VI. Unified international HMB rules: Category “Professional Battles”

Battle of the Nations1. GENERAL REGULATIONS

1.1. The category “Professional Battles” is represented by the fights held in accordance with the Unified international HMB rules, taking into account the number of points awarded for attacking actions conducted by the fighters.

1.2. There are weight categories in the “Professional Battles”:

  • Super light weight (weight of the fighters does not exceed 60 kg.);
  • Lightweight (men weighing from 60 to 70 kg);
  • Medium weight (fighters weighing from 70 to 80 kg);
  • Light heavyweight (fighters weighing from 80 to 90 kg);
  • Heavy weight (fighters weighing from 90 to 100 kg);
  • Extra-heavy weight (fighters weighing over 100 kg).

1.3. The panel of referees includes:

  • Three linesmen (score the points awarded for effective actions);
  • The referee working on the lists (controls the fight on the lists and separates clinches);
  • The timekeeper (notes down the time of the rounds and stops the counting when there are holds);
  • The secretary (calculates the average score relying on the records of the referees and announces the winner).

1.4. Fights of the category “Professional Battles” are held on the lists of the following size: from 4 by 4 to10 by 10 m. The height of the sides of the lists is from 1 to 1.5 m.

1.5. A fighter has to have at least one second, who accompanies him to the barrier of the lists before the fight, assists in the preparation of the equipment and during the breaks between rounds. The second observes the process of the fights and the state of a warrior’s protective arms. At the request of the referee, he should be ready to replace or repair one or another element of equipment.

1.6. Below you will find the list of permitted weapons, as well as technical requirements for them.

a) Important! The maximum weight of all weapons fully assembled and ready for battles is given. The permissible upward error is +100 grams for single-handed and +300 grams for two-handed models of arms.

1.6.1. Bladed weapons:

  • Single-handed swords, sabers, broadswords – up to 1,600 g;
  • Falchions - up to 1,800 g;
  • Longswords (total length is up to 1400 mm), swords, sabers, broadswords - up to 2,500 g;
  • Two-handed bladed weapons of the XIV - XVth centuries - up to 3,500 g.

1.6.2. Pole arms:

  • Single-handed: axes - up to 1,300 g, maces and six-flanged maces - up to 1,000 g;

b) Important! The length of a cutting edge of an axe blade is to be not less than 7cm!!!

c) Important! All the maces and six-flanged maces should have ONLY wooden handles and no sharp edges!

  • One-and-a-half handed: axes, poleaxes and other similar weapons (with a total length of not less than 1 m) - up to 2,300 g;
  • Two-handed: halberds, glaives, poleaxes and similar kinds of weapon (with a total length of more than 1,400 mm) - up to 3,000 g.

d) Important! Heavier weapons or only thrust weapons are not allowed for the HMB.

1.7. The approved protective arms for HMB competitions must be a restoration of medieval armor (the restoration must have the exact proportions and general appearance of historical analog) and correspond to such characteristics:

  • compliance with scientifically proved originals of the XIII - XVIIth centuries;
  • authenticity of used materials (steel, leather, fabric, cotton waste, batting, felt);
  • availability of configuration that completely covers the vital organs and joints of the fighter;
  • good condition;
  • thickness of protective material should meet the requirements (stated below);
  • size and proportions of all the protective elements should meet the requirements;
  • esthetic appearance.

1.8. All the elements of protective arms have to meet the technical and esthetic requirements, and represent a complete set of one time period.

a) Important! Only in rare cases, due to the lack of information concerning the material culture of certain periods and regions, stylized armor elements are allowed. In this situation, a fighter can replace these items with the authentic elements, relating to the neighboring regions and periods, but only if everything looks aesthetically and proportionally.

Concepts that require further interpretation and explanation:

1) Authentic – a material or object that corresponds to a certain historical original, found during the research. The use of authentic materials and items, coming from the original, is approved by the community of historical reenactors of the Middle Ages.

2) Stylized item is an object that has no specific historical analogies, but made in compliance with the general style of armor, its proportional, esthetic and operational characteristics.

3) Scientifically proved original is text and visual material (pictures, sculptures, and other documented archeological sources or their combination), on the basis of which a belonging of a particular object to the group of authentic ones is determined.

Scientifically proved original is needed in case a reenactor has an intention to start usage of anything radically new or little known in the community of HRMA. Only the scientifically proved original can help to determine whether an object is authentic or not, to make a decision about the possibility of its use in the HRMA circles.

1.8.1. The fighter’s head is to be protected with a metal helmet, safety features and specifications of which comply with the same parameters of a helmet made of steel ST3 2 mm thick.

1.8.2. The fighter’s helmet is to be equipped either with a well quilted padded cap, or leather suspension, a “parachute” with a quilted padded cap. The thickness of these elements is not less than 10 mm in a compressed state.

1.8.3. The fighter’s helmet must have a genial strap, which does not allow it to fall off from fighter’s head.

1.8.4. The fighter’s body, arms and hands are to be covered with lamellar armor; the chain mail can be only used as an extra protection in addition to lamellar armor or the linking elements in lamellar armor.

1.8.5. In addition to armor, the fighter’s body is to be protected with under-armor padding, which covers the entire torso. A layer of linen and cloth sewn together is the minimum acceptable under-armor protection.

1.8.6. The back of the neck and base of the skull have to be protected with steel lamellar armor element, supplemented with damping quilted or padded protection, such as a pelerine of the padded cap, a special collar or a filling. A riveted chain-mail element, with the lamellar protection and a protective damping layer located under it, is allowed.

1.8.7. The spine and tailbone should have steel lamellar protection with quilted or padded protection not less than 10 mm thick in a condensed form.

1.8.8. The fighter’s hands are to be protected with gloves or mittens made of steel plates or riveted chain mail. If the hands protection is made of riveted chain mail only, a damping layer not less than 5 mm thick in a condensed form have to be under it.

1.8.9. Hands and forearms of a fighter using a shield with the elbow grip, can be protected with steel armor elements. Then, if a fighter loses the shield, he’ll be able to continue the fight. They can be protected minimally (only with under-armor padding and cloth gloves), but from all the sides, which may be under attack. The minimum level of under-armor protection includes a layer of woolen and linen cloth sewn together.

1.8.10. The fighter’s elbows and knees must have a steel lamellar protection. If the lamellar protection doesn’t fit the fighter’s armor, it should be hidden under the authentic element of the set. The minimum level of under-armor protection includes quilted or padded protective layer not less than 10 mm thick in a compressed state.

1.8.11. The fighter’s shin and thighs are to be protected with steel armor elements at every side. The minimum level of under-armor protection includes a layer of woolen and linen cloth sewn together.

1.8.12. The fighter’s groin is to be protected with armor elements or hidden protection (an athletic supporter for contact sports).

1.8.13. The protective complex has to provide a complete and reliable protection to the head, neck, spine and joints in any fighting position.

1.8.14. In case a fighter represents a time period, when certain parts of the body weren’t covered with protective elements, these zones are to be safely covered with a hidden protective elements (Eurasian region of the XIII - XVIIth centuries), which aren’t registered visually.

1.8.15. If the level of safety of the authentic protective arms does not meet requirements of these regulations, a fighter should use extra protection made of any kind of authentic materials (can be worn only under authentic armor and under-armor).

b) Important! A modern protection, having its own fastener system, can be used only as the third protective level.

1.8.16. The fighter needs to be sure of his armor protective characteristics and check the accuracy and safety of any defensive parts before a battle.

1.8.17. The fighter is responsible for the offensive and defensive arms he uses in battle, monitors their authenticity, esthetics, and compliance with the requirements stated in this regulatory document.

c) Important! The fighter uses in battles only those weapons that are allowed by the technical and historical committees.


2.1. The fight consists of three rounds, during which the fighter can resort to any actions, authorized by the Unified international rules, against the opponent. The duration of each round is 3 min; the duration of each interval between the rounds is 1.5 min.

2.2. For every effective action the referee awards from 1 to 10 points to the fighter.

Effective actions are the following:

2.2.1. Powerful and clear single stroke, delivered with a weapon or shield, as well as parts of the body (hand, leg, elbow, knee, head). The stroke should reach the opponent directly, not through a block or shield.

The fighter gets 1 point.

2.2.2. Destabilizing clear single stroke, delivered with a weapon or shield, as well as parts of the body (hand, leg, elbow, knee, head). The stroke should reach the opponent directly, not through a block or shield and cause partial loss of equilibrium by the opponent, loss of pace or throw him back.

The fighter gets 2 points.

2.2.3. Series of 3 or more clear strokes, delivered with a weapon or shield, as well as parts of the body (hand, leg, elbow, knee, head). The stroke should reach the opponent directly, not through a block or shield.

The fighter gets 5 points.

2.2.4. Throw, after which both fighters are on the ground, but one of them, within 3 seconds after the fall, manages to get up and strike the opponent with a weapon or shield.

The fighter gets 5 points.

2.2.5. Throw applied to the opponent (using only authorized fighting techniques of the Unified international rules), after which one fighter is on his feet, while his opponent falls down.

The fighter gets 10 points.

2.2.6. Loss of a weapon by the fighter during the fight brings his opponent one point.

2.2.7. Loss, damage or unfastening of any element of protective arms of the fighter brings his opponent five points.

2.2.8. Delayed appearance on the lists, unreadiness to conduct the fight after 3 seconds the fight or round has started, brings 5 points to the opponent.


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 fights of the category "Professional Battles"

1. The fighters have to appear on the lists on the call of the marshal to conduct the fight. In case a fighter is not ready for the fight, the marshal may give him additional time to prepare (not more than 1 minute).

2. Each fighter is to be accompanied on the lists by his second, who assists the fighter to prepare for a fight. When the time assigned for preparation of the fighter is over, the second has to leave the lists.

3. Before the start of the fight the referees and members of the historical and technical committees have to conducted an inspection of the fighters’ weapons.

4. The fight starts only if the referee and both fighters are on the lists, and three linesmen, timekeeper and secretary are near the barrier (from the outside).

5. The referee has to ascertain that the members of the refereeing panel and both fighters are ready for the fight.

6. The referee signals the start of the fight, giving the special command “To the fight!” After the command “To the fight!” the timekeeper begins the time keeping and the referees score the points.

7. When the 3 minutes of “pure” time of the round are over, the timekeeper gives a special signal (the command “Time!”), and the referee stops the fight, after which there is a countdown for 1.5-minute break between rounds.

When the time assigned for the break between the rounds is over, the timekeeper gives a special signal (the command “To the fight!”), and the referee gives the command to continue the fight.

8. When the last round of the fight is over, or in case of early completion of the fight, the panel of referees takes a counsel, the points, earned by both fighters, are calculated are the results of the battle are decided. After that, the secretary announces the results of the fight to the fighters and spectators.


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.