Sparring Requirements

Minimum Equipment for Sparring

During class, the instructor will tell you what is required for a particular exercise. However, free or coached sparring will always require a minimum level of equipment regardless of whether the instructor has explicitly stated that you are required to wear it. If you are not using at least the minimum equipment you will not be able to spar safely and will not be permitted to spar. The minimum equipment requirements vary by weapon.

If looking to purchase your own equipment, we  can recommend some equipment suppliers and brands.

Nylon Longsword Sparring

  • Nylon Longsword
  • Fencing Mask
  • Red Dragon Gloves, or HEMA heavy gloves
  • Gorget
  • Box (strongly recommended)
  • Chest Protector (strongly recommended)

Cost to fully kit yourself out with your own set of gear should be ~£140-180

With the exception of boxes (because: ew) we have some loaner gear available for all required items on this list.

Steel Longsword Sparring

  • HEMA Suitable Steel Longsword or Feder
  • Fencing Mask
  • Back of head protection
  • Gorget
  • Heavy HEMA Jacket
  • Box (according to anatomy)
  • Heavy HEMA Gloves
  • Hard Elbow Protection
  • Hard Knee Protection
  • Chest Protector (recommended: according to anatomy)
  • Mask Cover (recommended)
  • Forearm Guards (recommended)
  • Hard Shin protection (recommended)

Cost to fully kit yourself out for steel sparring should be ~£800-£1200 depending on the brands and/or suppliers you choose, and whether you need to do one or more orders.

We do not have loaner equipment for most of these items. If you wish to spar with steel, you will have to purchase your own equipment.

Rapier Sparring

Weapons and Off-hand 

  • Steel rapier (Must be intended for HEMA, blunt and spatulated at the tip. Bullet tips are available from the club. Cup hilts highly recommended for sparring.)
  • Steel dagger (Must be intended for HEMA and flexible enough to thrust safely. Sail hilt highly recommended for sparring)
  • Cloak (optional, should be hard-wearing and unlikely to tear. Beach towels acceptable substitute)

Compulsory Protective Gear

  • 1600N rated Fencing Mask (350N is acceptable for light sparring, but is 1600N is required for tournaments)
  • Light HEMA or heavy Sports Fencing Jacket
  • Light HEMA gloves (any hard wearing gloves – such as motorcycle or gardening gloves are acceptable for light sparring but may not meet tournament requirements)
  • Gorget
  • Box (according to anatomy)
  • Chest Protector (strongly recommended: required if acceptable fit available)

Optional Protective Gear

  • Forearm Guards (recommended for intense sparring, frequently required for competition)
  • Elbow protection (recommended for intense sparring, frequently required for competition)
  • Shin protection (recommended for intense sparring, frequently required for competition)
  • Knee protection (recommended for intense sparring, frequently required for competition)

We have a limited range of spare kit to lend out, but cannot guarantee it will fit to a degree that is safe for sparring. In particular, having your own jacket and gorget is useful in both class and sparring.


  • Smallsword
  • Fencing Mask
  • Light Fencing jacket (standard sports fencing jacket is sufficient)
  • Hard Chest protection/plastron
  • Box (strongly recommended: according to anatomy)
  • Light HEMA gloves

Whilst we have plenty of spare masks and some swords, there are very limited jackets/chest protectors for use and these are highly beneficial in training so you are encouraged to get your own.