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Two days of knights: medieval combatants battle in northern tourney

The Biathlon Yukon Range was filled with clangs of steel, crunches of colliding armour and cheers from the crowd over the weekend.

The Biathlon Yukon Range was filled with clangs of steel, crunches of colliding armour and cheers from the crowd over the weekend.

Eighteen fighters, including three from Calgary, battled it out at the second annual Great Northern Tourney, hosted by Yukon’s Company of the White Wolf (CWW).

“It was great. This year having an Outside team come up was fantastic. It really starts to build some legitimacy for the sport here in the Yukon,” said Land Pearson, president of the Yukon Medieval Combat Group. “I know we started late and things ran long sometimes, but things were constantly moving. There weren’t many breaks in between, so it was good for spectators that way.”

An estimated 150 spectators came out to watch two days of medieval combat.

Having members of the Calgary Ironhart Vanguards (CIV) participate not only gave Yukon spectators more to cheer for, it helped fighters from both clubs hone their craft.

“I’m very happy to have visitors from a team in Alberta. The tourney is already attracting fighters from other parts of Canada,” said CWW captain Jose Amoedo. “This is the fastest-growing contact sport in the world right now. There are teams springing up like mushrooms after the rain.

“One of them just won the gold medal in the polearm, which means wherever they come from, they are on the ball with their training. That’s exactly what we need. We need to give each other fighting experience to strengthen Team Canada for the world championships.”

“It’s amazing the variations you get between fighters,” said CIV’s Wade Ames, the polearms gold medalist. “We’re so used to fighting each other down there that we come up here and it’s a totally different style. These guys hit like trucks.

“So it’s a great learning opportunity for us to grow as fighters. I’m so glad we came up.”

While the tourney set the stage for new rivalries, it also rekindled old ones. For the second year in a row Pearson met his older brother Lake in the final of the sword and shield. Land won the gold last year and won another gold at a national tournament in Montreal this past February. This time Lake came out on top.

“I’ve been thinking for a while that technically Lake is a better fighter, I just managed to pull it out at the right time,” said Land. “I was very happy for him to win this time. They said it was really close; it was one point (that separated us).”

Lake credits training he and the rest of CWW recently received from Poland’s Marcin Waszkielis, the gold medalist at the recent world championships. That and keeping his legs out of the way of Land’s sword.

“We did have the best sword fighter come up and he did a course for us. He showed us a lot of techniques, a lot of better fighting stances,” said Lake, who also claimed gold in the longsword. “We’re so far from all the other fighters in the world, we’re on the computer trying to figure it out. But to have that fighter with us, get our stances a bit better – straighter back, stronger stance, legs back – it was enough that I could keep my legs away from him. Land likes to chop my legs. If I can keep them blocked, maybe I can get a few more shots on him.”

Eight members of White Wolf competed at the International Medieval Combat Federation World Championships in Portugal at the end of May.

Seven of the eight, including the Pearsons, fought on Team Canada – the first national Canadian team to compete at the championship.

Amoedo represented his native Spain and won silver in the men’s polearm competition at what was his fifth world championship.

“Last year we were brand-spanking new, this year we have veterans coming from the world championships and it shows,” he said.

“In time I would like (the Great Northern Tourney) to be a qualifier for Team Canada. That’s what we’re working for.”

Contact Tom Patrick at


Sword and shield

1st Lake Pearson (CWW)

2nd Land Pearson (CWW)

3rd Don Hornby (CWW)


1st Lake Pearson (CWW)

2nd Cody Richards (CWW)

3rd Don Hornby (CWW)


1st Wade Ames (Calgary)

2nd Land Pearson (CWW)

3rd Don Hornby (CWW)

3-on-3 melees

1st Ironhart Vanguards (Calgary)

2nd Mike Pett and the Sons of Pear (CWW)

3rd Brute Force and Ignorance (CWW)