Battle Heritage is the premier full contact medieval combat club in Great Britain. We even have a branch in South Africa! Formed in 2013 from the core fighters that attended Battle of the Nations 2013 we have a strong record of success at international tournaments from Spain to northern Poland. To date Battle Heritage GB have not attended a tournament without medals or silverware making their luggage heavier.
The club is made up of regional branches:
North – From Birmingham up to the Scottish border with most current members training regularly in Whitwell (near Sheffield), Sandbach (near Crewe) and in Cumbria.
West – Encompassing Wales, Cornwall, Devon and the West Midlands
South – Operating out of the Oriel Acedemy in Feltham the South predominantly cover the London and Surrey area
Wessex – The south coast of England from Salisbury to Dover with weekly training in South Hampton
Battle Heritage is a founding member of the International Medieval Combat Federation (IMCF). This is an umbrella organisation for some 18 nations interested in the sport of full contact medieval combat. The IMCF formed in 2013 on the initiative of 15 member nations wanting to promote and advance the sport further.
There are many tournaments and competitions worldwide, with an annual World Championship event, which first took place in May 2014 in Belmonte, Spain. The 2nd IMCF World Championship was held at Malbork Castle, near Gdansk in Poland, during May of 2015.
Battle Heritage also compete in the Battle of the Nations at their World Championship every year. It has been held in Prague in the Czech Republic in both 2015 and 2016.
FCMC/F is a relatively new sport in this country. The first UK fighters competed in international competition at Montbazon, France in Oct 2012.
There has been medieval re-enactment fighting for several decades in the UK and other European nations, but that has been heavily restricted in strike locations and power of blows. Medieval re-enactment is also generally not so competitive.
Full contact fighting pits competitors, both men and women in their own designated classes together to test skill, speed, endurance and bravery. Currently there are two main leagues conducting FCMC/F, namely the IMCF (International Medieval Combat Federation) and the HMBIA (Historic Medieval Battles International Association).
Under IMCF rules, there are 1v1 tournament fights which are scored like boxing, counting undefended blows to determine the winner. Then there is Buhurt, consisting of 3v3 (for women until enough competitors allow for 5v5), 5v5, 10v10, 16v16 and ALLvALL teams.
The group class events do not count blows, but determines that a fighter is “out” if anything other than his or her feet touch the ground. The last team with a standing member wins these fights. They are scored by counting the remaining team members standing, for example 3-0 in a 5v5 match.
Full contact medieval combat is a young sport in the UK. The first participants from this country competed in the Tournament of the Black Falcon in France during October 2012. That team went on to form the UK1 team that reached the quarter finals at Battle of the Nations 2013, six months later.
During the early stages of the sport there were so few fighters, who were spread all over the country, that we created an informal group who trained together if, and when, we could. At that stage there was only Battle of the Nations and one small event in France at which to compete. Now there are two major international championships, with many smaller competitions held throughout Europe. Countries outside Europe are beginning to hold their own events too.
The two leagues have slightly different rules concerning armour, weapons and what can occur within the lists, with the IMCF being more strict in all regards. Those who have armour optimised for Battle of the Nations may not find their harness acceptable within IMCF rules but as both leagues become ever more established their rule sets do sometimes try to compromise and meet in the middle on some aspects.
Insurance is a topic that is often raised very early in a conversation about this sport. No organisation that performs or trains in public can do so without Public Liability insurance at the very least to cover possible unintentional injury or damage to individuals or property. Battle Heritage are covered for this up to a value of £5 million through a company who have been given explicit descriptions of the sport, shows and competitions we take part in.
We have also located a personal insurance coverage that protects our members through Protectivity Insurance who have also had in-depth discussions about our sport and all it involves. To take advantage of this cover, please follow the above link and request a quotation using the sport “Medieval Combat with Steel Weapons”.
This coverage includes personal injury, personal liability, baggage and personal effects, sports equipment loss in transit that is not normally covered by the transport company, legal expenses and more. We are grateful that they have extended their coverage to us, our members and anyone else who wishes to participate with us. This coverage can be purchased for a single day, weekend or annual coverage at sliding scales that are suitable for all incomes.
Protectivity Insurance Sports Travel Insurance will provide cover for the whole time that you are on a trip away from home. It will cover you for any general travel issues, plus any issues related to the chosen sport(s). Cover is provided for your chosen sport, plus all other sports in the same sports group or lower groups. Policies can be Single trip or Annual multi-trip – Annual policies allow multiple single trips of up to 90 days each. There are 3 levels of cover available to choose from which allow you to select how much cover you require for cancellation, baggage, sports equipment etc.
The BBC 3 documentary “Knight Club” followed four members of the first full contact team that the UK sent to the “Battle of the Nations” in 2013. Three of the featured “knights” are Battle Heritage members.
The documentary followed them in the lead up to the event: why they were doing it, how they prepared, and what happened while they were there.
How to start (2)
Combatant membership is open to anyone over the age of 18, male or female makes no difference. Both males and females can fight in individual tournaments and World Championships to become the best in the world.
From the age of 14 people wishing to later on join the ranks of fighters can start to train in soft kit. Information for starting soft kit combatant training can be provided in all of the Battle Heritage regions – just ask!
Non-combatant membership is open to anyone. Our fighters need support, whether that be in the form of a driver, someone to help them put their kit on, give them water between fights, or just cheer them on!
Whatever your interest in the sport may be, if you want to be a part of it, as a fighter or not, do come along!
To become a full member you must first attend two training events and be nominated by a current member.
This is not as bad as it sounds. Firstly, we want you to be sure you enjoy the sport, so do not ask you for membership fees until you have been hit a few times and find that it is for you. We may ask for a small token fee and your personal details just so we can put you on the insurance.
Being nominated by someone is just making sure that we all get along. Something that does not go well with this sport is aggravation and rancour between members. If you are going to be swinging weapons at people, you want to make sure they are your friends!
Authenticity is often considered by many to be a bad or annoying element when it comes to medieval fighting. This should not be so, especially when you consider that some of the most impressive fighters on the field are spectacular not just because of their skill, but how they look while fighting. If you are not interested in the historical development of armour, what is the point of getting into this sport? You may as well just join any other MMA club and have fun.
But if you ARE interested in fighting in a medieval tournament, an important part of tournament was pageantry… looking the part. Knights were the rock gods or sporting heroes of the medieval age. They competed in tournaments all over Europe and often had groupies that followed them to events and wanted to be near them. Women swooned when talking to them and lesser men wanted to BE them.
When you watch full contact medieval combat there is an animalistic part of your brain that is no different to those spectators hundreds of years ago. Yes you can still see a guy in cheap rusty armour fight well. But compare him to the guy standing next to him fighting just as hard, but in well-fitting armour all of a similar style, polished till it shines, wearing a clean flashy surcoat and there is no competition.
It is the ongoing aim of the sport to achieve a level where ALL competitors look like that latter fighter. Then we can truly say that the spectacle of medieval tournament has returned in full.
Battle Heritage appoint 2 members to be Authenticity Officers (AO). It is the role of the AO to help us maintain a professional appearance at events, and to assist members with identifying suitable equipment before it is bought. Many of us have in the past bought an item and been told after the fact that it is not suitable for use either because it is not historically accurate, out of the date range of the rest of your equipment, made from unsuitable materials, or just plain unsafe.
Please save yourself a lot of money and reduce your chances of being upset by checking with the AO’s before you spend your hard earned cash.
We have already been at international tournaments where fighters have been not allowed to take to the field due to poor equipment choices or inaccurate elements of harness including items such as shoes/boots. Please do not let it happen to you.