Home > All, Reenactment > The Unified International Rules of Full Contact Historical Medieval Battles – Battle of the Nations

The Unified International Rules of Full Contact Historical Medieval Battles – Battle of the Nations



The Unified International Rules of Full Contact Historical Medieval Battles 

1. GENERAL REGULATIONS of international Historical Medieval Battles (HMB)

Historical Medieval Battles (HMB) – is a kind of sport battles with the usage of the historical recreation of protective and offensive arms of the Middle Ages, specially made and adjusted to a full-contact battle. HMB are held in full contact and can include different nominations with different tactical conditions and different with different number of participants. The concept HMB includes all kinds of power fight with the usage of historical recreation items of the Middle Ages: historical fencing, buhgurts, melee, and small group battles, mass field battles, professional fights, duels, etc.

1.1. Historical Medieval Battles are held in full contact in different nominations with different tactical conditions of the victory and different regulations depending on the event concept. Meanwhile the authorized and prohibited techniques in HMB are the same for all the nominations.

1.2. All HMB are held under a marshal group’s observation and control. The marshal group includes one knight marshal (main referee), field referees – from 2 people and linemen – from 4 people. The records of the battle results are held by the secretariat – from 1 person. In case of any disagreement the knight marshal has decision voting authority.

1.3. The battles can be held according to any regulations and tournament charts which are provided for the given nominations on this or that event where HMB are held.

1.4. To participate in HMB one accepts the fighters over 18 years old who have passed the accreditation and admission to this event and who were admitted by the technical and historical committee before the battles.   

1.5. Any arms which have historical analogues, correspond to the allowed technical characteristics and are accepted by historical technical committee are valid.

The humanization of arms

1.5.1. The humanization is rounding of percussion edges of any blade and staff weapon which is executed in a plane, it is to correspond to the radius of 1 Euro coin. Such rounding is necessary for all the kinds of a weapon.

 1.5.2. The edges of all the striking parts of any weapon are to be rounded as a bevel and to be not less than 2 mm wide (including any possible chips and notches). 

1.5.3. The edges of shields are to be trimmed with a thick (not less than 3-4 mm) leather.

Only steel shields such as buckler or forged round shields with forge-rolled edges can be steel trimmed.

Important! Front blows with the edge of steel shields are prohibited!!!

These data concerned the admission of the weapon to the event can be toughened by the event Organizers to observe the safety requirements.

1.6.  All the offensive and protective arms are to pass the admission of the technical historical committee which is specially appointed for the event. Meanwhile the fighters are to care about the protectability and impact resistance of the all protective elements.     

1.7. The list of the authorized kinds of arms and the technical requirements to ones:

Weight characteristics (maximal total weight of a weapon ready-fitted and in a ready state is indicated, accepted error is +300 g).

Blade weapon  

1.7.1.Single-handled swords, sabers, broadswords – maximal weight is 1600 g

1.7.2. Falchions – 1800 g 

1.7.3. Hand and a half sword (total length is up to 1400 mm), swords, sabers, broadswords – maximal weight is 2500 g 

1.7.4. Two-handled swords XIV-XV cent. Maximal weight is 3500 g

Staff weapon

1.7.5. Single-handled: axes – maximal weight 1300 g; maces and six-flanged mace – maximal weight is 1000 g.

Important! For axes: the length of a crashing part of an axe blade is to be not less than 7 cm!!!

Important! For maces: all the maces are to be ONLY on a wood handle and with no sharp edges!!!

1.7.6. Hand and a half: axes, poleaxes and other similar weapons (with a total weight of not less than 1 m) – maximal weight is 2300 g

1.7.7. Two-handled: halberds and similar kinds of a weapon (with a total length more than 1400 mm) – maximal weight is 3000 g.

Heavier weapons or just thrust weapons are not admitted to use in historical medieval battles.

1.8. One authorizes any armor which has historical analogues of the period XIII – XVI cent. It is to be made out of authentic materials, to have the appropriate thickness of a protective material as well as to have good aesthetic appearance. All the items of protective arms are to correspond to the technical requirements. 

Technical requirements to protective arms:

1.8.1. The fighter’s head is to be protected with a metal helmet. The steel of the helmet is to be not less than 2 mm thick

1.8.2. The fighter’s helmet is to be equipped either with a tight padding or with a well quilted padded cap not less than 3 cm thick or a leather pendant with a quilted padded cap from 1 cm thick.

