These Guidelines for all age groups are issued by British Fencing to ensure that Fencing remains one of the safest sports.
Almost all serious fencing injuries are caused by broken blades, so please pay particular attention to section 2.2.
British Fencing now specifies certain minimum safety standards for fencing clothing in terms of the European CEN Standards.
These standards apply to all BFA fencing with steel weapons, at competitions and everywhere else that fencing is taking place.
The standards are shown in appendix 1 of these Safety Guidelines.
Fencers should apply these Guidelines to themselves and to anyone with whom they are fencing. If your opponent's blade is soft, for example, you are the one that may suffer if it breaks.
BF has a policy on child protection. Fencers, coaches or officials dealing with children should ask for advice about this, and register with the BF.
Children under the age of 14 should normally fence with weapon blades of size 3 or less, such as they would be required to use in competitions for their age. This will enhance their safety, comfort and enjoyment of our sport.
Coaches/instructors have a special responsibility for safety during training and should especially study sections 4.2-4.4 + appendix 3. They should also give very careful consideration to the circumstances in which they are prepared to instruct pupils who are not wearing full protective clothing.
Referees are the guardians of safety in competitions. They have the authority to prevent the use of unsafe equipment and to penalise dangerous play. It is in the best interests of the fencers and the sport that they should always do so.
These Guidelines have been drawn up in accordance with contemporary Rules for Competitions. In the event of these rules changing and laying down more rigorous safety requirements, the requirements of the rules will naturally override the Guidelines. The latest version refers to fencing with foam and plastic weapons as well as steel ones.
Accidents and injuries are rare in fencing. If everyone were to follow these guidelines all the time, they would be even more rare.
The full document and CEN requirements for these Guidelines can be downloaded from this page.
Please refer to the chart at the end of the Guideline document (appendix 1) to find out what CEN requirements there are for club and competition environments.