The F.I.E. have just past some regulations stating that from 2009 foil bobs will be partially covered with lame which must be attached by a wire to the lame jacket .(Just like sabre) Here is a note which is an attempt to start a discussion of how U.K. fencing should implement these regulations.
Lame bibs at Foil.
After the last F.I.E. Congress meeting it was decided that in 2009 foil fencers would have to have the valid target extended by including the bib, it is not yet decided exactly what will be the regulation coverage of the bib but best guess is a line drawn horizontally below the chin of the mask. Does this mean the regulation is being introduced mid season for some age groups?
Although this seems a simple change there are a lot of problems associated with such a rule change, British fencing and the home countries will have to make a series of decisions and explain to the fencers within the next few months how U.K. fencing is going to manage/ embrace this proposed change. Not least the manufacturers and re-sellers of foil masks are going to have to decide what to make and sell to fencers in the coming year.
To stimulate debate prior to some urgent decision making, here are some of the issues that need to be considered.
Scope of Application.
Traditionally U.K fencing has followed every new F.I.E. regulations. As 95% of U.K. fencing is not F.I.E. perhaps it is time to be more discerning or less slavish in following all F.I.E. regulations.
1. Only F.I.E. events.
2. Only British Championships and Ranking Opens.
3. All electric size 5 fencing.
4. All size 5 fencing
5. All fencing.
1. All on 1st January 2009.
2. Staged? If so how and when?
Safety Considerations and Permissible Design.
Both the fencers and the manufacturers/re-sellers are going to have a problem in what to buy what to sell.
1. Identification of valid area. At the moment there is no requirement to have the valid area delineated in any way. But if the valid target finishes in a horizontal line should this be marked in some way? On some fencers because of their physical shape of head neck and torso the line will not be horizontal when the mask is worn, is this OK?
1. After consideration of the F.I.E. medical report regarding dangers near the throat, I understand it has been decided to limit the area of lame coverage to a straight line below the chin.
2. It has been suggested that manufacturers can make a sort of sock that can be retro fitted onto an existing bib, however this is likely to leave an open seam between the lame and the bib surface unless the lame is some how attached to the bib surface continually. (This is not some thing which it is easy/possible to retro-fit.). Would an open pocket be acceptable? It could be argued we already have an open seam between the lame jacket and the fencers arm and this does not seem to cause any safety problems.
3. If say from the new year we start adding a line of Velcro along the outer surface of the bib, at the proposed junction of the valid and non valid target, would this work? Would the epeeist decide this was a catching point at epee so we would now have to make masks for foil and different ones for epee?
4. Connection between the foil lame bib and the jacket. It was originally suggested by the original Italian proposers of the new rule that if the lame was on the inside edge of the bib it would not be necessary to attach the bib to the jacket with a head wire. As the foil point hit the mask it would ensure contact between the mask and lame jacket. It has been decided that this was not safe as fencers would deliberately lift their head/bib away from the target to avoid being hit and this was unsafe as the neck would be exposed. I think that this is a typical argument made without any examination of real fencing and/or testing. I would like to see some experimentation of using the proposed bib with out a connection to see what actually happens. (I donít think fencers have time to react and try to avoid hits by lifting their head when being attacked). It may be that the provision for such a lead needs to be made but only used by U.K fencers in F.I.E. events.
5. If a mask lead is required do all lame jackets need a tag similar to sabre jackets.