Harris, New Zealand: “I have really enjoyed full contact fighting as it has meant that I can travel the world and meet new people.”

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Justin Harris,

fighter of “Wellington Full Contact Medieval Combat” club,

fighter of the National Team of New Zealand

 

 

… Concerning his way to HMB sport 

I started getting interested in full contact fighting in 2011. Living on the far side of the world we had no one to teach us or tell us what was required. So we began watching videos and trying to get armor made for us to go overseas. 

 

We made a lot of mistakes due to our isolation, picked armor that was too heavy (although at one time I did have 5 people in an all on all hitting me with halberds at the same time and did not feel a thing) and some people had the idea that if an item of kit was not hand sewed we would not be allowed to even wear it at the camp. 

 

I have really enjoyed full contact fighting as it has meant that I can travel the world and meet new people. I now know that if I was to travel to almost anywhere I could tell the local fighters and they would be happy to have me come by and visit a training session.

 

 

… Concerning his armor and weapons

I have 1 ½ suits of armor at the moment. I am currently fitting a new suit and have pieces of the old one (that I am keeping for those who don’t have their own to use). At first I chose a French suit from 1400 – 1445. I really wanted clamshell gauntlets as they provide excellent hand protection (I have been directly hit in the hands by a two handed weapon and did not suffer any damage). 

 

My new suit is based off Günther XXI von Schwarzburg (1304–1349) with a few minor changes (mostly I have a different helmet but soon I wish to have a correct one). 

 

I really do like my falchions for group combat but am thinking of using a mace as well. Honestly though I find in group combats the best weapon is yourself and your shield. 

 

 

… Concerning the sport in general 

I still do what we call light combat (tippy-tappy fighting), it does not help with the actual fighting but does help with learning to keep looking around a field to see your allies and opponents. I had only really done that for 3 years before getting into HMB so I’m actually really new compared to others. 

 

 

… Concerning training preparation for tournaments 

Mostly at the moment we are trying to build out local teams to provide more training for tournaments and better fights here in New Zealand. I use a lot of cardio and light weight training to try to tone more muscle to allow me to carry armor all day long and not be tired. And we also do “1 vs 1” fighting here as well. 

 

 

… Concerning his combat techniques and features

I don’t know if you can call anything I do unique. I got into this sport very late, being 34 years old. I wish I had been able to do it as a younger man then I would have had the time to develop my techniques. 

 

 

… Concerning qualities needed by any HMB fighter 

The ability to take a hit or 10 helps a lot also giving it back at the same time is good too, but the most important thing I think is to know where you need to be and what your job is within your team. Without your team you just end up being another guy on the field. 

 

 

… Concerning his favorite category 

My favorite category is “5 vs 5”, both to watch and participate in the fighting is small enough that you can see what is going on the crowd. 

 

 

… Concerning the National Team 

We first fought in France in 2013, we brought along every person we could and had a total of 6 fighters. 

 

 

… Concerning the season of 2014 

For us, living on the other side of the world, “Battle of the Nations” actually marks the end of the season. It is November right now and we are only just beginning to have our events, most of them though are not that large, being a small isolated country we have limited numbers of people involved, more people do the light combat here than HMB. So most events are not really good as training. 

 

 

… Wishes to novices 

Have fun, listen to those who know more than you, take care of your team and they will take care of you, for many of us this is all about getting out there, meeting new people and making friends not enemies. 

 

 

Interview by 

Miroslav Eremenko, 

HMBIA News 

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