Put on armor and thrash with all your might with an ax in your head: Historical contact combat is a sport only for the toughest

You put on a steel helmet with a face shield so you can collect sword wounds to the head without damage, put on plate armor so that the effects of a two-handed ax do not break your bones, and choose the weapon with which you believe you will do the most damage. This is not a description of preparation for a medieval battle, only Daniel Dufek is preparing for a match in his non-traditional sport.

Medieval contact combat, also known as HMB (Historical Medieval Battle), is a full contact combat connecting elements of martial arts such as kick boxing, MMA and others. The goal is to knock the enemy to the ground and thus eliminate him from the game. The fight takes place with a weapon of choice (within the prescribed standards) and in replicas of historical armor, which weigh up to about 40 kg. They compete in various disciplines from individual matches, so-called duels, through group fights – buhurts, where teams in groups of 3v3, 5v5 to 30v30 fighters compete together.

The sport began to develop in Russia in the 1990s, but the first official world championship called the Battle of the Nations took place in 2010. Daniel Dufek has been participating in this tournament since 2013 and today he is even the captain of the Czech national team.

The HMB rules are constantly evolving and their main purpose is to protect the participants of the match. Dimensions, weight and type of weapons are prescribed so that there is no disproportionate advantage between opponents. Likewise, the armor has a specified minimum plate thickness and material so that the weapons do not penetrate the armor. The parts of the body that must be covered by the armor are also prescribed, and on the contrary, the players have defined in the rules which parts of the body they are not allowed to attack and prohibited techniques. For example, they must not like against the joints and attack the groin. The sword must not stab, so this weapon loses its greatest advantage. In addition to practical matters, the rules also specify the visual side of the armor. Historical accuracy is one of the conditions.

You can watch the video from the tournament in the medieval contact fight here:
A montage from a tournament in a medieval contact battleVIDEO Petr Vagner

After recording an interview with Daniel Dufek, we were invited to a Czech-Polish tournament at HMB. The competition took place in the small village of Holubice not far from Prague. Upon arrival, it was clear from the parked cars that participation would be high. By entering the venue, it is as if one has entered another world. Groups of knights in plate armor are lounging at wooden tables and in the surrounding grass. Some are fully equipped, others are just wrapping themselves in their armor, or helping their comrades to fasten parts of their armor. Weapons, shields and helmets of various shapes are lying everywhere.

The bowling alley was bordered by wooden beams, and it soon became clear why. The matches start with a relatively fast start, where the opponents run against each other and, against the rumble of armor, collide in an attempt to knock down one of the opponents. Falls and impacts with full weight on the “guardrails” of the bowling alley are therefore seen very often, as well as the effects of two-handed weapons on the backs of unsuspecting armor who struggle with someone else and due to impaired peripheral vision often have no idea of ​​the coming wounds.

The fight itself is difficult to describe. But we captured the tournament in video and photos, which are worth a thousand words. You can watch a summary of the individual matches in the video two paragraphs above, and you can browse the photo gallery at the beginning of the article.

Source: Reflex.cz by www.reflex.cz.

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