1.8.3. The fighter’s body is to be covered with lamellar armor or riveted chainmail

1.8.4. Apart from armor the fighter’s body is to be equipped with an underarmor protection (a quilted jacket, a wool gown, a padded shirt, etc.) which covers the entire torso or the armor is to have a quilted undercoat.

1.8.5. The fighter’s neck is to be mandatory covered with a steel armor element. For chainmail type of protection one authorizes only riveted chainmail web with additional hidden steel protection under it. The neck from behind is to mandatory have additional underarmor protection (a quilted or padded pelerine of a neck guard, a special collar or a cushion padding to a steel neck protection) not less than 3 cm thick.

1.8.6. The fighter’s hands are to be protected with gloves or mittens which have historical analogues. A hand protection is to mandatory have steel lamellar or chainmail percussive surface. Beside steel one authorizes the usage of any authentic materials.

1.8.7. The participation in HMB only in a quilted armor is authorized only when the fighter has a special permission from the event organizers.

1.8.8. The entire spine is to be covered with a steel protection with a mandatory quilted or padded underarmor not less than 3 cm thick.

1.8.9. A shin is to be covered with a steel protection from the front and the sides; from behind it is to be protected with steel or at least quilted or padded pants or protective insets.

1.8.10. The armor is to provide a head, a neck, a spine and joints qualitatively in any fighter’s position.

1.8.11. Any fighter’s limb joints are to be protected with an armor element.

1.8.12.A fighter’s groin is to be protected with armor elements or special hidden groin protection.

1.8.13. In case if a fighter’s protective complex in terms of the correspondence to historical analogues misses historically based elements of the given zones. These zones are to be safely covered with a hidden protection which is not registered visually and made of authentic materials. 

2. The battle holding principles

2.1. HMB are held in different regulations depending on the nominations of a battle and the event peculiarities.

2.2. The conditions of the victory also can be changed  depending on the nomination of a battle and an event.

2.3. The main indicator of the victory in HMB is the opponent’s fall on the list surface. The fall is considered to be the following:

2.3.1. when one touches the surface of a list with his torso, bottom or with three support points at the same time.

2.3.2. when one keeps attacking while the battle with no weapon in his hands

2.3.3. when one fix, keeps or block the rival with no weapon in his hands in any way.

2.3.4. when one comes out or falls out the list

2.3.5. when one leans over the list fence for more than 45 °, only in case when it is fixed by the marshal (who puts the flag on top).

2.3.6. when one breaks or looses his head- or neck protection . Also when one breaks or looses in a battle an essential part of his armor, which absence will result in an injury. In this case the fighter is to leave the battle, to squat down or knee (присесть на одно колено), to cover an uncovered part with armor and to take a safe position on the list out of the battle till the end of a bout. 

2.3.7. when one falls together with the opponent if at least one hand, knee or other part of the body leans on the surface of the list.

Important! When the fighter who has fallen together with the opponent and is on top, has leaned with the third supporting point just on the opponent who lies under him and the fighter doesn’t touch the list surface with the other supporting point, he is not considered to be a fallen one.

2.4. In case if the fighter looses his weapon he has right:

2.4.1. to use spare weapon

2.4.2. to take spare weapon from the reserve fighter of his team which is  located in a special place near the fence of the list

2.4.3. to cease fighting having squatted down and taken the position out of  the battle.


Authorized techniques and strikes:

3.1. one authorizes any punches, strikes with a weapon fighting part or a shield on the opponent’s kill zone. The kill zone excludes an open face, a groin, feet, a back part of a neck, popliteal space.

3.2. one authorizes blocking theopponent’s attacking arm and striking the opponent who has lost the balance till he falls on the ground.

3.3. pushing or shoving with a head, a shoulder and a body

3.4. hooking the opponent’s shield, hands or weapon with a shield, single-handled axe or  single-handled weapon pommel

3.5. using a free hand to attack: strikes, pressure, holdback on a forearm or a hand. The fighter can strike with a free hand, but only in case he holds weapon in another hand.  

3.6. blocking and repulsion the opponent with a hand in case when the distance is shortened too much or in case of a clinch.

3.7. pressure towards the opponent’s hand, shield or weapon with a free hand

3.8. attacking the opponent who has lost his weapon

3.9. any kicks except direct or side kicks, kicks resulting in fracture – twisting, kicks with a foot or any other part of the leg from the front of  a knee joint or inner side part of a knee joint.

3.10. kicks under a knee from behind and from the outer side part of a knee joint, except the kicks when the fighter jumps or is at a running start and at the moment of the kick both his feet lift off.

3.11. any fighting techniques, back heels, throws, except painful holds, suffocating techniques, mills, fighting on hands and knees.  

