Coat of aarghmour: Welcome to medieval fight club
Two Lithuanian television installers known as the “brothers of Beckton” have emerged as perhaps Britain’s greatest fighters since medieval times.
Alex and Evgeny Olechnovic are also amateur boxers, but at weekends engage in a sport that makes traditional battle re-enactments look about as threatening as tiddlywinks.
Full-contact medieval fighting involves real swords, axes and suits of armour. Battles take place in pens and can involve dozens of fighters. Participants are considered “dead” when they fall to the ground. The only rule protecting them from a genuine grisly end: no sharp edges.
Organised clashes are common in Russia and eastern Europe, from where the Olechnovic’s moved to Beckton in east London three years ago. But the sport is now becoming more popular in Britain, too.
The brothers are members of Team UK, a 30-strong army which last month competed at the World Full Contact Medieval Fighting Tournament in Montpellier, France. They were only knocked out in the later stages by Russia, the eventual winners.
“It’s hard to describe what battle is like,” says Evgeny, 30. “It’s a bit like boxing, but just imagine much more adrenaline. You don’t feel pain and even if you’re afraid of what’s going to happen you then forget about it.”
The brothers say serious injuries are rare, the odd snapped finger notwithstanding, as long as fighters wear good armour (suits can weigh up to 40kg). “At first my wife was worried,” says Alex, 26, “but now she enjoys wearing medieval dresses.” Nick Birkin, a spokesman for Team UK, which trains at Ludlow Castle in Shropshire, says membership has grown from just eight last summer. “We had 1,000 spectators at our display on Easter Monday,” he says, “and we expect treble that when we put on a mini tournament for August Bank Holiday.”
The team will do battle with Spain, Germany and Belgium at the Bloodstock heavy metal festival in Derbyshire and will appear in a BBC documentary to be broadcast later this summer.
Latest in Sport
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao begin and what channel is it on?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao live: Mayweather puts on defensive masterclass to win by unanimous decision
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao begin on Sky Sports Box Office?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does the fight start and what channel is it on?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: Only 132 pubs in the United Kingdom will show the fight - so where can you watch it?
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 3 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 4 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 5 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...
£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...