When Medieval Combat Meets UFC

When Medieval Combat Meets UFC
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Let’s say you’re cool with the violence of mixed martial arts, but feel like it’s missing something. The kind of thing you can only really get from two medieval dudes covered in armour beating the shit out of each other with swords.

If you’ve suddenly realised that’s you, Russia has you covered.

The country’s M-1 series of MMA events has recently started a new class of fight called M-1 Medieval, where two men enter the ring dressed entirely in chainmail and/or plate, complete with helmets and shields. And they’re not there to dance around like some LARP, either; they’re there to beat their opponent into a pulp.

Having first been trialled last month in Moscow, The Washington Post reports the first official M-1 Medieval match went down a couple of weeks ago, and went the full three rounds. You can watch the whole thing below.

The fights are already a big hit, so the organisers are looking to stage more of them, even mulling over the idea of having a medieval-only event.

If you think this all looks very messy and un-movie-like, there’s a reason for that: actual swordfights never looked very slick, because when you’re lumbering around in heavy armour trying to kill a man, you’re not there to dance, you’re there to whack him to death.


  • Wonder what would happen if a old school Kendo expert or a Shaolin Spear specialist walks into that ring…

    • I daresay both would probably not go so well.
      A shinnai (or even a bokken) would not do much against armour, although they could go for points. Unless they were incredibly good at dodging either sword would not hold up well with blocking.
      As for the Shaolin monk, there’s probably not enough room in that ring to use a spear effectively. They’d have a bit more reach though if they had more space and could *potentially* win on points.

      • By saying it was a old school kendo master, I was kind of trying to imply someone who had a bit of experience fighting with a samurai sword…you know imagine the hypothetical situation of Miyamoto Musashi decided to walk into that ring.

        By the same token, by Shaolin Spear specialists. Imagine if Jet Li brought a weapon into the ring. And if you think a shaolin monk uses the spear just for reach, you would be sorely mistaking a martial artists abilities with a weapon to kill.

        This all kind of stems from a autobiography I once read about a Kendo master from the 50s in the US. He refers to a conversation he had with his mentor who was this 80 year old Japanese master about who would win in a kendo fight. He master said “In a Kendo match, I have faith that I have taught you well enough to defeat me. In a fight, I have no doubt I will kill you.”

        • Ok but that’s kind of like saying imagine Navy Seals taking on a paintball team, we are looking at a sport here.

          Staying grounded in reality, Kendo isn’t suitable for this form of combat only because it is based around it’s own rules.
          Unmounted forms of bajitsu and the like would be fine, but with a dull sword it would be the same war of battering and stamina we see here.

          I know there were forms of armour made by Shoulin monks, but I don’t really have much experience in area.
          It would be interesting to see spears in such a competition, but I wonder how it would fair given the limitations of the rules.

          • Give Russia enough time and money, and someone will be crazy enough to throw the rulebook out….and we’ll all revert to the mindless mobs of Rome ^_^

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