HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

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Kevin Murakoshi
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Re: HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby Kevin Murakoshi » Thu May 15, 2014 7:25 am

Jonathan Mayshar wrote:Kevin, do you really want the HEMA Alliance to pick a Newton level for fabric, or perhaps several and apply them to different weapons?


Jonathan, I really don't care one way or the other. I honestly think that 350N standard fencing jacket protection is a minimum for all steel weapons, but I assume that most of the HEMAA membership would be against such a rule. However, what I'd like to point out is that you need to give organizers tools to judge what is and isn't acceptable. If you're going to make up terms (or use terms borrowed from other, similar, activities) then it makes sense to define them.

I also noticed that sabers don't require any puncture resistant material. That might need to be clarified. Sabers are thrusting weapons too.

Jonathan Mayshar wrote:Michael-Forest, I think you are conflating two different areas in this debate. Talking about the *type* of occipetal protection would be a continuum issue, but the policy deals differently with the binary of yes/no occipetal. If you want to be covered for a back of the head injury, wear a back of the head protector. If you think that activity X should not require back of the head protection, you shouldn't have a problem agreeing to be outside the policy if a back of the head injury occurs doing activity X.

The reasonableness-on-continuum thing would come into play if you wore a piece of looseleaf paper on the back of your head, or if, as in Kevin's example, you wore 3 T-shirts for 3-layer puncture resistance.


Except that the most recent revision doesn't require occipital protection...

I think that what Michael-Forest is talking about is the continuum of activities, not the continuum of protection. Aside from tournament play, which is well defined here, there are no best practices for any other activity. For example, let's say we're doing static drilling with thrusting rapiers. In this case, I might argue that back of the head protection is unnecessary, as all strikes should arrive to the front of the head. Let's say a fencer flinches, and turns his head and is hit on the back of the head. Would, I as the organizer be covered? Probably.

Now let's consider freeplay, Michael-Forest's example. Many HEMA clubs do freeplay without back of the head protection (especially with nylons). If there were an injury would this be covered? It's not clear, since some HEMA groups do it with, and some without. The policy doesn't really help organizers determine what is reasonable. Further, instructors become personally liable if they make a incorrect decision that is, in effect, a judgement call. Without some more structured guidelines it's hard for people to make informed choices. (otherwise it's easy to play it safe by requiring tournament level gear for any activity). Even a few examples levels of protection would go a long way to helping flesh out the guidelines.

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Re: HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby DavidCoblentz » Thu May 15, 2014 7:34 am

Jonathan Mayshar wrote:Michael-Forest, I think you are conflating two different areas in this debate. Talking about the *type* of occipetal protection would be a continuum issue, but the policy deals differently with the binary of yes/no occipetal. If you want to be covered for a back of the head injury, wear a back of the head protector. If you think that activity X should not require back of the head protection, you shouldn't have a problem agreeing to be outside the policy if a back of the head injury occurs doing activity X.


It may be that I'm overthinking this, or thinking about it in the wrong way, but suggesting that I accept liability for a type of injury that I think is unlikely do happen doesn't quite make sense to me.

I've been teaching for the last 6 years or so and running a school for 2. I've never had any injuries and I don't expect to have any in the near future, but that doesn't mean I don't want coverage in case of a freak, unexpected accident. In a rapier tournament like the one that we ran at SERFO last year, which was thrusts only and targeted only above the waste it would seem reasonable to not require back of the head protection or even elbow and knees. I don't think there's likely to be an injury, but that's not really the point. The reason I want liability coverage is so that if something completely unexpected happens (say, someone trips, falls over backwards and hits their head) I have some protection from being sued. Under this policy, I wouldn't be, and that seems unreasonable to me.
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Richard Marsden
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Re: HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby Richard Marsden » Thu May 15, 2014 3:40 pm

Is SERFO a HEMAA Event?

Is SERFO going to use HEMAA provided insurance?

If yes to both, you'll need to abide by the Safety Policy. We'll deal with back of the head later, since it's been toyed with and I think will get some level of revision. I'm of the opinion most fencing helms have some back of the head built in with the lip. Not cool for longsword, but we'll continue the debate and the Safety Council will provide suggestions.

Now, elbows. I am entirely unsympathetic if you choose not to wear $5 soft elbowpads in a rapier tournament. Come on, you can do that and so can everyone else at the tournament.

