Sports

Unified Weapons Master tests second-gen combat armor in underground fight event

Unified Weapons Master tests s...
War Demon (L) and Fierce go at it with wooden staves
War Demon (L) and Fierce go at it with wooden staves
View 32 Images
UWM will allow different weapons systems to face off in full contact battle
1/32
UWM will allow different weapons systems to face off in full contact battle
UWM's specifically-designed arena
2/32
UWM's specifically-designed arena
UWM logo
3/32
UWM logo
UWM Lorica MkII, showing carbon fiber helmet and custom graphics
4/32
UWM Lorica MkII, showing carbon fiber helmet and custom graphics
UWM fighters from around the globe: (L to R) Ronin, Ironheart, Red Rock, the Wolf, Fierce and War Demon
5/32
UWM fighters from around the globe: (L to R) Ronin, Ironheart, Red Rock, the Wolf, Fierce and War Demon
UWM's scoring computer
6/32
UWM's scoring computer
The UWM arena
7/32
The UWM arena
Fierce (L) vs War Demon in a sword fight at UWM's first underground event in Wellington, NZ
8/32
Fierce (L) vs War Demon in a sword fight at UWM's first underground event in Wellington, NZ
War Demon (L) takes on Fierce in a staff battle in Wellington
9/32
War Demon (L) takes on Fierce in a staff battle in Wellington
Fierce (L) takes on War Demon using mixed weapons
10/32
Fierce (L) takes on War Demon using mixed weapons
Fierce (L) takes on War Demon using staves in the UWM arena
11/32
Fierce (L) takes on War Demon using staves in the UWM arena
War Demon (L) and Fierce go at it with wooden staves
12/32
War Demon (L) and Fierce go at it with wooden staves
UWM will allow different weapons systems to face off in full contact battle
13/32
UWM will allow different weapons systems to face off in full contact battle
Shen Meng (War Demon) from Inner Mongolia, China, was one of the first 6 fighters to go full contact fighting in the new UWM Lorica armor
14/32
Shen Meng (War Demon) from Inner Mongolia, China, was one of the first 6 fighters to go full contact fighting in the new UWM Lorica armor
Ronin (L) takes on The Wolf in multi-weapon combat
15/32
Ronin (L) takes on The Wolf in multi-weapon combat
A selection of UWM weapons
16/32
A selection of UWM weapons
UWM will allow different weapons systems to face off in full contact battle
17/32
UWM will allow different weapons systems to face off in full contact battle
UWM's specifically-designed arena
18/32
UWM's specifically-designed arena
UWM logo
19/32
UWM logo
UWM Lorica MkII, showing carbon fiber helmet and custom graphics
20/32
UWM Lorica MkII, showing carbon fiber helmet and custom graphics
UWM fighters from around the globe: (L to R) Ronin, Ironheart, Red Rock, the Wolf, Fierce and War Demon
21/32
UWM fighters from around the globe: (L to R) Ronin, Ironheart, Red Rock, the Wolf, Fierce and War Demon
UWM's scoring computer
22/32
UWM's scoring computer
The UWM arena
23/32
The UWM arena
Fierce (L) vs War Demon in a sword fight at UWM's first underground event in Wellington, NZ
24/32
Fierce (L) vs War Demon in a sword fight at UWM's first underground event in Wellington, NZ
War Demon (L) takes on Fierce in a staff battle in Wellington
25/32
War Demon (L) takes on Fierce in a staff battle in Wellington
Fierce (L) takes on War Demon using mixed weapons
26/32
Fierce (L) takes on War Demon using mixed weapons
Fierce (L) takes on War Demon using staves in the UWM arena
27/32
Fierce (L) takes on War Demon using staves in the UWM arena
War Demon (L) and Fierce go at it with wooden staves
28/32
War Demon (L) and Fierce go at it with wooden staves
UWM will allow different weapons systems to face off in full contact battle
29/32
UWM will allow different weapons systems to face off in full contact battle
Shen Meng (War Demon) from Inner Mongolia, China, was one of the first 6 fighters to go full contact fighting in the new UWM Lorica armor
30/32
Shen Meng (War Demon) from Inner Mongolia, China, was one of the first 6 fighters to go full contact fighting in the new UWM Lorica armor
Ronin (L) takes on The Wolf in multi-weapon combat
31/32
Ronin (L) takes on The Wolf in multi-weapon combat
A selection of UWM weapons
32/32
A selection of UWM weapons

Unified Weapons Master (UWM) is a fascinating new sport that lets martial artists go at each other full force with a range of different weapons, wearing fully protective armor that keeps score as you fight. In an underground battle event in Wellington, New Zealand, UWM revealed its latest intelligent Lorica armor and pitted six combatants from around the world against each other in full contact weapon combat.

