Buhurt/Armored combat draws an interesting crowd of people. Much of the current crowd in the United States are those who came from a LARPING background. This means, they dressed up in various versions of historical or fantasy armor and set out rules of weapon tag. In this, they would compete for who got the “kill” or the most points, or whatever. And, the truth is that many of those activities are kind of fun. They’re a throw back to childhood where every stick was a sword or a gun.
Some even take it a bit further. They create kingdoms, knighthoods, squires and all sorts of roles to play. When wars are waged, there are knights, mages, healers and all manner of medieval and fantasy players. For those that want to step it up a notch and get even more rough, they have groups that play by slightly different rules for “combat”. They do what is called AMT GUARD. It’s a group of people that fight with foam weapons and rely on the honor system and points to decide the outcome of battle. Still though… it is heavily steeped in the desire to LARP or role play as they have a structure based on popularity and likeability within any given group. If you do not fit in with them, they will kick you out. And, to which many have stated, they are a fickle bunch with sensitive dispositions.
Then there is BUHURT.
This is where men and women go to wear full suits of armor and fight with real steel weapons. They hit as hard as they can, they swing with all their might and they are intent on winning a battle through the brutal and unforgiving tactics of old. The rules are few: No thrusting, no strikes to very specific parts of the body, and no intentional joint locks. The goal is simple. Put the other team down onto the ground. Once they’re downed through wrestling, grappling, pain submission or strikes, then your team wins. It’s a guttural and vicious fight among groups. Teamwork, individual skills and grit all play strong roles.
Within Buhurt though… Things get murky. Especially inside the United States. There are three primary groups with lots of bleed over among two of them. Those two groups are the ACS or ARMORED COMBAT SPORTS and BUHURT LEAGUE (BL). They’re working together to create a somewhat united front. It appears that ACS is trying to adopt the rules and regulations of BUHURT LEAGUE so their teams and fighters can be recognized on the world stage. If their events double as BL events then they can get ranked internationally. Further, the best teams in the world compete in BL and the best teams in the USA compete in BL and ACS. It makes sense that this happens.
The other group that does buhurt in the USA is ACW or Armored Combat Worldwide.
What is the ACW (Armored Combat Worldwide)?
It is a league of armored combat fighting in the USA that tends to attract the lowest quality of medieval fighters within the sport. They are considered the “hermit kingdom” of leagues because the owner is banned from all other major international competitions for rigging his national selection process. The league itself is touted as “worldwide” but they ultimately have some people in South America that say they fight under their banner due to a tiff with BL. There is also a group in England that is of the same posture. The league is hardly worldwide. The ACW has a different rule set and different armor requirements than the other leagues too. They claim it is due to safety of the fighter but the rules are haphazardly enforced. The owner will ban people for a myriad of reasons that he justifies for the betterment of the group. But it boils down to his personal opinion of the individual and whether or not he’s offended. The league itself is organized under a larping kingdom format and people are not free to create their own teams within a given region to compete for a national championship. If you create a team, the “regional commander” has the right to take your best fighters and put them on their team while you get to fight with whomever is left over from your team. Further, if you do create a team, the owner lets you know that he has complete and total rights over your team name and any art that you create as a logo. Most people who fight exclusively with the ACW do not train frequently nor do they have any actual fighting acumen. This has been proven by the occasional time a group from other leagues has infiltrated competitions and easily beaten all of the ACW competitors.