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Jeremy S.
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Re: HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby Jeremy S. » Thu May 15, 2014 7:51 pm

Kevin Murakoshi wrote: However, what I'd like to point out is that you need to give organizers tools to judge what is and isn't acceptable. If you're going to make up terms (or use terms borrowed from other, similar, activities) then it makes sense to define them.


This.
The 'practice' section is still woefully inadequate. The majority of time is spent in practice; leaving everything up in the air as a judgement call is not a good idea. Reasonable protection, reasonably preventable injury... examples of minimum protection levels for various things, like in the tournament section, would be helpful. If we're going to have a Safety Policy, then let's have a useful policy.

And I'm still required to wear knee and elbow protection when competing with a traditional smallsword trainer (a foil). I'll bring that up with the heads of the FIE and USFA next time I meet with them about the impending takeover of HEMA. :twisted:
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Michael-Forest
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Re: HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby Michael-Forest » Thu May 15, 2014 8:09 pm

Jeremy S. wrote:And I'm still required to wear knee and elbow protection when competing with a traditional smallsword trainer (a foil). I'll bring that up with the heads of the FIE and USFA next time I meet with them about the impending takeover of HEMA. :twisted:


And I'll be sure to mention to the Scottish Wrestling Bond that a mouthguard and cup are to be required for Backhold tournaments...
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Re: HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby DavidCoblentz » Fri May 16, 2014 6:27 am

Richard Marsden wrote:Is SERFO a HEMAA Event?

Is SERFO going to use HEMAA provided insurance?

If yes to both, you'll need to abide by the Safety Policy. We'll deal with back of the head later, since it's been toyed with and I think will get some level of revision. I'm of the opinion most fencing helms have some back of the head built in with the lip. Not cool for longsword, but we'll continue the debate and the Safety Council will provide suggestions.

Now, elbows. I am entirely unsympathetic if you choose not to wear $5 soft elbowpads in a rapier tournament. Come on, you can do that and so can everyone else at the tournament.


My point wasn't really about the difficult of accessing the equipment (I've got plenty of spare equipment, and I loaned out lots of elbows, knees, and head protection last year for the one of the rapier tournaments we ran which did require them), but rather, being told "If you don't think this is an issue, then you should be fine with doing it and not having the insurance coverage."

Since you brought up elbows, I do find it interesting that the rapier tournaments at Swordfish, SoCal, CenCal, as well as the AHF rapier rules recommend these, but do not require them.

I think the bulk of this safety policy is fine and reasonable, but I think it could benefit from an additional category of non-cutting weapons (with required equipment for rapier being slightly different depending on the rules being used). This would also allow people working with later period weapons like smallswords or classical weapons to follow equipment standards that are consistent with other organizations.
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Richard Marsden
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Re: HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby Richard Marsden » Fri May 16, 2014 6:40 am

@Jeremy

Our design for practice is to leave as much to the judgement of the organizers as possible given the innumerable activities possible and the vast selection of gear choices. There are a few exceptions. Do not fence without helmets. Do not fence with sharps. If you find you are engaged in an activity that is intense sparring, default to the tournament gear.

We can provide guidelines, but there is not going to be an approved list of gear, newton requirements, and so forth at this stage. The tournament section gives you guidelines of what to wear in intense competitive play, while pratice is left more open. We do have a list of disapproved activities.

Foil fencing is not the focus of most HEMAA members, you know that. While wearing elbowpads for foil may seem silly, it is not so for rapier in which cuts can be delivered. Rapier is something more common in HEMAA. There is nothing that says we cannot add a section specifically for classical foil at a later date. This goes for everyone else's 'specific thing', as they occur. Please go to our members only section and let our Safety Policy council know.

@all
Wrestling is a tricky one, and the least developed of the policy. I've had several complaints, including demands that our Safety Policy allow strikes. The HEMAA provided insurance is not the same as that used by say, MMA, or BJJ, or even collegiate wrestling. When the policy was purchased, I do not believe wrestling was even on the radar (this policy is years old now). Wrestling has resulted in two serious injuries already and we are taking steps to incorporate it into our Safety Policy. All suggestions to the Safety Council are possible, but I think when we renew the insurance we'll want to talk with them about wrestling, and the various types we see at HEMAA events, and what it will do to our rates and to what extent they'll provide coverage.

Comparisons to other regulations are fine, but we are not FIE or SCA or BJJ nor do we carry the same insurance policy as them.

The insurance HEMAA provides through Francis Dean is insanely cheap at $15 a person. If we lose it, it will be difficult to replace. Not impossible, but hard. We only have so many insurance bridges out there. If rates go up, that's bad as well. This does lead to another possibility of a group getting insurance on its own for specifically what they do if the HEMAA Safety Policy becomes unbearable.