3.12. holds with a pole of two-handled pole arm from the front and from behind, but with no pressure on a neck from behind and with no suffocation

3.13. overlapping of a shield, blocking of the opponent’s hands with a shield, putting a shield’s edge under an armed hand.


4.1. one prohibits any strikes in non-kill zone

Important! One strongly prohibits any strikes on a groin, back side of a neck, open face, feet.

4.2. one prohibits strikes or any other actions with a weapon or a shield under the knee.

4.3. any strikes on the back part of the neck

4.3. any vertical strikes along the spine

4.4. thrusting strikes with a weapon

4.5. twisting against natural direction of a limb flexion and any painful holds

4.6. pressure or hooking the edge of a helmet with a hand

4.7. hooking a helmet or a chainmail aventail

4.8. any clinches, hold-downs, suffocating techniques with a weapon or hands over the neck from the front or from behind. 

4.9.  deliberate putting off or a try to put off any opponent’s protection elements: holds of the edge of a helm with a hand together with active actions directed to putting it off

4.10. any strikes in the parts of the body which are not covered with

4.11. any strikes with feet of a  shield  from the front of  a knee joint or inner side part of a knee joint, direct or side strikes, strikes which can result in fracture of a knee joint.

4.12. any strikes above the back: in the neck or the head of the opponent who is bending on 50° or more.

4.13. it’s strictly prohibited to injure the opponent deliberately

4.14. any thoughtless or uncontrolled strikes and motions of a weapon

4.15. any attacking actions towards the fighter who has risen up at least one hand with an open palm.

Important! A hand with an open palm risen up is a sign of voluntary leaving the battle. Having risen a hand with an open palm up the fighter automatically takes the position out of the battle.

4.16. it’s prohibited to deal the final blow to the enemy who is lying.   

4.17. it’s prohibited to be in a clinch for more than 10 seconds. In this case field referee can put the fighters in a clinch apart giving a command “Stop clinch!” and hang a yellow referee flag on a pole between the opponents’ helmets. After this the fighters are to stop fighting in a clinch in a moment and pace off two meters. Even so both fighters are still in a battle.

4.18. any attacking actions with no weapon

4.19.  grasping a pole arm when the length of a pole between the index finger of a grasping hand and a n iron axe is less than 30 cm.

4.20. any strikes in the opponent’s face if the fighter who strikes uses an open-faced helmet. An open face is considered to be the area more than 50 cm².  

4.21. if the fighter falls down it’s prohibited before the command “Stop battle!” to rise up on both feet. After the fighter falls down he is to take comfortable sitting or lying position on the list showing that he is okay. This position is called “out of the battle”, the fighter is to wait the end of the bout at this position.  After the fighter falls he is to do no actions, i.e. he is strongly prohibited to trip up, to grab a weapon, a shield or protective elements as well as to prompt, to give a weapon or any other equipment.   


5.1. The comment – is the sanction applied to the fighter for insignificant rules violation which aim is to draw the fighter’s attention to his actions. It’s not recorded in the minutes.

5.2. The warning – The Yellow card is the sanction applied to the fighter for rules violation which is recorded in the minutes. The fighter can get three yellow cards during an event at most. The yellow card influences the rating of the fighter and his team. When the fighter gets the second yellow card he misses next battle of the event.   

The fighter gets the yellow card in the following cases:

5.2.1. for any prohibited strikes or techniques  

5.2.2. for rising and standing up on both feet after falling on the list before the command “Stop battle!”.

5.2.3.  for unsportsmanlike behavior, boorishness, shouting at the referee or opponents 

5.2.4. for starting the battle before the command “Battle!”

5.2.5. for keeping an attack after the command “Stop battle!”

5.2.6. for ignoring the knight marshal and field referees’ commands

Important! For all the violations mentioned above the fighter can get one or two yellow card(s) for one violation depending on the seriousness of the violation; this decision is up to the knight marshal

5.3. Disqualification – The Red card is the sanction applied to the fighter for serious or recurrent (the third yellow card) rules violation which is recorded in the minutes of the competition. After the fighter gets the red card he is eliminated from the further participation in the competition.

The fighter gets the red card in the following cases:

5.3.1. for systematical rules violation when the fighter gets three yellow cards a day

5.3.2. for injuring the opponent with prohibited strike or technique

5.3.3. for rude and systematical dissents, not reasoned contestation of referees’ decisions. If the fighter insults the opponents, treats them with no respect as well as all the other participants of the competition.

Important! Each fighter’s red card automatically becomes the Team’s red card.

