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Thread: Mask safety

  1. #1
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    Default Mask safety

    Important message here from BF:

    http://britishfencing.com/news/latest-news/?n=1760

    I heard today at a competition about the events at the Cadet / Junior nationals with one fencer needing his mask confiscating as it kept falling off. I also heard that discussions are ongoing about ensuring all masks at National events might soon need two forms of restraint so requiring the bottom strap to be used on LP Contour masks. Might have this slightly wrong but apparently Pentathon UK brought this in before their recent Nationals.

    Safety first .....

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    The only thing I might have an issue with is carding for the mask falling during the action (unless there was a previously noted issue that was not corrected after being pointed out)...the velcro could easily have failed even though it was OK when putting the mask on...stuff DOES fail on the strip.

    I don't know that we had this issue at US Nationals, and there were 9000+ entrants over 2 weeks of events.

    Has it happened? Yes...it's more of a problem of proper maintenance (or rather, lack thereof) than needing a 2nd strap.

    A 2nd strap might be nice, but if the underlying problem isn't corrected, the issue remains.

    I'll need to do another repair vid, it seems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Purple Fencer View Post
    I'll need to do another repair vid, it seems.
    I suspect it's more about buy your mask to fit, not to grow in to, or adjust your mask to fit. And if you have two methods of securing the mask, use them both, and make sure both are working.

    Whilst the use of yellow cards might seem harsh for the one off accidental failure, I don't think the Nationals issue sits in that category - it sounds more like 'make sure your mask actually fits'. I do also wonder if the mask came off in earlier rounds before being picked up in the later rounds. Hence I guess the 'which round' question on the reporting. Confiscating a failing mask in a medal match, for example, probably means it had been unsafe throughout the competition. That would be very concerning. Hence the BF response / direction.

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    Default Now I'm gonna whinge...

    From a personal perspective.
    I had to buy my boy a new mask and he chose the LP Xchange mask.
    Okay, So daddy pays 180 but the 9yr boy has to wear the mask properly.
    For him now it is second nature to use the provided strap. Even though it's supposedly only needed in FIA competitions. I make him wear and use it properly.
    The Whinge!
    Young fencers want to whip their masks on and off quickly because it look cool.
    So they ease back the metal flap on none LP masks or negate to use the strap on the LP.
    Guys, this is safety.
    Your opponent is meant to try and stab you or your kid with a sword!
    Yes they start in a vertical position but how many slips or fallbacks do you see.

    So I bluntly surmise. Either wear your mask properly or you are running the risk of injury or a card and there should be no yellow card in mask safety.

    Whinge over

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick E View Post
    I suspect it's more about buy your mask to fit, not to grow in to, or adjust your mask to fit. And if you have two methods of securing the mask, use them both, and make sure both are working.
    Yeah...but a responsible vendor doesn't sell a mask to grow into...at least I don't.

    Room to grow in a glove or jacket is one thing...doing so in a mask is something entirely different.

    In the US, the rule now is that IF the mask has a 2nd restraint system present, it MUST be used. If the mask does NOT have a 2nd restraint system, it;s good, so long as the existing tongue and strap are in good and functional condition.

    One reason I personally never went for an X-Change mask was because of my worry about the velcro failing after repeated openings and closings to get the mask around my glasses.

    I prefer a traditional tongue setup....never really felt the disk in the back would hold well.

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    Disk in the back works perfectly. My Paul mask also fits snugly under my chin. It only comes off when I want it to.
    The problem is not design but correct fitting.
    The longer I do it the harder it gets.

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    Jackedor, I have to disagree the mask has an inherent weak spot . The design is open to abuse by fools, as well as declaring Velcro as a permanent fixing. I have seen to many masks that are missing elements of the liner missing. I have a constant gripe at fencers stretch out the back of the mask. I was grateful to the person at the BYCs that pointed out one of my fencers had the back strap on the tongue instead of under so I could ask the ref to stop and correct it

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    Quote Originally Posted by Purple Fencer View Post
    The only thing I might have an issue with is carding for the mask falling during the action (unless there was a previously noted issue that was not corrected after being pointed out)...the velcro could easily have failed even though it was OK when putting the mask on...stuff DOES fail on the strip.
    I think the prospect of a potential yellow card unfortunately is likely to be be a bigger incentive to keep a mask in good condition than the actual safety aspect. Good velcro should not fail during a fight is it was fine at the beginning a of the bout.
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    A quick word of warning for those updating from old style LP Xchange bibs to new ones. Despite the cost, the new bib does not come with the back strap - it's an extra unless bought with the full mask. Just fallen fowl of that little ruse and had to buy one after getting the bib.

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    Since when did a Safety Committee have the authority to change the rules of fencing?

