You can see full contact steel fighting at outdoor festivals.
You will be amazed to see men in steel suits getting wrecked and bones broken.
They use weapons like swords and defend with shields. They wear plate armor covering entire body but still get hurt.
Here are some photos:
The weapons are heavy and hurt when you get hit.
The day I witnessed Medieval Armored Combat for the first time was like stepping through a portal into a bygone era. As a history buff with a particular interest in the Middle Ages, I had always been enthralled by tales of knights and their chivalric deeds.
So when I discovered that a local historical society was hosting a live armored combat event, I knew I couldn’t miss it.
I arrived at the venue, an open field that had been transformed into a makeshift arena reminiscent of a medieval tournament ground. Spectators gathered around, their excitement palpable in the air, as they awaited the commencement of the battles.
The field was marked by a roped-off area that formed a square combat zone, roughly 50 by 50 feet, ensuring that the audience had a clear view while maintaining a safe distance from the action.
The combatants were a sight to behold, each clad in historically accurate armor that gleamed under the sun. I learned from a fellow spectator that the armor weighed anywhere from 60 to 85 pounds, a testament to the strength and endurance required to compete in such a demanding sport.
The helmets were particularly impressive, with intricate designs that ranged from the simple nasal helms to the more elaborate visored bascinets.
As the first match began, the clang of metal on metal rang out, sending echoes across the field. The fighters were not just swinging their weapons wildly; there was technique and skill in every move.
They wielded an array of weapons—longswords that measured up to 48 inches in length, maces with flanged heads designed to dent armor, and axes with crescent-shaped blades that looked capable of delivering devastating blows.
I watched, mesmerized, as the combatants engaged in a dance of power and precision. They grappled and struck, each blow aimed with intention.
It was a full-contact sport, and the fighters were not holding back, yet there was an underlying code of honor and respect evident in their conduct. When a fighter fell to the ground, the marshals, dressed in black and white to stand out, quickly intervened to pause the fight, ensuring the safety of the combatants.
Between bouts, I had the opportunity to speak with one of the fighters, a woman with an impressive physique who had just removed her helmet, revealing a smile of pure exhilaration.
She explained the intricacies of the sport, from the scoring system to the training required to compete at such a level.
The sword is real
Crowds gather to watch
For the competition there are 3 rounds, 1 min each, with 1 min rest. You get points for strikes, falls, and disarms.
Weapons weigh 2 to 3 kg. Shield weigh less than 5 kg. Pole axe, great swords, long axe, sword and shield are used.
They fight one on one.
Real fighting with steel axes, maces, and swords.
The shield is only defense
The crowds of people love to watch these matches.
Q: Did everyone use weapons in medieval times? A: Not everyone was running around with a sword like a character from a fantasy novel. Peasants, for example, often used tools as weapons, such as pitchforks or scythes. And let’s not forget the most powerful weapon of all – words! Medieval monarchs, lords, and clergy often used diplomacy, threats, and promises to achieve their goals without ever drawing a sword.
Q: Were there any unconventional weapons used during the Middle Ages? A: Medieval warfare wasn’t all swords and shields. Some warriors used flails, which were essentially spiked balls on a chain, while others favored the halberd, a mix between a spear and an axe. Then there were siege weapons like the battering ram and siege tower – because sometimes, you just need to knock down a wall.
They practice away from crowds.
The helmets were heavy and made of steel, with small holes for eyes.
Completely covered in steel but still can get hurt.
Q: Were there any defensive structures or tactics used in medieval times?
A: Medieval defense was an art form in itself. Castles were the primary defensive structures, designed to keep attackers at bay with high walls, narrow windows, and often surrounded by a moat. Tactics involved in castle defense could include pouring boiling oil on invaders or ambushing them with arrows from the safety of the battlements.
Q: What were the knights’ favorite weapons?
A: Knights are often depicted with swords, and it’s true that the arming sword was a favorite for its balance of weight and killing power. But let’s not forget the lance, used in jousting and cavalry charges. The lance was like the medieval equivalent of a one-time-use rocket launcher – devastating on the charge, but not so handy in close combat.
Q: What’s the most iconic weapon from medieval times?
A: That’s like asking someone to pick their favorite child! But if you forced us to choose, it would probably be the sword. Whether a knight’s gleaming arming sword or a Viking’s rugged longsword, these weapons have come to symbolize the Middle Ages in popular culture. Just remember – they were a lot heavier than they look in the movies!
Q: Were medieval weapons only used in war?
A: War was their primary function, but medieval weapons also had a role in tournaments and ceremonies. Jousting, for example, was essentially a martial sport where knights charged at each other with lances for the entertainment of the crowd. Swords could also be used in ceremonies such as knighting, where they took on a symbolic role.
Q: How effective were medieval weapons?
A: In the hands of a trained warrior, medieval weapons could be deadly effective. But like any tool, their effectiveness depended on how they were used. A longsword was great in a wide-open battlefield but less handy in a crowded castle corridor. Similarly, a crossbow could pierce armor at range, but it was slow to reload and vulnerable in close combat.
Not much of a peep hole in helmet
Medieval weapons list infographic
List of weapons they used in medieval times:
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