IV. Unified international HMB rules: Category “Mass battles” 21 vs 21

Battle of the Nations 20121. GENERAL REGULATIONS 

1.1. The category “Mass battles” 21 vs 21 is represented by the battles held in accordance with the Unified international HMB rules, taking into account the number of fighters put out of action

1.2. There are no weight categories in the category "Mass battles» 21 vs 21.

1.3. The panel of referees includes the knight marshal (chief referee), field marshals (2-4 men), linesmen or referees dealing with the video observation and a secretary.

a) Important! In case of any disagreements a deciding vote belongs to the knight marshal.

1.4. "Mass battles» 21 vs 21 are held on the hard lists of the following size: length is from 15 to 40 m, width is from 7 to 20 m. The height of the sides of the lists is from 1.0 to 1.5 m.


2.1. The battle lasts till the two victories in the rounds and consists of 2 or 3 rounds. The team which defeats all rival fighters first, gets a victory in a round.

2.2. Before the beginning of a battle each team’s flag is to be attached to a flagpole located near a boundary of the lists next to the team. After getting a win in a round, winners take the flag of the opponents as a trophy. This flag is just a symbol and even if it is removed by opponents during the battle, it will not lead to finishing the battle and it will continue while all the fighters of the opposing team are able to participate.

2.3. Each round lasts not more than 10 minutes and at the end of this time the team with the most fighters capable of continuing the battle wins the round. If the number of fighters is equal, the teams have to re-fight the battle.

2.4. The points for a win in a round are scored at the rate of 1 point for each fighter standing on his feet.

a) Important! When the battle is stopped and there are 4 vs 1 or 5 vs 1 fighters on the lists, the victory is awarded with the score 4-0 and 5-0, respectively.

2.5. Victory in the battle is the main point for the ratings. The number of wins in the rounds and the scores in them are additional data for the ratings.


A fight conducted on the lists is regulated by the list of the authorized HMB techniques, which includes:

3.1. Any punches, strokes with a weapon's cutting edge, or shield at the opponent’s allowed kill zone.

a) Important! The kill zone excludes the feet, back of the knees, groin, back of the neck, skull base and open face.

3.2. Strokes at the opponent who lost his balance until he falls on the ground.

3.3. Pushes or strokes with head, shoulder, elbows, knees and body.

3.4. Holds of non-combat parts of the weapons or shields of the opponents with free hand.

3.5. Attack with free hand: strokes, holds, pressure on the allowed zones.

a) Important! The fighter can strike with a free hand, but only in case he holds weapon in his another hand.

3.6. Attack on the opponent who has lost his weapon.

3.7. Kicks to the allowed kill zone.

a) Important! Any actions (strokes, pressure, etc.) with foot aimed at the knee joint (on either side) are prohibited.

3.8. Wrestling techniques, throws, back heels, etc.

a) Important! Painful holds, suffocating techniques, “windmills”, arch throws, fighting in the stalls are prohibited.

3.9. Holds of the body of the opponent with weapons from the front, from behind and from the sides.

a) Important! The holds with direct pressure on the neck are prohibited.

3.10. Overlapping of a shield, blocking of the opponent’s hands with a shield, and putting a shield’s edge under an armed hand.

3.11. Strokes with the ridge or body of a shield at kill zones.


Any prohibited strokes or actions against opponent are serious breach of rules which lead to the sanctions, starting from a verbal warning and up to disqualification. It doesn’t matter whether a breach was made accidentally or on purpose. The sanctions are to be imposed anyway.

Every fighter should avoid the usage of the prohibited techniques, among which are:

4.1. Any thrusts with weapons.

4.2. Strokes with a weapon, shield or arms in the non-kill zone.

The non-kill zone includes: the feet, back of the knee, groin, back of the neck and skull base, open face.

a) Important! Any strokes at the feet, back of the knee, groin, back of the neck and skull base, open face are strongly prohibited.

4.3. Strokes with a weapon, shield or arms at the back of the knee.

4.4. Any vertical strokes with weapons or shield along the spine.

4.5. Twisting against natural direction of a limb flexing and any painful holds.

4.6. Pressure or hooking the edge of a helmet with a hand, as well as actions aimed at twisting the neck by pressing on the edge of the helmet.

4.7. Deliberate attempts to remove any elements of the opponent’s protective kit.

4.8. Punches with weapons’ hilts or fists, aimed at the face of the opponent (if the gap between the hilt and fist in combat mitten or glove is more than 3 cm).

4.9. Any holds, hold-downs, suffocating techniques with hands or weapons around the neck.

4.10. Any strokes at a lying, or standing on one knee fighter.

4.11. Any strokes at the neck or the head of the opponent who is bending 50° or more.

a) Important! When the opponent is bending 50° or more, whatever is the reason, it is allowed to strike, punch, push him or back heel, but it is not permitted to strike him at the neck or the head.

