Our club stives to make the club and our sport more inclusive. We started with inclusive projects working with learning disabilities, and as of 2021 started an initiative to make the club accessible for people with physical disabilities.
Our coaches have worked with Access Sport in Bristol to train themselves in being able to support those with disabilities and to provided sessions to introduce the sport to people with disabilities.
Unlike non-disabled fencing, wheelchair fencing is static; the fencers are clamped to the piste using a metal frame. Beyond this, the sport is largely similar to its non-disabled counterpart. Almost any disability can be catered for, Swords can be adapted for use. What ever your disability the club will strive to make the sport accessible for you.
Bristol Blades also works closely with British Disability Fencing (BDF) to provide fencing training days, and to provide the necessary equipment.
We are aware not all people with physical disabilities want to sit in a wheelchair. Our coaches are more than happy to work with people to develop ways for people to take part as they wish as safely as possible..
However competition for disability fencing is currently wheelchair bound. The club is working with BDF to change this in the UK to allow standing fencing for those able to.
At Bristol Blades we wish for all people to be able to access our sport, and achieve their potential. We are extremely excited to be able to offer Wheelchair Fencing, and worth with people with disabilities to push the boundaries of social perception and our sport.
If you would like more information, or would like come to the club for a taster session, please get in touch here.
The Paralympic Movement provides sport for people with disabilities. They list ten eligible impairment types, and in order for an athlete to compete, he or she must have a primary impairment that belongs to one of these impairment types.
Each sport in the Paralympics has specific classifications with medical eligibility rules. For wheelchair fencing, which is administered by the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation(IWAS), these rules are found in the IWF Rules for Competition: Book 4: Classification Rules. The book spells out tests that certified Classifiers use to determine whether or not an athlete is eligible.
Classifiers administer functional and bench tests to place athletes in one of five sport classes: 1A, 1B, 2, 3, and 4. On one end of the spectrum, class 1A participants are “athletes with no sitting balance who have a handicapped playing arm. No efficient elbow extension against gravity and no residual function of the hand which makes it necessary to fix the weapon with a bandage.” At the other end, class 4 participants are “athletes with good sitting balance with the support of lower limbs and normal fencing arm.”
At the Paralympics, fencers compete in two categories: Category A is for fencers in class 3 or 4, and Category B is for fencers in class 2. There is a Category C for fencers in classes 1A and 1B; this category does compete in some international competitions, but is not normally in the Paralympic Games. (Source)
The IWAS has a formal protest process. If someone feels that another athlete has not been classified correctly, they can issue a protest, and a jury of Classifiers will investigate and rule.
Bristol Blades CENTRAL (Tuesday – Bristol Grammar School Sports Hall)
- Junior Club – 18.20 – 19.30/20.00
- Senior Club – 20.00 – 21.45 (Invite only)
Bristol Blades NORTH (Thursday – Chipping Sodbury Sports Centre)
- Junior Club – 19.00 – 20.15
- Senior Club – 20.15 – 22.00
Bristol Blades SOUTH (Coming Soon)