So what are properly protected kids wearing to their Chinese sword fighting lessons these days? Do they need foam swords, armour, helmets, or what? I'll show you what ours are wearing and why:
Minimum Equipment For Beginners
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Fencing masks are the best option we've found. They protect the top of the head, face, and most importantly, the eyes. Since we are using padded foam swords' a fencing mask is protective enough. They come in kids sizes. It's no good buying one too big with the thought that your child will grow into it. We quickly discovered what the kids named the "cheese-grater" effect. If you are wearing a fencing mask that's too big and another kid pokes his sword at the face mask, it moves and connects with your face, removing small dots of skin. A correctly fitting mask will not do that. Choose the right size. You can always sell it to a new club member later, and buy a bigger one. We usually have some spares for sharing.
All of our kids start off with custom made jian swords. These are foam swords made of a thick dowel wrapped in closed cell camping mat foam. Then they are covered with a sock, or silky cover and taped together. They have a leather, jian shaped handle. Some kids who are strong enough train with wooden swords, but only the oldest actually fight with them. To do that, they must have full armour (gloves, gambeson, tasset, and a solid helmet.) I make the custom swords for kids. There is a discount for our club kids ($12), or they are $20 each plus postage to buy from me. If you want to make your own kids foam swords, click here.