Safety requirements refers to what level or protection should be worn when participating in WMA training and sparring. Note: training in Western Martial Arts is inherently dangerous. Safety gear only reduces the severity of injury to a more acceptable level, and cannot prevent all injuries. All participants are responsible for providing the level and maintenance of safety gear that meets their personal risk tolerance, and assumes all risk when participating in WMA.
The 5 Levels of Protections
1) No protection-if you’re doing solo drills, no protection is used
2) Fencing Mask and Gloves-used for slow drills with a partner-typical for when we’re learning new techniques in class
3) Fencing mask and gauntlets-used when we’re doing drills that attack the hands or there is an increased risk of hand injury
4) Fencing mask, plastic mask back, gorget, jacket, and soft gauntlets-used when we’re sparring with swords/daggers or doing full-contact drills
(Optional: fencing helmet, athletic cup, padded shorts or other leg protectors)
5) Bascinet with visor and aventail, gorget, arming coat with hard protection over elbows and forearms OR padded jupon with elbow pads and breast plate, hard leg armor, hard gauntlets, athletic cup-used when we’re sparring with pollaxes and spears. Hard shoulder armor is not required but strongly suggested. Note, for true demonstrations and tournaments, mail voiders or shirts will also b e required.
1) Fencing Masks- Fencing masks are required to be rated for at least 350 Newtons; with 400 Newtons recommended if you intend to do a lot of sparring in it (a lot of our members find it easier to have a mask for training and a helmet for sparring)
2) Mask Back- Fencing masks are open in the back, so if you are going to spar, it is important to cover this area. Molded 1/8″ Kydex plastic backs are available for $35; alternatively you could fashion one out of 10 oz. leather with padding to back it up.
3) Gorget-8 oz leather backed by resilient padding and prevents a point from slipping underneath it. A standard “dog collar” may be used, but must be covered by a hood.
4) Jacket-2 layers of heavy cloth minimum to prevent penetration; recommended that it is padded with 2 layers of cotton batting, as well. If no padding is in jacket, reinforce it with pads underneath such as a motorcyle crash armor or the like.
5) Soft Gauntlets- 8 oz leather backed with 3mm padding minimum. Lacrosse gloves may be substituted, though they provide gaps in protection. Metal finger gauntlets are recommended.
6) Hard Gauntlets-metal finger gauntlets or metal mitten gauntlets. The metacarpal/wrist section may be covered in leather or fabric.
7) Hard protection-mild steel, stainless steel, bronze or cuir bouilli. Recommended thicknesses would be 20 g. or thicker hardened steel, 18g. or thicker unhardened stainless, 16 g. or thicker mild steel, and 8-12 oz water-hardened leather.