HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

HEMA Alliance news, as well as upcoming and past events.
User avatar
Richard Marsden
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 2539
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:17 pm
Location: Phoenix Arizona
Contact:

HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby Richard Marsden » Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:37 pm

Hello.

One of the tasks at the start of the HEMA Alliance was a Safety Policy. We now have one! The purpose of the policy is explained in the text of the document. However, to cover a few issues before they arise.

1- We did not create the policy in a bubble. We did work with organizers from, Longpoint, Pacific North West, Socal Swordfight, and others. We had input from those whom we felt were knowledgeable in their field, and even consulted a doctor! I've also mentioned us working on the policy for some time, so it shouldn't be a total surprise.

2- The safety policy does not cover every specific situation. You may have unique situation or question. Before attending an Official Hema Alliance Activity (this includes HEMAA club practices, the regional events etc.), please contact the organizer of that event beforehand with your concerns. They'll be the ones to handle local issues and they'll come to us if needed.

3- Event organizers are encouraged to use the Safety Policy as a starting point for their own policy. Do not be surprised in an event requires more than the Hema Alliance Safety Policy. Do not be surprised if an event has specific gear approval/disapproval lists. This is their prerogative. We have set a standard, clubs, regional events and so on are free to go beyond it.

4- Clubs are free to practice how they like with only a few activities we outright disapprove of. Sorry, we disapprove of you fighting naked with sharps, nor will the alliance cover any claim you make if you get hurt doing that!

5- A general rule of thumb. You can do what you want. We will not insure everything that you do.

6- If you're not a Hema Alliance member, or don't go to Official Hema Alliance Activities, then this policy does not apply to you.

7- If you are a HEMAA member and have grave concerns, or you just love getting involved in policy-making, please contact me via PM or FB and let me know that you want to be on the Safety Council. The Safety Council will be a group of volunteers who want to look the policy over, then agree to pass on recommendations to the GC.

The policy was a long time coming and we've done our utmost to meet its stated goals.

Richard Marsden
President of the HEMA Alliance

User avatar
Richard Marsden
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 2539
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:17 pm
Location: Phoenix Arizona
Contact:

Re: HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby Richard Marsden » Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:37 pm

Safety Policy
The policy is in the interest of protecting spectators, our members and maintaining our insurance, while at the same time allowing freedom of study.

Safety is divided up into

Purpose
Definitions
Responsibilities
Activities Outside the Policy
All Activities
Disapproved Activities
Practice
Cutting
Tournaments
    Synthetic/Wood/Rattan
    Steel or Aluminum
    Saber/Single-Stick with Shell or Basket Guards
    Rapier/Dagger
    Wrestling/Grappling/
    Armored (Harnessfechten)
Filing a Claim

Purpose
The Safety Policy of the HEMA Alliance is for the protection of the participants, spectators, Alliance and the preservation of our insurance policy.

The Safety Policy is not a limitation on the choices that members of the HEMA Alliance can make in their pursuit of HEMA, but only a limitation on which activities, and associated equipment, can be defined as Official Activities of the HEMA Alliance, and thus covered by HEMA Alliance insurance.

The Safety Policy is not designed to provide specifics for every conceivable situation. The policy is a base-guideline which official HEMAA activities are to use. The policy will alter when needed to meet the needs of the community. HEMAA affiliates and event organizers are encouraged to use the policy as a starting point and fit it to their activities.

Definitions
Activity = A tournament, practice, or other event officially registered with the HEMAA. This also includes specific activities such as, drilling, sparring, cutting, etc.

Cutting = A solo activity using sharp weapons to cut non-living targets.

Competitive Sparring = Sparring whose purpose is adversarial and outcome-oriented tending to be more intense than free-play.

Drills = Activities where the sword is used to perform non-competitive actions. These can be solo, or done in groups.

Event = A tournament, club-practice, demo or other activity.

Free-Play = Sparring done as a form of practice rather than as a form of competition.

Liability Insurance = Limited protection from lawsuit costs and damages, provided for HEMA Alliance Approved and Registered activities.

Official Activity = An activity run by a HEMAA individual or affiliate and registered on our Official Activities Board.

Secondary Insurance= An official activity has secondary medical insurance. All affiliates are required to have primary health insurance to be eligible for secondary medical insurance. If an injury claim is filed, after the primary insurance is used, the secondary will apply, if the claim is approved by the insurance company.

Example: A member at an official HEMAA activity has their finger broken. They were following the Safety Policy. They would receive care and their primary insurance would be used for such. Costs after primary insurance would then be covered by the secondary insurance. All claims will be investigated by the HEMAA and may be investigated by Francis L. Dean & Associates.

