Mask check question

Discussion in 'Armory - Q&A' started by Purple Fencer, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    I'm running mask check at the All Cals in San Luis Obispo right now. I was brought a JL mask...one of the older ones with the triangular cheek plates.

    One of the plates is present with all three rivets....the other one is totally gone, but the glue appears to be holding the material down sufficiently.

    Because the plate itself is missing, there's no empty rivel hole to catch a blade....there are small holes in the fabric for the rivets, but I don't think they'll catch a blade (Plus, it's on the off side)

    Should I pass this one, or hold it and tell the fencer to get a replacement? I'm holding it right now.

    And BTW....if I ever needed a reason to push my atatus as a certified armorer....it was today. They were not going to run a mask check...IN CALIFORNIA??

    Not at an even I'M working....I insisted, ran the check myself....and then found an Absolute mask with a broken tongue....they would've been allowed to slide if I hadn't pushed for the check.

    It's fixable....but it should've never happened at all.
     
  2. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    I fixed it (called Dan DeChaine, but then remembered he;s probably in Portland)...I just put rivets through the holes. The fencer hasn't asked for it back yet, but at least it's safer tha it was/
     
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  3. fatfencer

    fatfencer Podium

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    Thanks Sam,

    Good job sam.... that guy probably deserves a Darwin :darwin:award for a mask like that. Moreover, the TD's deserve the same award for not having armory present....or at least NOT doing mask check.:darwin:

    When good people save the stupid... said good people are not doing the world a service, contrary to popular belief!!! (Much Sarcasm):blah::mutant:

    Seriously though, good job Sam. Nice to see people who actually give a [email protected]@@ about this sport and the safety of the people in it.... even if it seems you are the ONLY person in the room who does. Rep to you, sir.

    Fatfencer
     
  4. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    Thanks...what just blew my mind was what I was told by a director up here 5 monutes ago. They don;t do mask checks because if they fail, they have to destroy the masks, and a lot fo them are school masks. ( think this was referencing the northern cal collegiate league, tho, not necessarily CenCal USFA events. The AllCals are not a sanctioned event...although MY margument is that a broken bnlade doesn't care)

    So they're putting the convenience of the school over teh safety of the fencers....unbelievable.

    And I was told that checks were NOT done at the Boardwalk....any confirmation there??
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2008
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  5. schlager7

    schlager7 DE Bracket

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    Sam

    Never, ever regret forcing the mask check issue, regardless of the event.

    Some here may recall that at my local club a few years back a fencer brought in an old mask because, well, you know, just club fencing.

    During a bout it failed! Critically. His opponent's epee penetrated the mask just below his left eye. He was unimaginably lucky he kept his eye.

    Turned out it was a rarely used mask (looked pristine) he got in college a decade before.

    He is fine and still fences. We now check our club masks also.

    The damage can run both ways, I should add. Even though it was in no way his fault, the high schooler whose epee penetrated the adult's mask could never bring himself to fence again.

    In our division a mask check is a requirement at all tournaments if they expect to be sanctioned.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2008
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  6. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    Believe me...I don't!

    I was there as a vendor, not as the tourney armorer....I did not expect them not to run a mask check. I don't like throwing around what little authority I feel I have, especially if I'm not part of the BC....but in this case I had to.
     
  7. schlager7

    schlager7 DE Bracket

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    Yes, you did!

    A quotation I heard years ago (I cannot attribute it) always comes to me at these moments:

    "If not me, who? If not now, when?"
     
  8. HDG

    HDG Podium

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    Paraphrase of Reagan re: Mariel Boat lift (change "me" to "us")
     
  9. Mergs

    Mergs Podium

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    Sam,

    Way to go. Don't EVER underestimate your position, or responsibility, as a certified USFA Armorer. Remember, safety is ALWAYS number one consideration. If I am at a tournament, I always show my certification card, just to let the BC know that I'm there, even if I'm just competing. Remember that masks don't necessarily have to be destroyed, just not allowed on strip, if a club wants to accept the liability to use them during practice, that's their business. Just document the fact that you checked and failed the mask.

    keep it up!

    Mergs
     
  10. Mac A. Bee

    Mac A. Bee is a Verified Fencing ExpertMac A. Bee Podium

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    First Millennium Rabbi Hillel. Entire quote is "If I am not for myself, who will be. If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?
     
  11. fencerbill

    fencerbill Podium

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    I have 2 precepts which cover about everything:

    1. Is it fair to the opponent?

    2. Would I let my grandchildren use it?
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2008
  12. Alex_Paul

    Alex_Paul Podium

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    Good general principal :)
     
  13. Grimaldi

    Grimaldi Rookie

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    I think the intent is to try to keep the record of no deaths going for as long as possible. Preventative steps, such as inspecting masks, is probably more effective than just hoping no one gets hurt. I mean, if you require them to wear a mask, you're already identifying a need for protective equipment. There should be some way of ensuring that piece of equipment meets the standards to fulfill its purpose. If I showed up a tournament wearing a pair of swimming goggles and said it was my mask, I wouldn't be allowed to compete, so there's obviously some level of "inspection" going on.

    It seems appropriate to me to check masks for safety prior to a tournament. Maybe not an olympic-level inspection, but basic safety and serviceability issues for the safety of both fencers.
     
  14. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    Smirnov is all the justification I need.

    As for it being absurd to check masks at low level events...you think Ds, Es, and Us can't break a blade???

    I said it before...a broken blade doesn't care. They make no distinction between a scrub at his first tournament or someone at the Olympic level.

    Part of the reason there hasn't been a death in 2 decades is BECAUSE of the safety checks (never mind that idiot in Eurpoe who cur the sleeve off his underarm protector...his own fault there)

    I've been in the sport since 1997...as a competitor and a vendor/armorer....this years All Cals was the FIRST time I', ever been at at event where they had not planned to do mask check......in California, whetre the state song is "Lawsuits uber Alles"?????
     
  15. whtouche

    whtouche Rookie

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    Shrug. I suppose there is no real good argument to be made against being hyper alarmist and insisting on mask checks at every tournament, but I wonder where does it stop? I think the rationale of not testing masks at smaller tournaments (as is my experience at almost every tournament I have been to which has not been a larger/regional event) is extending the rules of personal culpability up, rather than the extreme safety down. What I mean is that most people don't punch test their masks before every bout they fence. That extends into not punch testing before every night of practice. That then becomes not before smaller local tournaments.

    At what point do you think we should stop extending that level of safety? Should we punch our masks after every bout the way epeeist and foilists test weights and shims?
     
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  16. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    Then I'll be a safer minority. The mask check takes on a few seconds per mask...and if you have the fencers get it done right after they check in, you won't even slow anything down, because it'll be done before the pools are called.

    You can't even remotely compare to two. Testing the weapons only ensures that the circuit works properly....if it fails, you don't get a touch. You canNOT compare it with a safety check.

    I have seen a brand new still-in-the-plastic-in-the-box mask fail the very furst test....rightin front of the eyes. You're telling me it would've been safe to not run a check and have that mask hit the strip?

    Do you remember a few years back when Negrini had that bad batch of mesh in their non-FIE masks??? I was the one who discovered it (after failing 8 of them in a month) and reported it to American Fencers, who, as the importer, reported it to Negrini, who fixed the problem.

    If we hadn't been running checks, those masks woujld never have been discovered. There are still some out there, but because of the mask checks, the problem's been fixed.

    A mask check is definitely warranted...the level of competitikon is irrelevant.

    I potentially saved lives....argue that.
     
  17. wahrman

    wahrman DE Bracket

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    Actually I have very rarely had my mask checked in California.
    Maybe 4 times in three years. And no they did not do checks at
    the Boardwalk nor did they last year or the year before.

    I have however had my mask checked at every single tournament
    I have fenced in Michigan.

    And never in the UK or Canada that I can remember.
     
  18. Gav

    Gav is a Verified Fencing ExpertGav Moderator!!

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    Nope we don't bother with that here.

    I've never had my mask tested on the European continent either.
     
  19. shinekomi

    shinekomi Rookie

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    I guess it depends in what area of the state you are in and who is available/knowledgeable to do it. Virtually every tournament I've been to in San Diego, Orange Coast and So. Cal, despite the level of the tournament has had mask checks. So I was surprised when they did not have checks at the Boardwalk when I went (2005).

    Slight tangent: This reminds me of when Oliver Sacks author of "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" came to give a talk. He made a comment about fencing and memory patients, tying them together by saying "Only in California". He was referring to NA, who got stabbed by a "miniature" fencing foil in the face. It went through in his nose and into his forebrain. Next to HM, he's a popular memory deficit patient.

    Back on track:

    Just curious, but how long does it take for a mask to wear down? I mean a good mask that has passed initial mask check, based on the impact it receives in one bout. Compare that to a tip, that receives constant impact due to the nature of its use.

    I agree, its not reasonable to expect mask checks at every tournament. But its assuring to me as a fencer to see that the organizers are willing to go so far to promote safety. And great to know that there are people who are willing to do so, regardless of being told or not.

    Go Sam. :D
     
  20. fatfencer

    fatfencer Podium

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    What!!!!

    It's 'unreasonable' to expect a mask check at every tourney?

    I think it to be very reasonable given the example of the punctured forebrain!!

    I'm not a rulemonger by any means but a mask punched is a life saved. Period!!!... and especially where the mask in question is not a brand new FIE.

    To believe otherwise is to descend downward via catapult to a hell where lunacy reigns and we are forced to watch the same Junior Women's Epee final over and over and over and over again.


    FF
     

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