A lot of people ask me about what items and grades of fencing kit they should buy and, for that matter, what fencing kit I personally use and how it is set up. It’s difficult for me to answer what fencing kit any individual should buy because different people have such different ambitions, preferences and budgets. I’m always happy to explain about the fencing kit I use but again, just because a particular combination works for me, taking into account my style, build and idiosyncrasies, it doesn’t mean the same combination is going to be right for you (and it may be completely wrong for you). So lets talk it all through.
If there is any company instantly associated with British Fencing it is Leon Paul. Like so many kids, I used Leon Paul starter kit in the very first fencing session I ever had and I still exclusively use their range today. They have been quietly supporting competitive GB fencers for decades and I am personally very grateful for their support and advice. In my opinion, there is no other manufacturer in the UK offering a better range of quality products for such great value. And if you phone them up to discuss requirements, their excellent and knowledgeable advice is always free!
You need kit to participate in fencing but being a good fencer is not about splashing money on top of the range outfits. Get yourself to the best club you can find and decide what you might want from the sport before you spend anything. Do think about what your fencing kit budget is going to be but never feel that flash gear is going to get you competitive success on its own or is a necessary part of the process. Being a great fencer is primarily about technique, fitness and tactical awareness. Borrowing my épée is really not going to help (but might damage our friendship if you break it).
I’d always advise fencers to buy properly tested and certified kit; never compromise on safety, folks. The good news is that all of Leon Paul’s range satisfies this basic requirement so that’s one box ticked. In terms of ambition, the next thing you’ll need to consider is whether you are thinking of entering competitions in due course. If so, it’s a good idea to acquire kit that will be competition compliant. Many adult clubs and junior competitions, including the LPJS series, specifically require 800N plastrons so it is certainly worth getting one, rather than a 350N, if you can. Children’s competitions often also have specification for blade size in particular age groups. Check the requirements for the competitions you might want to do. If you do have the funds to buy a full set of kit all at once, the Leon Paul starter bundles offer terrific value and are well worth considering. I guess that for most people, and certainly for me as a youngster, it’s more likely about buying kit when you can afford it and/or when Christmas/Birthdays are coming round.