Equipment Requirements

These are the basic items of equipment required to take part in any of the steel longsword tournaments of the Irish Historical Fencing League. These requirements also form the baseline for many other tournaments on the island.

Protective Gear:

  • Fencing Mask: Suitably rated fencing mask (CEN Level 1 minimum, CEN Level 2 highly recommended) with no signs of serious damage, dents, rust etc.,
  • Mask overlay: SPES/Red Dragon or similar overlay for the fencing mask,
  • Back of the Head Protection: rigid protector covering back of the head with no significant gaps,
  • Throat Protection: rigid throat guard (gorget) or a layered throat protection preventing the blade to go under the bib (3 layers minimum),
  • Jacket: well padded HEMA jacket or similar offering good protection against strikes (under plastrons/rigid chest protectors are highly recommended but not necessary),
  • Elbow Protector: hard shell protection of the elbow joints,
  • Knee Protector: hard shell protection of the knee joints,
  • Shin Protection: hard shell protection of the shin is required,
  • Forearms Protection: additional forearm protection is recommended but not necessary,
  • Gloves: fencing gloves with full level of protection applicable to longsword, eg. Sparring Gloves, SPES heavy gloves, Koning Gloves etc., Metal Gauntlets and Red Dragon gloves are NOT allowed!
  • Groin Guard: Obligatory for men,
  • Rigid Chest Protector: Obligatory for women.


Most tournaments will be conducted on a BYOW (Bring Your Own Weapon) basis. Organizers will have some spare weapons supplied by themselves and event sponsors, but it is recommended to bring your own.

For Longsword:

A well maintained ‘Federschwert’ or ‘flexible blunt’ type of sparring longsword with no visible signs of damage, and appropriate edge thickness, flex, and tipping to be safe for high intensity sparring.

Each weapon will be checked before the bout for signs of damage, and flex tested.

Any weapon judged likely to behave in too dangerous a manner (too stiff, too much flex etc., unsafe tip, jagged ill-maintained edges, etc.) will be rejected,