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Insights into the world of fencing and thoughts on life

  • Writer's pictureKate

Fencing Newbie: What do the rules say about fencing with long hair?

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

Each fencing season has its own trends. Fencers, coaches, and referees need to have enough flexibility to adapt to them and adopt them. I have noticed this season (already) that a lot of emphasis is being put on covering target area with long hair. The referees being trained at our Referee Clinic earlier this month were told to really pay attention to this aspect of the rules. Taken directly from the 2014 version of the USFA Rules (with my emphasis in bold added in):


2. When presenting themselves to fence a bout, the fencers must arrive on the strip completely ready to fence—regulation clothing, jacket fastened, sword-hand gloved and holding the weapon, bodycord connected to the plug inside the guard. The mask should be carried in the unarmed hand.

Before the start of the bout, the fencers’ hair must be fastened and placed inside the clothing and/or mask in such a way as to ensure that:

— It does not cover a valid surface (and thus prevent a touch from being scored);

— It does not conceal the name and nationality of the fencer;

— It does not need to be put back in place during the bout, thus interrupting it.

In the case of violation of this rule, the Referee will apply the penalties for 1st Group offenses (t.114, t.116, t.120)

So what’s a long-haired girl (or guy) to do?

The following pictures are examples of hairstyles worn by different female fencers at a recent tournament that conform to the Rules.

Hair gathered at the nape of the neck

Hair gathered at the nape of the neck.

Hair braids tied together

This hairstyle will need to be tucked under the lame while a bout is being fenced.

Side bun

This kind of ponytail will allow the fencer to have it to the side of the mask tongue.

Bun to the side of mask tongue

See how it works?

Or…you can copy my hairstyle 🙂

Short hair

The easiest solution.

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