My Journey Through The World Of Armored Combat.
My name is Matt and I am a student of The Knights Hall and a member of the Armored Combat League of steel fighters. I am a new player, but I have never been a part of something as awesome and fulfilling as the sport of armored combat. There are so many things to talk about; training, worklife balance, the importance of having a support network, time management, the fighting itself, etc. that it truly will take a lifetime to describe, but for now.....on to who I am and why I do this sport.
I found out about the sport through my trainer and friend Jaye Travis Brooks Sr. back when he first established the Knights Hall, (year 2010), as a place for the members of the Society for Creative Anachronism to train in armored combat with rattan weapons. While I was a member of the SCA, (as it is called), and have friends in that organization, I was not terribly involved at that time. But after I started coming around to the Knights Hall, did a few events and fought a few times, Jaye started talking about a new sport.....a sport that was rougher, harder, more violent than the SCA.... It was a full contact sport with real steel weapons that enabled you to hit your opponents as hard as you could and allowed you to compete internationally in castles across the world, particularly in Europe.....
WELL.. let me tell you something.....for a physically weaker, nerdy type of guy who has loved Dungeons & Dragons and knightly related stuff since a young boy, this was a dream come true. But Jaye shook me of some of that from the get-go. He made sure I understood that this was not reenactment... This was not fantasy... And this was definitely NOT LARPING! This was a physically demanding sport that involved no pretending to be anything other than what we are: Men and women with a love of fighting and a desire to train, fight, and live the way of armored combat. Well for me, that not only did not dissuade me, it encouraged me to explore it further.
However, life, as it frequently tends to do, conspired to stop me at that moment in time from taking advantage of the opportunity presented to me and so I put it aside and would not take up that torch again for another year and a half to two years. Then, just as I was about to take it up again, life again took precedence over armored combat as my wife told me that she was pregnant. Well let me tell you nothing quite halts my desire to spend money on non-emergency things quite like knowing I have a life long obligation on the way and not having any clue as to how to budget my money efficiently enough to provide for another human life. One year and one VERY adorable baby girl later, I was ready, with the support of my wife and family, to begin the arduous journey of becoming a modern day knight.
The physical training is hard. The mental consistency and conditioning you need to cultivate is even harder.....but 5 months later, here I am and I am now preparing to take the field alongside my brothers-in-arms to compete for the privilege and high honor of wearing my nation's colors in battle for The World Championships 2016... And believe me, it is a scary, humbling, and an exciting feeling all rolled into one knowing that I will be competing on the national stage with relatively low experience compared to some of the people there, who will have years or more on me in both skill and conditioning. But, as in medieval times, one thing remains true to this day.....knights do not shrink from a challenge.
To wrap up this introduction, I will tell all you readers as we go forward and we take this journey together through a myriad of topics one thing above all... This is not just a sport. This is a passion, a way of life, a burning desire to hammer and forge the person that we once all were into a harder and better version of ourselves... This sport brings out the best in men and women, and for myself... It gives me strength to endure other aspects of my life. Walk with me onto the battlefield, and hear my words.
Matthew S. Kahn
ACL - Boston Dark Knights
To be con't...