This Saturday March 9th, Okotoks will see knights in shining armour battling out it to be named tournament champion.

The Historical Armored Combat Sports Association (HACSA) is hosting their Canadian Classic tournament in Okotoks.

"Our sport is, in most places in the world, known as Buhurt," explains HACSA President Ian Tivendale. "It's a sport where people wear the equipment of medieval knights and fight, effectively, like they would've historically at tournaments. So, rather than necessarily battlefields, we fight how they would at tournaments."

Tivendale adds that while they aren't trying to kill one another, they are prepared to get hit, so they wear heavier and tougher armor than they would've worn back in the day.

This allows the participates to swing at their opponent without worrying about harming them too much.

"Historical armour typically is a lighter. Typically, more like 45-to-65-pound range would be relatively standard for knights on the battlefield. Like actually fighting each other in warfare. There's two reasons for the difference," Tvendale says. "The first would be, they need it to be lighter if they're going to be in that stuff all day long."

The other reason is that in the olden days, they only really needed their armour to save them from one or two lethal blows.

Tivendale adds that the helmets they wear now are significantly heavier and more durable than what they would've worn back then.

Tivendale says there are groups out there that focus more on the reenactment side of things, whereas the tournaments put on by HACSA are more of a sport.

"We are less focused on that, it's still a major component of what we do, but we are more focused on the sport side of things," Tivendale says. "So, our rules are based off point systems. Kind of works a little bit like boxing or MMA a lot of times for scoring, depending on the categories."

During the tournament, there will be three categories that people will be competing in, and they are duals, pro fights, and melee.

"Duals are one-on-one fights between two fighters with the expectation that it's about swordsmanship and skill with your weapon. There's a lot of different categories under duals, depending on the chosen weapons, but the way to win is to hit your opponent with your sword clearly and effectively more often than they hit you in the allotted time limit."

The rounds are typically one minute long, and they do a best of three series.

"The most common dual type is longsword, it's everyone's favourite. But sword and shield is usually pretty popular. We also have sabre, we also have pole arm, we also have great sword. Which is basically longsword, but the sword wasn't big enough, so we wanted a bigger one," Tivendale says.

Pole arms are generally a spear or a two-handed axe that is between 4 to 8 feet long.

"Basically, big stick, hit other guy," Tivendale adds.

Duals are typically the majority of the fights throughout the day.

The melee division consists of group fights, typically being five versus five.

"The objective in the 5v5 melees is to get your opponents to the ground. So, it's a little bit less about specifically skill with the weapon you are using and a little bit more about teamwork and strategy and grappling, and honestly courage," says Tivendale. "Because, fighting a guy with a big stick when it's one-on-one, where you know where it's coming from, and you can do what you need to block it is easy.  But 5v5, where you might be fighting someone, and that guy decides to just grab you and pin you down while his buddy comes over and hits you with the big stick, those are a little bit more terrifying. A little bit more challenging to deal with. So, that's why usually the fighters who go into melees are typically the more courageous, and more, I don't want to say crazy, but kinda crazy fighters."

Tivendale says that melees tend to be the more popular categories, because that's what people typically know the sport for, because of how intense the fights can get.

Buhurt is a medieval French word meaning 'to wollop', which is what they used to call the melee category in tournaments in medieval times.

"We are, really, effectively inspired by those ideals, but obviously we've modernized a few things," Tivendale says.

Pro Fights are essentially MMA in full Medieval armour. 

"It's full contact, no holds barred. You're allowed to kick, you're allowed to punch, you're allowed to grapple and throw," Tivendale explains. "It's only a one-on-one battle, but you aren't required to use the same weapon. So, if I want to use a sword and shield and my opponent wants to use a pole arm, that's fine. We can do that. It's a little bit more aggressive, exciting fights, as well, for the one-on-one duals. They're just typically very exhausting, very challenging."

There will be medals awarded during a ceremony for each category.

When it comes to the armour they wear, the competitors must supply their own.

There are companies that make the amour specifically for these kinds of tournaments.

Tivendale will also be heading down to the International Medieval Combat Federation World Championship in Mexico in May to represent Canada as part of the sword and shield dual.

High River brothers Warren and Ryan Nielson will also be representing Canada in a few different divisions, with Ryan being the team field captain for the Canadian melee team.

Both of whom are also competing at the tournament in Okotoks.

This is HACSA's third year bringing this tournament to Okotoks.

Anyone is able to compete in the tournament, whether or not you have picked up a sword before.

This tournament will take place at the Okotoks Agriculture Society, with doors opening at 8 a.m.

Tickets cost $10 per person, $5 per senior 70 years and older, $25 per family of 4, and $5 per extra child, and can either be purchased online or with cash at the door.


Online Auction