soft chest protectors?

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by Privateer, Sep 8, 2018.

  1. Privateer

    Privateer Podium

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    the chest protector rules don't specifically address this, only that rigid protectors must have a soft covering.

    Is there any prohibition against soft-only chest protectors, particularly homemade ones? That is, if someone uses some kind of thin foam and wears it inside their jacket, is this allowed?
     
  2. Philly Diana

    Philly Diana Made the Cut

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    I don't know if you are male or female. If female, I know you must use the hard protector with soft covering or covered hubcaps. If you are a man who chooses to use a chest protector, my understanding is you need to have it covered with 4mm of EVA foam. I think the rule requires there be a safety stamp (maybe an FIE stamp) on it which must be shown on the strip when it is checked. I don't believe you can just pad the interior of your jacket, but I may be wrong.
     
  3. Mac A. Bee

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

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    m.25.4.c: "In all weapons, the use of breast/chest protectors (made of metal or some rigid material) is compulsory for women and optional for men. In foil, this breast/chest protector must be worn below the protective plastron. In foil, the protector will have the following characteristics: The entire outside of the chest protector (the side facing the opponent) must be covered with a soft material such as E.V.A. (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) of four mm thickness and density of 22kg/ m3. (The material can be attached to the current plastic models or incorporated into the manufacture of new chest protectors). *The material must have the SEMI technical mark at the center of the upper edge*."
     
  4. DHCJr

    DHCJr Armorer

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    To clear up some misinformation. As of now, there is no rules prohibiting soft-only chest protectors for men. If this ever got to the international level, there may be a new rule prohibiting it. It does have the potential of 'adjusting the probability of winning'. When I was fairly new there was a coach who had their Foil fencers where extra large lamé. This had the effect of their opponents not pressing in on the attack because they 'saw' a hit. The other coaches just had their fencers follow through, which negated the strategy.

    Since no manufacturer makes FIE hubcaps, they are not legal. Considering that some ladies can not comfortably fit using a standard breast protector. This has caused some problems for some lady Foilists.
     
  5. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    Not entirely true.

    https://www.usafencing.org/news_article/show/922236

    The pertinent paragraph reads:

    "2) We are aware that manufacturers may not offer older-style "hubcap" protectors that conform to the rules. Therefore, fencers are allowed to retrofit their existing protectors to bring them into compliance with the rules--that is, by attaching the required soft material to the protector. These retrofitted protectors are NOT required to have the manufacturer/FIE mark, but retrofitted protectors must be inspected at equipment check to ensure that they comply with the rules. Once inspected, the technician will apply the competition's inspection mark."
     
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  6. DHCJr

    DHCJr Armorer

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    Thank you Sam. I was going to complain that the news article is worthless as 3 have to carry 3 rulebooks as it is for US Fencing tournaments. But before I did that, I checked if one of the three rulebooks had that. On page 49 of the Athlete's Handbook has the same information. Thank you again for catching that.

    Also on that same page is that stupid chart I sent to the USFA. I wish they would just throw it out.
     
  7. jdude97

    jdude97 Podium

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    What's wrong with the chart?
     
  8. DHCJr

    DHCJr Armorer

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    A simple answer is it is meaningless, but that would not give you any understanding.

    When they first had a blade rule for Y10, they said that they must be 0 or 2. What is a 0 or 2 blade? It's a blade with a 0 or 2 on it. This chart came from British Fencing. When it was created, there was only Leon Paul selling blades in the UK. This was the approximate length of blade they made. The problem is over here, some manufacturers use different lengths, some don't mark their shorter blades, some make 1 blades. So basically you could have a full length blade with a 0 or 2 on it and it would be legal for a Y10 fencer.

    Finally Dan & me convinced them to use a length. The problem is they used 32". Since full length blades are 35" and each number is an inch shorter, 32" should be good. Now some history, why the numbers they use. Full length blades are approximately 35" and they do try and make each number down an inch shorter. The problem is these are bare blades without a tip. Add a tip and a Leon Paul 2 blade is over 32". So I gave them this chart to show them going to 32" would mean most 2 blades would fail. So they went to 32.5". I pushed for metric, considering only 3rd World countries still use inches.

    So they still have 'See table below; for Y10 competitions. What does the chart have to do with Y10 competitions. 3 blades are not used, Sabre blades are shorter, but US Fencing rules do not take that into account. All the chart does is confuse the issue.

    Now a trick question. Sam, don't say anything. What rules give the range given for full length blades. To get this answer right you need to list 6 rules, 2 for each (Foil, Epeé, Sabre)
     
  9. Philly Diana

    Philly Diana Made the Cut

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    As one of the women at foil who had hubcaps approved by the armorers at Summer Nationals (I retrofitted them myself with two layers of EVA 2mm craft foam and hot glue and much foul language), I can attest that hubcaps are acceptable if covered. Had no issues with those same hubcaps this weekend at a tournament.
     
