Anton Molokov dispatches his opponent.
North Horde coach Oleksii Kasyanov coaches Anton Molokov in between rounds.
3/43/4Kicking is legal and encouraged.Nate Homan
4/44/4Two knights stand in the ready position.Nate Homan
Anton Molokov rested his falchion sword on his shoulder, and waited for the signal to engage the two heavily armed men sporting black traditional medieval Russian armor standing across the room.
The knight to his left held a halberd axe with handle as long as a hockey stick. To his right, the knight brandished a sword and shield.
Oleksii Kasyanov, the coach and referee, bellowed the order to begin the medieval melee. “For the North! For the Horde!”
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Molokov, sporting green Mongolian-style body armor decided to storm the halberd-wielder first. The sound of metal weapons clashing on rattling chail mail and helmets drowned out the hardcore music blasting through the speaker system in the padded dungeons of the Broadway Athletics gym in Arlington.
Fighters are not allowed to strike the back of the neck or knee, cannot apply joint locks that cause extremities to bend in improper directions, and must be armed in order to count as fair game. Kicking, punching, judo-style leg throwing, pinning an opponent to the walls, wrestling, and swinging a handheld weapon at full speed are all legal and encouraged.
Steel Sword Fighting style is a traditional ancient Russian style of combat sport straight out of the Dark Ages. Even though the weapons are too dull to sever any limbs, it is far more brutal than fencing or kendo style. Their World Cup event is called “The Battle of the Nations,” held in various locations in Europe.
“Every team and participant to use rules-regulated, safety proven equipment that is rather unique and usually have to be hand-crafted,” Kasyanov said. “We try to use connections with friends we have among Ukrainian and Russian blacksmiths to buy and order equipment.”
The rules are simple enough: Take your opponent to the ground without completely maiming them or causing severe injury. Fighters are dressed in full armor, which is made according to historical standards. The Horde chose to sport Rus and Mongolian hatanga degel, which translates to “vest, strong as steel” in Mongolian.
This is a normal Saturday afternoon for the swordsmen of The Horde.
“At the moment part of the team's people are rather new to this sport,” Molokov, a War Chief, said. “We practice very hard to teach, learn and improve fighting tactics and teamwork. The word about North Horde starts spreading in steel fighting sport's community and other teams and fighters start coming to see us, to compete, to share their experience and learn from us.”
Kasyanov, an experienced fighter who trained as a member of the Ukrainian National Team started the North Horde Club in 2018. Knights from a wide berth of national, racial backgrounds and martial arts experiences fight under the “Stubborn Ram” banner of the North Horde.
“Our main goal for the team today is to take part in the next National team selection tournament and join the United States of America National Team,” Kasyanov said.
“Our team people are looking for new challenges in their lives. Each of us is a true warrior within and a fighter by nature that dreams to become best in what he does, to face best opponents and prevail any fight, coming back home to Boston every time with new victories and trophies, glory and honor.”
The Horde is on the move, battling in front of audiences at charity amatuer boxing matches at Boston Boxing and Fitness in Brighton, a tournament in Canada in June, and other quests including the Arnold Medieval Fighting Invitational in 2020, hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger.