Equipment - The Uniform.
Fencers wear protective gear from the head on down.
consisting of a tough steel mesh encloses the front and sides of the
head providing protection and ventilation. A bib extends down from the
bottom to allow movement while protecting the front and sides of the
neck The head is not typically a target as the epee tip is likely to
slide off before a score can be made. The Mask is padded inside and a
strap across the back holds it in place while letting it be taken on
and off easily, even with glasses.
torso is protected by a double layer Jacket
of cotton or nylon. Under the jacket a plastic Chest
Protector covers the sternum,
ribs (and breasts for ladies) for extra protection. A Glove
covers the weapon hand and overlaps the jacket sleeve about halfway up
the forearm. As the students gain skill at hitting targets, an Underarm
Protector is added to back up
the jacket in the weapon arm bicep and shoulder area.
overlap under the jacket by 10 cm or more and cover the lower torso
down to the knees. Long Socks
and indoor court type Sneakers
complete the outfit, or fencing shoes for those whose feet have stopped
Equipment - The Epee. Lets
start with the scoring end. The Tip
of the Epee
is a blunt 1/4" (8mm) button that slides into a barrel. A
compression spring holds the tip out. 2 small screws hold the tip in
the barrel. Inside the barrel, a small spring makes contact with two
wires when the tip is closed.
At the handle
end of the epee, inside the
bellguard, the wires go thru individual plastic tubing and end at a
socket. The socket has three connections; two for the switch
wires, and a third to the bellguard/blade, which ends up connecting to
a ground circuit. Touches made against the opponents
bellguard do not register. A French
Grip completes the assembly,
with a large nut (the pommel) securing the grip, socket, and bellguard
to the end of the blade. A pad inside the bellguard prevents
the fencer from manipulating the wires and provides some cushioning
should the fencer lose his grip during an attack. The French
Grip is basically a straight grip that is used to teach finger
control of the Epee; small movements of the tip are all that are
needed. Experienced fencers may switch to Orthopedic grips
(commonly known as a pistol grip) for making stronger movements of the
Blade is specially forged and shaped to bend with the touch without
breaking. You may get a small bruise from a hard touch,
anything else is extremely rare. Some tools
are useful to have on hand - small screwdriver or two for installing
tip screws, a small wrench to tighten loose a loose barrel, a hex
wrench to tighten a loose grip (pistol grip), shims and weights to make
sure all is adjusted correctly when a test box is plugged into the
weapon. A simple ohmmeter can also be used and is good for testing body
cord continuity also.
Equipment - The Bodycord.
cord is a three conductor wire
with pins at each end. The Body cord runs under the fencers jacket; one
end comes out of the glove to plug into the epee socket; the other end
goes out the back of the jacket to connect to the scoring
machine. The body cord connects the bellguard to ground and the switch
wires to a very low current 12VDC circuit.
Equipment - The Strip. A
bout is fenced on a "piste"
(strip), 14 meters long by 1.5 meters wide. There are 2 meters from the
middle of the strip to each fencers On Guard Line where each fencer
goes to start a bout and after a score, 3 meters to the start of the
warning area, and 2 meters more to the end of the strip.
Strips may be metallic; when they are, they are grounded and
touches against the floor do not register. If you get backed
off the end of the strip, your opponent gets a point. If you
step off the side, your opponent gains a meter and you back
up. Step off the side near your own end, and you may end up
backed off the strip for a touch against you.
Equipment - The Scoring Apparatus.
Fencers score by pressing the end of their weapon against any
part of the opponent. The arm is used to get the epee aimed and moving
toward the intended target, while the legs finish off the attack.
When the epee is pressed with a force of 750 grams or more
(about a pound and a half), a switch is closed. Wires running the
length of the blade connect to a body cord that is threaded
thru the fencers uniform. The body cord connects to a floor
reel, which connects to the scoring machine. The scoring machine
detects when the switch is closed, and if it is not closed against a
grounded surface (floor or bellguard) a buzzer sounds and
colored lights (usually Red and Green) on each side of the
machine indicate which side scored. If both fencers touch
within 1/25 of a second (40 milliseconds), then both sides
score. As machines go up in cost, they go up in features;
timekeeping, scorekeeping, penalty keeping, remote controls,
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