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  10. Nakita

    Nakita Made the Cut

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    I'm sure that this might make someone mad, but why is the chest protection rule only for Foil? Seems like it should be the same for Epee.
    Also, since it (makes such a difference hard or spongy) should you make sure to removed the soft cover before fencing epee?
    I'm a terrible fencer anyway but just curious.
     
  11. neevel

    neevel Armorer

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    The rule is specifically intended to address the problem of foil hits that would otherwise register bouncing off of hard chest protectors before the minimum contact time for the point on target has been met. The minimum contact time for epee is shorter than for foil (2 ms versus 13 ms), so that has not been a significant problem in epee.
     
  12. Strytllr

    Strytllr DE Bracket

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    I still have never heard a single woman complain about this.
     
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  13. neevel

    neevel Armorer

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    This affects both women and men. It was a huge concern when the new foil timings came out, and many male foilists started wearing chest protectors expressly to take advantage of it. The introduction of switch-flutter algorithms in scoring boxes and the requirement of having the plastic protector worn beneath the underarm protector has ameliorated it somewhat, but it is still very much an issue. Women probably don't mention it as much since it is the norm for them (since all women must wear the protector), but male foilists definitely notice it, both against male and female opponents. The presence of the 'bounce-off' effect is one reason why the women's foil game has a tendency to place more emphasis on counterattacks and esquives than men's foil. A decent fencer can compensate for it by changing technique and choice of target, but it is still a very real effect that alters the game from when the hard protector is not being worn.
     
  14. Strytllr

    Strytllr DE Bracket

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    Fine. then make only the men wear it.
     
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  15. neevel

    neevel Armorer

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    It still distorts the Women's foil game by taking away what ought by the rules to be valid target in many situations.
     
  16. Strytllr

    Strytllr DE Bracket

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    But it doesn't. Because the women have always known how to deal with it. I see plenty of chest hits in women's foil. I don't see misses or see them stop fencing and look befuddled because their "certain" flick bounced off. It's just not an issue for women. And at the level that "demanded" this rule be implemented, men don't fence women. So it still never made sense to require it for women. If men can't figure out how to fence against other men wearing chest protectors, then force them to buy these ridiculous "upgrades", and leave the women out of it.
     
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  17. Nakita

    Nakita Made the Cut

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    It's like someone just wants people to have to buy this or that equipment.
    The giant window Saber masks?
    The FIE saber gloves.
    Now this.
    Didn't old fashioned fencing jackets have buttons?
    Was that changed because a rash of fencer deaths due to weapons sliding between the buttons?
    In a few years will they say that the soft covers are being replaced?
    It seems like an added expense for no real reason. Why not just change the foil time back to whatever it was before?
    Is it because the equipment companies need us all to have to buy more stuff?
     
  18. Philly Diana

    Philly Diana Made the Cut

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    Let the church say Amen!
     
  19. neevel

    neevel Armorer

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    It's because the FIE has decided that a certain style of foil fencing being engendered by a trait of the equipment (i.e., being able to get out of a strong thrust or flick to the upper chest by squirming or collapsing the distance) is 'wrong', and is changing the equipment to make that much more difficult. Remember, this all got started back with the 2005 foil timings for the very same basic reason- the FIE decided that another particular style of foil fencing engendered by the equipment (being able to get a light on with a tickling, over-the-shoulder flick to the L1 vertebra of an opponent with an upright torso, or by forcefully whipping an attack around a parry) was also 'wrong' and needed to be reduced or eliminated by changing the equipment (i.e., the apparatus timings). And that style of foil fencing had been prevalent for at least 20 years when the change was made.

    Keep in mind that a layer of retrofit padding for an existing protector costs all of $21.
     
  20. Philly Diana

    Philly Diana Made the Cut

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    Only if you use a Viking bra. For those of us that manufacturers have never properly designed for (a/k/a real women with curves and breasts) who have more than a four inch difference between full bust measurement and rib cage measurement, the Viking Bra is not an option. Also, I bought an FIE jacket before this stupid rule went into effect - and my jacket is form fitting - an extra 4mm at the boobs is the last thing I need and it is putting stress on a jacket which is less than 2 years old and not cheap in the first place.

    Also, the "viking bra" cuts into your underarms in a way that cannot be understated - it is not cut at the same angle as the flat chest protector. Again, as Strytllr said, if its a problem for the men - let them deal with it. When I fence men, there are many touches that the miss or bounce off because my chest is not a flat and level surface even with hubcaps on - SURPRISE - I'm a woman who has birthed two children - I have curves.

    Add to this whole mess that women were never asked about this, about product design, timeline of replacement or even what to do if you used hubcaps (we resolved all that between the April NAC and Summer Nationals) and I'm one pretty peeved fencer who has plenty of money to spend on gear because I'm a grown woman with a job.

    I suggest you find a jacket that fits you, then put on one of the women's protectors, put your jacket on and try to move for a 10 or 15 point bout.
     
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