It was a battle of nations that would have made the legendary King Arthur proud. Seventeen warriors – fans of the Middle Ages – swung axes, swords and other old-school weaponry at the third annual World Medieval Fighting Championship-Israeli Challenge.

The duelers donned shining armor and 14th century-style garb for the unusual full-contact tournament at Tel Aviv University over the weekend.

Men and women from around the world — Israel, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, England, Moldavia, Denmark, France, Estonia and Germany — arrived with real metal weapons and armor (usually self-made) to participate in what is dubbed “Crossfit for Camelot.”

Medieval Fighting fighters ready to go into the arena in the World Medieval Fighting Championship WMFC-Israeli challenge on Jan. 23, 2016. Photo by Gili Yaari/FLASH90
Medieval Fighting fighters ready to go into the arena in the World Medieval Fighting Championship WMFC-Israeli challenge on Jan. 23, 2016. Photo by Gili Yaari/FLASH90

The Israeli event was one of the run-up competitions to the official Battle of the Nations medieval fighting championship set to take place in Prague, Czech Republic, in May. Hundreds of fighters from around the globe are expected to take part in that event.

Clash of chain mail and swords in the ring. Photo by Gili Yaari/FLASH90
Clash of chain mail and swords in the ring. Photo by Gili Yaari/FLASH90

“I believe in a world without borders. I came to Israel and I’m seeing Jews from all around the world. I love the international style,” Pavel Zhuned, who represented the United Kingdom and won the Lightweight category, told i24news at the Tel Aviv event.

A female warrior in “Crossfit for Camelot.” Photo by Gili Yaari/FLASH90
A female warrior in “Crossfit for Camelot.” Photo by Gili Yaari/FLASH90

While historical role-play is popular across the globe, Israel hosts various events that bring ancient times back to life in the modern-day world. In addition to the World Medieval Fighting Championship, there is the Knights in the Old City Festival, which takes place every autumn; and the revival of the Battle of Hattin  in the summer.

Participants resting after the World Medieval Fighting Championship -Israeli challenge, Jan. 23, 2016. Photo by Gili Yaari/FLASH90
Participants resting after the World Medieval Fighting Championship -Israeli challenge, Jan. 23, 2016. Photo by Gili Yaari/FLASH90