Did you know that you can get a cool design on your mask and have it approved for competition?

Did you know that Jamaica has an official mask design? And that Russia does not?

Jamaican Fencing Mask
Jamaica’s fencing mask design. via the JFF Facebook Page

Recently, the FIE had started approving country designs for fencing masks and these masks showed up for the 2012 London Olympics to great fanfare.

As far back as 2001, Italian fencer Paolo Milanoli showed up at the World Championships in Nimes with his “Evil Clown” mask. He was not permitted to fence the championship bout in the mask but did put it on for his post-victory celebrations.

evil clown fencing
The famous Evil Clown fencing mask.

It took 10 years before mask designs would be formally allowed on the international stage.

In order to use one of these masks at an FIE tournament, the mask design must be on the approved list, but what about for local or US National events? Are you restricted to just the national colors, or can there be designs for your team, club, or personal use?

That topic has been discussed a little bit on the forums and now the Fencing Officials Commission has put out a statement on just how they will approve mask designs:

Although mask designs have been legal for some time, their popularity started to skyrocket with the introduction of Team USA’s mask with the United States flag on it. Up until recently though, in USA Fencing competitions, the legality of a mask design was left solely to Head Referee at an individual fencing competition. This made it challenging for fencers to know ahead of time if their mask would be allowed. In an effort to help fencers prepare for tournaments, this rule was recently changed. As can be found in the Board of Directors meeting minutes from September 2013 (page 6), the new rule is:

Masks may feature colored designs, on condition that they are approved by the Fencing Officials Commission at least 30 days before being used for the first time in an official USA Fencing competition OR at the discretion of the head referee. Fencers must submit pictures that clearly show the entirety of the design. Accepted designs will be posted on the Fencing Officials Commission website.

The hope is to provide an alternative method of ensuring that mask designs will be legal prior to a tournament. This rule will be incorporated into the next version of the rulebook. Approved designs can be found posted on our website and fencers interested in having their mask designs approved should email pictures of their mask to [email protected].

Do you already have a mask design in the works?

Once there are designs approved by the FOC, they will live at this page: Approved Mask Designs.

Designs approved by the FIE: Approved FIE Mask Designs

Lee Kiefer - Team USA. Photo: S.Timacheff/FencingPhotos.com
Lee Kiefer – Team USA. Photo: S.Timacheff/FencingPhotos.com