Sharps = Weapons that are sharp or have points.

Slow-Play = Sparring done at slow-speeds as a form of practice rather than as a form of competition.

Sparring = Sparring can be classified as free-form fighting for competition or for practice (slow-play and free-play).

Tournament = Sparring that is competitive and follows a standard set of rules.

Trainer = A simulator for a weapon, such as a steel, aluminum, synthetic or wooden sword.

Responsibilities
HEMAA requires one person, a member, to be ultimately responsible for the execution and compliance of the safety policy at any event or activity. Insurance coverage is dependent upon said execution and compliance.

It is the organizer’s responsibility to ensure an activity meets the Safety Policy.

It is an organizer’s responsibility to interpret what gear falls within the policy.

Example: If an attendee asks, “Are my gloves good enough?” The organizer must determine the answer using the Safety Policy as a guide.

It is an organizer’s responsibility to ensure trainers, weapons and any metal are free of splinters, sharp edges, points, rust or burs.

Activities Outside the Policy
Activities which work outside the policy are not covered by it.

Example: The HEMAA safety policy requires sturdy gloves for competitive sparring. If an event were to allow competitive sparring without such equipment, it would not be covered by the HEMAA insurance policy.

To be clear- You can do what you want. The HEMAA will not insure everything that you do.

All Activities
Organizers will be conscientious of bystander's safety. This will include a reasonable amount of space between those engaged in an activity and those who are spectators.

Any metal weapons, trainers, armor or other equipment must be free of burs and rust.

Organizers will have a first-aid kit on hand.

Participants, spectators and organizers must have a verbal signal to halt any action for safety reasons. “Hold!” or “Halt!” being examples. This applies to all activities.

The activity must be a function of an Affiliate of the HEMA Alliance (such as a regularly scheduled class or practice session) -OR- special permission must be received from the Governing Council for a Member or Members not associated with an Affiliate to hold an official activity.

The activity must be posted, before it takes place, on our Official Activities Board.* Recurring regularly scheduled practices only need to be posted once until the schedule changes. These are all considered Official HEMAA Activities.

In order for a particular individual within an official activity to be covered by insurance, there must be a waiver on file, a General Waiver provided to us by Francis L. Dean & Associates, and the HEMA Alliance Supplementary Waiver. Both waivers must be maintained by the affiliate. In the case of special permission for non-Affiliates to hold an official activity, the waivers must be sent to the HEMA Alliance.

Waivers are available here:
http://hemaalliance.com/documents/HEMA. ... Waiver.pdf

All official activities must be in compliance with HEMA Alliance Safety Policy.

At least one HEMA Alliance individual member must be present.

In addition to the above requirements, Affiliates must ensure that their attendance does not exceed the participant number x[size] of the affiliate x[membership] they purchased (see the group affiliation page for details on how to calculate number of participants). Exceptions to this limit can be made for occasional demos, tournaments, or special events, at no additional cost or at a reduced cost, with permission from the HEMA Alliance.

Disapproved Activities
The HEMAA wishes to allow its members the most freedom possible, but some activities are so dangerous as to be explicitly listed as disapproved. The HEMAA in no way endorses the following:

Sparring or opposed drilling with sharps.
    We do not want anyone seriously maimed or killed.

Sparring without proper head protection.
    We do not want anyone losing their eye or teeth.

Sparring without proper hand protection.
    We do not want anyone having their fingers broken.

Practice
Practice can include drills, slow-play, free-play (non-competitive sparring), and much more. The type of activity will determine the safety requirements. The HEMAA leaves it up to the organizers to reasonably protect their members.

The HEMAA wishes to preserve freedom of study for its members. Organizers should use the equipment they think is sufficient for a practice activity. If a reasonably preventable injury occurs, then it will not be covered by the HEMAA insurance policy.

Example: An organizer decides to let members at a practice to engage in free-play with no gloves. If any hand injuries were to occur, it would not be covered by the HEMAA insurance policy because such an injury was reasonably preventable and hand injuries are a common and well-known issue.

Example: An organizer decides to let members at a practice engage in slow-play with padded gloves. If any hand injury were to occur, it would most likely be covered by the HEMAA insurance policy because padded gloves are reasonably sufficient for slow-play.

What is reasonable? The HEMAA and possibly Francis L. Dean & Associates will investigate any claim and an organizer should be ready to explain why they believe their claimant was reasonably protected during the time of the injury.

Cutting
The HEMA Alliance insurance only covers the use of sharp swords for the purpose of cutting non-living targets, solo-drills, or solo-practice or solo-competition.

