Soft-covered Chest Protectors for SN & Beyond

Discussion in 'Armory - Q&A' started by Mac A. Bee, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. Mac A. Bee

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

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    On April 12, 2018, USA Fencing’s Board of Directors approved a change to USA Fencing’s rules regarding the use of plastic chest protectors for foil fencers. This change is identical to the change voted in by the FIE Congress session in November 2017, requiring foil chest protectors to be covered by a soft material.

    The revised rule, m.25.3, is as follows:

    c) At all weapons, the use of a breast/chest protector (made of metal or some rigid material) is compulsory for women and optional for men. At foil, this breast/chest protector must be worn below the protective plastron.
    At 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.

    Implementation:
    June 28, 2018 for Cadet, Junior, Division I and Veteran USA Fencing national events.
    August 1, 2018 for all USA Fencing-sanctioned national, regional and local events.

    Note that this change takes effect at the 2018 Summer Nationals for Cadet, Junior, Division 1, and Veteran events. Youth events, from Y10-Y14, as well as Division 2, 3, and 1A events may use current plastic chest protectors.

    The decision to roll out the rule in multiple phases was made to ensure that vendors serving USA Fencing can provide adequate stock in time for Summer Nationals 2018. The change will take effect for all USA Fencing events for the 2018-2019 season, beginning on 1 August 2018.

    Referees: when working an affected event at Summer Nationals, be sure to add the check for a conforming chest protector to your regular pre-bout and pre-pool equipment inspections.

    Good luck out there,
    Devin Donnelly
    On behalf of the Rules Committee and Referees’ Commission
     
  2. SJCFU#2

    SJCFU#2 Podium

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    2018 vs August 1, 2018 - five weeks may allow sufficient time for vendors to provide adequate stock for Summer Nationals, however it hardly allow time for them to provide for every USFA event. Based on past experience most people who are only active at the local level aren't even likely to be aware of the change much prior to August 1st.

    Now if it had been August 1st, 2019 for all events, similar to what was done with conductive bibs on masks, then that would qualify as a reasonable roll out in multiple stages (and if they did in fact mean 2019 but approved it saying 2018 then it's yet another example of the USFA's complete and total inability to proofread their own documents).
     
  3. posineg

    posineg Made the Cut

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    Does this rule ban people applying there own foam to the outside? I know quite a few Cosplayers who would be able to apply this material to a breastplate with little difficulty and would not want to have to pay a company for a retrofit when I could pay a friend. This is pertaining to the SEMI mark required on the center upper edge.
     
  4. jfarmer

    jfarmer DE Bracket

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    Since it specifically requires the SEMI marking, my first response is gonna be "No, you must use a kit, or toss the protector".
    Note that since I own some 50+ chest plates from various vendors (Always fun to deal with club gear when they change something), I am less than amused by this. It either forces me to maintain "yet another Foil Specific" bag of gear, or dump all of my existing chest plates and replace them with "SEMI-Approved" foil ones.
     
  5. mfp

    mfp Podium

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    Did US SEMI weigh in on this change in equipment and its rollout?
     
  6. jfarmer

    jfarmer DE Bracket

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    I was under the impression that they were driving this bus...
     
  7. Mergs

    Mergs Podium

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    My question is what is a 'SEMI' mark? If this means the FIE marking, then say so. AFAIK, the marking of equipment comes from the FIE as the organization, not the SEMI committee.

    As for the US SEMI weighing in on this, the process is that they make the recommendation to the RC Rules sub-committee which then makes the recommendation to the BoD via the RC. I would say that the recommendation would be in the minutes of the recent US SEMI meetings.

    My concerns are that:
    1. This does not follow the same implementation schedule as the new mask designs ie required for national events by 1 Aug 2019 and for regional events by 1 Aug 2020.
    2. This implies that there is now a second piece of kit that is required to be FIE certified (the camel's nose is under the tent?)
    3. This is another example of an equipment change that is supposed to solve a problem that is a perception and ill defined and apparently lacks rigorous testing to show that it indeed solves the 'problem'.
     
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  8. keropie

    keropie Podium

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    4. All changes attempting to mitigate unintended consequences of a timing change that did not remove the flick or (in and of itself) improve officiating (though other efforts have, imo, improved officiating).
     
  9. mfp

    mfp Podium

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    And if the soft material supposedly solves this 'problem' in foil, what is the point of mandating that "at foil this breast/chest protector must be worn below the protective plastron"? Is it they don't really think the soft material they've specified actually solves the 'problem'?
     
  10. Mergs

    Mergs Podium

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    I find it interesting that this 'problem' seems to have manifested itself when men started wearing chest protectors. Why was this not a problem with women when the timing change was made? And who came up with this 'fix'?
     
