If Hollywood has taught us anything, it’s that sword fights are totally awesome. Granted Indiana Jones showed us all how redundant they are in the face of modern weapons, but to see a sword master effortlessly swinging his blade around is a damn impressive sight. So wouldn’t you dig watching two proper swordsmen have a full-contact fight? Unified Weapons Master (UWM) aims to make that dream a reality.
Aussie company Chiron Global have spent the last three years developing a combat suit which will allow martial arts weapon experts to fight one another with full force and contact without any fear of injury or death.
Known as Lorica suits, the armour has 40 sensor points spread across the head and torso, each which is measured 6000 times per second to ensure accuracy. Each blow is measured by a computer using medical research and fracture profiling, to show how much damage would have been done had the combatant not been wearing the armour, and had the blades being used been sharpened.
CGI will also allow the computer to simulate what the blows would have looked like without armour with edged blades. Our prediction? There will be blood.
“Going up against a competitor wearing the armour, I can strike them to the best of my ability without fear of causing serious injury,” said Sone Vannathy, World Muay Thai Champion. “The experience is unlike any other, but it still feels good to hit.”
So now that they have the suits to allow people to go at it hammer and tongs without actually killing each other, what’s the next step? Creating a global tournament of course.
As the title of the tournament suggests, the Lorica suits will now be used to find the world’s greatest weapons master. Of the 303 martial arts in the world, almost a third are weapons-based. UWM wants to get the best of each art together and find out who is the best.
“UWM’s vision is to create a large-scale sport and entertainment experience where martial artists can compete against each other with real weapons, with an objective measure of who would have won in a real combat situation,” said David Pysden, UWM CEO.
“World champions across different martial arts disciplines will be able to square off against each other to definitively say who is the greatest weapons master of all,” said UWM Chairman, Justin Forsell. “We want to take UWM all over the world, so as many people as possible can experience the thrill and excitement of real, weapons-based martial arts first hand.”
Both Pysden and Forsell are experienced martial artists, and believe their idea has the potential to take the world by storm, much like the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has.
“We believe this new sport has the potential to generate similar levels of interest as MMA by unifying the weapons-based martial arts community,” Pysden said.
As to those who would suggest the success of the UFC is based on the real danger and injuries which are seen, and that a bloodless battle of weapons would hold no thrill for the spectator, the company say that isn’t an issue. They believe people with an understanding of marital arts will appreciate the skill on display, while those who are slightly more blood-lusting will be kept entertained by the CGI imaging of how the fight would have gone down had the armour not been present.
Clearly they are not alone in their belief UWM is set for success. In August this year the company recieved a multimillion-dollar capital injection in series B funding from an unnamed wealthy investor, whom Pysden said was keen to “play an active role in the development of UWM, providing strategic input and leveraging their extensive global network”.
The first events are set to be held in Australian cities in 2015. As for people who just want a Lorica suit or two of their own so they can finally put their ninja collectibles to use, UWM are hoping to sell scaled down, more affordable ‘training’ suits in 2015-16.