Greater Victoria residents might start to see some medieval fighters armed with swords hanging around more often.
A group called the Company of the Blue Dragon is gearing up and training for two international medieval combat tournaments — Battle of the Nations and the International Medieval Combat Federation world championship.
The group is one of three in B.C., but there are many more across the country that come together to form Team Canada at the international tournaments.
The fighters wear real armour and use real weapons, that have been dulled for safety, to fight each other in tournament-style settings. The armour weighs anywhere between 60 to 100 pounds and the swords can weigh about three to four pounds.
The fighters could be seen practicing and fighting in their armour at Colwood Creek Park Saturday.
Don Hornby just moved to Victoria about two months ago from Whitehorse. He said he was part of a company there called Company of the White Wolf and is now trying to help grow the group in Victoria.
“Eventually we all want to go as part of Team Canada to the world championships,” Hornby said. “It’s the closest thing we’ll get to a modernized recreation of what a medieval tournament camp would have looked like.”
Swordfighters from all over the world come together at the tournaments to face off and see what country has the best fighters. Hornby said about 500 people gathered to fight last year.
Lucas Mendes is part of the Company of the Blue Dragon and has been trying to help the group grow for the past year. He said he was inspired to join because of a childhood movie.
“Back when I was a kid I saw the movie A Knight’s Tale and it inspired me to want to be a knight,” Mendes said. “I started seeing this in about 2013 and we’ve just kind of grown interest until about a year ago when we first started the club.”
Mendes said the group trains every Saturday in Duncan but was training in Colwood for the first time this weekend.
But the sport is an expensive one, according to Mendes. He bought his sword in Victoria for about $300. The armour usually has to be bought online and can cost about $3,000 for a full suit. But it keeps the fighters relatively safe.
Showing off a dented and scratched helmet, Hornby said layers of metal and fabric padding protect fighters from being seriously injured. However, it is still risky as some people have broken their collar bones or have been knocked out in combat at the tournaments, Hornby said.
Mendes said the group is trying to grow its membership by getting the word out about the sport.
“We’re going to start doing some conventions and different demos around the Island,” Mendes said.
“It’s definitely something you dream about when you’re a kid,” Hornby said.