Equipment

Equipment

This page is a list of reccomended suppliers of kit and our safety requirements. For your first sessions you don’t need to worry about this yet as we do have some equipment to loan out to new members. However as you progress you will need to start purchasing equipment.

Safety Requirements

In our classes we expect a high level of safety and as such have some requirements on the equipment that our students use.

All swords must be designed specifically for HEMA, not all blunt swords are safe for what we do as many have little or no flex. We recomend that new students use synthetics to begin with until they are sufficiently practiced and have the requisite safety kit.

For lone drilling you will need a sword and it’s recommened that you wear some light gloves.

For paired drilling with swords you will need a mask, protective gloves and an appropriate sword.

For light sparring with synthetics we require that students wear at least a mask, gorget and appropriate gloves. We recomend back of head protection a box, jacket and hard joint protection.

For more serious sparring with synthetics or any sparring with steel members must wear as a minimum level of protection suitable gloves, mask with back of head protection, gorget, jacket, hard joint protection. Male members must also wear a box. Members are also encouraged to wear chest, shin and forearm protectors.

Starter Kit

Mask, synthetic sword, gorget, gloves and box from Red Dragon can be found HERE

Mask, synthetic sword (with options to upgrade to a Black Fencer trainer) and gloves from Faits d’Armes can be found HERE

Fencing Masks

Fencing masks can be found from a wide range of sources but a popular beginers option for HEMA is the Knight Shop’s Red Dragon Mask

You can get masks from sports fencing websites such as Leon Paul, PBT, AllStar, Gajardoni etc some of whom sell a HEMA specific mask, however a good 3 weapon mask will do fine.

It’s worth considering that whilst a 350N mask is more than suitable for training many competitions require a 1600N (also known as FIE2) mask. If you think you’ll be entering competitions it may be worth saving more and then buying a better mask rather than having to buy two.

Gloves

Gloves are the next thing. For synthetic training which we’ll be doing for some time I recomend either the Red Dragon gloves or these Kevlar Riot Gloves from Faits d’Armes.

Both are ok for drilling and light free play with synthetics, however you will need to upgrade for steel.

Gorget

Now that your face and your hands are protected lets think about your throat. For that I recomend the Red Dragon gorget as a good entry level bit of kit.

Alternatives including these ones from PBT, Neyman Fencing or Winter Tree Crafts.

Synthetic Training Swords

Once you have all of these you’ll be looking for a sword of your own. To begin with we’re all working with synthetics. There are two options.

First off is the Knight Shop synthetic arming sword.

The club swords are these ones with the scent stopper pommell and duct tape along the blade to help with binding.

If you’re interested in spending a bit more for a better sword (which does require a little more protective gear to use) you can get one of the Black Fencer sideswords. These are better weighted and have the proper finger rings which allows you to hold your blade properly with your index finger over the cross guard.

You can get them from Faits d’Armes when they’re in stock, or directly from Black Fencer however there is a wait on orders. On the plus side there’s a variety you can choose from.

Jackets

A lot of people opt for the SPES AP Jacket which is what I wear and am very happy with. You can get men’s versions from The Knight Shop or from SPES directly or the women’s versions here or here. SPES also make lighter jackets with less padding but the same level protection against broken blades.  You can get their Officers Fencing jacket here or here, or the AP Light here or here.

An alternative to the SPES is the Neyman jacket. These are fully customiseable and come in a variety of colours and designs, they’re also 800N which means they’re safer for steel sparring. They can be purchased here.

You could also get a Black Armoury jacket which are pretty solid and the neck goes over your mask bib.

Gajardoni, Leon Paul and PBT also manufacture their own jackets for HEMA.

There are also now the Red Dragon jackets from The Knight Shop in heavy or light.

Joints and Limbs

A common choice of hard elbow and forearm protection come from SPES and can be purchased from The Knight Shop, Faits d’Armes, the AHA or from SPES themselves.

The Knight Shop have made their own which can be purchased here.

There are also alternatives available from Neyman Fencing.

For your knees and shins the Red Dragon shin protectors can be found here.

Alternatively many experienced fencers opt for seperate knee and shin protection. Knee protectors inclue these from Neyman Fencing or the Knee Pros.

For seperate shin protectors hockey guards are popular.

For the upper leg many fencers wear breeches designed with padding and stab proof materials similar to jackets.

The SPES locust breeches are a popular choice which can be purchased from The Knight Shop, Faits d’Armes or SPES directly.

Alternatives can be purchased from Gajardoni, Neyman, PBT or Leon Paul.

Back of Head Protection

There are two types of back of head protection overlays or plates.

You can find solutions on the Knight Shop, Faits d’Armes, Gajardoni, Leon Paul, PBT and Neyman.

Off hand training tools

As time goes on we will be covering items in the off hand including daggers, bucklers, rotella and cloaks.

For synthetic training good daggers can be purchased from Cold Steel or Black Fencer. The Cold Steel daggers can be purchased directly, here or here.

For bucklers you can opt for a Cold Steel synthetic available from Amazon or directly.

Many people prefer a steel buckler, many of which can be found at The Knight Shop. When purchasing consider that Docciolini suggests that ‘The size of the buckler depends on the man who carries it, the width being the distance from one shoulder joint to the other, corresponding to the chest of the man who carries it.

We will also be working on sword and rotella. We advise using a round riot shield. There are various sellers to be found on eBay.

Steel swords

All steel swords need to be specifically designed for HEMA use, as many reenactment blunts lack the appropriate level of flex and safety measures on the tip.

We ask that members either use a blade with spatulated or rolled tip or fit an appropriate cap to avoid any accidental skewering. Obviously any drilling or sparring with steel should be done with the appropriate kit. Steel swords must be free of rust and burrs. Swords that have been bent or damaged should not be used.

Docciolini covers the transition between sidesword and rapier so members are free to decide which they would rather have (or opt for both). If you go for a rapier something on the shorter side is preferable, with a swept hilt rather than a cup hilt such as the Hanwei Practical 37″ Swept Hilt Rapier. You can also get the Regenyei rapiers and sideswords directly from Faits d’Armes when they are in stock.

Recomended smiths include Regenyei, Castille and Darkwood, though there are plenty of other good smiths out there feel free to ask for more recomendations.

Sources

Finally you may also want to have a look at the text we’re working from. The translation of Docciolini’s Treatise we’re studying can be purchased on Amazon here.

Additional Websites

There are plenty of useful Facebook Groups such as HEMA Hacks for ideas on customising your kit, and HEMA Marketplace for purchasing second hand kit.

Hope that all helps, feel free to ask if you have any more questions.