Review: "Kurtka Standard F3" jacket by Akademia Broni

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Review: "Kurtka Standard F3" jacket by Akademia Broni

Postby KeithFarrell » 14 Nov 2011 15:09

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Text according to Google Translate:
"Comprehensive body protector is recommended in the fight against weapons of metal likely to cause abrasion or injury to the hands. The disadvantage of this protector is to increase the user's body temperature. Benefits include full upper body protection and good cooperation with other protective gear. Due to the very light weight jacket STANDARD F3, in principle, does not restrict movement and does not slow down the fighting. Long sleeves allow for precise deposition of thrusts on the forearm and shoulder, which is particularly important in sword fighting."

Some information about these products in a previous thread:
http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=16395

According to the previous thread about Akademia Broni, as of December 2010 these jackets were retailing at 490zl, or roughly £96 or €111, then with shipping in addition to this price.

At the recent Swordfish 2011 event, one of the people there had one of these jackets for sale for 800 Swedish kroner, so roughly £88. I tried on the jacket and it fit well; it seemed very constricting at first, but this is the first fencing style jacket I have ever worn, and everything is rather constricting when compared to a t-shirt! That being said, it was not overly restrictive. A few sparring bouts later and I was really quite happy moving about in it.

It has a decent level of protection. It offers more padding than a cheap gambeson, probably more padding than most gambesons in the £50-£80 range. I can't speak for gambesons of better quality (and thus more cost) than that since I have not had the opportunity to try any myself. It does a good job of protecting against strikes and slices, although I found that thrusts from untipped steel weapons often made their way into the lines of stitching between the padding. That being said, if practicing with synthetics or steels with tips on them, this issue with thrusts would not be a problem.

The zip is at the front-left of the jacket so it is very easy to open and close while wearing it myself. The neck is fastened with a piece of velcro that goes a little round behind at the left, but I can reach this myself and so I don't require any help to get into or out of this garment.

The elbows have a clever design, the pattern of padding changes from diamonds to vertical tubing, which allows the elbows to bend very easily without any effort. This means that both the inside and outside (and also the top and bottom) of the elbow joint are padded and protected without any sacrifice in terms of mobility.

The top of the shoulders have reasonably good padding, although not any more padding than anywhere else on the torso. The arm pit has some padding as well, but is sewn with the sleeves hanging naturally at a slightly downward angle. This means that raising the arms into a high overhead Vom Tag position for longsword does cause the jacket to lift; however, Vom Tag at the shoulder does not cause any problems, Ochs causes no problems, and a hanging guard for sabre or broadsword causes only the smallest amount of lift. This means I can train quite safely without worrying about the jacket lifting and exposing the lower parts of my torso as long as I am aware that I become exposed if I move into a full overhead Vom Tag. I do this very rarely though so this shouldn't be a problem for me :)

The neck is stiff and does stand proud from the jacket. This gives a little protection for the lower part of the neck, but not huge amounts.

The jacket does cause me to heat up quickly, faster than when wearing a gambeson. That being said, I stop heating at a certain point, rather than continuing to heat and starting to cook in a gambeson. In this jacket I merely become quite warm, and remain quite warm for the duration of wearing it. I have not yet found myself becoming overly hot by wearing it for a single bout, and no doubt when I have had more practice at wearing it so that I become used to its effects I will not have any problems dealing with the heat after numerous bouts.

The label says that the jacket is a size 52. I don't know if that is centimetres or inches or an arbitrary size of 52. Across the chest under the armpits I measure 36 inches (91cm). Around the shoulders I measure 44 inches (112cm). Whatever the system of measurement, this size 52 jacket fits me very well, and I think I may even begin to find it comfortable after a few more sparring bouts in it!

How safe do I feel in it? I certainly feel that it gives me a very good level of protection for general practice and friendly sparring with synthetics and even with steels. I don't know if I would fancy stepping into a Swordfish tournament with it though, it might not be quite thick enough... That being said, I haven't taken any really heavy hits while wearing it yet, so I can't really say how well it protects against such strikes.

On the whole I would say that the jacket is a pretty good piece of equipment, I am very glad that I made this purchase at Swordfish, and for the price I think it is quite reasonable. I wouldn't necessarily recommend for any of my students to go out and try to buy it though, because the Akademia Broni website is not exactly user-friendly for those of us who don't speak Polish, and even for our members who do know that language it does not appear to be possible to place an order through the website. So if any of my students saw one of these jackets in person then I would recommend making the purchase, but I would not recommend going out to try to buy one online.
-- Keith Farrell --
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Re: "Kurtka Standard F3" jacket by Akademia Broni

Postby Bulot » 14 Nov 2011 16:12

Thanks, I've been looking for such a review.
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Re: "Kurtka Standard F3" jacket by Akademia Broni

Postby Joeli » 24 Nov 2011 17:18

I fenced yesterday with a person using the whole F3 protection system, including the front plastron, and the polycarbonate enforced leather forearm guards, that are actually attached to the jacket by straps and velcro strips, using the fuzzy surface of the jacket to ensure no-slip protection. It seemed relatively light weight compared to the amount of protection it gave, but seemed to be hot as hell even in the chilly fencing hall. Apparently, getting a whack from a langes messer still stung a bit, but didn't create significant bruises. The gloves that go with the medium protective system seemed to be the weakest link. The gloves and the knee/shin pads were plain old motocross stuff, barely enough for light fencing. But i guess that's what they are meant for anyway.