Extreme awareness for bystanders and participants is mandatory, with a large area cleared for the one performing the cutting or those drilling with sharp weapons.

Cutting is a solo-activity. Two or more people with sharp weapons will not be cutting in the same area at the same time.

Drills or solo-competition with sharps will be done with plenty of room between participants.

Tournaments
Organizers are to use the following guidelines for tournaments. Organizers are free to alter the guidelines by providing more specifics as well as increasing requirements. Organizers cannot decrease safety requirements and remain protected by the HEMAA insurance policy.

Example: If an event wants to require shin-pads, it may do so. If an event wants to list specific gear it approves, it may do so. However, an event that had no hand-protection requirement could not use the HEMAA insurance policy if a hand-injury then took place.

To be clear - If a person is injured by engaging in an activity outside of the Safety Policy, then that injury is not covered by the HEMAA insurance.

Tournaments refers to intensive sparring whose purpose is not training, but competition.

Synthetic/Wood/Ratan Safety
(For longsword, saber, and single-handed trainers (with no robust guard) other than rapier)
(For staff or spear with synthetic heads)

Head = Head protection must cover the entire face and front of the throat for drilling and slow sparring, and the entire head and front of the throat must be covered in competitive sparring. It must be sturdy enough to withstand impacts. There should be no gaps in coverage that would allow a thrust or strike to the face.

Throat = A covering to protect the throat.

Torso = Clothing to cover the body.

Groin = An internal or external cup.

Elbow = Hard elbow covering to protect the joints.

Hands = Sturdy gloves or gauntlets must be used to protect the hands and wrists. Gloves must include protection on the sides and tips of the fingers sufficient to resist hard strikes from steel or synthetic weapons. An unsupplemented lacrosse glove is not sufficient.. Steel Gauntlets need additional interior padding of some sort, however a mechanic’s glove has minimal padding and when used inside a metal gauntlet would not be sufficient. Most HEMA-dedicated synthetic gloves or gauntlets, such as Sparring Gloves and Black Lance, are adequate. Finger breaks and hand injuries are the most common and organizers should be conscientious of this.

Legs = Hard knee covering to protect the joints.

Feet = Covering of some sort.

Trainer = The trainer must be free of splinters or burs. The tip must not come to a point. Edges must be blunt or blunted.

Steel/Aluminum Safety
(For longsword, saber (with no shell guard), and single-handed trainers other than rapier)

Head = Head protection must cover the entire face and front of the throat for drilling and slow sparring, and the entire head and front of the throat must be covered in competitive sparring. It must be sturdy enough to withstand impacts. There should be no gaps in coverage that would allow a thrust or strike to the face.

Throat = A covering to protect the throat.

Torso = Clothing to cover the body. Clothing should be puncture resistant, or three layers.

Groin = An internal or external cup.

Elbow = Hard elbow covering to protect the joints.

Hands = Hands = Sturdy gloves or gauntlets must be used to protect the hands and wrists. Gloves must include protection on the sides and tips of the fingers sufficient to resist hard strikes from steel or synthetic weapons. An unsupplemented lacrosse glove is not sufficient.. Steel Gauntlets need additional interior padding of some sort, however a mechanic’s glove has minimal padding and when used inside a metal gauntlet would not be sufficient. Most HEMA-dedicated synthetic gloves or gauntlets, such as Sparring Gloves and Black Lance, are adequate. Finger breaks and hand injuries are the most common and organizers should be conscientious of this.

Legs = Hard knee covering to protect the joints.

Feet = Covering of some sort.

Trainer = The trainer must be free of splinters or burs. The tip must not come to a point. Edges must be blunt or blunted.

Single-Handed Trainers with robust guards.
(Including single-stick or saber with shell guards)

Head = Head protection must cover the entire face and front of the throat for drilling and slow sparring, and the entire head and front of the throat must be covered in competitive sparring. It must be sturdy enough to withstand impacts. There should be no gaps in coverage that would allow a thrust or strike to the face.

Throat = A covering to protect the throat.

Torso = Clothing to cover the body.

Groin = An internal or external cup.

Elbow = Hard elbow covering to protect the joints.

Hands = Gloves.

Legs = Hard knee covering to protect the joints.

Feet = Covering of some sort.

Trainer = The trainer must be free of splinters or burs. The tip must not come to a point. Edges must be blunt or blunted.

