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Medieval Combat Has Been Turned Into An International Sport

For the past five years, medieval combat enthusiasts have gathered together for the Battle of Nations — a for-real, full contact competition with actual weapons, metal armor, and a standardized set of rules. It’s an effort to turn medieval combat into an actual sport.


The Battle of Nations, founded in 2009, is held in a different European venue each year. The next tournament will be in Prague, Czech Republic from May 7 to 10. Last year, the Battle of Nations was held in Croatia where participants from some 30 countries participated; each team must field a minimum of eight combatants and a maximum 50. About 25,000 attend the event each year.

Scheduled events include the Triathlon Duel (three rounds of fighting with different weapons), Professional Fight (three three-minute rounds featuring a pre-determined weapon), and Five vs. Five (which is exactly what it sounds like).


In the video above, Journeyman Pictures recounts the history of the Battle of Nations and the personalities behind the tournament.

Via Digg Video.

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Well, we know that I have to reply to this. First, thanks, George. I’m glad you shared this.

Second, now you can see how we’re getting better examples of historical fighting than the overly dramatic movie fighting and Ren Faire flourishes. Put away the padded sticks and flopping about in death!

Of course Battle of the Nations is a bit different from a lot of HEMA fighting but it all comes down to that same feeling: getting hit in the head with a sword and surviving is quite the rush. Oh yes.

Please note, people who are interested in this sort of thing should train. Find a proper martial arts group for the style you’d like and make sure you look after your body. This is not an easy sport on the joints. You will be bruised even with safety gear. You will need time to get over flinching and being nervous. You will ache. You will be tired. You will wonder why you are doing this. But if you want to be involved in any form of European martial arts, you’ll overcome the struggle and hard work and smile through it all.