4.12. Deliberate injuring of the opponent after he loses a part of his equipment.

4.13. Any thoughtless or uncontrolled strokes and motions with a weapon.

4.14. Any attacking actions towards the fighter who has raised one hand with an open palm.

a) Important! A raised hand with an open palm is a sign of voluntary leaving the battle. Having raised his hand with the open palm and kneeling on one knee (if there is such opportunity) the fighter automatically takes the position “out of the battle”.

4.15. Inactive clinch that lasts more than 10 seconds.

In this case a field referee can pull the fighters, who are in the clinch, apart, giving a command “Break!” and hanging a yellow referee flag attached to a baton, between the opponents’ helmets. After this the fighters have to stop fighting in a clinch immediately and step aside 2 steps from each other. An additional command “To the fight”, given by the referee who has stopped the clinch, serves as an additional signal that the battle is still in progress, both in general, and for the fighters who were in clinch in particular.

a) Important! The local commands “Break!” and “To the fight” are only for the fighters in clinch. After the command “To the fight” a fighter can continue the battle against his opponent or attack another opponent.

4.16. Any attacking or blocking actions with no weapon in the hands.

4.17. Grasping of a single-handled pole arm when the metal part of the pole arm is less than 30 cm from the attacker’s index finger.

4.18. Grasping the legs of an opponent with both hands.

4.19. Any strokes at the opponent’s face, if one of the opponent uses an open-face helmet. It does not matter whether the second opponent uses a closed or open-face helmet, the strokes are mutually exclusive.

a) Important! If a fighter, preserving the normal position of the head and neck, can be punched in the face with a clenched fist without the hand protection, his helmet is considered to be the “open-face helmet.”

4.20. Any actions which are not listed in chapter 3. Only the actions stated in these rules are allowed.

4.21. The fighter who is out of the battle (due to his falling down or decision of a referee), but is on the lists, is strongly prohibited from standing up on both legs before the command of the knight marshal “Stop the fight!” If the fighter is out of battle because of falling, losing equipment or because of marshal’s decision, he is to take a comfortable sitting or lying position on the lists and wait for the end of the round, without interfering in the battle. With his comfortable position the fighter shows that he is not injured.


5.1. The rebuke (oral warning) is a sanction applied to the fighter for insignificant rules violations, which aim is to draw the fighter’s attention to his actions. It’s not to be put in the record.

5.2. The warning is the yellow card given to the fighter for rules violation and it is to be stated in the record. The yellow card influences the rating of the fighter and his team. The yellow card can be given only by the knight marshal of the tournament.

A fighter gets the yellow card in the following cases:

5.2.1. For use of any prohibited actions stated in chapter “4. PROHIBITED Techniques”.

5.2.2. For use of any actions that are not listed in chapter “3. AUTHORIZED Techniques”.

5.2.3. For rising and standing up on both feet after falling on the lists before the command “Stop the fight!”

5.2.4. For poor quality, dirty, rusty, dented or not authentic gear.

5.2.5. For unsportsmanlike behavior, boorishness, foul language, shouting at the referees, opponents or spectators.

5.2.6. For starting the battle before the command “To the fight!”

5.2.7. For keeping attacking after the command “Stop the fight!” and a yellow flag hanging in front of the face.

5.2.8. For ignoring the knight marshal’s or field referees’ commands.

5.2.9. For the continuation of the battle without an important element of the protective arms.

a) Important! For all the violations mentioned above the fighter can get one or two yellow card(s) for one violation, depending on the seriousness of the violation and decision of the knight marshal.

5.3. If a fighter gets two yellow cards he is removed from the competition. Two yellow cards are equal to one red card.

5.4. Disqualification (the red card) is the sanction applied to a fighter for serious or recurrent (the second yellow card) rules violation, which should be stated in the report. After the fighter gets the red card he is to be removed from further participation in the competition, and has to be replaced by a substitute fighter of the team. A fighter can be disqualified ONLY by the knight marshal of the tournament.

Grounds for disqualification:

5.4.1. Systematic violation of the rules, when a fighter gets two yellow cards within the event.

5.4.2. Injuring an opponent using a prohibited fighting technique.

5.4.3. Gross and systematic dissents with the referees, groundless appeals against their decisions, insults to the opponents or disrespectful behavior towards them, as well as other parties of the competition.

5.5. Disqualification of a fighter affects the rating of his team. The battle, in which a fighter got the red (or the second yellow) card, and the next battle of the event, the team has to conduct with not full membership (one fighter less in comparison to the opponents).

a) Important! The next battle, after a fighter got the red card, his team has to conduct with not full membership, one fighter less in comparison to the opponents.

5.6. In the case two fighters of the team are disqualified (got two red cards) and any fighter of the team gets a warning (yellow card), the knight marshal of the tournament has to disqualify the entire team.

5.7. Team disqualification is the sanction applied to the entire team in the following cases:

5.7.1. The team gets more than two red cards within an event + one warning to a team fighter.

5.7.2. The team and its captain enters into dissent with referees and contests their decision, insults opponents or behaves disrespectfully towards them, as well as other parties of the competition.