    If it happens to any of my fencers I'll protest all the way up to the Prime Minister.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SAD View Post
    Jackedor, I have to disagree the mask has an inherent weak spot . The design is open to abuse by fools, as well as declaring Velcro as a permanent fixing. I have seen to many masks that are missing elements of the liner missing. I have a constant gripe at fencers stretch out the back of the mask. I was grateful to the person at the BYCs that pointed out one of my fencers had the back strap on the tongue instead of under so I could ask the ref to stop and correct it
    I get what you're saying but it mus tbe pointed out that ALL masks are open to foolish abuse.

    I'll say what I've always said - I've seen plenty of old school masks fall off.

    You are correct that we should be checking masks before tournaments... but how many UK tournaments have weapons control?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gav View Post
    You are correct that we should be checking masks before tournaments... but how many UK tournaments have weapons control?
    Weapons control will not pick up incorrect fitting masks generally, or traditional masks where the tongue is not bent down correctly which is the real issue here, as this can only really be seen when on a fencer's head, so is very much an 'on the piste' issue. Referees checking at that point is key as will also pick up other issues (removable bibs not fitted correctly for example)

    This weekend, at the Elite Epee, it was noticeable that I did not have to mention mask issues to anyone on piste, however several people had mentioned to me that they had sewn back-straps together to remove the chance of velcro failing, which I think is probably the best option anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jahl View Post
    Weapons control will not pick up incorrect fitting masks generally, or traditional masks where the tongue is not bent down correctly which is the real issue here, as this can only really be seen when on a fencer's head, so is very much an 'on the piste' issue. Referees checking at that point is key.

    This weekend, at the Elite Epee, it was noticeable that I did not have to mention mask issues to anyone on piste, however several people had mentioned to me that they had sewn back-straps together to remove the chance of velcro failing, which I think is probably the best option anyway.
    It would if you made it a directive. If people turn up with masks that are not fitted correctly you can get them to fix it on the spot. If it has check marks but isn't comforming well ...

    This is about changing culture.
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    Previous Jahl post was from me, she was still logged in on my computer..

    Quote Originally Posted by Gav View Post
    It would if you made it a directive. If people turn up with masks that are not fitted correctly you can get them to fix it on the spot. If it has check marks but isn't comforming well ...

    This is about changing culture.
    But whether a mask has a control mask or not have no effect on whether it would be suitable on the piste. The fact masks have been checked in advance would undoubtedly mean referees would be less thorough as they would see a control mark and simply deem the mask as suitable.

    The important check is on piste at the start of every poule/fight as between mask control and fencing, people can easily undo a velcro or pull the tongue up as they are adjustable.

    In terms of kit checks on pistes by referees, that means 'plastron & mask is checked at the start of poule for example, and checking zips are done up, braces are not hanging, socks are pulled up, glove velcro is closed, mask is on correctly for every fight (even hit).. Just a quick look up and down covers it and is an important referee check.

    Culture generally only changes with a bit of a stick approach, whether for wearing seat belts or smoking in pubs/restaurants.

    The whole mask falling off issue has been around for the 35 years that I have been fencing and this is the first time that BF has made a call on it which actually has any substance.

    I am very pleased with as I have seen probably 50 + masks fall off in that time and many very close calls with point near faces. I am personally amazed that I have not heard of a major injury in the UK caused by a mask coming off, however it is only time if things did not improve.

    If any coach complains that a fencer is yellow carded for their fencer's mask falling off is doing their fencer a dis-service. Surely they should be making sure all their fencer's masks are safe in advance of an event to ensure it is not going to fall off in the first place, as fencer safety trumps everything.
    Oundle, Peterborough & Stamford Fencing

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    Quote Originally Posted by cesh_fencing View Post
    Previous Jahl post was from me, she was still logged in on my computer..



    But whether a mask has a control mask or not have no effect on whether it would be suitable on the piste. The fact masks have been checked in advance would undoubtedly mean referees would be less thorough as they would see a control mark and simply deem the mask as suitable.
    You're completely missing my point here.

    Culture generally only changes with a bit of a stick approach, whether for wearing seat belts or smoking in pubs/restaurants.
    Yes/No. Carrot and stick. Change is hard. Standards need to go up. Weapons control is about MORE than just a response to a mask issue.

    The whole mask falling off issue has been around for the 35 years that I have been fencing and this is the first time that BF has made a call on it which actually has any substance.
    Exactly right? We both agree that this is long overdue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gav View Post
    Yes/No. Carrot and stick. Change is hard. Standards need to go up. Weapons control is about MORE than just a response to a mask issue.
    In what way.