5.4. Team disqualification is the sanction applied to all the Team in the following cases:

5.4.1. the team gets more than two red cards in an event + one warning to a team or a personal warning to a team fighter

5.4.2.  the team captain enters into dissents with referees and contests their decision, insults or is disrespectful to the opponents, as well as other parties in the competition.

5.4.3. The team take part in unsportsmanlike fights, enter into dissents with referees and contests their decision, take part in unsportsmanlike fights insults or is disrespectful to the opponents, as well as other parties in the competition.

5.4.4. there are less than four participants remained in the team.


6.1. In case of argued disagreement with the decision of the referees and the knight marshal, the team captain or the assistant officially (in a written form) appointed by the team captain who didn’t take part in the battle can make a protest.  

6.2.  The protest is to be made only argumentatively immediately after the bout and on the following occasions:  

6.2.1. Removal of the fighter by his opponents out of the battle with the rules violation

6.2.2. Rising up after falling and keeping the battle

6.2.3. Improper removal of the fighter out of the battle by the marshal

6.2.4. Unrecorded rules violation with the red and the yellow cards imposition. As well as any serious rules violations by the fighters who were nor punished with corresponding sanctions  

6.3. The protest can be imposed only immediately after the round of the battle when the field referee comes to the team to listen to the protest; i.e. either before the next round or after all the fighters leave the list. The protest is imposed in an oral calm and well-reasonable form personally to the field referee who has observed this battle. The protest is to be considered within 10-25 minutes before the beginning of the next round or battle.  

6.4. Possible variants of the protest consideration:

   6.4.1. general repeated round

   6.4.2. repeated round with differentiated team

   6.4.3. imposition of the yellow and red cards to the fighters

   6.4.4. team disqualification

   6.4.5. reconsideration of the round score

6.5. Frequent (3 times and more) and unreasonable protest impositions can be considered by the Knight marshal and by the referees to be unsportsmanlike behaviour of all the team and groundless dissents with the referees as well as disrespectful attitude to the opponents. For such a behaviour the sanctions from the red card to disqualification of all the team can be imposed. For frequent and unreasonable protests the sanction is imposed only by the Knight marshal.

Important! In case of difficult and disputable situations when the team captains are not satisfied with the knight marshal’s decision concerning the protest can apply to the supreme appellate marshals to ask to reconsider the decision. The supreme appellate marshal, by analyzing the video and polling the referees make the decision within one hour. The marshals’ decision is not appealable.

Categories: All, Reenactment
  1. Bystander
    February 9, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    – Important! Front blows with the edge of steel shields are prohibited!!!
    dang, steel shields now obsolete.
    – Blade weapon
    Falchions, falchions everywhere.
    -Important! For maces: all the maces are to be ONLY on a wood handle and with no sharp edges!!!
    Hitting with steel edge of a shield is forbidden, but maces are allowed? What?
    Halberds, halberds everywhere.
    -Technical requirements to protective arms
    What about plate armor? Looks like rules arent complete.

  2. Ivan Saber
    February 10, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    Yeah…and actually most shields around here are “steel edged”…are you sure this is an accurate translation…
    I was at the “Dinamo Cup” where they were EXTREMELY picky about the “official” BotN rules and I don’t remember a thing about steel edged shields…
    in fact MOST of the Ukrainian, Russian, and Belarusian fighters have “steel tipped” shields (you can even see it on the videos)…does this mean that they’re all gonna have to REMAKE their shields now?
    And what exactly is a “front blow”???
    The translation is a bit off too…”humanization”, that’s a reenactor/role-gamer Russian slang term. How on earth did it get in here???
    Oh, and the whole mace thing…for the record, I saw Gorunov (Bern 5vs5 team frontman) crash KO blows with a falchion, if he was given a mace that would be…uh…LETHAL maybe!!! Definitely more so than any delivered by a shield, steel tipped or not (at least in my opinion)

  3. October 16, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    Very good article. I will be going through many of these issues as well.

  4. October 19, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    Hi, constantly i used to check blog posts here early in the dawn,
    since i love to gain knowledge of more and more.

  5. June 5, 2013 at 3:57 AM

    They have the capability of giving the foot firm arc support.

    There are some pretty good ones out there so do your homework
    and you should be fine. So now that you are aware of what chronic back
    pain is and the many conditions that cause it, let us move into how you
    can deal with it.

  6. November 26, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    Greetings from the USA SCA (sca.org) And my friends, Family, and coworkers say we are crazy. I would love to get a chance to come over and see one of your events.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: