Soft-covered Chest Protectors for SN & Beyond

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

  1. Philly Diana

    Philly Diana Made the Cut

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    I emailed the Ref Commission about this right after the rule came out and there has been no response so far. How did you hear this? I had heard that they were considering "outlawing" hubcaps because you can't check the marks if the caps are in a sports bra (which is where most of us who wear hubcaps put them - in the sports bra, under a shirt, under a plastron, under a jacket - and surrounded by boob - so I'm unsure what other padding might be necessary). I'd like to know the source so I can vent my frustration directly at the person/entity involved in the decision making.
     
  2. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    "As always, should you or any of your Rules Committee force be caught or killed, the National Office will disavow any knowledge of your actions."
     
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  3. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    The hubcaps have been around for well past 20 years. Through all variations of foil timings. The "skip" that the foam padding is trying to solve has been around since the chest-plates gained popularity with the new timings.
    That means the hubcaps aren't part of a problem and shouldn't be part of this solution, right?
     
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  4. InFerrumVeritas

    InFerrumVeritas DE Bracket

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    I'll be honest, I didn't "hear" about them at all. But it's a pretty straightforward reading of the rules. The hubcaps are a chest protector. Thus they are required to conform to the rules about chest protectors. There is no separate rule for them.
     
  5. Philly Diana

    Philly Diana Made the Cut

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    Love it!
     
  6. Philly Diana

    Philly Diana Made the Cut

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    I disagree - here is where my legal training comes in - the rule is silent on hubcaps, which are a form of chest protector only worn by women (to my knowledge.) The "legislative history" for lack of a better way to put it, has been complaints by men about other men using chest protectors to "play" with timing and avoid touches. The rule refers to "chest protectors" and "breast/chest protectors".

    "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." m.25.4(c) [Emphasis added.]

    The previous sentence refers to "breast/chest protectors", but the sentence about the EVA, does not refer to the word "breast". Using the rules of statutory/regulatory construction, the failure to use the same term is interpreted that they used "chest protector" for a reason to designate the plate-style protectors. Therefore, the exclusion of breast protectors a/k/a hubcaps are excluded from the rule because they were not specifically included in the designation. In most jurisdictions, if the language is ambiguous, it is construed against the drafter - in this case, against USAFencing and allows those of us who put our hubcaps in our sports bra to continue to do so.

    Which goes back to my original complaint about this - I would bet that there wasn't a single woman who wears or has worn hubcaps on the group who drafted this damn rule. But I don't think it applies and I think there is a good faith argument, absent a clarification, that it should not apply to hubcaps.
     
  7. Zebra

    Zebra Podium

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    The difference between "breast protector" and "chest protector" may be a result of translation rather than original intent of the writers of the rule, so I wouldn't bank on the distinction granting an exception for hubcaps.
     
  8. InFerrumVeritas

    InFerrumVeritas DE Bracket

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    On the FIE's website, the wording is different.

    Here it just says "the protector" rather than chest protector. So I would absolutely chock the wording difference up to translation issues. There are no descriptions of what shape a breast/chest protector has to be, or how it has to be hung on your body. There are just the requirements that it be a) rigid, b) worn under the plastron (for foil), and c) covered at least 4mm of soft material of a specified density with a SEMI mark at the center of the upper edge.
     
  9. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    Two things
    1. How is the UK Fencing organization interpreting this? Their translations are usually better.
    2. US Fencing should hire or rent a technical writer to proof this kind of stuff. Omar and crew are good, but stupid details like this are where we get wrapped around the axel.
     
  10. Philly Diana

    Philly Diana Made the Cut

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    In Ferrum - the language appears identical to me from what you posted, but that's not the issue. The issue is that language matters and people didn't think this through regarding the various types of equipment used. One of the advantages of putting a draft of something out for comment is that people point out issues that maybe you didn't think of when doing your draft.

    If you are going to require the hubcaps be covered, fine - let me pull one out to show the marking when equipment is checked at the beginning of pools to prove it is marked and re-insert. (I can do this without touching my plastron, jacket or lame.) From what I have heard, they are mucking about because they are afraid it will be difficult to check the hubcaps for marking - I don't see the problem - but then again, the women weren't the ones complaining and we've been wearing these for years. My issue is I don't want to see hubcaps banned as there is not a single chest protector approved by any fencing governing body that fits me appropriately.
     
