Knights from 25 countries gather in Poland to compete in the Full Contact Medieval Fighting World Championships. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**NONE** ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Wielding swords and shields, the knights in heavy armour attack each other in scenes that could easily be mistaken for a staged reconstruction. But at this castle, the battles are real as the fighters try hard to defeat their opponents. Hundreds of men and women from 25 countries gathered at Poland's Malbork castle over the weekend for the full contact Medieval Combat World Championships in fast-paced duels, reminiscent of the battles of medieval Europe. Less bloody this time, the tournaments are refereed matches, scored like boxing, in which the objective is to get the opposition to the ground. As well as one-on-one fights, there are bigger tournaments with groups of three, five or 16 participants on each side. Dressed in heavy armour, the fighters use swords, shields and pole arms as they try to floor their opponents, cheered on by spectators. Preparations can be long, with participants training several times a week. The cost can also be high - the equipment must follow strict authenticity rules and is checked for safety. For the women fighters, the main even is a three versus three tournament. The four-day event at Malbork, the biggest brick castle in the world, saw the Poles swoop the most prizes. The U.S. team had dominated last year's championships in Spain. "This year the Polish have come back really really strong," U.S. participant Bill said. "There were just solid. It was a hard fight."