  11. Mac A. Bee

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

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    *Mask strap design drift*: Missed that memo.:confused:
     
  12. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    I think this effectively removes the 'cups' that women wear in the jacket pockets (because they cannot be under the plastron), and makes the larger plate the only option. And by extension, makes the jacket pockets un-needed, redesigning the women's jacket.
    Am I reading that right?
     
  13. Quo_Usque

    Quo_Usque Rookie

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    Some women wear them between two sports bras. I wear mine on the inside of my sports bra, because this actually holds them in place. I absolutely hate the chestplate style ones, because they absolutely do not fit at all. There are only 3 sizes, and my ribcage fits a small, but my bust is too big for the large. The hubcap protectors only cover maybe half of the breast, but at least they don't dig in and impede movement. I don't think any manufacturers are going to be making the hubcap ones with the new covering, which is truly unfortunate. I don't think there's any rule stating how much of the chest the protector is required to cover, so I think it would be legal for me to make my own damn chest protector and buy an FIE cover to put on it.
     
  14. jfarmer

    jfarmer DE Bracket

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    Hence my comment that they were driving. the announcement follows the FIE ruling with the exception of requiring the SEMI technical mark at the center of the upper edge. I suspect that most vendors will simply sell the FIE marked chest plate and we will see an "update clarification" that the mark must be the SEMI logo or the FIE logo.
     
  15. jfarmer

    jfarmer DE Bracket

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    More or less. But bear in mind that this has been "a problem" for what ten years? A quick archives search will turn up multiple threads of people b$tching about so-and-so @#$# Jr. male Foilist wearing a chest plate so "touches will slide off"...

    The idea to cover the chest plates with some sort of foam layer has been floating around for years. Come on Mergs, Use the Search! Many coders sweated to made it available... :)
     
  16. jfarmer

    jfarmer DE Bracket

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    If I recall my rules change history correctly (always a suspect statement), the requirement to wear the chest plate as the undermost item was added as the first attempt to "deal with the issue".

    Remember the rulings that came out where reading it literally, the chest protector had to be worn against the skin? That was happening before my dad died in 2011, so what eight or nine years ago?
     
  17. jfarmer

    jfarmer DE Bracket

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    Actually, I think somewhere in the latest iterations a coverage definition for chest protectors was added. (I would look it up, but I'm on my wife's laptop waiting for the postman to deliver the recovery media for my laptop...)

    In your particular fitting issue, I've run into it several times. What we have done in the past is one of three things. 1st option: Buy a protector sized to fit your breasts comfortably and use heat & snips to reshape it to fit your ribcage. 2nd option: QP Sport in New Zealand sizes their products more flexibly (http://www.qpsport.co.nz/index.php). 3rd option: Use a Kydex sheet and mold a protector to your exact measurements.

    Of these three options, I don't know how the 1st will work with the new "enhanced" protectors, and the 3rd wouldn't meet the "Stamped as approved" issue. That leaves the 2nd option, while the cost may be 2 or 3 times more, .. well as my wife used to say before her breast cancer surgery, "They're big. I've been paying 3 or 4 times average cost for bras all my life..."
     
  18. Philly Diana

    Philly Diana Made the Cut

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    I have emailed the US Ref commission for guidance on whether hubcaps that are worn between two layers of sports bra, under a shirt and plastron have to have another layer of crap on them. I, too, cannot find one of those awful movement impeding plates that fits right. Same issue as Quo_Usque. I emailed on Saturday, so I'll let folks know if I get any response.
     
  19. brtech

    brtech Podium

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    The wording of the rule change (including "SEMI mark") is the FIE wording: http://static.fie.org/uploads/18/92158-15.2 decision urgente 2 protector ang.pdf USA Fencing copied the text verbatim.

    US SEMI did recommend to the Board (not the RC) we adopt the rule change, but our suggested timetable was later.

    AFAIK, the idea came from Greg Massialas. He was the first person I ever heard talk about it, and he was showing a prototype a few years ago.

    The rule change requires a homologated chest protector. No homemade or modified solutions would be acceptable.

    I'm unaware of a decision on the new mask strap for USA Fencing events. US SEMI has made a recommendation to the Board, but I don't think action has been taken yet on that item.
     
  20. mfp

    mfp Podium

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    Your two statements above appear to conflict with the actual wording of the FIE's text. The FIE text states for foil the "soft material" on the outside of the protector must meet certain requirements and have the mark. It doesn't state a requirement for the entire chest protector to be homologated; only the soft material. And there's even a mention of a "Washable EVA layer fix with Velcro to existing chest guard"
     

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