Basic Training Clothing

The following is required of all students:

  • Clothing suitable for training ie t-shirt and shorts or trackpants or yoga pants
  • Non marking sports shoe – a light flexible sole shoe designed for court use such as indoor soccer shoes or squash shoes are ideal.
  • Leather gloves, such as TIG welding gloves, rose pruning gloves or riggers gloves

Basic Protective Equipment

Although we attempt to make it as easy as possible for students to participate in classes, European Swordsmanship does require a certain amount of equipment. The following is a list of gear you should aim to acquire, in order of importance:

  • Fencing Mask, to protect your head, face and eyes from injury during drills and bouting
  • Groin protection for men and breast protection for women.
  • Gorget, to protect your throat from impact / crush injuries during drills and bouting (thrusting systems especially).
  • Vambraces &/or Elbow pads, to protect your forearm and elbow from injury.
  • A jacket with a minimum of a 350 newton penetration resistance, to minimise the bruising and injury from hits to the body during drills and fencing and to minimise the risk of penetration.
  • Pants, also with a 350N rating that must reach at least the knee.
  • Knee pads, to protect the knee joint from accidental injury during bouting

Basic Starter Kit

For the Stoccata branches in Sydney (Other than Baulkham Hills and Strathfield) we offer the following basic starter kit, sourced from Absolute Fencing Gear with whom we have a club discount:

  • Absolute 3-W Coach Mask with Extra Padding (~$140)
  • Absolute Proflex Vest (~$110)
  • AF HEMA Forearm Protector (~$70)

We also recommend you add either one of the AF cotton fencing jackets (~$85) or the AF fencing coach jacket (~$ to help prevent minor cuts and abrasions to the upper arms, which can occur during drills and bouting. The basic starter kit is ~$320 to purchase (depending on the USD exchange rate), and the extra fencing jacket is another $85-$120 depending on the style of jacket you choose.

Contact Provost Richard Cullinan (0407 917 497, to purchase the basic starter kit, or to discuss purchasing equipment from Absolute Fencing Gear using the club discount.

For basic protective equipment for Stoccata Baulkham Hills, please contact Stuart McDermid on 0429889266 or via discord/Facebook/email.

Protective Equipment Recommendations

Head & Face Protection

The minimum requirement for head and fence protection is a basic fencing mask. Any modern fencing mask designed for foil, epee or sabre is suitable for our needs. However due to the heavier blades we use we also recommend additional padding over the mask such as a fencing coaches mask cover to reduce the impact to the head, and extend the life of a basic fencing mask. All of the modern fencing equipment suppliers sell a decent coaches mask cover, which you can use to upgrade a standard fencing mask. Some suppliers are now making a specialist HEMA mask cover with integral back of the head protection. There are also manufacturers producing steel masks and helmets designed for WMA / HEMA competitions, which are also highly recommended for bouting with steel blades.

Recommended Suppliers:

Groin and Breast Protection

For men a standard groin protector is highly recommended. The standard martial arts box has been found to be superior to the standard cricket box. These can be purchased at most martial arts stores, and some of the better sporting goods stores. The best support garment however is the cricket underwear with integral box support available from good sporting goods stores.

For women, breast protection is highly recommended. Rigid breat protection is available as a one or 2 piece plastic plastron, which while effective can limit arm movement, and may lead to repetitive use injury in the elbows.

The recommended breast protection is the Cool Guard range, particularly the Cool Guard Super
( range of protectors, all of which meet the requirements of EN13277/ part 6 – Protective Equipment for martial arts, and have CE certification. They are available from the manufacturer in New Zealand or from martial arts stores. Unlike the hard plastic breast protectors, these ones are made from reactive polyurethane foam, and are rated suitable of repetitive impacts, unlike the rigid plastic ones which are rated only incidental impact. Female students have also noted that these are far more comfortable than the rigid plastic ones because they feel just like wearing a padded bra.

Throat & Neck Protection

The throat and neck is particularly vulnerable to crush and impact injury. Extra protection under the mask bib is highly recommended, especially for thrust orientated systems such as rapier or small sword. The minimum recommendation is the HEMA specific padding, however any of the rigid material gorgets designed for SCA / HEMA fencing are the preferred option.

Recommended Suppliers:

Hand protection

For basic drilling work and shinai bouting, commonly available leather gloves are suitable for our purposes. The hands and fingers are particularly vulnerable to incidental impacts during bouting with steel blades, and a basket hilted or swept hilt sword is recommended to prevent these impacts. The back of the hand and wrist bones are still vulnerable to incidental impact with one of these swords, so the use of extra padding or rigid demi-gauntlet is recommended when bouting with steel blades.

If a simpler hilt form is being used, use of superior hand protection is recommended. Options in increasing levels of protection are cricket batting gloves, padded lacrosse gloves, HEMA specific padded gloves, or rigid material gauntlets. Whilst the various padded gloves listed do work, they still leave gaps which a steel sword may hit into causing a finger injury. For this reason rigid material gauntlets are highly recommended for longsword and quarterstaff bouting.

Rigger’s gloves can be purchased from most hardware stores. Rose pruning gloves, which have a longer cuff, can be sourced from any good nursery.

TIG welding gloves, in either short cuff or long cuff variants can be sourced from a welding supply store. Long cuff leather gloves can be sourced from costume or reeenactor supply stores, and lightly padded variants can be sourced from fencing equipment suppliers.

Red Dragon Gloves can be sourced online from either the UK or US. HEMA specific padded gloves can be sourced from the suppliers listed below. Both of these two types provide better coverage, but can still be hit through the small gaps of the padding that allow for finger movement.

Rigid material gauntlets typically come in either a fingered glove or clamshell design. The clamshell designs work best with longsword and polearms, and the fingered gloves can also work with complex-hilt swords. The Sparring Gloves Mittens offer the best protection for the money at present but will not fit in all weapons. As with any gear, even from this list, ALWAYS consult your provost before buying. Gear is getting better all the time.

Recommended Suppliers

Forearm and Elbow protection

Forearm and elbow protection is imperative, as they are easily hit causing painful injuries and bruising. Basic protection can be provided by an integral padded sleeve on the gamebson / padded fencing jacket. However, extra protection in the form of a vambrace or vambrace and elbow cup combination is recommended.

These can be made from thick leather, or from thinner leather or similar material splinted with steel or high impact plastic strips. Ask one of the Provosts for help.

Several options are also available for purchase ranging from HEMA specific designs to replica leather and steel arm armour. Leather bazuband designs provide excellent forearm and elbow protection.

Recommended Suppliers:

Torso Armour

Light bouting with padded simulators can be carried out in little more than a fencing mask and a groin protector for those with external genitalia/a chest protector for those with breasts. However, some form of jacket and pants or other torso and leg protection that is 350n rates is necessary for steel bouting. This needs to be bought and cannot be made as it must be rated and must reach from neck to knee. Options include buying modern fencing kit and stacking padding over that, or getting a purpose built HEMA Jacket.

Recommended Suppliers:

Knee Armour

Regular sporting or skate knee pads do well, but don’t really cover the side of the knee where more hits occur. Shin and knee protectors designed for use with whippersnippers have proved very effective and affordable. Other options such as motocross knee protection are also available, and a HEMA specific knee protector is available from Red Dragon. Knee cops made for reenactors also work well, and are available in rigid plastic, leather or steel.