White On White – The Parts Of A Fencer's Uniform

There are only a few pieces that make up the uniform worn by fencers. One of these parts is based upon the history of the sport, while the others are more for functional protection. Here are the main parts of the fencing uniform and why they are significant.

Fencing Jacket and Pants

The largest component of the fencer's uniform is the long-sleeved white jacket. The jacket is long-sleeved mostly for protection, but also to reference the historical aspects of the sport.

While in today's fencing world, competitors are permitted to adorn their white uniforms with assorted emblems, or minor color variations, the real reason behind using the color white is actually somewhat gruesome. In previous centuries, fencing was more than just a sport; it was often a duel to settle a dispute - a dispute that was ultimately settled by drawing blood by piercing your opponent.

Consequently, in those times the ultimate end was not to activate hidden electrodes inside the coat to score points, but to draw blood. Therefore, white fencing coats carry as much of a sense of dedication to the history of the sport as they do with their function.

While not nearly as important as any of the other pieces of fencing gear, pants are usually also white. This is as much to match the jacket, as it is to pay tribute to the history of fencing. Regulation fencing pants are knickers with white socks, or ankle length slacks with heel straps like a ballet uniform.

Protective Equipment

The remaining pieces of a fencer's uniform are designed for protection. Even the padding on the saber arm of the fencer is to help avoid injury from contact that does not score points in the match. The other items are all padded to protect the fencer.

  • Underarm Pad

Each fencer has a padded area under his or her saber arm. Often when extending in a lunge to attempt a score on their opponent, their underarm is left exposed. This pad is designed to prevent injury to a very sensitive part of the human body.

  • Breast Protector

For women fencers, there is a padded breast protector. These pads are inside the two breast pockets on the front of the fencing jacket.

  • White Glove

Only the saber hand of the fencer uses a glove. The off hand is kept bare. This glove is also padded for protection, usually about halfway up the forearm. Beginner fencers can use a glove that covers the entire arm, padded up to just below the shoulder.

  • Mask

The fencing mask must be worn at all levels of competition to protect the face and head of the fencer. It has a padded bib to protect the throat and a wire mesh facemask to protect the face of the fencer. The mesh is made of a rigid material that can withstand the force from an opponent's saber. As with all the rest of the pieces of equipment, for more of a historical purpose the fencing mask is also white.

So, while the equipment that composes a fencing uniform is customarily white out of a dedicated reverence for fencing history, it is the protective features that are most important. Luckily for today's competitive fencers, the design and the color of their uniform pieces is for protection and not to show where they have been pierced by their arch rival's saber with a design on mortally wounding them. For more information, contact companies like Fencing Armor.