Vancouver Martial Challenge 2017 Report

At the end of July we hosted the Vancouver Martial Challenge at Academie Duello in Vancouver, and it was a tremendous weekend of inter-disciplinary sparring and camaraderie.
The goals of this event are to:

  • Foster Authentic Martial Combat
  • Inspire Personal Challenge and Growth
  • Create Community Through the Joy of Martial Arts

There are many tournaments around the world and the desire for this event is to create an alternative to those, allowing for a greater focus on these goals by removing the emphasis on points, pools, and winning. Throughout this past weekend we had two main areas of focus.

Freeplay and Accolade

Each day of the event participants sparred one another in a relaxed freeplay environment with a focus on martial skill, control, and exploration. People fought with rapiers, longswords, swords and shields, spears, poleaxes, tridents, axes, knives, in armour, unarmoured, at wrestling, boxing, and almost every combination of the above you can imagine. Practitioners came from different schools and martial backgrounds and the experience levels ranged from a few months to over 30 years of practice.
A bout at sword and rottella with Roland Cooper and Matheus Olmedo of Academie Duello.

At the end of each day all participants voted for their peers who were then awarded accolades in three categories:

  • Martial Skill (Arte)
  • Warrior Spirit (Ardore)
  • Honourable Conduct (Onore)

Pretty much everyone at the event received accolades (which is superb and speaks to the quality of the participants) and those who were awarded deserved the praise they received.
Day 1 Accolades

Gozal (Ardore), Roland (Onore), Paul (Arte).
Day 2 Accolades

Hugh (Onore), Matheus (Arte), Delaney (Ardore)
Day 3 Accolades

Sander (Arte), Brendan (Ardore), John (Onore)

Personal Challenge

Every hour, some participants of the event met in pre-arranged personal challenges. These challenges fit into three categories this year:
Individual challenges where one person faced another in a one-on-one challenge and display of skill. This year some of the most interesting included Hugh facing as many opponent’s in a row as possible until he was struck, and Sander and Tony facing one another in a constructed medieval alley with longsword.
The challenges of Hugh and Sander/Tony begin at 6:30pm in this livestream video:

Hold the floor challenges where one person faces all comers for 10 to 15 minutes with specific conditions. This year included some interesting scenarios including Brendan facing all comers and changing weapons to any that defeat him (ie if you beat him with a flail, he’ll fight his next bout with flail), Thomas holding the floor with two swords while individual or pairs faced him, and myself and Matheus taking on groups that ranged in size between 3 and 23.
Brendan’s Challenge

Matheus and Devon Challenge

Solo Feats like this year’s lunging challenge. A group of 5 participants decided to see how many rapier lunges they could make in 5 minutes.


Test Cutting

To help connect us with the realities of sharp swords, we hosted test cutting opportunities against a pork side on the Saturday and Sunday of the event. Starting with thrusts and progressing to cuts. We used rapiers, sideswords, longswords, and spears. It was an eye opening experience for many.

Thank you everyone for participating this year. I’m already looking forward to VMC 2018!

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