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Medieval fighting - the armoured vehicle to grow latest combat sport

A sport with more than a little heritage Photo: international Medieval Combat Federation

Battling midfielders, the derby clash, fighting relegation.

When it comes to sports reporting, the language is infused with more than one combative cliche.

But for the sport of Medieval Combat Fighting - it's less cliche more accurate description.

Fighters in individual combat Credit: ITV News Anglia

A few days ago the national championships took place in London.

The field of battle, an unassuming school playing field, venue for qualification for the Battle of the Nations tournament later this year in Barcelona, which is essentially the sports world championships.

Watch Donovan Blake's report below

The sport is growing in popularity all over the world - this report from US television on the American national team gearing up for the world championships.

The event attracted contestants from across the country.

Battle Heritage is just one of the clubs vying to get through to those finals to represent the UK against 32 other nations. The White Company from Essex is another.

"In four years we've grown from 12 people to 120. we've found people who want to do that, we're now one of the biggest clubs in the country."

– Nikolaj Malnac, Battle Heritage

Julian Tierney from Rushden in Northamptonshire is one of the fighters and says he loves the sport.

"I think probably the best way to describe it is a blur. You go in, you have plans set up and they all collapse after 10 seconds and it's over before you know it."

– Julian Tierney

As you'd expect with a sport which involves running around wearing a metal suit, competitors need to be fit.

Many of those taking part have come from sporting backgrounds like rugby, martial arts and weightlifting.

And you can probably see why high fitness levels are vital when you take a look at this film which shows just how flexible armour was for fighting.

There are strict guidelines for competitors to follow to maintain a safe level playing field.

Fighters compete in individual duels, or team melees. The teams can be three, five, ten or sixteen strong. They're fought over three rounds, each about a minute long, with points awarded for striking or disarming an opponent, or causing them to fall. The armour and weapons used must also be historically compatible. And there's a yellow/red card system for anyone who breaks the rules of engagement.

For the Marshals there are twenty-one pages of rules and regulations to keep tabs on.

"We do go to a lot of trouble to make sure that it's safe, which is why we check all the weapons and armour. if the armour fits correctly they won't actually get hurt by the blows, they just look like they will."

– Steve Chessman, Knight Marshal
A quick drinks break during the national championships Credit: ITV News Anglia
£1,100
Cost of a suit of armour - including helmet, plates, legs and arm guards and padding.

Perhaps the growth of the sport isn't all that surprising. After all, we've grown up with Arthurian Knights. A new film on the legendary monarch is out soon. And for the last six years tv viewers have been getting medieval, by way of fantasy epic Game of Thrones.