NewsLocal News


'Rust Knights' bring medieval fighting to the 21st century

The team competes in Armored Combat Sports
Rust Knights.jpg
Posted at 1:15 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 19:35:25-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Once a month, members of the Rust Knights meet at Cole Park to practice. The team is Corpus Christi’s Armored Combat Sports team.

In an ACS competition, fighters go against one another dressed in about 100 pounds of armor, striking each other with dulled weapons. The competitions are a re-creation of medieval combat.

“The ‘grand tournament,’ they used to call it,” said Vincent Araujo, the founder of the Rust Knights. “We’re out here practicing, and it’s what knights used to do to raise money and sharpen their skills. We’re doing a modern day optimization of that.”

In competition, fighters meet in one of three combat types: traditional duels, group melees, and pro fights type duels.

In traditional duels, two fighters meet one-on-one, and attempt to earn points by hitting certain striking points on their opponents. In group melees, multiple fighters from a team battle the same number from an opposing team. The fighters meet in the arena, or ‘list,’ and brawl, with a fighter being eliminated when they have three points of contact with the ground. In pro fights type duels, the fighters have the option to knock an opponent to the ground, like in the group melee.

Araujo said the first time he put on armor and fought was like nothing he had every experienced.

“The smile the first time they popped off my helmet was like no other,” he said. “I’ve ridden motorcycles, I’ve done kickboxing, they all have their own adrenaline rush. But, to put on the helmet, to look down at your hands and you have an axe and a shield, and you look across the list, and see other men armed to the teeth. Man, there’s nothing like it in the world.”

Blade Pool is one of the members on the Rust Knights. Pool has trained to fight Mixed Martial Arts, and said armored fighting is similar, but nothing can compare to the rush he gets when he’s in armor.

“The feeling you get when you’re in armor swinging at somebody is just incomparable to anything else. The adrenaline, the high action, the fast pace, it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “Your mobility is low, your visibility is low, you’re getting swung on by an axe, it’s a completely different feel, but the feel of combat is just great.”

Araujo said sometimes the sports gets mistaken for Live Action Role-Playing, or LARP. However, Pool said ACS is nothing like LARP.

“It’s a whole different type of athleticism, whole different type of workout, training. It takes a lot to be able to put on 100 pounds of armor and swing, run, and fight the way we do,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

It’s not just the action and fighting that interests the fighters to participate in the community of ACS. The Rust Knights compete across Texas, typically in Dallas and Houston, and said they often speak with teams from across the state about how to improve and grow.

Araujo and Pool had their armor made overseas, where armored fighting is more popular. However, Araujo has made some of his own accessories to his gear, like a ram belt he wears with his armor.

“There’s some of the leather working I do, so I can incorporate my own other hobbies into the sport,” he said. “There are so many other aspects, people can be in the sport in so many different ways.”

If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a knight, the Rust Knights are looking for new team members, as fighters and in other roles.

“The Rust Knights are always looking for new members; fighters, squires, anybody can participate in this sport on any level,” Araujo said. “Anybody at any level of experience is welcome to come fight.”

People interested in joining the team, or finding out more information, can contact the team on Facebook or Instagram.

Araujo said right now, he is just trying to grow interest for the sport in the Coastal Bend, and across South Texas, but the dream is becoming a big enough team to compete with the top teams in the country, and representing the U.S. in Europe.