are usually more expensive than the foil or saber blades.
FIE Epee blades are NOT required in US local or national tournaments but are
required for all international tournaments.
Saber – Saber
differs from foil and epee in the action of touch. There are much more slashing
in saber while foil and epee fencers mainly pokes the opponents. The target
area for saber is anyplace above the waistline including arms and head. Saber
fencers must wear an electrical jacket (called lame) for target area. Some sabre
blades are FIE approved. The FIE approved blades are usually made from a type
of high-end stainless steel metal called Maragine. The FIE blades are a little
heavier and more expensive but it provides substantial longer life span than the
non-FIE blades. Unlike Foil and Epee, Saber FIE blades are NOT required in
either domestic or international tournaments. The replacement blades for saber
are also the cheapest among the three.
which weapon you practice, the protective equipment for all three weapons are
the same. They are masks, jackets, underarm protectors/plastrons, knickers,
gloves, socks and shoes.
Masks – In terms
of protection, there are two major categories. FIE and Non-FIE. FIE masks
provide 1600 Newton pressure test protection on the bib (protection for
throat). Non-FIE usually provides 350 Newton. (Our BG basic masks provide
400-1000 Newton protection). The mesh for both FIE and non-FIE masks MUST pass
the same 12 kg punch test for safety. The FIE masks mesh are required to use
high grade stainless steel. The non-FIE masks usually use regular steel.
Knickers – There are FIE and non-FIE jackets and knickers as well. The FIE
jackets and knickers pass 800 Newton pressure test and the non-FIE jackets and
knickers are usually 350 Newton. (BG has a style withstand 512 Newton, which is
right in the middle in terms of protection) The most basic jackets are usually
made from thick white cotton. As a natural fabric, cotton breathes better than
synthetics. However, the cotton may shrink a little after wash and it is less
flexible than the synthetic models. In addition, some jackets are back zippered
and some are front zippered (or front zipper). The back zipper jackets are
cheaper but it is harder for one to put on himself. The front zipper jacket is
usually a preferred choice among fencers.
Protector/Plastron – This is a half jacket that is worn inside of the regular
jacket. They are either FIE (800 Newton protection) or non-FIE (usually 350
Newton). This layer of protection is required for all tournaments in USA.
Chest protectors –
The chest protectors are optional for male but are required for female in all
tournaments in USA. They are usually made of hard plastic.
Gloves – All
fencing gloves only come with one, which is usually for the hand that holds the
weapon. There are no FIE gloves.
Socks – All
tournaments require fencers to wear socks that cover up to the knees.
Shoes – All
sneakers can be used as fencing shoes, however, the fencing shoes usually come
with enhancement specifically designed for the movement in fencing.
If you ever plan
to compete in a fencing tournament, you should have the following equipment with
equipment includes fencing jacket, fencing knickers, fencing underarm protector,
fencing mask, chest protector (for female only), fencing glove, fencing socks
Your weapon: 2
working weapons and 2 body cord (plus 2 mask cord if you fence saber or foil
with conductive bib only)
Blade size. If
you are competing 10-year-old tournament, you must use shorter blades on your
weapon (#2 blade). The regular adult blade length is #5. If you are 11 year
old, then you cannot compete in Y10 any more. The youngest age group you can
compete is Y12, which you can use up to #5 blade.