Battle of The NationsWow! They are really fighting for real !!!” That is the typical reaction when people hear the clash of the steel and see the sparks fly in full-contact armored combat for the first time. Though many people may have had an opportunity to see re-enactment or staged medieval fighting, in a Historic Medieval Battle (HMB) tournament nothing is choreographed or rehearsed, and there is virtually nothing else quite like it in the world. The Sonora Celtic Faire is celebrating their 30th Anniversary and both the Battle of The Nations - Team USA 2016 and the armored fighting community at large wish to gratefully acknowledge the continued support and financial backing of the Sonora Celtic Faire since 2008 !!! The Sonora Celtic Faire is proudly showcasing this tournament as one of their main attractions so that once again all of our beloved fans may have the opportunity to witness fighters from across the United States competing for medals, honor, and a chance to represent America’s best when Team USA competes again at Battle of the Nations (BoTN), the annual World Championship for medieval fighters around the world and hosted this year on the grounds of Prague’s historic Medieval Castle atop Petrin Hill in the Czech Republic May 5-9, 2016, and featuring teams from more than 35 countries.
Battle of the Nations - Team USA 2016 will be on site for all three days for photos, autographs, coveted team merchandise and memorabilia, and tales of glory of past USA victories !!!If the sport seems extreme, well, it is. Fighters use a variety of medieval bucklers, shields, polearms, axes, swords, maces, and other knightly weapons of the time periods. The tournaments are modeled closely after manuscripts documenting tournaments held in Western Europe in which knights toured the tournaments to entertain crowds, to earn prizes and honor, and to hone their skills for battle. The weapons must pass inspections and conform to historically accurate specifications. Although the weapons are blunted, they are still heavy, forged steel, and capable of inflicting a lot of pain and damage. Fighters wear protective armor, averaging about 60 pounds, and based on historical medieval armor ranging from the 14th century to the 16th century with strict rules regulating armor authenticity and references to a specific geographical region.
Men and women compete separately in two broad categories: (1) duels are one-on-one fights in categories of polearms and a triathlon of three round utilizing sword and shield, sword and buckler, and long sword and (2) melees which are groups of either 5 versus 5 or 21 versus 21. Duels are won by a tally of total points scored by counting landed blows in timed rounds. Melee fights are won by knocking the other team to the ground or into submission and while the force of the blows is sometimes concussive the number of blows is not counted and if a knight is still on their feet they are still in the fight. The round continues until one team had all members “killed” or knocked down. What strikes are allowed? Almost anything!!! You can hit with weapons and shields, bull-rush, leg sweep, punch, kick, grapples, and throws. Illegal strikes are closely monitored by trained marshals and include thrusts with a weapon, holds against a joint, as well as strikes against the base of the skull, the back of the knee, or the top of a foot.
Local fight clubs are foundation of Battle of The Nations - Team USA, clubs are formed on geographical basis, and each fight club operates independently. Fight clubs train around the year to send their best 5 man teams to enter in different tournaments around the USA and other countries preparing for the USA national qualifying tournament from which the top three teams are selected to represent the USA at BoTN. All fighters at the national qualifying tournament are eligible to compete for a spot on the 21 versus 21 team.
USA Fight Club Contacts:
Aquilonia - Florida Captain: Alex Cooley
Iron City Fight Club - Pennsylvania Captain: Don Brant
Detroit Fight Club - Detroit Michigan Captain: Richard Elswick
Hounds of War – Arizona and New Mexico Captain: Michael Allender
Iron Phoenix - Seattle, Washington Captain: Harvey Palmer
Palmetto Knights - South Carolina Captain: Laurence Lagnese
Rhinos - New York and New Hampshire Captain: Robert Dionisio
Salt City Fight Club - Nevada and Utah Captain: Amy Graham
Ursus - San Francisco Bay Area and Central California Captain: Steven Schroeder
Vanguard - Los Angeles and San Diego California Captain: Brand A. LancasterWhat kind of person chooses a sport like this? The USA Team boasts men and women from all walks of life including active duty and reserve military personnel, agriculturalists, attorneys, business owners, contractors, firefighters, law enforcement, medical and mental health professionals, salesmen, scientists, students, teachers, and many more. Most have experience in other martial arts, such as judo or wrestling, but many of us just never put away the play swords when we were young children. Team USA also represents the great cultural and ethnic diversity of our nation and all would tell you that the camaraderie is the most cherished aspect of this sport, that the sport is actually a lifestyle, and what they have in common is much more important than their varying differences.
Team USA made a good showing last year with Jeff Galli bringing home a bronze medal in the men’s polearm duels, Team USA earning a medal for fourth place in the 21 versus 21 melee and only points away from third place, the top 5 man team making a historical first by taking one of three rounds against one of Russia’s top teams, the USA Team had never won a round against a Russian team, and Team USA also received the “Will To Win” trophy as a testament to their grit and determination on the tournament field. The team is growing in strength and 2016 is expected to be the most successful yet with the continued support of our fans !!!
In some countries fighters are sponsored for all or part of their costs. In the USA this sport is still young and growing so the cost of armor, training, and travel can be very expensive.
A “kit” of armor can cost thousands of dollars, and it isn’t something to skimp on since quality can make the difference in both performance and safety. Team USA needs the continued support of fans at home and abroad in hopes that one day the sport will grow to the level that it is in other countries to attract more commercial attention. Until then they will keep on fighting the good fight because, well, what else would knights do?