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Thread: Wheelchair fencing equipment

  1. #1
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    Wheelchair fencing equipment

    Is there any non-standard equipment you need for wheelchair fencing, apart from:

    1) modified wheelchairs
    2) wheelchair frame
    3) lame aprons for electric epee, to ground fencer's legs and lower part of wheelchair (below the lap)
    4) cushioning aprons to protect legs from hits

    Any advice on what wheelchairs can be used? eg to what level can you get away with an everyday wheelchair with one arm removed? Not good enough for international tournaments I suppose, but would it more-or-less work and be safe? Can an athletes chair (eg basketball chair) be used? How do you stop blades getting tangled in the spokes of the wheels?

    Any schematics for wheelchair fencing frames? I've googled but no luck. Or websites of manufacturers?

    Aprons -- anyone got a diagram of the shape needed for a seamstress to cut and sew?

  2. #2
    Posting Hound Fencergrl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uwa_andrew
    Can an athletes chair (eg basketball chair) be used? How do you stop blades getting tangled in the spokes of the wheels?
    To keep the tips out of the spokes, I would suppose the same kind of protection the basketball players use would work. They use a thin round plastic cover that velcros on to the spokes. They use this to keep from ripping their finger tips off in the spokes....it's a bloody enough sport as it is...

    We made our own, but only because my husband destroys normal sports equipment. Any place that specializes in wheelchair sports equipment would have them.
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    Posting Hound Fencergrl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uwa_andrew
    Any advice on what wheelchairs can be used?
    I would think you would want to use a chair without a bunch of "stuff" hanging off it... such as armrests. A sports chair would be ideal for this reason, but any chair would work. If you are disabled, you would find a sports chair to be very practical in everyday life.

    If you are an able body, then you might want to look into renting a chair. Locally, our wheelchair sports association rents sports chairs as many wheelchair sports are fully intergrated, allowing able bodies to play. Since they don't already have a chair....

    Wheelchair basketball is very popular, you might want to check with your local team if there is no wheelchair sports association or parapelgic association.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Goofy's Avatar
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    The Louisville Fencing Center (Louisville, KY), headed by Maestro Leszck Stawicki, is one of the primary wheelchair fencing clubs in the US. You might consider contacting them-

    http://www.louisvillefencing.org/index.htm

    is the club web site, and they show that questions can be sent to

    fencestawicki@hotmail.com
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    Armorer DHCJr's Avatar
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    You could also look at the rules yourself at the International Wheelchair Fencing site. This not only give the rules on equipment, but also how the fencers themselves are catagorized my movement ability.

    http://www.iwfencing.com/rules/rules.htm
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Mauler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uwa_andrew
    Is there any non-standard equipment you need for wheelchair fencing, apart from:

    1) modified wheelchairs
    2) wheelchair frame
    3) lame aprons for electric epee, to ground fencer's legs and lower part of wheelchair (below the lap)
    4) cushioning aprons to protect legs from hits

    Any advice on what wheelchairs can be used? eg to what level can you get away with an everyday wheelchair with one arm removed? Not good enough for international tournaments I suppose, but would it more-or-less work and be safe? Can an athletes chair (eg basketball chair) be used? How do you stop blades getting tangled in the spokes of the wheels?

    Any schematics for wheelchair fencing frames? I've googled but no luck. Or websites of manufacturers?

    Aprons -- anyone got a diagram of the shape needed for a seamstress to cut and sew?
    Athletic Cup! Your "retreat" is basically leaning back as far as you can (towards non-weapon side). You are at an exmtremely close distance, at all times. Able Body Foil Fencers cover with their masks. Wheelchair Sabre Fencers cover with their hips. Wheelchair Fencers have very strong arms. Wear a cup. That's the LEAST you can do.

    Velcro straps for legs. Walkies find it a useful reminder to physically restrain their legs. I'm a walkie, and I personally find it very useful. For non-walkies it can help, too, if you find that you're a very physical fencer.

    Give a special consideration to materials in combination of underwear and knickers. It does make a difference. You're looking for materials that will provide enough slide to prevent friction bruising while providing enough resistance to enable the "footwork." Keeping in mind that primary contact point for mobility is the buttocks. Secondary is your non-weapon hand, which means it could definitely use a glove for friction. Wheelchair "footwork" can get VERY INTENSE if you've got a couple of really physical fencers going at it! Mountain biking glove works awesome -- demands are the same.

    Speaking of footwork, when you are constructing the floor frame please make it sturdy! Wheelchair Fencers can literally bend and twist the metal frame right out of shape with their footwork! The rule is, at least one buttcheek must remain in contact with the chair. Visualize, if you can, you sitting on your chair defending, and your opponent is "fleching" in the air ABOVE you while maintaining a deathgrip on the chair. Rather than looking forward, you would be lying on your back looking UP trying to parry.

    At least within the North American continent, referees tend to be very relaxed and accomodating about Wheelchair (Seated) Fencers. It's still in the growing/recruiting stage, so just about everyone involved will go out of their way to help you out. But don't expect that level of hospitality abroad. You will face nations that will do whatever they can to disqualify you in technicalities if they can (and they do keep trying!)

    You can download/view the rules at http://www.iwfencing.com/rules/rules.htm . They try to be very specific about the rules, including in construction of the Wheelchair.. Just as it is in Able Body Fencing, significant portion is designed for anti-cheating purpose -- which there is a LOT in certain teams.

    Something to keep in mind while planning on Epee apron design. Allow for variety. Fencers come in all shapes and sizes.

    Contact Jerry Benson at redlandsfencing@earthlink.net . He's very active at Wheelchair Fencing Development, and he's probably one of the best sources of up-to-date, useful information out there. He's also available to run clinics.

  7. #7
    Posting Hound Fencergrl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mauler
    Velcro straps for legs. Walkies find it a useful reminder to physically restrain their legs. I'm a walkie, and I personally find it very useful. For non-walkies it can help, too, if you find that you're a very physical fencer.
    I agree.... velcro is good for both able-bodied and disabled fencers... more so for disabled I would say.... as the legs tend to flop out... especially amps.
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    Thanks everyone for your advice. I'd already contacted Louisville who provided an email of someone knowledgeable but I'm yet to hear back from him. I've read the wc fencing rules but they just give the criteria which must be satisfied by the equipment -- no hints on how to build the stuff or where to buy.

    Good tip with the velcro. Any suggestions for material for underclothes?

    I have every intention of building or buying a very sturdy frame -- as soon as I can find out who builds them or get some schematics! :-)

    With any luck I will be able to bolt the frame to the floor -- is that a good idea or is some flexibility required? I would imagine that if they move around so violently, bolting the frame to the floor might just result in the wheelchairs buckling?

  9. #9
    Armorer DHCJr's Avatar
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    The center could be bolted, but each end must be movable to allow for distance adjustment. If you do bolt it, don't just do it in one place and oversize everything. It is amazing the amount of force those fencers put on the frame.

    Another resource would be Bill Murphy. He was the Chairman of the Paraolympics for Fencing and had to have made the frames. His e-mail address is Fencing@gsu.edu
    Donald Hollis Clinton, Jr.
    DHCJr@juno.com

    To Teach is to Learn (Japanese Proverb)

    Knowing the rule book by heart means nothing, if you don't understand the rules.

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