6.1. In case of a well-reasoned disagreement with the decision of the referees and the knight marshal, the captain of the team or an officially (in a written form) appointed assistant, the fighter’s representative, can make a protest. The protest is to be written only in an “Appeal form”, which can be given to the team captain by event organizers. The number of these forms is brought under regulation and decided by organizers of every event.

6.2. The protest is to be well-grounded and can be made in the following cases:

6.2.1. Removal of the fighter out of the battle with violation of the rules.

6.2.2. Unregistered by the referees important strokes at the kill zone, seriously affecting the outcome of the round.

6.2.3. Unregistered violations made in the course of the fight, which are to be penalized with the sanctions.

6.2.4. Unregistered violation of the rules with the imposition of the yellow or red cards, and any gross violations of the rules.

6.3. The protest should be made after the fight is over and the fighters are asked whether they have any claims. The captain or a representative of a fighter who has been observing the fight, makes a well-reasoned protest personally to the knight marshal. The protest is to be considered within 10-25 minutes and before the next fight.

6.4. Possible outcomes of the protest consideration:

6.4.1. General repeated round.

6.4.2. Reconsideration of the round score.

6.4.3. Reconsideration of the fight score.

6.4.4. Imposition of the yellow or red card on the fighters.

6.5. The knight marshal (in case of disputable situations) and captains of the teams if they are reasonably not satisfied with the decision of the knight marshal, can address the Supreme Appeal Commission, which consists of the organizers of the event.

The re-appeal is to be considered by the Supreme Appeal Commission within 3 hours, it includes watching the video materials and interviewing the panel of referees, after that the final decision is to be taken.

Regulations for the battles in category “Mass battles” 21 vs 21

1. The knight marshal (chief referee) invites two teams to the lists, then asks two other teams to get ready.

a) Important! Two teams invited for the next battle have to come to a special place near the lists, where they go through a pre-combat historical, esthetic and technical inspection of equipment. The functions of the historical and technical committee of the event are performed by the referees and knight marshal.

2. The invited teams have to appear on the lists within 1 minute.

b) Important! The knight marshal may ask the fighters to enter the lists with their helmets off. After the verification of fighters’ identities via the list of stated participants, they will be given 30 seconds to put on their helmets and be ready for the battle. The seconds who are behind the lists’ barrier, can help the men to put on the helmets. The fighters have no right to leave the lists before the start of the battle. This measure is necessary to prevent the possibility of substitution.

c) Important! If the fighters appear on the lists later than 3 minutes after they’ve been invited or come unprepared, the rival team is awarded a “technical victory”.

3. The knight marshal asks about the readiness of the marshals and the fighters.

4. The knight marshal signals the start of the battle, giving the command “To the fight!”

5. The linesmen (referees) or the marshals dealing with the video observation, observe the battle in their sectors of the lists, while staying behind the barrier, record the violations they see, but do not interfere in the course of the battle.

d) Important! The linesman can interfere in the course of the battle only after the direct command of the knight marshal or field referees.

6. The field referees observe the battle on the lists, moving along it, and monitor compliance with the rules. The field referees can bring those who were withdrawn from the battle with the violation of the rules, back to action, as well as separate inactive clinches that last more than 10 seconds.

7. The knight marshal observes the general course of the fight and assesses the interaction of the teams and fighters on the lists.

8. The round is to be finished after the command of the knight marshal “Stop the fight!”

9. The fighters return to their original positions on the lists.

10. The field referees approach the teams and ask whether they have any claims to the opponents or the panel of referees. The team has the right to ask them orally to correct one or another inaccuracy in the rules following, as well as file a protest within the provisions of the Unified international rules.

11. The field referees come to the knight marshal and report concerning the observed violations. Relying on the reports of the field referees (and, if necessary, reports of the linesmen or referees dealing with the video observation), as well as his own observations, the knight marshal decides on the result of the round. After that, he considers the protests (if any), announces the result of the round or battle, gives the oral warnings or the yellow or red cards to the fighters.

12. The Secretariat has to record the results in the ratings.

After the round, the victory in the round, round score (the number of fighters of the winning team remaining in battle at the end of the round) is to be recorded.

The yellow or red cards have to be mentioned in the ratings of the fighters as well.

13. The knight marshal announces the second round. The second, and the third round (in case of a draw), are held according to the above scheme.

14. After getting two wins in the rounds, the winner of the battle is to be announced.

15. The winner gets the main point for the rating, 1 point for winning the battle. All other points of the rating (for winning the rounds, medium points for the rounds, loss of points due to the yellow cards) are taken into account only when the teams have an equal number of points for the win and provide a broadened picture of the combat ratings.


Above rules were originated by "Battle of the Nations" - World Championship of full contact historical medieval battles and adopted for North America by Scallagrims Medieval Martial Arts Centre. Scallagrims Medieval Martial Arts Centre does not take any liability for any use of above rules outside of its training sessions and events.