    Weapon control just for the sake of it does not improve an event, just makes it more complicated and expensive for both fencers & organizers.

    What level of weapon/kit control do you want, including bodywires, all whites, masks? And at what level of competition?

    I personally think that almost all fencers want to arrive with kit they have checked is OK, on time for a correctly equipped event, that it starts straight after check-in close, it runs smoothly without big breaks and for referees to do the correct checks etc to ensure the event runs safely and the overall huge majority of decisions are correct (mistakes will always happen as we are human). And on an admin side that there is good communication before and after the event.

    Such things as weapon controls, separate finals halls (especially with raised pistes), coloured pistes for last 8 etc are nice, but are in no way actually improving an event to a point that the costs/time/hassle outweigh the benefits.

    Again I come from both a competitor and organizer background and really have looked at the balance of what is wanted, what is needed and what is practical to deliver both financially and on a time basis, and on the success of the Elite Men's series I really feel we have the balance as close as we can to what the Epee community wants.

    Anyway, most importantly hopefully BFs actions will make fencing safer for all involved.
    Oundle, Peterborough & Stamford Fencing

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    Quote Originally Posted by cesh_fencing View Post
    In what way.

    Weapon control just for the sake of it does not improve an event, just makes it more complicated and expensive for both fencers & organizers.
    Control has 2 purposes at an event. First and foremost is safety via the punch test and visual inspection for masks, visual for gloves. Secondly it's a functionality test (if done) for lames and cords.

    That's hardly complicated or expensive....when stuff fails because it wasn't checked in advance so problems could be corrected BEFORE hitting the strip....THEN it gets complicated.

    What level of weapon/kit control do you want, including bodywires, all whites, masks? And at what level of competition?
    Depends on the event and the organizers. I've been the only armorer at local level events with 200 total people coming through and we only checked masks (punch test only) and gloves. I've also been the only armorer for regional points events over a 3 day period and ran full NAC (North America Cup) control on everything...including conductivity testing.

    At something like a NAC or US Natonals?? We tend to have an armory crew of 7-8 people -- needed when you might have several thousand people come through the line over the course of the event (Like our just0completed nationals....2 week orgy of fencing, 9000+ entrants over almost 5000 individual fencers.)

    I personally think that almost all fencers want to arrive with kit they have checked is OK, on time for a correctly equipped event, that it starts straight after check-in close, it runs smoothly without big breaks and for referees to do the correct checks etc to ensure the event runs safely and the overall huge majority of decisions are correct (mistakes will always happen as we are human). And on an admin side that there is good communication before and after the event.
    That almost never happens even at out largest events....although the vast majority of the issues there are on the fencer's side. So many fencers need a national level armorers to retape their foil blades....urgh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gav View Post
    You are correct that we should be checking masks before tournaments... but how many UK tournaments have weapons control?
    A better question would be how many tournaments anywhere have control done by people who actual;ly have a clue about HOW to properly do it?

    You're on Fencing.net and over the years, you've see myself and other US armorers complain about how some people do the mask punch test (oy!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Purple Fencer View Post
    That's hardly complicated or expensive....
    It is in terms of extra space for it happening, fencers having to arrive earlier to get kit controlled(so often requiring extra overnight stays), as well as the extra armourer costs to man a proper weapon control.

    In reality in the UK there would probably not be enough qualified/competent armourers in the UK to cover all the bigger UK events, so in practical terms is a bit of a non-starter IMHO.

    As for the punch test, I would not want that done on one of my masks..
    Oundle, Peterborough & Stamford Fencing

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    Quote Originally Posted by cesh_fencing View Post

    As for the punch test, I would not want that done on one of my masks..
    However, the rules DO give the armorer the right to test a mask that is suspect....and I suspect EVERY mask that comes to my station...FIE or not.

    Why? Before I started armoring, I saw a brand new mask -- still in the plastic bag in the shipping box -- FAIL the test on the first try....in front of the fencer's eyes.

    I'd MUCH rather that happen at control than on the strip.

    One reason we rarely see injuries through the mask in the US is BECAUSE of the punch test.

    If I'm running control, your mask is getting punched...period. Matters of safety are not open for discussion.

    As for the test damaging the mask....only if it's very old, maybe (and in that case it should not be on the strip in the first place)...I grabbed a beat up mask from my club -- one that was about to be tossed anyway -- and tried to make a hole for my mask test video using the punch.

    Sat on the same spot and must've done the punch there a few dozen times.....nothing.

    I ended up grabbing a large screwdriver and prying the strands apart to get the failure I needed to show.

    The idea that punch testing the mask damages it does not hold water...not in the above example, and not considering how many times a mask goes through punch testing in the US for heavy competitors....and I'm NOT talking about FIE ones.

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