My name is Ardenwolf, and I’m here to tell you about Battle for the Ring V. It is a national Belegarth fighting event held once a year in January for three days/nights. This is the fifth year it was happened, and my second year attending. The fighting was great, the camping was great, the community was great! So please keep reading about this awesome event!
Panorama of the event:
For those of you who don’t know, Belegarth is a nationally-known foam fighting sport. It is full contact, so rules for safety are important. There are realms all over the US, and many here in SoCal. RP is minimal, as we are more fighting oriented, but it is still a part of the sport. My realm is Sword Coast Medieval Fighters Guild, and the unit I am a member of inside of that is Clan Blackwolfe, which is headed by our very own realm leader Talon Blackwolfe. For more information on how Belegarth works, visit: http://www.belegarth.com/about.php?link=wiki
My unit, Clan Blackwolfe, with a few fellow fighters from our realm helping us out:
All right, first I’ll start with the camping and the set up of the event. The event is held at Prado Regional Park in Chino Hills, CA. People in the Belegarth community came out from all over places like Utah, Oregon, Idaho, and even one from New Mexico. Some even hitchhiked just to get to the event! There are medieval-appropriate vendors, fighting, classes to take (for example: Sword and Board techniques, belly dancing, and even a home brewing class!), an awards ceremony for fighting, garb, etc., and of course a great community! You can go for one day or camp for all three nights. There is even an award for the most period-looking camp! I don’t have any pictures of anyone’s camp from this year, but check out this picture of a period-looking tent from last year!
There were fighting events every day. One that lasted the whole weekend, or until there was a last man standing, was Highlander. Highlander is exactly what it sounds like, for those of you that get the reference. Anyone who signs up gets a ribbon, then they fight other fighters one-on-one for their ribbon. At the end, “there can be only one!” Other fighting events included 1v1 elimination competitions for sword and board, pole arm, archery, and florentine. A member of another realm named Rift won the Sword and Board competition. On the second day, members of the realm I am a part of fought in the realm and unit battles. Anduril (Irvine, CA) were the stars of the realm battles. Other realms even teamed up to try and take them down. You can bet Sword Coast didn’t go down without a fight though! All of the realms put in great effort here. However, once it came down to the Andurilian Empire vs. the free people of Middle-Earth, the free people won! I really enjoyed the unit battles. I was so excited to get to fight alongside the rest of Clan Blackwolfe at a national fighitng event. Some of the other units I can remember that participated were EBF (Elite Blood Falcons), who are one of the best, and the Sith, who hail from Irvine, CA.
On Sunday, there was an Alpha/Omega tournament, which was where a fighter who has been fighting for under a year teamed up with a veteran or someone who has been fighting over a year. There was also the big Bel Bowl. The Bel Bowl is eight to ten man teams (every team had ten though), one of whom acts as the “football.” The other team members must protect the football and get him/her over the goal line. There are seven rounds, offense and defense rotations, and if no one scores after all rounds are complete, there is a general line battle for last man standing to decide the team that progresses. This was a really fun competition. The tournament fighting goes out with a bang with the final battle: Battle of the Five Armies.
Of course, the event wouldn’t be complete without all of the fun we have when we aren’t fighting! There are campfires every night. Everyone gathers around and shares drinks and good times. We all bring period drinking vessels, which is a great addition to the experience. It just kind of makes you forget the world for a while, which is something we all need nowadays. There were some people playing bongos and singing in groups. Nutmuffin, from our realm, and another Belegrim did fire spinning on feast night. Speaking of feast night, Saturday night is feast. A meal is prepared for everyone, and we all eat together and enjoy the company of our fellow Belegrim. Period eating utensils and plates are highly encouraged! There were homemade ales and mead being tasted, and s’mores being handed out at one camp. All-in-all, they were nights to be remembered!
All of that being said, there are many people without whom this event wouldn’t be possible – so a big thank you to all of them. I highly encourage anyone interested in the sport to take the time to find the realm nearest you and visit. If you like it, maybe I’ll be seeing you at BFTR VI!