Equipment Primer

The equipment used in fencing varies between the weapons. Expand the sections below for a description of each piece and how they’re used.


Protection for the upper legs, these are high-waisted pants that end just below the knee. They will typically include suspender straps to allow a looser waist for ease of movement and breathing.

Breeches are usually made of heavy canvas, or a mix of polyester and Kevlar in higher-end equipment. The primary purpose is prevention of penetrative or cutting injuries to the lower body, though they will also mildly buffer impacts as well.


Protection for the arms and torso – typically made of heavy canvas or a Kevlar/polyester combination in higher-end kit. The jacket is designed to prevent penetrative injuries to the upper body and will also provide mild protection from impacts (but you’ll probably still get bruised).

The jacket features a thick, double-layered collar to prevent injuries to the throat from blades coming under the bib of the mask and any front-facing zip will have a protective flap of material.


A protective undergarment for the fencing side of the upper body. This is usually made from a lighter material than the jacket or breeches, but will typically be better padded. It is designed to protect the torso and upper arm on the fencing side (closest to an opponent).

Plastrons provide an additional layer of protection against penetrative injuries and are designed such that any seams (potential weak-points) will not overlap those on a jacket.


Because it doesn’t cover the back of the head, our head protection is called a mask instead of a helmet. The mask is a stiff, wire-mesh piece covering the face, sides and top of the head. The mesh is convex to both aid in deflecting an opponent’s weapon and maintain distance from the nose in case of impact.

It is held in place by a rear ‘tongue’ and strap and features thick internal padding to buffer impacts and keep it secure. The mask also features a thick bib which extends down to protect under the chin, the throat and the upper chest. The bib is usually made of layered padding with a penetration resistant outer covering.

Masks for fencing sabre and foil feature conductive materials in the appropriate areas for the electric scoring system and are connected to the lamé via a special mask wire.


Yes, only one! Worn on the fencing hand, the glove provides impact and penetration protection for the hand and fingers. Higher quality gloves will also feature patches on the palm to improve grip on the weapon and allow for finer control with the fingers.

A glove should be close fitting, while allowing full movement of the fingers. Gloves have a long cuff which extends about half-way up the forearm for additional protection. On sabre gloves, the cuff has a conductive coating for use with the electric scoring system.


Worn over the jacket, the lamé is a conductive outer garment used with the electric scoring system to detect on-target hits in foil and sabre. Foil lamés will cover just the torso (including groin) while sabre lamés stop at the waist but include full length sleeves.

The lamé is not intended to provide any protection, and thus is relatively thin and lightweight – despite being made from a metallic (usually steel) fabric. Lamé material is also used on foil and sabre mask bibs and sabre glove cuffs, as per the respective target areas for each weapon.

Weapons & Wires

Each of the three fencing weapons is unique with almost no parts interchangeability. The weapons vary greatly in blade, grip and guard forms – though there is some basic commonality in their overall anatomy. See each section below for more details:


Derived from traditional training weapons, the foil features a small, lightweight guard covering just the fingers and a rectangular cross-section thrusting blade. The tip either has a rubber cap (in non-electric fencing) or a weighted button (for electric fencing).

Foils come with either a French, pistol or Belgian style grip – with pistol grips being the most common in modern fencing. A full-size foil will have a blade length of about 90cm, with an overall length not exceeding 110cm. A foil may not weigh more than 500g.


Similar aesthetically to a traditional thrusting rapier, the epee features a large bell guard providing protection to the whole fencing hand. The 90cm blade traditionally has a triangular cross-section, though more modern designs will have a V or shallow Y cross-section.

The epee (like the foil) has a rubber or weighted button tip and features the same options for grips – though traditional French grips have maintained greater popularity in epee than they have in foil. The epee is generally the heaviest of the weapons, with a maximum allowed weight of 770g.


Shorter and lighter than the epee or foil, the sabre is both a cut and thrust weapon. The 88cm blade features a triangular cross-section which flattens to a rectangular cross section near the tip. Modern sabres will feature deep fullers on each side of the blade – making for a more Y shaped cross-section.

The guard of a sabre loosely resembles that of a cutlass or cavalry sabre, and is designed to protect the hand while the blade is held vertically (as in a sabre en-guard). The sabre blade does not feature a button or wires, as the entire blade can be used to score touches.

The grip on a sabre will usually feature a slight forward curve to aid in executing a cutting action with the fingers alone (as this is faster and less risky than using the arm or wrist).


There are two common types of body-wire used in modern electric fencing, being the two-pin and three-pin wires. Two-pin wires are used with foils and sabres, while three-pins are used with epees. In each case, the wire plugs into a socket housed in the guard of the weapon.

Foils and sabres can also be fitted with a single pin ‘bayonet’ style socket, though these are no-longer allowed in international competitions. The wires are worn under the jacket (for foil and epee) or lamé (for sabre).

Equipment hire fees

  • KidSport eligible members receive 100% free equipment hire
  • $30 administration fee per term ($0 for Juniors & Novices)
  • Breeches may be borrowed on a case-by-case basis
  • Per-item charges, as described in the table below
  • Weapons & masks come with wires as needed
Chest protector$0
Lamé (Foil or Sabre)$10

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