Battle of the Nations (Medieval Tournament)

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Battle of the Nations logo.

The Battle of the Nations is an international historical medieval battles world championship, first held in 2009, in Kharkiv, Ukraine[1] and held in Europe, in April, every year since.

It is a full contact competition using metal weapons and a standardized list of rules.[2][3] National teams compete in several standard events, with all being full contact - no stage reenactment battles are included.

Teams from up to 25 countries have entered the tournaments.[4]

External video
«Battle of the nations 2012»(promo)

Main Provisions[edit]

National teams of different countries compete at “Battle of the Nations”. Under the rules of BN, a national team has to consist of at least 8 and a maximum of 50 fighters. Any representative of any of the HMB clubs[clarification needed], as well as an individual fighter, provided he has gone through a selection process conventional for a country, can become a member of a national team.

Qualifying tournaments are competitions, where battles are held in accordance with the unified international rules for the historical medieval battle. National teams organize qualifying tournaments to find the best HMB fighters of a country. The unified international rules, according to which battles are held, have been written especially for "Battle of the Nations”. Before the unified rules were written, the countries had different HMB rules.[5]

The tradition for this combat/competition has largely come from Russia, where enthusiasts have held previous events where full contact "battles" of large numbers of armoured combatants, are held, often in historical sites. The emphasis is put on the combatants wearing historically accurate equipment and heraldry, and the use of appropriate weapons for the combat.

The heraldry, however, reflects the modern competition teams, rather than necessarily historically correct heraldic device that may have been worn by combatants in the medieval period. The first tournament was held at the Khotyn Fortress in Ukraine in 2010.[6] The combatants depict armoured fighters from the 12th - 15th century.[7] A number of different forms of combat take place, including some involving individuals, 5 a side or 21 on each side. Over 200 armoured men at arms take place in the competition, and in addition to melee/hand-to-hand weapons, archery is also featured.[8]

Team Quebec (also known at Ost du Quebec[9]) was the first non-European team to enter the tournament in Ukraine in 2011. Their captain put a team together of 9 fighters and 3 support staff who traveled from Montreal Quebec to take part in the tournament. They also held the first friendly tournament under the HMB rules in St-Eustache in February 2012 where participants from Ontario and USA took part. Together with Scallagrims group from Toronto they founded the National Medieval Martial Arts League in Canada.

US combatants entered a team for the first time in 2012, with a number of their members coming from the Society for Creative Anachronism.[10] The US team is a cross-group association of historic martial arts organizations.

"Battle of the Nations 2012" gathered participants from 12 countries.

By the following year, that number increased to 22 teams which participated in the "Battle of the Nations 2013", which was held in Aigues-Mortes in southern France. This was the first time the event was held outside east Europe.

"Battle of the Nations 2014" took place on 12 June in Trogir, Croatia. This was the year of the first female official nomination in the fencing "Triathlon[11]". An innovation for the championship.

"Battle of the Nations 2015[12]" was held in Prague, Czech Republic, 7–10 May. The women's buhurt category: all vs all - was promoted to be the innovation for that year's championship.

List of participants (Sorted by first-year participation):

2010 — Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland 2011 - Germany, Italy, Quebec 2012 - Austria, United States, Israel, Denmark, The Baltic States- union of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia 2013 - Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic & Slovakia, France, Japan,[13]Luxembourg, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom Fighters from Portugal also attended, and fought with the Luxembourg team. 2014 - Chile, Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, Mexico.

About 25,000 attend the event annually.[14]

View of the Khotyn Fortress's entrance.

List of host cities by year[edit]


The first meeting for the organization of the festival and the championship was held in Kharkiv in 2009.[citation needed] Its participants, captains of the first national teams, came to a consensus concerning how to hold the event. Since the rules could vary in different countries and even in different regions of one country, they also agreed of a set of unified international rules for the conduct of battles.

The first "Battle of the Nations" event was held in 2010 in Khotyn (Ukraine).[25] It was attended by the national teams of four countries: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland. Russia won most of the first places. The program included three categories: a duel (1 vs 1), group battles (5 vs 5) and mass battles (21 vs 21). For those who were not members of the national teams, but came to support the comrades, there were non-security buhurts.

The second event, in 2011, was also held at the Khotyn Fortress. seven national teams participated; the previous four and three novice teams: Italy, Germany, Quebec. Two more categories were added to the three classic ones, namely the “professional fight” and “all vs all”. The latter category allows participants who are not members of the national teams to fight for their countries. The first places were won by Russia. The festival was attended by about 30,000 spectators and a documentary about the life of the participants was shot.[citation needed]

The 2012 event was held in Warsaw, Poland, and included representatives of twelve countries. A feature of the festival were battles of mounted knights, that were included in the program of the traditionally foot world championship in HMB for the first time. The top four teams were Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and USA.

