As the 2017-2018 season gets underway with the October NAC in Anaheim, I’d like to cover some points of emphasis:
First, no rule changes, major or minor, for the upcoming season. As you may have heard, the FIE has officially shelved their rules experiment with non-combativity, making moot any question of adopting the proposal at any time in the United States. No other major rules changes have been proposed or adopted for 2017-18.
Armorers at NACs have been instructed to inspect any elastic strap-style safety devices on masks. At the direction of US SEMI, the armory staff at each NAC this season will begin inspecting the integrity of the elastic strap on fencing masks; this includes the horizontal safety strap on masks with the strap-and-metal-tongue design, and the straps webbing on Comfort Fit Leon Paul masks. The armorers are to ensure that the strap(s) stretches (the elastic has not been worn out) and is in satisfactory condition. From US SEMI:
“To check, give the strap a gentle tug. If there is no stretch or if it’s just too big to hold the mask in place, reject the mask and advise the strap be repaired. Do not fail or confiscate the mask. It is acceptable to stitch up a band to make it shorter as long as it can still stretch to hold reasonably well to the back of the head; otherwise, it must be replaced.
We understand there is some judgement involved in the terms “decent condition” and “reasonably well”. Therefore, for this season, it is advisable to be a bit more lenient in accepting or rejecting masks. For questionable cases, point out the problem and advise the fencer to get the strap repaired soon.”
Solder lugs cannot be used to secure weapon wires to the socket inside the guard. US SEMI was asked to make a recommendation on this practice, which some armorers have been using when assembling weapons. The solder lug and shrink-tubing obscures the connection of the wire to the socket. When wiring your weapons, please secure the wire in the typical way, i.e. wrapping the wire around the socket post and securing it with the bolt and washer.
Referees should be aware that this method of wiring the weapon has been deemed unacceptable at the direction of US SEMI, and apply the rules (specifically t.45) associated with non-conforming equipment.
Thanks, and good luck out there,
On behalf of the Referees’ Commission and the Rules Committee