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Chest guards / torso protection

PostPosted: 03 Feb 2015 05:40
by MEversbergII
Some years back the "standard" recommendation was period-ish gambesons, and I've used them. Then there were some special piece WMA body guards that looked a bit like motorcycle armor and had quite a nice pricetag attached to them as well. There's also sets of motorcycle armor as well, complete with arm scales in plastic, for about half the price, if not less.

But what about these things? ... 9CT0&psc=1 ... Chestguard ... hest+guard ... hest+guard ... hest+guard

They're a bit bulkier, but I'm not sure how much that actually ends up mattering. They appear to be padded well enough, and so long as there isn't big gaps between the pads it looks like it could take a blow or two without trouble. And their prices are a bit nicer. Are these worthwhile at all, or is it a false economy?

I suspect something like a feder or gymnasium sabre, being thin, would begin to chew them up but something like staff or thicker practice weapons (of wood or like the Hanwei practical series) may be fine.




Re: Chest guards / torso protection

PostPosted: 03 Feb 2015 12:57
by Arno P
Those look to give good gapless coverage and impact protection. And the first two also have a bit of clavicle protection which is nice (only just beside the neck though).

I did a lot of research into this last year, including ordering and returning a riot suit and a number of field hockey goalie torso protectors. What I didn't like about the riot suit was the fact that there were a lot of gaps. I wanted a uniform gapless protection against strong thrusts as well as cuts across the entire covered area. I got the same impression for motoX gear. The torso protectors you linked are gapless, however my concern with the construction and choice of materials is that they're geared at protecting against feet, legs, knees, and gloved fists rather than weapons, and may therefore be less durable against weapons. Perhaps still worth it for the price though.

I settled on a Field Hockey Goalie torso protector:
gryphon.jpg (23.32 KiB) Viewed 5563 times

This covers the front, clavicle bone area, and a bit of the flanks. No back coverage. Quite happy so far. Really nice to have a bit of built-in clavicle bone protection too. Didn't find the arm protectors shown very useful.

More detail including rationale for this choice (copy-pasted from my post at viewtopic.php?f=3&t=13977#p334837):

I fence backsword and smallsword and go up against the same as well as against rapier (light & heavy), sidesword, longsword, sabre (light & heavy). I had a thick padded jacket (Negrini Historical Fencing jacket for master in white) for years and found it very hot and sweaty. Therefore instead of getting a similarly thick SPES jacket I wanted to take a modular / layered approach starting with a much more cool and breathable standard sports fencing jacket that I can use when training and sparring with light weapons and that dries quickly overnight when at events so as not to have to start the day in a cold wet jacket ;-). Then the idea was to add additional protection when needed for heavier weapons.

The Gryphon Field Hockey Goalie Body Suit fits the bill nicely, especially when combined with the PBT neck protector to complete the sternum and neck protection and to add even more clavicle protection. It can be put on and taken off in seconds. It goes further down over the abdomen than most field hockey goalie protectors. The individual square cells that you see are padded and have a fairly hard gapless core yet the thing as a whole really doesn't hinder mobility. I wanted something that would protect against heavy cuts as well as against strong thrusts, and apart from obvious gaps around the edges, e.g. armpits, the entire surface in black consists of these hard cells which do the job well. I did not find the elbow and arm protectors that you see in the picture useful, but they are detachable. The back is exposed, but the clavicle bone area is covered. The furthest back bit of the clavicle bones, i.e. the last line of cells angled towards the rear, don't have as hard a core but the whole still protects well against downward strikes I think, especially in combination with the PBT neck protector.

Available e.g. from hockeyfactoryshop (UK): ... rmour.html

Re: Chest guards / torso protection

PostPosted: 04 Feb 2015 05:34
by MEversbergII
That is a pretty good jacket, though the price point approaches some of the specialized HEMA ones. It doesn't look as bulky as the ones I linked above, either, which is probably a good thing.



Re: Chest guards / torso protection

PostPosted: 06 Feb 2015 18:54
by Thearos
At the risk of seeming unmanly, I wouldn't mind something to protect the chest from the jarring impact of smallsword / fleuret thrusts (the gut is easier).

Re: Chest guards / torso protection

PostPosted: 06 Feb 2015 20:42
by Phil C
We use these for smallsword (cheaper are available if you look around)-

Re: Chest guards / torso protection

PostPosted: 07 Feb 2015 00:35
by Thearos
Do these increase the probability of thrusts to the chest slipping off ?

Re: Chest guards / torso protection

PostPosted: 07 Feb 2015 01:41
by MEversbergII
I'd think so. For Smallsword, I intend to get some old style fencing jackets, once I can pin the SO down for measurement. Actually, should probably pick up the chest protectors first, shouldn't I?


Re: Chest guards / torso protection

PostPosted: 07 Feb 2015 09:56
by Glyn
Thearos wrote:Do these increase the probability of thrusts to the chest slipping off ?

If worn under the jacket then a bit, but not significantly. If I remember correctly there was some controversy in the sport fencing world about the use of these for men for this reason, despite them being mandatory for women. As I understand it (and having no involvement in sport fencing) they are legal in competitions if worn under the jacket, but some people feel they are not sportsmanlike and will wear one only if their opponent does.

Over the years I've collected an assortment of HEMA accessories, and this has to be one of the best value purchases. Initially I put it off as no-one else seemed to be bothered by me hitting them. Eventually I realised that while I was hitting them all over their body, past their body, the floor, or stray passers-by, they were tending to hit me in exactly the same place, thrust after thrust. After one weekend event where this seemed to happen for several sessions in a row I bought one and it made things much more pleasant from then on.

I also believe that if your opponent is wearing one then it contributes to your own good form as you no longer feel ungentlemanly about landing a good thrust (on the rare occasions where that is possible :-)

I would note that they don't cover key areas such as armpits, throat or groin, so while they will make things slightly safer their main purpose is comfort and so should only be used with an appropriate jacket (and preferably under plastron as well).


Re: Chest guards / torso protection

PostPosted: 07 Feb 2015 20:49
by Thearos
Thanks. I confess that during drill, I hesitate to land a solid thrust on a training partner, and dislike receiving thrusts to my breastbone.