@Kevin
Even a few examples levels of protection would go a long way to helping flesh out the guidelines.

That is something I think we can do and I am all for examples in the policy.
Last edited by Richard Marsden on Fri May 16, 2014 6:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Richard Marsden
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Re: HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby Richard Marsden » Fri May 16, 2014 6:42 am

@David
I think the bulk of this safety policy is fine and reasonable, but I think it could benefit from an additional category of non-cutting weapons (with required equipment for rapier being slightly different depending on the rules being used). This would also allow people working with later period weapons like smallswords or classical weapons to follow equipment standards that are consistent with other organizations.


Yes. And we can always add other 'things' as they arise. HEMAA is not focused on Classical Foil for example. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist to 'us' and that doesn't mean we cannot have a section for it, if the 'rapier generic' rules don't apply.

rapier rules recommend these, but do not require them.

The Safety Policy will either list it, or not. We won't have too much that says X is suggested or recommended. This is because if your elbow gets smacked up, and we recommended but didn't require elbow pads, while HEMAA would make the claim, our provider could possibly deny it. Maybe they wouldn't. Maybe we can leave it off entirely, but if the provider investigates and sees 'suggested' or 'recommended' in the local tournament rules they can balk. Will they? Maybe. We can be flexible to some extent, and if you have a strong case, bring it to the Safety Council in our members only forum. Some of the 'gear' choice may default to the organizer as well.

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Re: HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby walterggreen3 » Mon May 26, 2014 10:20 am

I think the drafts I have seen offer an extensive approach to equipment based safety. I may not agree with everything in the policy, but I agree with the overall thrust and with the need for a clear policy. Writing a document of this type is never fun, is hardwork, and the author deserves kudos for undertaking the task.

That said, safety is more than weapons and personal equipment. At the risk of muddying the water, in any combat sport, way, art, or whatever, there are factors outside the individual's kit that contribute to or reduce safety. These may or may not be appropriate for a HEMA Alliance policy, but it seems to me that they should be at least considered, perhaps in some form of advisory publication separate from the policy (which is really focused on the requirements for insurance purposes):

(1) youth protection - if a group has members younger than 18 some process should be in place to screen instructors and staff and to educate the membership - at least once a month I see reports of this youth sports coach being arrested for taking advantage of underage boys or girls or both. I know that no one in HEMA would do that, and that is what the people in those other sports/activities said also.

(2) rules - rules are a major factor in protecting participants in any form of sport or combat oriented activity - even if the rule is that there are no rules, there are always commonly accepted rules. This is not just for tournaments; we have rules in my club that govern practice bouting. I am not saying we should have a HEMA Alliance set of rules, but rather that groups should spend some time writing down what they do and making that available to everyone so that there are no misunderstandings.

(3) qualification of instructors - again I am not saying that every club should require instructors to be certified by the Alliance, or by any other body. But it is certainly good practice to have a process to identify who is an instructor and why they are considered to be one. And they are smart f they document every lesson that they teach, and keep those records permanently.

(4) basic conduct - norms of conduct are as important as rules. I would bet that most groups have well established norms of how their members behave in the group on the order of don't hit people when their backs are turned, no kicking people when they have fallen, no careless handling of the weapons, no stealing other people's stuff, etc. These work well when you are a small group of people who have worked together for years. But if you grow it helps to communicate the norms to others if you have them as a group policy.

(5) environmental safety - protective equipment gets hot, and it is very easy to end up with some level of heat illness, especially in the summer. Having provisions for when breaks should be taken, who is responsible for availability of water, etc., helps protect members from attacks of ubermacho.

(6) emergency plan - what happens when the building burns down, who accounts for people, who calls 9-1-1, where do people rendezvous, what if there is a major injury, etc. It is tempting to say that we know how to do that - it is just common sense - as someone who has worked in the emergency services, I can say that your common sense goes out the window in a real emergency. If you are going to protect your members, you need to have a plan and practice it.

These are things that desire consideration, I believe. Again it is probably not in the safety policy. But I suggest that if there is going to be safety council, these might be issues that it would be valuable for them to consider and provide suggestions to improve the overall safety environment.

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Re: HEMA ALLIANCE SAFETY POLICY

Postby Richard Marsden » Mon May 26, 2014 6:53 pm

Hello!

Much of what you mentioned will be covered by the sites themselves, though it doesn't hurt to say, You people should consider ....


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