The 2013 event was held in in Aigues-Mortes, France. Twenty-two teams from Europe, the Americas, and the Pacific Rim took part. With the increase of teams, there were no "pro rules" fights or mounted jousting in the main arena. The top four teams were Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and USA.

The 2014 event was the fifth event, and was held in Trogir, Croatia. Around 30 countries were expected.[26]

The 2015 event was the sixth event, and was held held in Prague.[citation needed]

The 2016 even was the seventh event, and was held in Prague.[27] 35 countries were expected.[28]

The 2017 event was the eigth event, and was held in Barcelona, Spain and was the first year that the Chinese, Brazilian and Turkish team joined Battle of the Nations. [29]

The 2018 event was the ninth even, and was held in Rome, Italy

The 2019 even will be the 10th event, and is expected to be held in Serbia.

Mass battle 2017 21 vs. 21 at La Monumental, in Barcelona, Spain .

Valid battle categories[edit]

Valid battle categories of the competitions held among national teams on the HMB and a brief explanation of them:

  • "Triathlon Duel", fights 1 vs 1. The category consists of three rounds with the use of different weapons. The first round lasts one and a half minutes, longswords are used, the second round is held with the use of usual swords and buckler shields, three bouts up to three hits, and the third round lasts a minute and a half with the use of the standard shield and sword. Points are awarded for effective (a clear, stout) blow delivered with the weapon edge to the allowed zone.
  • "Professional fight", fights 1 vs 1. The category consists of three rounds of three minutes each, pre-selected weapons are used. Points are awarded for effective (a clear, stout) blow delivered with a sword, shield edge, fist, leg, knee, and a good throw with the final blow.
  • "Five vs five" the group battles "5 vs 5" are the most active kind of buhurt combat. A team fights against a team on a hard bordered list field. One five-member unit includes from five to eight fighters (five fighting in the lists, and three reserve fighters). A fighter who falls down (touches the ground with the third point of support) is out of the battle. There are 3 bouts in a battle until a team wins twice.
  • “Royal category”, a mass battle "21 vs 21", when up to twenty-one fighters representing a country fight on the field at the same time. There are six reserve fighters. A fighter who falls down is out of battle. A battle continues until the fighters of only one team remain standing on the lists, so their team wins.
  • "All vs all" are the largest mass battles. All fighters (including those not included in a national team) of all participating countries come to the lists. The participants are divided into equal groups, but in such a way that the representatives of one country are in the same group. A fighter is out of battle if he falls down. Points are awarded to the national teams that are members of the winning side.

Valid non-battle categories

  • "Contest for the best set of armor and weapons" is held among fighters of the national teams, who can demonstrate only those sets that were used in battles. Assessment is done by knight marshals, the refereeing panel and the organizers of the festival, who take into account the overall level of aesthetics, historicity of a set of armor and weapons, integrity of the individual elements, quality of the items.
  • "Contest for the best authentic field camp" of a national team. Authenticity, accuracy, functionality, aesthetics and originality, as well as the size of an authentic field camp is assessed by the refereeing panel and the organizers of the festival (it takes place for one day).
  • "Archery tournament" (bow and crossbow). The tournament is held at a specially equipped place and it takes place for about 2 days. Categories and regulations may vary depending on the festival.


  1. ^[permanent dead link] NBC Business News
  2. ^ Archived from the original on December 4, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2012. Missing or empty |title= (help)
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  4. ^ Reuters "Battle of the Nations: World Historical Medieval Battle Championship"
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  6. ^ "Second International Festival on Historical Reenactment - World HMB Championship "Battle of the Nations" - Welcomes Guests and Participants" 19:11, UN-Ukrainian News Monday, April 18, 201
  7. ^ Lepage, Bernard. "Quand La Guerre Est Un Jeu" L'Hebdo Du St-Maurice, 4:29, 1 March 2012, 8 February 2012
  8. ^ "Second International Festival on Historical Reenactment - World HMB Championship "Battle of the Nations" - Welcomes Guests and Participants" UN Ukrainian News 19:11, Monday, April 18, 201
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  10. ^ Browning, Tamara, "Area men to compete in Battle of the Nations in Poland" The State Journal-Register, 4:44, 2 April 2012
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  14. ^ "Second International Festival on Historical Reenactment - World HMB Championship "Battle of the Nations" - Welcomes Guests and Participants" 19:11, Monday, April 18, 201 UN Ukrainian News
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  25. ^ "Inside The Violent, Geeky World Of Hardcore International Medieval Combat", Mar 1, 2014, Tim Chester,
  26. ^ "Watch Fighters Literally Go Medieval on Each Other in This New Documentary", Victor Luckerson, April 28, 2015,
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