If cosplay is not real enough and mixed martial arts is not extreme enough for you, then a group of Toowoomba competitors may have the sport for you.
- Historic medieval battle is a full-contact combat sport that even hosts an Australian championship
- Participants stress it is not cosplay or re-enacting
- Competitors dress in armour and fight with blunted steel weapons, with no stabbing allowed
It is known as historic medieval battle (HMB), sometimes referred to as Buhurt, and once the visors go down and the cage is closed you are transported to a very different world.
“We describe it as MMA in armour,” Kyle Weblin said.
Far from a mainstream sport, HMB originated in Eastern Europe, and Mr Weblin is the current Australian lightweight champion in the profight category.
“Knees, elbows, punches, headbutts are all legal. You can’t manipulate small joints and you can’t stab with the weapons. They’re basically the rules in a nutshell,” Mr Weblin said.
The competitors dress in full sets of armour made from steel and titanium.
“The armour comes from all different time periods, from about the 13th to the 16th century,” Mr Weblin said.
Once in armour, competitors are inspected by a marshal, then the 90-second round begins.
“It almost feels illegal,” laughed 18-year-old Klay Arnold.
“Even holding an axe just feels strange, but once you get used to it and think it’s a sport, and the other person knows what they’re getting into, it’s fine.
Mr Arnold discovered the sport on YouTube and has almost won over the whole family.
“Dad loves it, mum was sceptical … but grandma hates watching me get hit. She can’t come and watch me,” he said.
Competitors train from three to eight times a week.
The Tyr’s Warriors training warehouse is lined with tyres swinging from chains.
“Tyres are a fairly good substitute for a person,” Mr Weblin said.
“A lot of us have built makeshift opponents out of tyres and star pickets at home.”
The weapons are blunted but can still make a dent in the armour.
The connection to the past is a big part of the appeal to competitors.
“I love history, and my family has a lot of English and Irish and Scandinavian ancestry, so it’s cool to think this is what my ancestors were doing hundreds of years ago,” Mr Arnold said.
“It’s quite a different sport to football,” Tyr’s Warriors president Jaccob Dawes said.
“Sparks fly off our helmets, swords bend, helmets getting dinted. It’s pure adrenaline.
The Toowoomba group has continued to meet for friendly monthly competitions during the pandemic.
COVID-19 restrictions meant the Australian Championships were cancelled earlier this year, but these real knights hope they will be able to have some real competitions real soon.