Amored Combat – Why I Fight
When I tell people I participate in the sport of Medieval Armored Combat, I get some weird looks. What started as an obscure form of combat has now spread across the world and is gaining speed as an internationally recognized sport. The athletes dress in reproduced, custom medieval armor that protects them from the steel weapons (such as maces, axes, long swords, and glaives), used to take down opponents. The result is a face-paced, aggressive activity that looks like a battle straight from Game of Thrones.
In fact, that’s a lot of what draws me to this quirky, violent sport: the way in which it plays out like every fantasy novel I’ve ever read, and the heroes (both real and fantastical) that I grew up admiring. Now, before you get the impression that our sport is something akin to LARPing (Live Action Role-Playing), let me assure you that it’s not. We are not playing make-believe or wearing costumes, we are fighting with dangerous weapons in an unchoreographed fight. When I put on my helmet, it takes everything in me not to run away or put down my sword and submit. You are confined to your armor (weighing upwards of 50 pounds), your breathing is constricted, your vision is limited, and you’re fighting multiple rounds that can last up to 90 seconds. Imagine doing burpees and thrusters with a 50-pound weight vest for 90 seconds, all while someone hits you with a sword and you’ll have an idea of what it takes to push through a fight.
The physical is merely once aspect of our training, however. The mental training is something you can only achieve through putting yourself in the position to fight again, and again, and again. It takes resolve and a renewable source of courage each time I practice.
This resolve follows me off the field and into my daily life. I know what it takes to push myself to do courageous things – to fight when I feel like giving up, how to focus my mind, and nurture the relationships of those who have my back. In a more tangible way, Armored Combat has continued to give me the tools I need to fight for my health. In my previous article, I talked about what it was like to be an athlete with PCOS. The training ring becomes the physical manifestation of the battle for my health. It reminds me why I fight so hard and of all the small victories I’ve won. I fight because it reminds me of who I am regardless of how many bad days I might have, or what struggles might arise. I fight because it grounds me in strength and courage.
Armored combat might not be for everyone – and that’s okay. That’s what makes this community of women in sports so great, there’s room for everyone. So whether you take some hits in armor, or challenge yourself on the trails – this community thrives because we’re all working towards the same goal: being the best version of ourselves we can be.
Buuuuut just incase you are interested in trying the sport of Armored Combat, here are a few links to get you started:
Battle of the Nations: http://battleofthenations.ua/
Armored Combat League: http://armoredcombatleague.us/acl/
Historical Medieval Battle Clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-JmFZGe97M
What do you think about Armored Combat?
Is it something you would like to try?