2020 July Newsletter
Welcome to the July edition of the Newton Abbot & Totnes Fencing club newsletter.
Now that we have no fencing and a little more time on our hands, how about cleaning our fencing gear.
Here’s a brilliant piece from the Academy of Fencing Masters ,you can email them Academy of Fencing Masters
First things first, everything has to be taken out of that bag and washed after each use.
It’s a good idea to keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your fencing bag so that you can clean your hands right after you sit down and put all the gear back into the bag. So your hands are clean even if your gear is not. Take everything out
The fencing mask is significant, both in terms of its delicacy and in terms of its ability to harbour respiratory viruses. In the mask, you’re breathing constantly, and anything that is in your lungs is going to be on the inside of that mask.
One critical point here is to let the mask dry completely before you use it or store it. This should only take twenty to thirty minutes. Otherwise, you’re risking damage to the mask or that the alcohol won’t be as effective in getting rid of the germs.
There are other options for more thoroughly cleaning the fencing mask, which we’ve written about before (Masks can go in the dishwasher if you’re brave and careful!). You can’t do the kind of deep cleaning daily though, otherwise the mask will wear out. It is of course a good idea to deep clean the mask regularly, especially if you are fencing a lot. The goal for right now is to get rid of daily issues.
The fencing jacket is one that can’t be put in the washing machine after every use, otherwise it will wear out quickly.
Gloves are a major point of contact. They must be cleaned thoroughly in order to be safe, and they must be cleaned after each use. No exceptions. You can find out more about how to get the smell out of a fencing glove and how to wash a fencing glove on our previous posts.
This one is a little tough, and it’s the only exception to the rule about cleaning after each use. If you get a fencing lame wet to clean it after each use, it’s going to degrade quickly (well, we didn’t test how fast it will degrade if washed daily, it’s just our common sense assumption). We have to be creative.
Our suggestion is to keep the lame hanging somewhere that is well ventilated to allow it to dry out after each use. Don’t put it in the closet stuffed with other things.
You should periodically wash the lame, once every couple of weeks or once a month depending on how much you’re fencing, and we’ve got detailed instructions for washing a fencing lame here.
This one is simple, especially since this is a piece of protective gear that is not exposed at all. And also the plastron is pretty stable, so you can wash it daily. Wipe with antibacterial wipes or a cloth with antibacterial cleaner. Allow to dry completely.
Don’t discount the importance of shoes! These have been shown to track pathogens in and out of places, and they’re easy to overlook.
You should already have a set of shoes that you wear just for fencing. Those need to stay in the fencing bag and be changed into when you get to the club, and it’s even more important now to do that.
The weapons are a simple thing to clean, because not the whole weapon needs to be cleaned. Always keep in mind that the point here is to clean the parts that could potentially come in contact with other people.
You don’t want to allow the blade especially to stay wet with anything as it will rust and that’s no good for anyone. Care of fencing weapons is something that fencers are concerned about anyway, so follow all of the weapon care that you already know. Because you’re doing this to keep germs away doesn’t mean you should neglect the other care for your weapon. Wipe down weapon grips with antibacterial wipes or a cloth with antibacterial cleaner. Allow to dry completely before storing.
We already talked about the fencing mask, but this face mask is the cloth mask that you’re wearing to keep from spreading the virus (or any other germs).
Remember that masks are worn not necessarily to keep you safe, but to keep others safe. They are an important part of flattening the curve. Many clubs will require them anyway. You want to wash your cloth mask after every use, and most of them can be thrown in the washing machine with your fencing socks and knickers and towel. Whatever the recommendations for your particular mask are, that’s what you need to do.
Keep several plastic bags in your fencing bag and put your protective gear items into these bags first. This helps keep stuff cleaner from cross-contamination in your fencing bag.
You might also want to have a spare set of some protective gear items (like jacket, mask, glove) to allow more time between use if you are going to train intensively and often.
We are all feeling unsure about how things will progress forward for fencers as things reopen. There will be bumps along the way, but we all know that knowledge is power. Cleaning your equipment is a big part of you taking control as you get back to fencing in clubs instead of online.
It might seem like a lot, but it’s like most things in life – if you force yourself to learn the habit, then it won’t seem like such a big thing soon. While this guide is long, the whole process of cleaning your equipment aside from drying time should take only ten minutes or so. It’s worth it to get fencing training in a safe way!