Okotoks trio armed for world championships of heavy armour combat in Spain
CALGARY -- Brothers Warren and Ryan Nielson only took up the sport of armoured combat seven months ago. According to Ryan, they were hooked from the beginning.
“My first reaction? It was more of a dream come true. Everyone and their kid plays with a sword. But now to do it as an adult is just fantastic," he said, in an interview with CTV News about a sport that blends Game of Thrones-style medieval swordplay with a little bit of MMA (you win by putting your opponent down three times).
You have to be fit and tough to compete in heavy armoured combat, if only to negotiate the heavy armour part of the deal. Obviously the Nielsons are fast learners: despite participating in the sport for just over six months, they’re going to suit up and compete with other Canadians at the World Championships at the Belmont Castle in Spain April 30-May 4.
Warren and Ryan qualified for the worlds after bringing home some gold at the heavy armoured winter cup in Okotoks in January.
Warren doesn’t think he’ll be too nervous now that he's raised his game to the international level.
After all, he's just getting to know it himself.
“Being so new to the sport, I don’t think the bar is set too high for me just yet," he said.
Ryan said that when you’re going up against and competing with the best in the world, it can only be a great learning experience.
“(I'm) more excited than nervous," he said. "I’m excited to see what the next level the world has to bring to the sport. I’ve seen what Canada has to bring, so I’m excited to see what the world brings.”
The Nielsons will be joined by Richard Manns at the World Championships. He is the President of the Heavy Armoured Combat Sports Association. (HACSA) Manns will be competing in his second World Championships so he knows the Nielsons will be leaning on him. He says it’s important to work on strategy and to staying fit.
“We have to work on gong from zero-to-60 really fast,” Manns said. "Going from relaxed to high intensity is not something you’re really born with. It’s something you learn to do.”
The Nielsons have started a GoFundMe page to help with their travel expenses. For more information on HACSA you can visit their website.