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
- 1 To those who can’t see the point of International Women’s Day: you are the very reason it exists
- 2 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
White people become less racist just by moving to more diverse areas, study finds
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...