How to get Started in Armored Combat

Flashing swords clang against steel armor! You’ve seen the excitement and the intensity and you want in. But where do you begin?

First a little background…

Armored Combat in today’s world is a modernization of the medieval tournament. Many academics will rightly point out that what we do is not real combat. We do a historically based sport. The real killing techniques are not allowed because….. they are deadly. Despite what it looks like we are not trying to actually kill eachother. This is a modernized sport.

We wear armor reproduced in modern steel, in medieval designs. We do vary from the originals in metallurgy, thickness uniformity, and helmet weight. Our helmets weigh about twice what the originals of the same style weighed. This is a safety thing to help reduce the chances of concussions. The mass of the helmet absorbs much of the blow. Most of the armor you see is based on mid- to late 14th century examples.

Our sport began in Russia in the late 90’s and spread from there to Ukraine and then world wide. Our weapons are blunted to at least 2mm width and the points rounded to at least 35mm diameter. This often makes them a little heavier than the medieval weapons of real war.

We fight in single matches and in group melees. Different groups have different specific rules, but in general, single matches are scored on how many hits each fighter lands and group battles are won by the last group with a member still standing.

Me, just before my first fight….

Our fights are full speed, full contact and full of excitement.

How to Begin in Armored Combat

  1. Begin athletic training and healthy diet NOW!
  2. Find a local group.
  3. Learn the rules
  4. Begin training with your group
  5. Acquire Armor
  6. Compete!

Your Diet and Training for Armored Combat

I cannot begin to tell you how important your health is to this sport. Unlike most sporty this is not something you can just pick up and do now ant then. It really requires dedication and effort. You’re going to be fighting people who may be life long athletes in their prime, while wearing upwards of 80 pounds of steel and padding. And you’ll be doing it all day.

Start now. Drink water. Do it! Do it now! Not kidding. On a normal day, you should be drinking about half a gallon of plain, unflavored water. Tap, filtered, spring, it doesn’t matter unless your tap water is unsafe. Drink more on days you exercise more.

As for diet, the important thing is that you eat a healthy, complete diet. Most fighters eat some variation of paleo, keto, macro, or all natural diet with low carbohydrates, lots of vegetables, and extra protein. A few believe in better living through chemistry. Some just “eat healthy”. Always consult your physician for what might be best for you. The key is healthy.

Begin eating healthy now.

Also, now, begin working out if you don’t already. Again, consult your physician, but in general, the exercises that work best are High Intensity Interval Training and its variations. Some of our best fighters subscribe to the Tabata Method of training. Interval running is also common. Work on your legs and core, agility and balance. The Knights Hall, one of the largest training facilities recommends a training regimen on their website. The basic ideas are mixing exercises, with a 2-to-1 work to rest ratio with a warm up first and stretching last.

Do this 2-3 times a week.

Finding a Local Group

OK, so you’ve decided to pay more attention to your health and well being and it’s time to find people to train with. Time to find others who share your passion.

There are a number of different (and often overlapping) organizations. There are two major ones worldwide: Historical Medieval Battles (HMB) and the International Medieval Combat Federation (IMCF). Each of these has national organizations that should be able to help you find local people.

Here in the US, the IMCF is represented by the American Medieval Combat Federation (AMCF) and HMB has HMB-USA. You may have heard of the Armored Combat League. They have split into Armored Combat Worldwide and Armored Combat Sports. I personally train with Armored Combat Sports and most US events I am able to make are ACS events. Your mileage may vary.

Armored Combat Sports has a convenient map they call their “Knight Finder“. This is likely the easiest way to find a local group if you live in the Americas.

Once you find a local group, go to them and train with them.

If there is no local group, you can start one! Find some like minded friends and start a club. Contact Jaye at Armored Combat Sports if you want to go through them or get in touch with the local HMB or IMCF representative.

Coming Soon: Part 2: Your First Suit of Armor