Definitions

When you start fencing choosing the right kit can be very confusing. To help you get started here is a glossary of basic terms that relate to equipment.

350 Newtons (CEN level 1)
A Newton (N) is a measurement of force. Uniform material that is certified to resist 350N of force, meets the European standard for fencing uniforms and is given the rating of CEN level 1. This is the minimum standard for fencing protective clothing and items certified as CEN level 1have been verified to comply with European safety regulations. All of the non-FIE protective equipment that Leon Paul manufacturers meets or exceeds the 350 Newton European standard.

800 Newtons (CEN level 2)
Uniform material that is certified to resist 800N of force has been tested and certified and given  a rating of  CEN level 2. In order to be given FIE approval, uniform material must conform to the CEN level 2 standard. 800N clothing is considered to be safer and more protective than 350N clothing.

FIE (Fédération Internationale d'Escrime)
This is the international governing body for the sport of fencing, based in Switzerland. The FIE is responsible for writing and enforcing the rules for the sport of fencing, and for setting the standards of fencing equipment.

FIE Approved Equipment

FIE Approved equipment is required for FIE sanctioned events, which include high-level tournaments such as World Cups, World Championships and the Olympic Games. It is not required for domestic events, up to and including national championships. FIE Approved equipment (blades, uniforms, masks, under-arm protectors) are evaluated by independent testing laboratories and the results are then sent to the FIE, who makes the decision to award FIE Approval to the item. The manufacturer applies the FIE Quality Label to items that have earned FIE approval. Equipment such as body cords and lame’s must conform to the FIE Rules, but are not required to actually go through the FIE approval process.

Lame
Pronounced La-may not lame, as in duck! This is the conductive over jacket that is used for electric scoring in both Foil and Sabre.

Manchette
Also known as an over-glove. A cuff made of conductive material that saber fencers wear over a regular glove. This is used for the scoring systems to identify a hit to the forearm. 

Plastron
Also known as an underarm protector or sous-plastron, depending on the country that you live in; this is worn under your jacket on your sword arm and gives extra protection to the most commonly hit part of your target area.

Breeches
This is the British name given to trousers worn to just below the knee. In America Breeches are known as knickers.

Maraging Steel
This is the type of steel most commonly used in FIE weapons. FIE blades are tested to withstand a very high number of bending cycles so they break less often, so they are considered to be safer.  Maraging steel blades are more expensive than standard, carbon steel blades.