Rapier Safety
(For rapier, court-sword, spadroon, dagger and other primarily thrusting, metal trainers)

Head = Head protection must cover the entire face and front of the throat for drilling and slow sparring, and the entire head and front of the throat must be covered in competitive sparring. It must be sturdy enough to withstand impacts. There should be no gaps in coverage that would allow a thrust or strike to the face.

Throat = A covering to protect the throat.

Torso = Clothing to cover the body. Clothing should be puncture resistant, or three layers.

Groin = And internal or external cup.

Elbow = Hard or soft elbow covering to protect the joints.

Hands = Gloves.

Legs = Hard or soft knee covering to protect the joints.

Feet = Covering of some sort.

Trainer = The trainer must be free of splinters or burs. The tip must not come to a point. Edges must be blunt or blunted.

Wrestling
The HEMA Alliance approves of wrestling without strikes.

Safety requirement is a mouthguard to protect the teeth and an internal cup to protect the groin.

Tournament officials should be highly aware of when to intervene in the case of joint-locks, or any other situation in which harm can come to a participant.

As with ALL activities, organizers, participants and spectators need to be able to use a verbal cue to halt the action, such as calling “Hold!” or “Halt!”

Armor
The Safety Policy for Harnisfechten (Armor) is designed with rigid spears, pole-axes, maces etc. in mind. If using longsword trainers only, an organizer could default to the policy for Longswords and have less armor requirements.

It is recommended that any armors be made of hardened steel, carbon steel or stainless steel, as mild steels cannot take similar levels of impact without damage as the other steel types. While these steels tend to be more expensive than mild steels, they offer a higher level of protection. There is no requirement to use higher quality steels, but armors from mild steels should be made thicker than the others to provide the same level of protection.
Below is a list of the minimum requirements that are required to participate in Harnischfechten:

Head = Due to the importance of one’s head the following requirements for helms must be met: Several types of materials can be used for helms and it is important to understand different metals have different strengths. The minimum thicknesses for helms is:
1. Stainless Steel: 16gu
2. Hardened Steel: 16gu
3. Mild (cold or hot rolled steel): 14gu
4. The above thicknesses include visors and faceplates

No open-faced helms are allowed. Any visor must have the ability to lock or buckle closed to prevent opening during combat. Any visor slit must be fitted with pref-plate or have cross bars that prevent sword thrusts from entering the visor. Visor slots/eye slots should be smaller than the trainers being used so that a thrust cannot enter the helm.

The helm must be padded or suspended properly to prevent impact damage from being transmitted to the user’s head. Padding can be made with quilted cloth, foam or any other material that can reduce impacts but must be at least .5” thick.

Throat = Armor for the neck such as a gorget with supplemental armor worn as needed.

Torso = Armor for needs to be worn for the following.

Shoulders (collarbone, ball, top and back),
Spine (in its entirety, including lower spine and tailbone)
Chest (Top of the breastbone to the bottom of the rib-cage, including kidney protection)

Groin = An internal cup (An external cup can also be worn in conjunction with an internal)

Elbow = Solid armor for the elbows.

Arms = Solid or splinted armor for the limbs (upper arm, lower arm).

Hands = The hands must be protected by gauntlets made of steel plates.

Gauntlets must cover all of the wrist.

Gauntlets must protect all fingers and thumbs.

If fingers do not “ground out” on the weapon haft, it is recommended that the fingers be padded to absorb some of the impact of a weapon.

Finger tips should be protected by the gauntlets.

Legs = Solid or splinted armor for the limbs (shins, thighs) and solid armor for the knees.

Feet = Sturdy covering of some sort.

Several types of materials can be used for armor. The minimum thicknesses for torso and limb armors is:
i. Stainless Steel: 20gu
ii. Hardened Steel: 20gu
iii. Mild (cold or hot rolled steel): 18gu
iv. Leather armors can be worn, however they should be of the “splinted” armor types with splints protecting the forearms, thighs and shins. Leather should be at least 8 ounce leather (1/8” thick) and hardened (via oil, paraffin or wax treatments), or 12 ounce un-hardened leather.

Making a Claim
Please contact a member of the GC.

Note that this post was rearranged by Michael Chidester after discussion. The original arrangement has been moved to this post for any necessary future reference.
Last edited by Richard Marsden on Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ken Mondschein
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 310
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:24 am

Re: HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby Ken Mondschein » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:03 pm

While most of this is sensible, it's very longsword/messer-based. There need to be provisions for classical and late historical weapons. I think it's asking too much to ask for people to wear full-head masks for dueling sabre, épée, smallsword, or even rapier. An Absolute mask is really excessive for Hanwei or Darkwood dueling sabre blades, and I have never, in something like 17 years, ever been hit in the back of the head with a rapier.

