Wow! 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 34th Anniversary and Historical Medieval Battle USA, Company of the Gauntlet and Rose, and the armored fighting community of the USA 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 in Rome Italy on May 3-6, 2018, and expecting teams from more than 45 countries. Members of Battle of the Nations - Team USA 2018 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.
The team is growing in strength and 2018 is expected to be the most successful yet with the continued support of our fans!
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.
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.