Skip to content

Armoured B.C. fighters get medieval for combat showdown in Mexico

29 Canadian fighters competing in International Medieval Combat Federation world championships

A Duncan company of 25 knights will lead team Canada into the International Medieval Combat Federation world championships held in Teotihuacan, Mexico from May 2 to 5.

Both men and women from Cowichan Valley with Medieval Combat Canada suit up in shining armour to compete.

READ MORE: Medieval merriment comes to Cowichan Valley

“We have one of the largest teams in Canada at 25 fully suited knights,” said Duncan’s Company of the Blue Dragon team captain Lucas Mendes. “Our fighters are all over the island from Victoria to Qualicum Beach, and we meet every Saturday for practice in Duncan. Thirteen of the 29 Canadian fighters who will be competing in Mexico are from the Blue Dragons, as well as four support staff and marshals who are from the island as well.”

Historical Medieval Battles, or Buhurt, is a modern full-contact fighting sport with blunt steel weapons characteristic of the Middle Ages. Jose Amoedo brought Buhurt to Western Canada when he first moved to the Yukon from Spain. Medieval Combat Canada was then formed around 2014 by Land Pearson of the Company of the White Wolf based out of the Yukon Territory. This fuelled Mendes’s fire which led to him starting up Company of the Blue Dragon in 2017.

“I had been following the sport since 2014, and knew it was something I had to do, but there were no teams in B.C., so after a couple years of fighting at our local LARP [live action role play], I decided to finally start my own team,” said Mendes. “It took a long time to get off the ground but now seven years later we have one of, if not the largest team in Canada. We wanted to be part of a bigger community and it opened the door to competing at the world championships. We have been a part of Medieval Combat Canada since 2018.”

This year will see the most fighters from Canada compete since the country first attended the world championships in 2014. The Company of the Blue Dragon sent 10 of their fighters to the world championships in Spain last year and for the first time will also be sending two ladies to compete in Mexico this year.

“Last year we competed at the world championships in Spain and had the largest team to date of 18 fighters and four support staff,” said Mendes. “I won the bronze medal in the Lightweight Professional Bouts. It is the only medal Canada has ever won at the IMCF World Championships. It was a huge morale boost for the team. That trip was tough, the airlines lost 23 bags of our armour flying into Spain, and we still didn’t have them all back when the tournament started. We fought without shields, and had to borrow what we could from other countries and share gear between fighters just to get them in the list. It was four days of 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and it was rough. So bringing back Canada’s first medal really made all that hard work, and stress worth it.”

“This year we have 29 fighters, and 10 support staff. It’s the first time in history that Canada will field a full 16 versus 16 team at the IMCF World Championships. My favourite part about being the captain is getting to be a part of everyone’s growth. Most people show up never having swung a sword before, and we turn them into warriors. It’s very gratifying seeing how far everyone’s come.”

This unique sport comes with multiple categories that include duels, professional bouts and melees. Duels consist of sword and shield, long sword, sword and buckler, and polearms and is judged on a points based system where a clean unobstructed blow to one’s opponent with a weapon is granted a point. Matches are a minute in length, the one with the most points wins, and they are judged by best two out of three.

Professional bouts, which are also judged on point based system, go for two minutes per round and are more intense as punches, kicks, knees, and take-downs also count for points. Melees are group fights that range anywhere from three versus three, to 150 versus 150.

“The goal is to get your opponent on the ground in whatever way possible, through different martial arts throws and take-downs to pain compliance,” said Mendes. “Once a third point of contact has hit the ground that fighter is out, and it goes until the last man standing.”

Mendes admits while there is a lot of excitement brewing, it’s also very stressful.

“I am the Captain for Team Canada again this year so there’s a lot of responsibilities on top of making sure I’m as ready as I can be to compete in my categories,” said Mendes. “I’m really looking forward to another shot at the gold in the light-weight professional bouts. There’s going to be some tough competition but hopefully my training will be enough to take me to the top. Just getting to be a part of the tournament is such an incredible experience, and being around so many people who have the same passion for the sport as we do.”

“We learned a lot from the championships in Spain last year,” said Mendes. “We’re grateful to have another shot to expand on that down in Mexico. Our goal is to bring back at least five medals this year. The floodgates are open and Canada is ready. We have a phenomenal team this year and I have high hopes for everyone. I can’t wait to see how everyone does.”

About the Author: Chadd Cawson

Read more