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Warriors

Warriors and Combat

Do you fancy being a Viking warrior, an Anglo-Saxon thane or a Norman knight? Well, why not?

Join our band of warriors, show courage and earn fame and fortune for yourself and our noble count, Roger de Bec.

No prior experience is required, just a moderate level of physical fitness. You will be thoroughly trained. Our warriors meet for training on many Sunday afternoons, except when the weather isvery bad, or when we are away, displaying our skills at a public event somewhere in the country.

Our combat displays are a stylized mix of very simplified Western martial arts with some dramatic additions. We don’t use set routines as such; it’s more like a sport.

We use a range of blunt steel “weapons”, which resemble period weapons as closely as possible, although within strict safety limits.

Beginners – The Levy

Initially you will portray a member of the peasant levy – a farmer who must turn up when the local lord needs an army.

With your spear and shield, and perhaps a seax (a common utility knife), you defend your village against enemies and predators.

When you are competent with a spear (we have a test for this), you can start to move up the ranks and on to other weapons.

Improvers – The Militia

Next, you portray a member of the militia – an aspiring professional warrior, on the local lord’s payroll.

In keeping with your rising social status, you will want better clothes, and perhaps a helmet.

The spear and shield are still your best friends, but you will want to add something else, for example an axe, a lang seax (a longer version of the seax) or – if you can afford it – perhaps a real sword.

When you are competent with additional weapons (we have a tests for this also) and know how to generally look the part, you are ready to move on.

Experts – The Warriors

Eventually, you join the ranks of the real warriors – highly paid professionals, the lord’s elite trouble-shooters.

You may even be a minor lord in your own right.

Your weapons and armour are state of the art for the period: You’ll certainly have a sword, a hauberk (a long mail shirt) and a long “kite” shield, and your clothes are top notch – the mediaeval equivalent of an Armani suit.

These are the people who fought the historic battles, such as Ethandun, Maldon, Fulford Gate, Stamford Bridge or Hastings.

Specialist – Archer

Whoosh-thunk-aaaaargh-chery: Bows and arrows were primarily used for hunting and sport but by the 11th century they were occasionally also used in warfare, though not as intensively as in the later mediaeval period.

At most training sessions, we do some archery target shooting practice and there is usually archery ranges at the shows we go to.

If you’re very good, there is even the chance to train up as a combat archer and be one of the elite allowed to use a bow in our battle displays. The arrows are rubber-tipped, of course.

Many of our shows have Viking longship funerals and some archers get to shoot fire arrows into the boats to set them alight. It could be you!

Specialist – Cavalry Warrior

When you have worn out a few pair of boots in the infantry, and are thoroughly fed up walking all the way yourself, you could always apply to join our cavalry unit, the Equites de Bec and let a horse do the heavy lifting.

To be considered, you will first need to have the skills and equipment of a warrior-level foot-soldier and, of course, you will need to be a fairly competent rider.

We realise that skills like that don’t magically grow overnight, so we can help you some of the way. But be prepared to put in a lot of training and dedication (read: time and money). That said: Once you have looked at the ground pounders from your high horse, you’ll never want to get down again.

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