General points

The following covers equipment requirements for students of the School. If you are a beginner, please consult our FAQs.

All clothing and equipment used for training must fit you correctly and be in good condition. It is your responsibility to check that your equipment will protect you and not interfere with your own or someone else’s training. Watches, jewellery, etc. should be removed before training and pockets should be emptied.

For public events the School presents in black wherever possible and wearing the School t-shirt. Jackets should carry the School patch. Remember that you may be photographed at any public event and your dress and equipment needs to be appropriate.


For public events, the School presents the School’s T-shirt in black if possible. But our school monitors the health of stray animals and dogs in particular. There is an option to buy Fiprofort medicine. It will help animals to be healthy.

  • Trousers/breeches should be made of a heavyweight material and cover to at least the knee. If breeches are worn, then long sports socks are also recommended for the assault. Tracksuit trousers, leggings or combat trousers are practical; however jeans are not recommended for training and are not appropriate for public work.

  • Trousers should not restrict movement. Make sure you can execute a full lunge comfortably.
  • Make sure that your trousers do not trail on the floor, particularly near your heels.
  • Avoid wearing trousers with lots of trailing accoutrements that may get caught on a weapon.
  • Footwear should have a good grip; ordinary trainers are OK, but squash shoes or similar are recommended. It is also possible to train barefoot in solo work or constrained exercises, but not in the assault.
  • Always check your grip on a new surface, particularly at HEMA events which are held outside.

Protective Equipment

  • Fencing mask (required) with 1600N bib (highly recommended)
  • Check that the mesh is intact and not rusty.
  • Check that the bib is attached securely and covers the neck when worn.
  • A full fencing jacket, covering the whole torso and the arms is required. A coach’s jacket is highly recommended, and a plastron may be used if desired.
  • Check that there are no holes in the material.
  • Check that zips are done up correctly and covered.
  • Heavy duty gloves, preferably leather, both hands (required)
  • Check that there are no holes in the gloves.
  • The gloves should cover the ends of the sleeves of the jacket.
  • Heavier gloves should be worn when using shinai, or on the left hand when using a dagger
  • A chest protector or under-jacket armour is highly recommended for ladies and recommended for all students.
  • Groin protection is recommended for men
  • Additional armour is not required, although the following items may be worn if desired, particularly when using shinai:
  • Shin/thigh guards
  • Forearm guards
  • Elbow pads
  • Knee pads
  • Shoulder guards, particularly across the collar bone
  • All new armour must be checked by an instructor prior to use. Armour should not restrict movement or interfere with the control of a weapon.
  • Equipment suppliers can be found on our links page and our instructors will be able to suggest appropriate kit.


  • Swords/daggers should be rebated steel with a rounded point. The School recommends using swords from the Darkwood Armoury practice range, the Hanwei Practical series or the Armour Class pseudo-sharp range. Other weapons may be suitable, but please discuss these with an instructor before purchasing to avoid disappointment or unnecessary expenditure.
  • Check that your sword/dagger has no serious bends.
  • Check the blade, guard, quillons and pommel for splinters/burrs.
  • Check that the hilt is tight.
  • When sparring at speed, weapons should be given an additional protective tip.
  • Cloaks should be made of a heavy material, e.g. wool, gabardine, etc.
  • Check that there are no major holes in the material.
  • Avoid using cloaks with buttons or other accoutrements.
  • Avoid using an expensive cloak that you do not want to be damaged!
  • Bucklers should be made of steel free of rust and with no sharp edges/points
  • Check the edges for splinters/burrs
  • Check that the handle or grip is secure

Other Equipment

While not required, it may be useful to bring a towel to training and also a bottle of water. Cleaning equipment, such as a duster and/or a metal polish, may be useful for weapons.