New Buhurt Armored Combat Group in Olympia Wants You to Join the Fun

man in green and black soft armor holding a shield
Dagger in soft armor at an Armored Combat United club practice. Photo credit: Joey Brookman

Want to get in shape but hate gyms? Looking for friends who love costumes and renaissance faires as much as you do? Check out Armored Combat United in Olympia! This new group, started by Patrick Carns, focuses on training in the style of buhurt – a modern-day full contact combat sport that uses the weapons and costuming of medieval times.

Patrick’s background is in Muay Thai, a type of kickboxing. “My interest in Buhurt – modern armored combat – began last summer when I saw an exhibition at a local ren faire,” he shares. “I was fascinated by what I saw at the ren faire. Modern-day knights, but fighting in the context of a sport?  Who wouldn’t want to find out what it feels like to participate in that?”

What is Buhurt?

Buhurt is an actual sport, with leagues and official rules worldwide. In fact, February is when they hold Buhurt Prime, the final tournament of the Buhurt League season. This year it’s being held in Belgrade, Serbia. Knights from around the world, including Czech Republic, Monaco, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the U.S. compete.

After seeing the fights at the renaissance faire, Patrick started to do some research on the sport. “I further discovered videos online, including GoPro-style footage,” Patrick shares. “Seeing technical dueling as well as large-number melees convinced me I had to incorporate this into my sport routine.”

Pat Carns in his steel armor with a sword
Pat Carns in his steel armor. Photo credit: Joey Brookman

But you can’t fight by yourself! So Patrick, along with this first recruit, Tyler Buckman who is a blacksmith and experienced fighter, decided it was time to create a group. “This group is specific to training Buhurt, but the sport includes three subtypes of fighting: duels, team melees, and a hybrid called Profights,” shares Tyler.

Buhurt in Olympia

While Patrick’s group is relaxed, they will be following the rules. “This is definitely for fun, but the official rules for major Buhurt leagues do require historically-accurate armor and weapons, which are blunted for safety,” he explains. “Specific attacks and techniques are also restricted to make the sport safer. But make no mistake, participating in Buhurt is likely the closest thing you can find to real medieval combat!”

The group is inclusive, however, and wants anyone interested in the medieval era to join, even if you don’t want to fight. “Our group also welcomes those uninterested in fighting who may still wish to associate with and help us in other ways, such as through art, metalwork, textiles, general fitness and administration,” shares Patrick.

Currently Armored Combat United meets twice a week, once to exercise and once to train. Patrick says they are flexible on the schedule to accommodate newcomers, however, and also want to plan more things in the future to bond as a club. “We are planning unique events whereby we can bond as a Buhurt community, even without training,” he shares. “For instance, my co-captain Tyler is a blacksmith by trade, so we are now planning an event where he can show people how he works on armor.  Mix in some good food and good company, and I expect it to be fun and educational.”

Tyler Buckman and Ryan John in soft armor fighting in Olympia
Tyler Buckman facing off against Ryan Johns. Photo credit: Pat Carns

At club practices, Patrick and Tyler lend their expertise to help teach those new to the sport. Patrick focuses on his kickboxing background with striking and grappling. Tyler has experience with weapon fighting that he is happy to pass on that as well.

“We will have nearby experts come to teach us, sometimes we will teach each other within the group, and sometimes we will open it up for general sparring, whether strict duels, melees, or a hybrid,” says Patrick. “The practices are planned out ahead of time, but the agenda changes based on our needs.”

Patrick’s hope for this year is to grow and make connections. “I hope to grow the crew to a handful of dedicated teammates that are committed to learning new things together, encouraging the spread and adoption of this sport, partnering with local groups and hosting/participating in local events. such as ren faires, state fairs, or similar,” he shares. “Over time, I’d also like to form partnerships with major regional teams to cross-train and become known in the region as a dedicated but laid-back group that welcomes everyone who is willing to grow themselves and help others.”

Sound fun? Join up with the group on via the Armored Combat United Facebook page.

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