Guidance on Fencing in Cold Temperatures (DRAFT)

Information for our clubs, coaches, competition organisers, members and fencing community on dealing with cold weather/falling temperatures, with a recommendation of a minimum of 16 degrees for the comfort and performance of all participants.

Last Updated: 15/04/2024

As an indoor sport, fencing is not often affected by adverse weather, but the  physically explosive nature of the sport and the long breaks that may occur between bouts means that extra precautions need to be taken when fencing in cold temperatures. This is to increase performance, reduce injury concerns and make the overall experience more enjoyable for all participants. This is  particularly important in competitions where fencers have to comply with the schedule.

Clubs/Coaches/Competition Organisers’ Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of clubs, camp and competition organisers to consider the impact of cold temperatures on participants and reflect these appropriately in their risk assessment and identify mitigation actions.

a. Clothing – Whilst fencing clothing usually helps to keep fencers warm, if they become saturated with sweat and fencers stand around in cold temperatures they can cool down quickly. Consider adjusting sessions to allow participants to change into dry clothing where possible.

b. Expected work rate – The rate the human body generates heat is determined by the work rate. Standing around in between explosive bursts of activity is not ideal and session content and timetables should be adjusted accordingly. This may be a better time to consider endurance activities (lessons, sparring with limited breaks, fitness training).

c. Environment – Eliminate by closing doors and windows will reduce drafts (and save energy/money)

d. Individual risk factors – People’s responses to cold vary greatly, and it is good practice to ask participants to share with you any physical or medical condition that could increase their susceptibility to cold.


  • Being underweight with little body fat
  • Under active thyroid
  • Vascular conditions such as Raynaud’s phenomenon or peripheral arterial disease
  • Chronic inflammatory conditions
  • Cold-induced asthma
  • Some medication  eg beta blockers
  • Women, children and older people are less able to thermoregulate (control their core body temperature).


Current Recommendation

It is recommended for the comfort and performance of all participants in training and competition that the minimum temperature in a venue is 16 degrees.

If the temperature of the venue is expected to fall below 16 degrees, the risk assessment of the activity must be updated in advance and mitigation strategies identified. Participants should be informed in advance that colder temperatures are expected and of the mitigation measures in place.

If the ambient temperature unexpectedly falls below 16 degrees a dynamic risk assessment must be done and mitigation measures taken.

Mitigation examples:

  • Venue – ask the manager to increase/put on the heating.    NB This 16 degrees minimum should be made clear to the venue in advance to avoid problems on the day.
  • Allow fencers to wear tracksuit trousers over breeches ( as long as they comply with the Safety Guidelines)
  • Avoid excess time between DE fights in competitions
  • Provide a warm area and hot drinks for breaks


Individual Responsibilities

When fencing in cold temperatures members are encouraged to take individual action to help stay warm enough. It is helpful if they inform the person in charge about any factors that increase their susceptibility to cold.

Possible actions include:

  1. Bring hot drinks.
  2. Put on additional clothing to keep warm.
  3. Bring tracksuit trousers that comply with the BF Safety Guidelines to wear over breeches when fencing.
  4. Change t-shirts when they get saturated with sweat and consider moisture wicking/breathable t-shirts.
  5. Take the initiative to adapt your training session eg by changing the content, increasing the time you remain in full kit/active.
  6. Keep moving during breaks or find somewhere warm if sitting for an extended period.
  7. Spend longer warming up and only stretch when comfortably warm.




Free Intro Membership

Activate your free, 90 day membership to British Fencing today. Membership insures you to fence at any British Fencing club.


Core Coach Offer

Does your organisation want to bring fencing to your community? Explore our core coach course, no experience required.


Calling All Teachers

Start your journey to becoming a community fencing coach. Introduce fencing to pupils for as little as £25. Find out more today.

Join the conversation. Share your stories using #BritishFencing on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

Our Partners

  • Our Partners