In order to train in historical fencing some protective equipment is required, as of course is a sword. The specific equipment necessary for any class, event or workshop is listed on its page.
If you have the necessary equipment already then you should bring it along as newcomers are always given priority with the Society’s equipment stock.
The Dawn Duellists Society does hold a store of equipment for new members to borrow until they can get their own. For your first few sessions, or to attend an event or workshop, all you will need is loose clothing suitable for physical exercise with footwear such as trainers. Gloves are the one item you may want to bring along if you have a suitable pair. From there you can begin to put together the equipment listed below.
- FIE level 2 (1600N) fencing mask
A heavy gauge fencing mask is necessary.
- Sturdy gloves
A sturdy pair of gloves such as sports fencing gloves used for sabre. Sturdy leather gardening gloves or other robust gloves will also do, so long as the fingers and wrist are fully covered.
- Padded gloves
A pair of padded gloves such as specialised fencing gloves. Gloves for sports such as cricket, lacrosse or ice hockey will also do, so long as the fingers and wrist are fully covered.
- Standard fencing jacket
A standard fencing jacket such as those used in sports fencing.
- Heavy fencing jacket
A heavy leather plastron, padded fencing jack or gambeson.
- Chest protection
A plastic chest protector which goes under the jacket or a plastron are ideal.
Advisable for gentlemen fencers but lady fencers may also find it beneficial during sparring to wear one.
- Additional protection
For free-fencing or sparring, it is best to have arm and leg protection - sports protectors or riot gear for limbs and joints are ideal. Neck protection such as a gorget may also be desirable.
A two-handed longsword which is still light enough to be wielded one-handed is most suitable.
- Rapier / sidesword
An early style rapier (sidesword) with flat blade is most suitable.
Original or reproduction military sabres are most suitable. Classical sabres, sports sabres, singlesticks or spadroons will do at a pinch but are not fully suited to the class.
- Sword & buckler
A single-handed arming sword and a round buckler 9 - 12" in diameter (flat or bossed) are most suitable.
SafetyFor obvious safety reasons all swords MUST be completely blunt, free from rust and burrs and made from materials suitable for the purpose. Although the training equipment listed is neccessary for safe practice within our classes, the DDS cannot stress enough that the first and most effective safety measure lies in personal control of all actions. This is naturally taught by all instructors with regard to the relevant classes and techniques.
Swords, Training weapons and hand-made wares
Corsairs Wares supply historical fencing weapons from top brands as well as high-quality hand-made wasters and goods for medieval re-enactment.
The DDS make occasional bulk orders of swords and training weapons from them, allowing members to make a significant saving. Speak to an instructor if you are interested in this.
Bucklers and protective equipment
Get Dressed For Battle is mainly a re-enactment supplier but it is a good place to get fencing jacks or gambesons, and bucklers.
Tim Noyes is a well regarded maker of medieval swords. You can choose one of his designs or make your own specifications, but either way please remember to stress the need for a WMA suitable sword. This is an expensive option and something to invest in only if you are serious about the art.
Sport fencing equipment
Leon Paul make good quality FIE level 2 masks suitable for historical fencing as well as standard level fencing jackets, gloves and chest protectors which can be used with lighter weapons.
The DDS make occasional bulk orders of masks and similar protective equipment from them, allowing members to make a significant saving. Speak to an instructor if you are interested in this.
Swords, bucklers and protective equipment
Medieval weaponry sells a variety of manufactured swords and bucklers which are suitable for historical fencing (look in 'Practical' and 'Fencing' sections), as well as protective equipment such as padded clothing.
Please note that some swords have interchangeable blades and make sure that your choice of one-piece weapon or hilt + blade combo is labelled 'blunt' or 'practical'.
Swords and bucklers
The Knight shop sells a variety of manufactured swords and bucklers which are suitable for historical fencing. Please note that some swords have interchangeable blades and make sure that your choice of one-piece weapon or hilt + blade combo is labeled 'blunt' or 'practical'.
High Quality Swords made in Scotland
Armour Class is a swordsmith based in Glasgow who makes both medieval and renaissance weapons at reasonable prices and of good quality, suitable for sparring.
Please note that whilst these suppliers have in the past proved to be satisfactory to DDS members, the DDS are not able to guarantee your experience will be as good.
SwordsFor value for money, we recommend the following weapons for our current set of classes. It's best to shop around the websites selling these to see who has the lowest price and, unless you want to pay hefty import tax, use a UK seller.
Hanwei medieval practical hand-and-a-half sword
- Rapier / sidesword
Hanwei practical sidesword
Hanwei Hutton Sabre
- Sword and Buckler
Hanwei medieval practical single-hand sword