I was also very impressed with the sabres and single sticks sold by the company:
http://www.akademia-broni.pl/submenu2-1 ... biaLa.html
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Re: "Kurtka Standard F3" jacket by Akademia Broni

Postby KeithFarrell » 05 Feb 2012 15:57

After using the jacket regularly for about three months, it is worth posting a follow-up review.

I this think is an excellent jacket, definitely worth a price tag of £90-£100 (depending on exchange rate on the day), quite possibly worth a bit more. I would probably pay up to about £120 for this, so the 490zl price tag is pretty good - if it is still the same price as before, of course!

Now that I have had a chance to become used to wearing something restrictive like a jacket during my fighting, I always wear the jacket for sparring and I enjoy wearing it. Obviously it will not make me invincible to heavy hits, but I feel safe inside it knowing that if something does land then the impact will be cushioned somewhat. Especially with my arms, I'm not so worried about someone landing a slightly-too-heavy hit on me; I do not recall receiving any bruises on my forearms or upper arms since starting to wear this jacket, so it has done its job as a protective garment very well!

I find that I do heat up quite quickly inside it, but it is not a problem. I heat up and then stay at pretty much the same temperature. That means I can become used to fighting in a warm garment and the warmth is not debilitating. Previously I used a gambeson from time to time, and although it took longer to heat up, it kept heating and I always had difficulties dealing with the temperature after only a couple of minutes of sparring. This jacket will see one's body temperature rise but not to uncomfortable levels.

The fact that the zip is on the front of the garment is wonderful. I can put on the jacket and take it off again by myself, no assistance required. There might be a little less padding and protection around where the zip is but for the weapon systems that I practice (longsword, broadsword, sword and buckler, dagger, polearms) this has not been a problem.

The neck of the jacket is designed to help catch incoming thrusts that slide up under the bib of a mask. I feel quite safe and secure knowing that there is that backup feature, and although it has never been a problem for me so far, if that accident does happen at some point then I am quite confident that this jacket will help protect my throat.

The armpits of the jacket are well padded and do an excellent job of protecting this area of the body. Just in general drilling a few nights ago, I received a strong thrust from my partner that went into my right armpit. The jacket dampened the impact significantly and made what would otherwise have been a very painful experience into merely a not-very-gentle reminder that I made a mistake about exposing my armpit.

Another significant benefit of the jacket is that it does look very professional. It is tidy and neat and looks good when worn, it certainly helps to project the image that HEMA is a professional and modern sort of martial art and not just a bunch of people getting together to play with swords and perhaps dress up in pseudo-historical clothing. I feel much more confident that I am giving the right sort of impression that my Academy is a professional organisation when I am wearing this jacket at events with people both within and from outside the Academy, and this is important for me.

The website for the Akademia Broni website is still not very user friendly, which is a shame. If it was easier to order from them then I would not hesitate to recommend this jacket to my students and in fact to anyone else who asked me what sort of protective equipment is good. I think I will try to contact them to see if things could be made easier as I would genuinely like to see more people wearing this jacket.
-- Keith Farrell --
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Re: "Kurtka Standard F3" jacket by Akademia Broni

Postby Mearcstapa » 30 Jul 2012 02:56

Keith - can you remember the seller you purchased this from, or know of anyone rather than Akademia Broni themselves who sell them?
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Re: "Kurtka Standard F3" jacket by Akademia Broni

Postby KeithFarrell » 30 Jul 2012 08:10

Mearcstapa wrote:Keith - can you remember the seller you purchased this from, or know of anyone rather than Akademia Broni themselves who sell them?


I bought mine from an individual who was selling his; unfortunately I do not know of any company that is selling this make of jacket other than Akademia Broni.
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Re: "Kurtka Standard F3" jacket by Akademia Broni

Postby Mearcstapa » 30 Jul 2012 13:35

Thanks. I will ask them about the cost of postage to the UK and put their reply here for future reference.
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Re: "Kurtka Standard F3" jacket by Akademia Broni

Postby Mearcstapa » 01 Sep 2012 09:46

Marcin says that the jacket is €124, with shipping €28 to the UK. Jackets can apparently be made to order for €25 extra.
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