UWM's goal is to become the mixed martial arts of weapons combat, allowing weapons masters to face off in full-contact mano a mano battle. Of course, to do that safely you need some pretty impressive armor. It needs to protect against everything from swords and staves to kali sticks and hand axes. And it also needs to incorporate an intelligent scoring system that can work out which fighter is taking what level of damage in real time, so they can fight with a live "health bar" as if they're in a video game.

The first Lorica armor was made primarily of composites and polycarbonates, and weighed in at 25 kg (55 lb). With safety as first priority in these proof of concepts, mobility took a back seat. Developing a Lorica MkII was always a high priority.

And here it is. The new armor uses a lot more carbon fiber, and it's lighter, cooler and more mobile, as well as being fitted with enhanced scoring sensors.

Fierce (L) takes on War Demon using staves in the UWM arena
Fierce (L) takes on War Demon using staves in the UWM arena

"The Mk II is lighter, has better articulation, more advanced sensor technology and a reduced profile," said UWM Managing Director Rick Walker. "The 30 percent weight reduction from the Mk I prototype suits means the fighters can move more explosively and the Mark II suits are also cooler, allowing the fighters to compete for longer without taking a break."

The second-gen Lorica armor is a three-layer suit. An undergarment layer goes on first, with built-in harnessing and a cooling system that circulates compressed air under the armor. A chassis layer goes on next, and that's where the force measurement sensors, processors and radio scoring equipment all live. And finally, the protective carbon shell that does the dirty work of protecting the fighters from weapon and hand-to-hand strikes. You can see the armor taking quite a beating in the video below.

The UWM team has already run its first "underground" event in Wellington, New Zealand, involving six fighters from around the world. Styles represented included HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts), Japanese Kenjutsu, Chinese Kung Fu and Mixed Weapons arts. Weapons included the bokken, long staff, long sword and Kali sticks.

One of the fighters, Shen Meng from Inner Mongolia, China, relished the chance to fully let loose in armed combat. "After 18 years competing in weapons martial arts combat, this fight ranks as my coolest experience yet. It was awesome to be able to go head-to-head with other practitioners without fear of serious injury to them or myself. I felt completely protected in the Lorica and it gave me the chance to experience weapons combat on a completely different level."

Ronin (L) takes on The Wolf in multi-weapon combat
Ronin (L) takes on The Wolf in multi-weapon combat

UWM says it's working on a video package from this first event that'll give us our first glimpse of what this sport will look like, complete with commentators, graphics, slow-mo and live action health bars driven by the force-measuring scoring system. If it's going to be of interest to a wider audience than just weapons fighters themselves, it'll need to be a spectacle. And it'll be interesting to see how personally invested viewers can get watching faceless fighters in bloodless combat. Will it work? We'll soon see!

Source: Unified Weapons Master

9 comments
Daishi
It looks like something you would see police wearing in a futuristic sci-fi movie. They could probably market a version that replaces the plastic panels with kevlar to police. In 50 years maybe this is what parents will send their kids to school in.
mhpr262
Hopefully they will allow combatants to go at each other with each fighter using different weapons.
HensleyBeuronGarlington
They could easily add some special effects and avatars over the fighters if they wanted some blood and more realistic looking weapons. Though, I don't see this taking off unless the fighters are at least tasered in correlation with amount of damage the receive.
MichaelShortland
Looks cool, just like futuristic warriors going to battle.
habakak
So many things to go wrong. How do you protect fingers, under and behind joints where all the movement happens, toes, knees, eyes, etc. To allow movement and bending, a lot of areas will necessarily be exposed. And I can't imagine this looking very exciting since no one will really get knocked out, knocked down much (a possibility for sure) or made to quit or give up. Also, the viewers can't see the effect of the blow, no matter what the monitors measure and display.
KGN
The technique they used to create the special "pause and rotate" effect in the matrix would be integrated here easily enough. Since they're already talking about slo-mo, they'd be doing post-production work, anyway.
Username
" mano a mano" literally means hand to hand. So not applicable here.
americandon
They are reinventing the wheel and it came out square. They don't appear to be save much weight with their composites. There are huge gaps in their protection that will probably be addressed to some rule set. "Hit him anywhere but here, here, and of course here." The guy, in the video, with the whippy flexible staff swings weakly. They would be better to place sensors under armor of full contact sports already in existence, that uses steel weapons full force. Here is just one hastily selected link to such. There are hundreds. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YYfRmH-4IM I have first hand knowledge by actually fighting in this for several years.
fraguniop
Or, there is Dog Brothers Martial Art : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWdWhOlpUUg&nohtml5=False