Students are not expected to provide their own equipment when they first start training with Schola Gladiatoria, but obviously people should aim to get their own equipment as soon as possible if they become regular attendees.
Below is a list of some of the suppliers which we use most frequently or recommend the highest.
Reviews section on our forum
for more recommendations.
We have marked the suppliers we most recommend/use below with a tick:
Protective clothing is to some extent a personal thing, with some people wanting more padding than others. However, there are minimum acceptable levels - these are:
Drilling: Fencing mask and thin leather gloves.
Nylon sparring: Fencing mask, padded gloves, chest protector, forearm and elbow guards, shin and knee guards, groin protection. People may want to add padded jackets, throat protection and other pieces as they wish.
Steel sparring: As for nylon with the extras (padded jacket/gambeson essential), but some pieces may require upgrading - for example better gloves etc.
FENCING MASKS, JACKETS & CHEST PROTECTORS
Masks are essential and should be one of the first pieces of equipment you buy (along with gloves). Chest protectors are essential for women and recommended for men. Groin protectors are essential for men.
SPES - Producing excellent kit especially for HEMA, their jackets are much better than sport fencing versions.
The Weapon Store - Producing kit more specialised for HEMA and cheaper than most other companies. They also sell prugilism kit and a whole lot more
Duellist - An alternative for masks and chest protectors.
Leon Paul - For masks, chest protectors and master's padded fencing jacket.
PBT (UK) - PBT are working with the HEMA community to produce HEMA-specific kit. Cuurently they mostly supply standard sport fencing gear, but their prices are good.
For drilling we recommend light leather gloves, and these are essential if training with steel weapons - these can be bought in many places (look on Ebay!). Even gardening gloves would suffice.
For sparring, padded gloves are essential (unless using a basket-hilt/closed hilt as we do for singlestick) - we use various types of glove, as none are perfect for what we do unfortunately (we're helping to develop something better suited for HEMA, but it takes time).
Currently for sparring we recommend these lacrosse gloves as the bare minimum for sparring. For a better glove at a higher price go for these gloves, but don't bother getting more expensive ones for now, as they are not any better for what we do.
For discussion about different gloves see this thread on the forum.
It is recommended to wear sweat bands around the wrists under the gloves, for added wrist protection (this is sort of historical as well, as late-19th century singlestick players wore a rubber ring around the wrist for the same purpose!).
Forearms guards - basic ones can be bought from many martial arts outlets. We recommend these forearm guards which have been specifically made for Escrima and other weapon arts.
Alternatively, SPES now sell an excellent type of forearm guard which also covers the elbow
Essential for men - these can be bought in various forms, from martial arts types, to a simple cricket box from a sports shop. Example.
SHIN & KNEE GUARDS
These are optional (though recommended) in nylon sparring and essential in steel sparring. They are particularly useful in one-handed sword styles, and sword and buckler, where the leg is more often a target. We favour the Brushcutter guards - in fact they couldn't be better if we had designed them ourselves, and they are very good value for money in our opinion.
These are essential for steel weapon sparring unless your jacket includes extra throat protection, as the SPES jackets do. You can find various types and makes, but they must have a piece coming down the chest slightly, like this example.
We use these exclusively for beginner drilling and sparring (more advanced students use these as well as steel weapons). Schola Gladiatoria were one of the groups used to test and improve this line of practice weapons. At the moment longswords and medieval style one-handed swords are available and we use the backswords for sabre (with some modifications). Soon there will be a dedicated sabre simulator available as well (we have the prototype to test).
- Ensifer - Well priced and tough 'feder' swords, as well as blunt and sharp swords.
- Péter Regenyei - Unbeatable prices on 'feder' swords, these have become the standard sparring sword of many groups across Europe now (Schola Gladiatoria included). He also sells sparring sabres and good functional blunt swords.
Arms & Armor in the US and Albion in Europe do sell excellent quality practice swords that look like 'feder' swords, but due to their price and the fact that they do not flex as easily as true 'feder' swords they have now been surpassed by products from the sellers above.
Another manufacturer worth mentioning in the US is Darkwood Armoury, who produce very popular sparring rapiers. Their longsword and sabre sparring simulators have not really taken off in Europe however, no doubt largely due to the high prices of shipping and tax.
Despite military sabre fencing being a fast growing discipline, there is a real shortage of options for good quality affordable sparring sabres on the market. Several people (us included) are trying to remedy this and hopefully within a year we will see various manufacturers selling decent sabres. Currently a lot of groups use the Hanwei Hutton (available from the Knight Shop, for example), but it is a really poor substitute.
Armour Class - reasonably priced swords and good quality. Be as specific as you can when making orders - ask for an oval grip, not their standard round ones. If ordering a longer type of blade then specify that you want them to use thicker steel and make it stiff.
Castle Keep - excellent quality custom swords.
The Knight Shop - Hanwei/Paul Chen and Museum Replicas weapons. Great service.
Medieval Weaponry - Hanwei/Paul Chen weapons.
Owen Bush - top-end custom pattern welded blades.
St.George Armoury - superb quality custom swords, blunt or sharp.
Tod's Stuff - superb quality knives and daggers, but can also make very nice messers/falchions, crossbows etc.
- Albion Europe - Superb swords, Albion have set the bench mark by which even more expensive custom swords are measured. Albion are in our opinion the best non-custom swords on the market, and better than most custom swords.
- Die Seelenschmiede (Steffan Roth) - Top quality custom swords - he'll make anything you want.
- Albion - Superb swords. Albion are in our opinion the best non-custom swords on the market, and better than most custom swords.
- Arms & Armor - Good quality, but lack the finesse of Albion. They make other weapons besides swords, however.
- Odin Blades - beautifully crafted custom swords by John Lundemo.
If you are considering buying an expensive item then it always pays to look online for reviews about the maker and their products - please feel free to come and ask questions on the Schola Forum, where you will find a great number of very experienced people to give you their opinions and help.
|Last update: 16/05/2012|