BBC Magazine reporter Tom Holland was prepared to be disappointed when he attended the recent First International Medieval Combat Federation World Championships at Belmonte Castle in Spain. After all he'd been to re-enactments before, but he quickly changed his mind.
In Holland's words, "I'd been to battle re-enactments before, and always found them rather pointless. I knew that I'd been wrong in all my presumptions the moment I got to see my first piece of knight-on-knight action: five massive Frenchmen taking on five equally large Swedes. It was violent, it was intense, it was viscerally a sport. Thirty seconds in and I knew I loved it."