Equipment and Safety

Safe equipment and safe pistes


The club’s safety policy requires everyone fencing in the club (even with size 3 blades) to wear: 

a mask of CEN level 1 (350N) or higher, with backstrap; a jacket of CEN1 (350N) or higher; a plastron of CEN2 (800N). In addition fencing breeches of at least CEN1 (350N) are required for electric foil and any sabre or épée fencing, and are strongly recommended even for non-electric foil. All equipment must be in sound condition.


For further information see the British Fencing safety guidelines.

Please do not stand at the end of a piste when you are not fencing. When going to or from a piste be very careful about crossing the ends of other, active pistes: if necessary wait for a break in the fencing. Avoid standing too close to those who are fencing, or alongside someone who is refereeing (remember that referees may need to move to follow the fencing). Please carry weapons carefully, without raising the point towards anyone who is not wearing a mask.




New safety rules, spring 2013 

1. In a bout between junior members, or between a junior member and an adult, weapons must be kept pointing at the floor from the moment that weapons are tested until the fencers put on their masks.

2. All junior members whose parents do not remain on site throughout the fencing session must bring emergency contact details with them, and keep them with them at all times. We recommend that all other club members do the same. We do have a list of emergency contact details at the hall, but this rule is a double safeguard in case there are changes.


Club and personal equipment

The club has a good stock of non-electric and electric equipment; please take care of it and return it to its proper place after use. The non-electric kit is intended primarily for beginners, and also to allow recent beginners and new members to buy their own set of kit gradually in the course of their first year in the club rather than all at once.


Equipment suppliers
Fencing equipment cannot be bought in sports shops in Oxford and is normally obtained by mail order. Many suppliers have informative websites, and may give helpful advice by telephone; some have showroom-shops that can be visited in person. The club does not endorse particular suppliers, but links are given here to some currently active websites (you may be able to suggest other links that could usefully be added).


2020 Alpha

 Blades Brand UK

 Negrini        Duellist Fencing

Allstar Uhlmann UK




 Leon Paul


If you are buying fencing kit for the first time you will find that other members of the club and the club coaches will be pleased to offer advice about deciding what to buy. Guidance is also available on the BFA buying equipment page.

Plastrons and Safety
Please remember that for any fencing in the club you must always wear an 800N plastron (according to club rules 350N plastrons are not acceptable). The wearing of an 800N plastron is not optional but mandatory.

As well as its role as an essential safety garment a good plastron can reduce the impact of the occasional hard hits that are inevitable in club fencing. Additional protection from some hard hits is provided by the lightweight semi-rigid plastic chest-protectors for adults and children, males and females, offered in a range of shapes and prices by the various manufacturers. See for instance:

Chest-protectors are not a substitute for plastrons (which give seamless protection to the area under the sword arm) but may be worn over a plastron.

Please remind yourself of the guidance about equipment at Equipment and safety.

Remember for instance that 350N breeches are obligatory for sabre, épée and electric foil fencing. Fencers should ensure that they are wearing the correct equipment, in good condition and properly fastened closed, at all times when they are fencing. Parents of young fencers are asked to ensure that their children follow these guidelines. Please speak to the coaches or members of the committee if you have queries.

Fencing should be fun, but it has to be safe too, and observing the official guidelines is essential.