Thursday, June 7, 2012

Final report from Battle of the Nations

Polish TV and a local documentary crew interviewed me. I tried to give them the best answers I could regarding why I am doing this, what I thought about the fights, how I would compare SCA combat with this full-contact fighting, if my BJJ experience helped me at all, etc.

Here's the TV show that interviewed me. The segment on the Battle of the Nations starts at 5:10...

Interestingly, it seemed that every interviewer asked why Americans would do this when the United States has no medieval heritage. The stock answer for this is that the majority of Americans come from Europe, and thus do have a medieval heritage. I would also add that Asian-, African-, and even Native American-descended Americans also have some sort of chivalric warrior heritage. There is a sort of universality to the concept of the "warrior elite," just as there is a universally to the hero myth. Medieval entertainments have been very popular in America for decades, as has physically challenging contact sports and martial arts. The Battle of the Nations is a challenging combination of these things, and Americans don't like to back down from a challenge!

My lady joined me in Warsaw the day before the competition began. She helped the team greatly with water bearing and fighter support and helped me by holding the camera to shoot video. She had been unsure about coming to this event. She had wanted to go to Italy, and there was thought that we might do both. But the seriousness of the Battle of the Nations preparations started to make it look like that plan would be unlikely. However, she was won over by the passion and the adventure of this endeavor, and by the end was extremely happy she came.

The team was likewise glad to have her. Her help enabled the fighters to concentrate on their fighting without having to worry about hydration, nutrition, and other aspects of staying alive at an event like this.

Many people on the team told me that I had done very well over the course of the week. In fact, several times I was told that I was awesome, a superhero, and had a pair of brass ones the size of (fill in the blank). That made me feel really good about myself, that this trip, and all the effort was worth it. Here were these guys, most of whom were bigger or stronger or more skilled or tougher or had more badass cred than I, and they were accepting me as one of their own, simply because I was doing what I wanted to do. I wanted to fight. I wanted to fight and not give up. I wanted to have a good time fighting. I wanted to have a good time fighting in front of a lot of people and cameras, and I wanted to have as much fun as possible during this trip, to make people laugh, to entertain them. I wanted to make history. And I wanted to be accepted. I have two words for the result: Mission accomplished.

This was the first time that Americans had competed in an international medieval armored combat competition of this scale. We came as a team and every man fought to their utmost. We all sweated and bled out there, and we came together as a team of Americans. I have never been prouder to be part of something. This is something no one can take way from us.

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