Most fencing clubs own equipment for use by beginners in classes. Maintaining this equipment is important for three reasons: (1) safety, (2) cost control, and (3) marketing and retention. In this article I will address key actions to achieve reasonable objectives in these three areas for the equipment typically used for beginners: masks, jackets and underarm protectors, gloves, and dry weapons.
The first key is attention to whether equipment will provide its intended protection. Masks must be checked on a regular basis with a punch test: monthly is a good standard. Masks also must be visually inspected to ensure that they are free of dents and that the bibs are in good condition. Jackets must be inspected, and tears and holes immediately patched, or the los angeles dodgers t shirt taken out of service. Gloves must be inspected, and gloves with holes discarded. Weapons with badly bent guards or handles that are coming apart must have the damaged parts replaced. And everyone must be trained to check the buttons on the blade tips to ensure they are present and not worn through.
The second key action is basic cleanliness. Jackets and underarm protectors should not be grey or yellow with dirt and sweat. Dirt and sweat attack the integrity of fibers and thus the protective value of the clothing, and are a basic safety concern. Dirty jackets and filthy mask bibs are a source of transmission for a number of serious skin infections that can afflict athletes. Finally, dirty gloves and jackets stinking of someone else’s sweat are hardly the sort of thing that attract and retain people used to the modern standard of cleanliness health clubs strive to achieve. Your clients have many choices for recreation; it is to your advantage to provide as attractive an experience as possible to them if you want to retain a significant portion of your beginners.
The third key is that equipment should have a reasonable life span. Weapons offer a good example. In my salle members who use salle equipment are trained to sand the blades after use, eliminating nicks that cause possible fracture points and controlling corrosion. Rusty, badly beaten up blades are more likely to break, and broken blades represent two things. First, they are a direct potential for injury. Secondly, blades cost money, and more broken blades mean more money spent on replacement that could be used for something else.
All of this means that equipment management is a major responsibility for a club or salle. Providing clean jackets, underarm protectors, and gloves to students requires a significant logistics effort and someone assigned to do the washing. Inspecting masks and weapons on a regular basis requires that you have a schedule and stick to it. In addition, some of this effort requires documentation. Mask inspections specifically should be documented by when they were done. This also means that you need to draft standard operating procedures that describe exactly how you take care of your equipment… and then follow them.
write by Benedict