  11. brtech

    brtech Podium

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    The problem is not that hubcaps must be covered, and you will have to show the mark. The problem is that no vendor has made covers for hubcaps and thus there is no way to get a cover with the FIE mark. The downside of any homologation process is that vendors have to go through the effort of getting a product through the process. No vendor has yet done so for hubcaps. There is no alternative way to get the mark. I don't read the rules as differentiating for or against hubcaps. They are a protector by the rules, they can be used in all foil competitions IFF they have the soft material covering, with the FIE mark. But there are no such coverings available.

    By the way, one of the members of SEMI is Janet Huggins, of Great Britain. She was limping and needed a cane in Verona, but hopefully that will get taken care of soon. I don't know her fencing history, or what type of protector she favors, but she is an EXCELLENT member of SEMI and is not, uh, soft-spoken :) But she can't cause a vendor to make covers for hubcaps, nor can any other SEMI member.
     
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  12. Zebra

    Zebra Podium

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    Is there any bar to taking a full-size FIE cover and cutting it down to fit over a hubcap? (other than needing to buy and cut two covers so each of the individual hubcap covers has the FIE mark?)
     
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  13. DHCJr

    DHCJr Armorer

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    If you look at the French version, they use the same words for both sections, which I translate as 'chest protector'. The use of the term 'Breast/Chest Protector' in both the British and the US versions are basically poetic license.
     
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  14. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    Hypothetically...what would happen if no vendor made covers for full-sized chest protectors? What would the FIE do?

    What if no vendor had made a visor mask, back when they were required? S2000 blades? Chips/boxes with required timings?

    Is the FIE ultimately at the mercy of vendors when it comes to equipment rules? Could vendors really force rule changes to be rescinded simply by collectively refusing to manufacture equipment to the mandated standard?
     
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  15. Strytllr

    Strytllr DE Bracket

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    I agree with Philly Diana here... the devil is in the words, as any legal ruling always is. Specifically, in the FIE statement (english version), there are three rules stated here in which the terms are used either interchangeably, or separately, and doing so makes a very big difference in a legal reading of this rule.

    1st Rule, it says "At all weapons, the use of a breast/chest protector (made of metal or some rigid material) is compulsory". This is not new. Either breast or chest protectors have previously been compulsory.

    2nd Rule, it says "At foil, this breast/chest protector must be worn below the protective plastron." This is both old and new. It has been the rule for chest protectors, but not previously for breast protectors. It seems that jacket pockets for breast protectors are now now sufficient.

    3rd Rule, it says "The entire outside of the chest protector (the side facing the opponent) must be covered with a soft material". By specifying only the chest protector here, they are legally drawing a line. Chest protectors now need to have a soft layer, but no further mention is made about breast protectors. By default, they do not seem to be bound by this 3rd rule.

    Of course, USA Fencing and FIE have never been the type to actually stick to their legal "reading" of their own rules... interpretations of rules are both encouraged and prolific.
     
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  16. Zebra

    Zebra Podium

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    But IIRC, the French edition is definitive, and as DHC points out, there is no distinction between the two types of protectors in the French edition.
     
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  17. brtech

    brtech Podium

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    FIE is at the mercy of vendors. However, they rarely change rules without consulting vendors and it is unlikely that would happen. In this case, they changed the rule at the suggestion of vendors. The prior rule talked about neoprene for example, because that was how the prototype, which was NOT produced by a vendor, was done. The rule was changed, vendors immediately responded. The mask strap rule was discussed with vendors for a while until the solutions were created and the rule reflects how the vendors decided to do it.
     
  18. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    So far, the only vendor I deal with that has a protector with the cover is Absolute...but even they don't seem to be selling separate covers to go over existing protectors.

    What do we do domestically if the rule takes effect and there isn't sufficient supply?

    This is like the sabre glove implementation all over again.
     
  19. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

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    So what happened to consulting with the makers of "hubcaps"?
     
  20. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    Or have a soft-rollout.

    Make it required for the 2019-2020 season, but have the refs check for the FIE mark during the 2018-2019 season. Until then, if you want to use a chest-protector, it goes UNDER the plastron. That's a no-cost change which the local-event refs can easily enforce.

    We've done similar before and it works.
     

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