Modern Day Knights | VideoAlexander Gorney | 7/2/2012
"We`re following the exact rules set as the original fighting armored sport. Essentially we can hit, kick, throw punch, shield punch, grapple, it`s basically a lot like MMA fighting with weapons. Almost no rules," said knight Bill Woodbury.
They`re not protecting the queen nor defending their honor, but these knights feel the pain as if they were. The swords, the armor, the fighting. All of it is authentic.
"The fear factor is not very much for us so that`s not particularly hard but just the physicality required of wearing 60-80 pounds of armor and fighting in the sun with a closed face helmet is pretty extreme," said knight Michael Wolff.
Simon Rorich, who grew up in Linton, says he heard about the sport after playing a popular role-playing game.
"I was playing Dungeons and Dragons with some friends and one of the guys said, `Hey, you know, there is this group doing this for real down at the park," said Rohrich. ""Would you like to check it out?` So I went down there and checked it out and I loved it. I tried on a suit of armor for the first time and I looked in the mirror and I knew that`s what I wanted to do."
Rohrich and Woodbury work as inventors in Phoenix, Arizona. Wolff is a police officer in Nevada. The three of them have been suiting up and fighting for more than a decade.
This weekend, they were in Bismarck to showcase their ability in front of thousands.
"These guys are crazy but it`s awesome to watch," said spectator Dennis Budeau.
"When we were at the world championships last month, out of 29 fighters, we had a double concussion, six concussions, four broken fingers, three broken noses, five lacerated noses, a broken shoulder blade and a broken foot. And those were considered minor injuries by our team," said Woodbury.
This is no backyard brawl. The knights are actually part of Team USA, a United States Armored Combat Team. They traveled to Warsaw, Poland in May to compete in the Battle of Nations. Knights who enter the competition will still take a beating, but they no longer fight to the death.
"There are some weapons that aren`t allowed such as war hammers, picks, things that would kill you through your armor regardless of what you`ve got on," said Woodbury. "It is a fight to submission or knockdown."
The knights spend around $5,000 on their armor and weapons. They say it has to be replaced many times over the course of competition.
"We have the ability to show people watching the most authentic show they are going to see probably in the United States," said Rohrich.
Rohrich, Woodberry and Wolff always walk away after their battles are finished, but they`re not always unscathed. These real-life role-players say that`s just part of going medieval.
To find out more about the Battle of Nations, you can go to www.bnfest.pl.