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.
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, gorget 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.
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 can be found from a wide range of sources but a popular beginers option for HEMA is the Knight Shop’s Red Dragon Mask
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.
The Red Dragons are ok as a general sidesword glove, and many fencers use them for steel sidesword. However the Faits d’Armes gloves are really only useful as rapier gloves or drilling gloves for anything with more cutting power.
The Sparring Glove 5 Finger Special are great for sidesword, and their mittens are one of the best options for longswords!
There are a couple of new five finger gloves which may be suitable for a variety of weapons arriving on the HEMA scene soon, the ProGauntlet and the THOKK Weapon Master Gauntlets.
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.
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.
A lot of people opt for the SPES AP Jacket. 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.
You could also get a Black Armoury jacket which are pretty solid and the neck goes over your mask bib.
Joints and Limbs
The Knight Shop have made their own which can be purchased here.
For your knees and shins the Red Dragon shin protectors can be found here.
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.
Back of Head Protection
There are two types of back of head protection overlays or plates.
Off hand training tools
As time goes on we will be covering items in the off hand including daggers, bucklers, rotella and cloaks.
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.
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 recommend that all swords have a rolled or spatulated tip and require all swords used in classes have a blunt attached to avoid 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.
Recommended smiths include Balefire Blades, Regenyei, Castille, Kvetun Armoury, Pike Armoury, VB, Black Fencer and Darkwood, though there are plenty of other good smiths out there feel free to ask for more recommendations.
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.
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.