Low-contact fencing inspections

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COVID-safe low-contact inspections

The health and safety of all rapier combatants, students and marshals is our first priority. The following steps are a guide for Marshals on how to conduct a no- or low-contact inspection of weapons and equipment.

This process is required in Australia while there are physical distancing requirements, and is optional in New Zealand at Alert Levels 1 and 2.

Protective Equipment

  1. Marshals must wear abrasion-resistant gloves to conduct all inspections of fencers.
  2. Physical distancing should be maintained while conducting inspections. If the Marshal needs to break distancing, they must wear a face covering.

Armour check

  1. Ask the combatant to stand at an appropriate distance in front of you.
  2. Ask the combatant if they are wearing groin protection (if applicable).
  3. Ask the combatant to present their gloved hands, palms up. Inspect the gloves by sight looking for any rips or holes.
  4. Ask the combatant to turn their hands palms down and repeat the inspection.
  5. Ask the combatant to spread their arms to the sides. Inspect the armpits by sight, looking for sprung seams, rips or holes.
  6. If you are not certain about the underarm coverage, discuss it with the combatant.
  7. You might need to ask the combatant to press or pinch the cloth under the arm to demonstrate its coverage
  8. Ask the combatant (if needed) to lift their coif or mask bib to display the gorget underneath.
  9. Ask the combatant to turn and show the back of the gorget.
  10. Check that the combatant has a secondary fastening to secure their mask.
  11. Visually check all the armour to ensure there are no gaps showing skin. This includes checking that normal movements (such as a lunge) will not expose skin.
  12. Ask the combatant to show you the inside of their mask.
    • Inspect by sight to assess if the padding is intact.
    • If uncertain you might need to ask the combatant to press the padding to check it is still resilient.

Weapons check

  1. Ask the combatant to stand to one side and present their sword or dagger so that the blade is in front of you. They should hold the hilt.
  2. Wearing a fencing glove, check the blade for nicks and ensure the blunt is securely fixed to the tip.
  3. Use your gloved hand to check a buckler or baton for nicks, chips or splinters.
  4. Inspect a cloak for any rigid material.