THIS emerging sport is a spectacle to behold and though they hit each other very hard, the last thing these medieval fighters want to do is injure each other.
Historical medieval battle is a relatively new sport in Australia, but for other countries, like those in Europe, the sport is a nod to the past.
Historical medieval battle, or HMB, involves a small team dressed in full armour brandishing weapons and fighting to take their opponents down.
It is impressive, with the rules of the full contact sport allowing participants to use a variety of blunted weapons including axes, swords and maces, though not all of those weapons are legal to use in Victoria.
"The weapons we use are designed not to penetrate armour - there are things like war hammers and spiked maces that would have been used in medieval battle that we don't use. As much as we may look like it, we aren't trying to kill each other," Ballarat-based Western Wolves captain Christopher Fogwill said.
The sport's rules are based off 14th century manuscript for ground combat in tournaments and stabbing attacks are not allowed.
While participants are bludgeoning each other, marshals on the sidelines ensure they are playing by the rules and that armour is being worn properly as safety is a priority.
See what medieval battle involves:
But despite the stringent safety precautions, last month, one of the members of the Western Wolves was involved in a freak accident when he received a concussion from a blow to the head with an axe.
Mitchell Toohey, who has been involved with the sport for almost two years, said he learned a valuable lesson from the accident.
He was wearing a borrowed helmet at the competition as his had been stolen from his trailer prior to the event, so it was not an exact fit to his head.
"I could have taken 10 of those hits in my helmet and would have been fine," he said.
Mr Toohey said the incident was a reminder of the importance of investing in and wearing top-quality armour.
A high-quality full suit of armour can cost a participant between $3000 and $5000 with the helmet requiring the most investment.
The accident has not deterred Mr Toohey from going back out on to the battle field. He feels he has now fully recovered and returned to work earlier this week.
He is hoping to get the tick of approval from his neurosurgeon later this month so that he can take to the grounds again for a friendly training competition in October.
Mr Toohey has always been a sportsman and despite how dangerous medieval battle appears, he said he had acquired many more injuries as a footy player.
"I used to play footy and kept rolling my ankle, I couldn't change direction quickly because I did my left knee and my hip flexor. With this, you might get the odd bruise but I got more injuries playing footy."
He said he was always learning while playing the sport, which participants spend a lot of time training for at the gym a few times a week on top of specialised training for HMB.
"You never stop learning in this sport. You can bring every aspect of fighting - street, martial arts - but it's just the ultimate test of fighting and endurance when you put on the armour," he said.
"And I could not find a better bunch of guys than the ones I've punched in the face repeatedly and can then have a beer with afterwards."
Mr Fogwill had always loved all things medieval. After a career in the army he moved to Melbourne where he created the HMB group Team Kraken.
"It started as a group of three in my backyard and is now the biggest team in Australia," he said.
When he moved to Ballarat two years ago, Mr Fogwill started the Western Wolves.
"The absolute best thing about this sport is the camaraderie. While we are out there, we are hitting each other very hard, we are happy to hurt each other but don't want to injure each other," he said.
"It's a great sport. It's the most fun you can have being out here doing this."
The sport takes participants to competitions around the country and across the globe.
"I now have friends all over the world, some who I've met after a brutal fight. We're all mates because it takes a level of respect and bravery to step out there, so just having the guts to step on to that field earns you the respect of other fighters, even if you're not very good or you go down from one hit or 20 hits," Mr Fogwill said.
"We get a lot of people who say they want to get involved but they don't think they can. But really any fitness level or any level of experience can join up. It gives you a reason to get fit and buy the equipment."
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