France, Loire
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Medieval Battle

A couple weeks ago, we drove to the Forteresse de Montbazon to see a medieval tournament, Le Tournoi du Faucon Noir. We weren’t quite sure what to expect, but the flyer said there would be a medieval market, food, and a round-robin of group battles. Sounded like fun, sign me up!

Le Forteresse de Montbazon.

Le Forteresse de Montbazon.

Fortress ruins.

Fortress ruins.

Despite not knowing what to expect, both Derek and I had the impression that it would sort of be “for fun”, like the choreographed fighting you’d see in WWF or something like that. Were we ever wrong — this was as close as you could get to the real thing, minus the deaths of course!

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The teams were decked out in medieval armour, complete with helmets, maille of many sorts, colourful tunics emblazoned with their team crests, and thankfully tonnes of padding. They carried loads of different kinds of medieval weapons, swords, axes, maces, you name it. The day we were there, it was 5-vs-5 fighting, and they really went all out. The teams would face off, and when the refs blew the whistle, it was full steam ahead. Those helmets must really be tough, because these guys were swinging giant battle axes full-force at each others’ heads, even denting the helmets!

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There didn’t seem to be too many rules, other than some seemingly illegal types of holds or kicks. To us, it basically seemed like no-holds-barred fighting! Once you were taken down, you had to go down on a knee or sit where you’d fallen. When all the men from a team were down, the fight was over and the round-robin continued.

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Despite the somewhat brutal nature of the fighting, it was highly entertaining. Thankfully only one guy got injured, but it was from an illegal leg move (someone stepped on the side of his knee) rather than from a weapon. Other than that, the knights stepped off the battlefield tired and sweaty, but pretty much intact.

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Discussing the ref’s call.

Oli got into the medieval action and tried his hand at archery, which he said was a lot harder than he’d expected. There were all kinds of medieval costumes to try on, and even a wooden shackle to slip into, which of course the kids loved.

Oli learning to fire his bow + arrow. The little girl beside him was a total sharp shooter!

Oli learning to fire his bow + arrow. The little girl beside him was old hat — a total sharp shooter!

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Hopefully the only time we ever see them in shackles.

Hopefully the only time we ever see them in shackles.

All in all, we had a fun afternoon. This is definitely not something we’d ever come across in Victoria! Here are a few more pics from the tournament, including some of our favourite characters from the day.

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Equipment checked before battle. There were many different types of helmets, we called this one “bucket-head”

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We decided this guy looked familiar, and dubbed him “french Russell Crowe”

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The announcer, decked out in his mink stole. He was pretty hilarious, and approached his role with great gusto!

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This is one of the refs, we called him “medieval Charlie Brown”.

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Helmets removed while the players ate their medieval nosh. Look at those dents! I especially liked the “bird” helmets.

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All shined-up and ready for battle.

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Charlie Brown making the tough calls.

This past weekend, we took off to Paris for three nights – what a dream! It was not nearly long enough, but we’ll be back again. I’ve just uploaded my photos but it’ll take me a little while to sift through and choose my favourites. Stay tuned for a few posts next week.

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