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All swordsplay for city group

Dressed in chainmail armour and wielding swords, this local gang is a menacing sight.

Dressed in chainmail armour and wielding swords, this local gang is a menacing sight.

However, despite their loud war cries, these fighters are faking it.

The Dragon’s Own, a medieval re-enactment group, sparred yesterday afternoon in Pearce Estate Park for a crowd of more than 50 onlookers.

“We try to combine Western martial arts which involves sword fighting along with stage (improvisational) acting,” said tournament marshal Benn Weller.

Although the show is not rehearsed in advance, some previously choreographed elements are included. “They’re partially for safety and partially for entertainment,” said Weller.

Similar to a hockey tournament, fighters duel one-on-one until a final winner is named. Points are awarded based on blows as determined by the marshal.

Fights can last up to five minutes, depending on the rules used as chosen by those playing.

The swords and staffs used are made of blunted metal, but they pack a real punch. Thus, blows to the head are only allowed if both players agree to it before their duel.

Each fighter has developed a character whose role they play. Dean Goffinet fights as Bertrand, a knight from the 1300s.

A knife grafter by trade, Goffinet has been with the Dragon’s Own for 10 years.

“It’s just about getting out with the guys, using our equipment, and having fun,” he said.

Spectators watched wide-eyed as swords struck shields.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Aiden Kindopp, 12. “I really like it.”

Now in its 11th year, the group hopes to hold annual tournaments for public viewing. The Dragon’s Own practise every Sunday, weather dependent, in Pearce Estate Park.