My husband, David Dixon, was the team captain for the USA team competing at Battle of the Nations, the international championships for historical medieval battle. It was held May 5-9th, 2016 in Prague, Czech Republic. David fought on USA1 for group battle 5v5 and the team for group battle 21v21. Each team is allowed up to three 5’s teams and one 21’s. All armor and weapons used must be historically documented months prior to the tournament. In group, or melee fights, the goal is to literally knock your opponent to the ground. There a some illegal shots and maneuvers like strikes to the back of the knee, strikes to the feet, grabbing a weapon’s blade ect. You can read more in depth rules at the event website. Here is my favorite fight of the weekend USA 1 vs Italy 3. Below is the daily activity and videos of all fights.

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Day 1

Jeff Galli competed in pole arm singles and moved onto the finals and Aveloc competed in duels.

Pole

Day 2

21s fought four countries today. The first two were Russia and Belarus, 2 of the 3 top teams, we didn’t win but they fought hard and learned a lot. Taking 5 Russians down in one round is a BIG deal…and more than last year!

21’s USA vs Russia

21’s USA vs Belarus

21’s USA vs France

21’s USA vs UK

Day 3

Very long day with “false” starts for both 5s, USA1 in the morning and USA2 in the afternoon. US1’s block started at 9 but we’re were scheduled to start at 11:30 am; they actually took the field at 11:45 am so not too much waiting. They won against all four countries all 2-0. Most of the individual fights they won with no fighters going down or just a few. USA1 got 1st on their group and will have a bi tomorrow!

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David’s helmet button was broken and needed to be repaired. For the first 2 countries we made a helmet strap to wrap around but then Nadler made a proper repair on site for the third and forth countries. David had some very strong rounds and knocked some heads around. The actual stats for David’s 5V5 team:

USA1 x Finland2: 4-0,3-0
USA1 x Israel1: 5-0,4-0 (with refight)
USA1 x Czech Rep1: 5-0,5-0
USA1 x New Zealand1: 4-0,3-0

For those new….The numbers are how many fighters are standing at the end of the fight. Each team starts with 5 fighters on the field. You are allowed up to 8 fighters on your roster. Each country does best 2 out of 3.

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USA2 was told their start time was 4:30 pm and actually started at 6:00 pm! Since the group they were in only had 4 teams they only had 1 or 2 fights to rest in. It was a tough day but USA2 fought well and hard. They didn’t make it out of their bracket.

5’s USA1 vs Finland2

5’s USA1 vs Israel1

5’s USA1 vs Czech Republic1

5’s USA1 vs New Zeland1

5’s USA2 vs Belarus1

5’s USA2 vs Australia1

5’s USA2 vs Czech Republic3

Day 4

First up today was Amy. She fought for Netherlands but the team decided to wear their individual country tabards and have matching sashes. Amy went out swinging the first fight and really made a big impression. One of the first few fights you could see the dents going into her opponents helmet! It was amazing to watch. From then on a first priority seemed to be to grapple Amy and tie her up. The girls Amy fought with had never fought together prior to today but they fought hard! They didn’t move to the finals. I can’t wait to see a full USA team of women who actually fight and train together next year!

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Second up today was Jeffrey fought the quarter finals that were rescheduled from Thursday. I was helping the 5s team get armored while Jeff was fighting so only heard second hand hoe the fights went. The first day was hand shots all day long since this year BOTN counted hand for points. In the first fight Jeff broke Moldavia’s pole axe and he did not have a spare. Jeff got one of the USA’s spare pole axes. I love how chivalrous our team is. It’s not just about winning….it’s how you get there! Of course no good dead goes unpunished….Jeff’s shoulder was dislocated and he was rushed to the medical tent where they could not do anything for him. Another fighter popped it into place and he ran back out on to the field. His second fight was against Russia which, from Amy’s account, was a drastic change from the Russian’s first fight since there were NO hand shots (according to Jeff afterwards Russia made one hand shot and he made two himself). Jeff won BOTH of this fights and will be competing for first and second place tomorrow! After the fights were over Jeff was encouraged to rest and take care of his arm. Instead he yelled for his tabard and needed to get to the list….because he was coaching the Canadians. Yesterday Jeff found out the Canadians did not have a coach to be on the list with them so he stepped in and filled that role. He didn’t let his team down and by the sounds of it had an excellent victory in today’s first fight. Canada lost their second fight to Russia 1.

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Finally USA 1 fought 5s. Of course there were huge delays again and the fighters sat around in armor for over 1 1/2 hours. First up was Italy 3. USA 1 crushed them 2-0. We had 3 out of 5 standing on the first round and all 5 the second. Second team USA 1 fought was Ukraine 2. Initially the first round was won by USA with 4 men standing. Some delayed calls resulted in redoing the fight with 3 USA fighters and 2 Ukraine fighters. We barely lost the rematch. The second round was close as well. USA won 10 rounds in a row before loosing a single one to Ukraine. Very proud of all of them and how hard they fought.

Tonight was the party night for most of the USA team and support. Much of Peter Jørgensen’s Danish mead was had and partying at the Italian camp. Many fighters exchanged gifts with those that impacted them or they respect from this weekend. I’m sure more gift giving will take place tomorrow as well.

Women’s 3’s Netherlands vs Poland

Women’s 3’s Netherlands vs France

Women’s 3’s Netherlands vs Finland

Polearm USA vs Moldova (4:30)

Polearm USA vs Russia

5’s USA1 vs Italy3

USA 1 vs Ukraine 2

Day 5

Today was the last day at Battle of the Nations. It was a mix of emotions. Jeffrey Galli couldn’t lift his arm this morning after having it dislocated yesterday and thus couldn’t fight. He took the field with his arm in a sling and a US tabard; he then laid down his axe. Belarus in turn gave Jeff his weapon. This is NOT a normal gesture for this country. Thank you Jeff for representing America so well; you are gold in all of our eyes. Jeff took second place in pole arm and brought home a medal! This year Moldova and US metaled along with the big dogs: Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

Many fighters in the pole axe competition stopped after breaking a finger or having a shoulder problem….but not Jeff. On day 1 Jeff had 1 broken finger and 2 or more more severely damages because hand shots are legal this year. On the second day of his fights, yesterday, Jeff dislocated his shoulder and Aveloc popped it into place on the side of the list. Jeff proceeded to finish his match and then beat Russia (last year’s gold medal winner). He only stopped fighting when he was unable to hold his weapon. Jeff is an amazing fighter and athlete.

Polearm USA vs Belarus (5:30)

This year USA came home with a silver medal. Next year we will come back bigger, stronger, and hitting harder!

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