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US Team Competes in Medieval International Competition
When karate and other martial art forms are not enough, these men put on armor and pick up axes.
"What we do is not your normal extreme sport, it's not something everyone knows about," medieval fighter Jaye Brooks said.
The men suit up in medieval-style armor and battle as fans intensely watch from the stands. Team USA first started competing last year during Moscow's battle of nations tournament.
"I absolutely love it," Brooks said. "The adrenaline from it, the feeling of men full force really trying to compete against each other to drive other to the ground, there's nothing like it in the world."
Warriors traveled from across the country to get in the ring at the state fairgrounds. Some of them dreamed about this moment since they were a child.
"[I was] the little kid picking up the garbage can lid and breaking my momma's broomstick to be a soldier and have sword fights and such and it carried on from there," fighter Adrian Dinwiddie said.
He will join 49 other guys in representing the country for the Battle Of the Nations in France.
"It's something I always wanted to do is represent my country," Dinwiddle said. "And to be able to do something like with that group of guys, knowing the suffering that they're going through, it's an amazing feeling."
The amazing feeling helps to overshadow the expensive costs that it takes to be a western martial arts fighter. These men will pay close to $10,000 just on armor.
They could choose a cheaper sport, but instead they suit up and attack each other all in the name of combat.
"Football is wonderful, people get paid for it, we love watching it," Dinwiddle said. "These guys are doing this out of love."
Fifty men were chosen to represent Team USA at the competition in May. They will fight in one-on-one, five-on-five, and all-out mele style combat. Last year, the men finished in fourth place, but were first in the debut teams during the Moscow competition.
The participants fight with real weapons and real armor. They call Springfield home, and thank Mayor Mike Houston for all of his support.