An Australian start up company known as Unified Weapons Master has a simple goal. Bring back no holds barred weapon combat similar to the gladiator games of ancient rome.
“Our objective is to promote a new global combat sport with weapons,” said Unified Weapons Master (UWM) CEO David Psyden. “So the unified in Unified Weapons Master is about bringing all the different weapons arts from all around the world together in a single competition. There’s roughly 300 distinct martial arts practiced around the world, and of those styles, 96 of them are either entirely weapons-based, or have a significant amount of weapons-based training in their curriculum. What we want to do is bring all of those styles together in a competition, much like UFC did with mixed martial arts.”
Using a specially designed suit of armor known as Lorica, the company aims to turn the games into the next evolution of mixed martial arts. Call it the UFC of weapons combat. Psyden loves to discuss the design of the suit.
“The armor itself is made out of a sort of sandwich of high-performance materials. On the outside there’s some impact- and penetrative-resistant materials such as carbon fiber, and beneath that there’s a bunch of polycarbonate material and elastomeric foam, which is impact absorbent.”
“We deliberately over-engineered the suits, for obvious reasons,” he says. “Our chairman and co-founder, Justin Forsell, has tested the suit himself, and we’ve done that with world-champion martial artists. So in other words, we’ve put the best people available up against guys in the suits and had them attack with traditional martial arts and weapons-based martial arts, and the suits have passed with flying colors. They are very, very well built.”
Protecting competitors is a primary concern but tracking damage and calculating each combatant’s score is what will create the sport. To do that, the company has installed a mind-boggling array of piezoelectric shock / vibration sensors designed to detect when the armor is struck as well as accelerometers to determine the severity of the blow. These calculations are then sent wirelessly to a ringside computer to keep score.
It’s not the “to the death” battle of ancient Rome, but it is as close as you can get in modern times with modern lawyers.
Now that I wrote gladiator this many times, I need a break for a scene from Gladiator. Are you not entertained?