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All AFF tournaments are fenced using electrical apparatus and require full fencing uniform.
At the AFF level, all protective clothing and blades must meet with the standards set by the FIE.
All AFF tournaments have a Weapons Control, to which equipment must be presented for approval before it may be used at the tournament.
The FIE has set minimum standards for all competitions, based on the degree of resistance (measured in newtons) offered by the items. Equipment manufacturers submit sample items to the FIE for approval. When an item is approved, it may bear an FIE logo. The manufacturer will normally incorporate the FIE approval into their own logo, and will display it on the exterior of the items. The logo will also state the level of resistance (in newtons) offered by the item.
For AFF tournaments, the following protective equipment is required:
FIE approved mask, with elastic at back and 1600 newton resistant bib. Note that conductive bibs are required for foil events, except for National School Individual and Team Championships. Please note that in late 2011 / early 2012, there were two mask piercings at Australian events. These were of Wuxi and Absolute Fencing FIE-labelled masks. Competitors should make themselves aware of any recall arrangements associated with these mask brands before competing using these masks.
FIE approved jacket and breeches, resistant to 800 newtons. An exception to this is the National School Individual and Team Championships, which require 350 newton resistance.
FIE approved underplastron, resistant to 800 newtons.
(Note: some older masks may be only 800 newtons: these are not acceptable for AFF events.)
Foil and epee Blades
The FIE also approves foil and epee blades. The FIE logo is stamped into the forte of the blade, just above the tang, so it is immediately behind the guard of an assembled weapon.
Sabre blades do not bear an FIE logo. However, they do have to display an S2000 marking on the forte of the blade, immediately behind the guard of an assembled weapon.
The "S2000" indicates that the blade passes the required standard of rigidity. If Weapons Control personnel feel that a blade has become less rigid with age, they are within their rights to apply an approved test to the blade, and to fail it if it does not pass the test.
All necessary equipment must be approved by Weapons Control at the tournament (see here). Once approved, equipment will be marked: referees will usually check equipment for Weapons Control marks at the start of a fencer's first bout. Presenting to the strip with equipment that does not bear Weapons Control marks is a Black Card offence.
It is usual for Weapons Control to check the following:
- Masks for safety (and conductivity, in the case of sabre)
- Lame jackets and bibs/masks for conductivity (foil and sabre only)
- Gauntlets/golves for conductivity (sabre only)
- Bodywires (for conductivity)
Details of Weapons Control times are included in the tournament timetable. It is usual for Weapons Control to be open the evening before the first event, and then at least one hour before every event in the tournament.
Under-13 / Under-11 events
The AFF does not run events at the Under-11 and Under-13 age levels. Therefore, it does not have a formal policy in relation to blade sizes for those age groups. However, it is recognised that State Associations may have different policies regarding the size of blades for various age-group competitions.
The move to a nationally consistent policy on this matter has been seen as desirable. A nationally consistent policy would minimise confusion, difficulty and potentially cost for fencers travelling to interstate competitions, particularly where that state may have a different specification to their home state.
Consequently, in February 2013 the AFF Executive encouraged State Associations to consider moving, where relevant and with appropriate timing, to the following policy position in the context of either establishing, formalising or reviewing their state age-group competitions.
• Under-13 Age State competitions sizes: no restriction on blade size
• Under-11 Aged State competition sizes: Foil and Epee: blade size 0 - 3, Sabre: no restriction
This recommendation acknowledges that for all age categories, coaches and fencers/parents should discuss the size that best suits each individual, and it should also be governed by what is weight-appropriate for each fencer in the context of both their physical and fencing development.