‘Shields of David’: Israeli Knights Triumphant at Medieval Warfare Tourney
While Israel won’t be among the teams playing at the 2014 FIFA World Cup games opening on Thursday in Brazil, the Jewish State’s warriors on sportive fields of battle can now boast of a win in another – and somewhat more unlikely – venue: full-contact Medieval Historical Battle (MHB).
Step aside, Game of Thrones, move over Renaissance fairs, and make way for the knights of Zion at The Battle of the Nations world championships, founded in 2009 in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
At the Austria-CUP Tournaments, held near Vienna on Sunday and Monday, eight sword-carrying, chain-mail wearing Israeli contestants, including one woman, valiantly did battle.
Striding onto the field wearing Israeli army berets on their heads and waving – and wearing – blue-and-white Israeli flags, they joined the fray in a series of painfully realistic four-on-four matches.
Slashing, bashing and crashing against opposing teams hailing from Argentina, Australia, Austria, and Mexico, they took home first and third-place trophies, according to the Austrian event’s Facebook page.
“We didn’t expect to make it to such a respectable spot,” enthused team Captain Michael Morgolis. While “our team is very young, they fought like lions and we succeeded,” he said.
Israel’s national team was formed in 2012, according to the group: “Despite the fact the team has been formed not long ago and Israel had a few fighters, a system of qualifying tournaments was organized immediately. Their main purpose was not the selection, but equipment testing, as well as the popularization of HMB as a sport.”
Some of the team are olim (immigrants) from FSU states, among them Ukraine.
“First of all, for us, it is unique sport and martial art for team, and for individual. Secondly, it’s about history reenactment. And thirdly, it’s a wonderful hobby,” Morgolis says of the sport on their YouTube page.
“After the World Championship-2012 … Morgulis attended several major international tournaments, namely the ‘Challenge Cup’ in Minsk, the ‘Dynamo Cup’ in Moscow, and also participated in the international championship on professional fights.
“In addition, the Israeli tournaments were attended by fighters from Ukraine and Austria. In general, the combat year was busy, and the men are ready to show their best,” the team says.
Previous bouts were held in Russia, Poland, and, the last round, in France. At that tourney, they won 14 battles in a row, coming in at eighth place out of 22 teams, according to the report.