Also, is this supplemental medical, or liability insurance? I'm confused by the requirement that affiliates have primary medical insurance. Should we now turn away (Obamacare notwithstanding) uninsured potential memebers?

Also, for the armor requirements, what about mail? In my fourteenth-century gear, I wear a breastplate over a haubergeon and gambeson; my neck is protected by an aventail, mail standard, and my haubergeon; my spine by my gambeson and mail. I've never had a problem. (Mild steel, BTW, works very well; in fact, because it dents, it can transmit less force than hardened steel.)

Finally, the "sparring" and "competitive sparring" distinctions are confusing, especially since, to me, "sparring" means "practice boxing," whereas the thing with weapons is "bouting" or "fencing" or "competition." "Competitive sparring" seems a contradiction in terms. Can't we just draw a white line between "competition" and "practice"?
Last edited by Ken Mondschein on Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Richard Marsden
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 2539
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:17 pm
Location: Phoenix Arizona
Contact:

Re: HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby Richard Marsden » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:12 pm

@Ken
Please read the first postings for your concerns. Both would likely be handled on-site at an event by that organizer. As for an Official Practice, if you spar with a helmet that has no back of the head protection, and are injured, you cannot make a claim using the HEMAA insurance.

You are free to do what you want. We will not insure everything that you do.

Also, is this supplemental medical, or liability insurance?

Both!

Keep an eye out for our Safety Policy Council, and thanks much!

Ken Mondschein
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 310
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:24 am

Re: HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby Ken Mondschein » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:18 pm

Cut and PM'ed to RM.

User avatar
Richard Marsden
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 2539
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:17 pm
Location: Phoenix Arizona
Contact:

Re: HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby Richard Marsden » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:29 pm

-Taken to PM-

Jonathan Allen
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 1122
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:37 pm
Contact:

Re: HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby Jonathan Allen » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:58 pm

Steel Gauntlets need additional interior padding of some sort, however a mechanic’s glove has minimal padding and when used inside a metal gauntlet would not be sufficient.


This phrase needs to be explained. What exactly is a "mechanics glove"? If a steel gauntlet grounds out against the hilt, do we need any additional padding?
Jonathan Allen
Scholars of Alcalá
San Diego, CA
http://grauenwolf.wordpress.com/

User avatar
Jeffrey Hull
Posts: 1364
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:23 pm
Location: North America
Contact:

Re: HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby Jeffrey Hull » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:08 pm

So do the unnamed men of the safety board - whoever they are, doubtlessly all male - have any awareness of fatty tissue necrosis and the high expense and anxiety of false-positive medical testing results due to concussive trauma to the female bosom which can happen due to fencing without a plastron? Oh, if not, then maybe said gentlemen ought to read this essay by a lady fencer and educate themselves:

Should women fencers wear chest protectors?

All them rules demanding the men protect their precious junk (with double-cupping for harness fighting no less!), but no rules to encourage the women to protect their precious breasts.

I am outraged. This is an outrage. :!:

Jonathan Allen
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 1122
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:37 pm
Contact:

Re: HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby Jonathan Allen » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:22 pm

I remember the SCA Rapier community having a big blowup over that issue. Almost universally the men we demanding that they wore additional breast protection and the women insisting that it be a personal decision. I have no personal position on this issue, I just wanted to warn you that it has the potential to be a long and ugly argument.
Jonathan Allen
Scholars of Alcalá
San Diego, CA
http://grauenwolf.wordpress.com/

User avatar
Jeremy S.
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 453
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:41 am
Location: Central CT

Re: HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby Jeremy S. » Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:16 am

A few questions and clarifications:
1. LAX gloves are OK for practice, which includes free play, yes? And a big "no" for tournaments or "competitive sparring"
2. Throat protection: a fencing mask provides throat protection. Or do you mean something in addition to that?
3. Anytime steel is used, the torso covering should be puncture resistant. Right now in the "Tournament" section the way the saber w/ and w/o a shell guard is broken down puncture resistance is required for a Polish-type saber but not for a saber with a shell guard.
4. I agree with Ken, BOH protection for the classical and late historical weapons seems excessive, especially when the national governing bodies of similar martial sports (sport epee and saber for example) do not require it for their insurance coverage. Same with knee protection for weapons systems that specify valid targets are above the knee/waist in the period sources.

And no groin protection should be external except for fighting in full plate. Unless, you know, there are LED lights involved (which I have for you btw) :lol:
Sharing my love for all things sharp and pointy
Western Swordsmanship Technique and Research
HEMA Alliance


Return to “Announcements & Events”