Have you ever wanted to explore the unforgettable world of knights battling it out in an arena like in medieval times, get into the spirit of a knight's tournament from long ago, and be witness to Israel's first international competition in this young sport?
• The first international sport tournament in Israel, "Medieval Battles" - World Medieval Fighting Championship - WMFC: Israeli Challenge - will be held on January 23, 2014 at 7 pm, in the garden of the Haifa Convention Center.
• The Israeli team, which will be hosting this tournament, has represented Israel several times in world championship medieval battles in Russia and France.
• Medieval knight fighting has developed in recent years into a sport throughout the world and has been enjoyed in Israel already for several years.
The Israeli team will be competing for the first time, in Israel, against representatives from seven countries as part of the international tournament of medieval battles called "Duel Professional." Countries participating in this international tournament are France, Russia, Latvia, Estonia, the Ukraine, Belarus and Luxembourg.
At the last group world championship – "Battle of the Nations"- held in France six months ago, the Israeli team won 14 consecutive battles and came in eighth place among 22 countries.
The arena, showcasing the fascinating spectacle of medieval knight battles, will surely excite both the sport fan and history buff. The contestants are divided into categories according to their weight and matched with others based on their skill level. It will not be by sword and shield alone that will lead the knight to claim victory. Knights must also be skilled in combat techniques, and be brave and smart as well. In "Medieval Battles", as in any sport competition, there are strict rules and regulations. The "Professional Duel" competition is held in a roped-off-arena, with each fight consisting of three, two-minute rounds, with one-minute rest between rounds. The winner is the one with the most points after three rounds. It is strictly forbidden to stab or choke an opponent or hit him in the un-allowed area of the body. Such activity is penalized by taking off points from their score. Weapons have specifically designated minimum and maximum weights. If a weapon breaks during the battle, there is a specified limited time allotted to replace it.
There are several knight clubs across Israel in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Petah Tikva and Be'er Sheva. Each club has a unique area or technique that it specializes in. Club member addicts invest their leisure time and considerable funds throughout the year to establish and expand the recognition of this sport. They come to regular meetings adorned in special dress and armor which they acquire or create to resemble those worn during the historical medieval age and the Crusader period. Protective gear includes a metal helmet, a steel suit of armor that includes hand and feet protectors, a set of swords and other elements that characterize the period. Swords are not sharpened since they are not intended to injure or harm the opponent. At practice sessions, participants practice the various types of fighting techniques such as: traditional bow and arrow, 12th century fencing, sword battles using historical weapons and group and two-person battle techniques.
Once a year in July, the "Kingdom of Jerusalem" club organizes for its members a 28 km three-day trip during which they re-enact the knight battles of "Karnei Hattin". During last October, club members participated in the Jerusalem Festival, where they demonstrated fighting contests from different periods in history and different styles.
Medieval Knight fighting is not recognized as a sport by the sports authorities in Israel, although other countries do recognize it. Various countries around the world are now working at having this exciting sport recognized as an Olympic sport.
• Tickets can be purchased at "Bravo tickets office: (http://bravo.org.il/announce/18863)
Photo Andre Kinzarski