Two brothers from High River are heading down to Mexico to represent Canada at an international level.

Ryan and Warren Neilson will be part of Team Canada which will be competing at the International Medieval Combat Federation (IMCF) World Championships in Mexico this May.

The brothers got into this sport, about five years ago after Warren saw a few medieval fighters at a market in Calgary.

"Chatted with them a little bit, got some information about when the next practice is going to be in Calgary and when I left that market, I called Ryan up and I said, 'Hey! We're going to go do some fighting. We're going to take some swords and have some fun.' We showed up to the first practice about a week later and the rest is history," explains Warren.

Now they are part of Team Canada.

To be considered to be part of that Team, both brothers made their way to Duncan B.C. to compete in a tournament that Medieval Combat Canada organized to determine who would make the team.

"We had to fight our way through the duel categories," explains Ryan Neilson. "And then we did the melee category as well, and our team actually ended up winning that tournament. So, it was a huge milestone for us."

Ryan Neilson is the Captain of the Arverni Legion in the Foothills region and is the Captain of Team Canada's 5 vs 5 melee team heading down to Mexico. 

He will be participating in all of the melee events at the tournament, which include the 5 vs 5, 10 vs 10, and 16 vs 16 battles.

Warren Neilson is the co-captain of the Arverni Legion in the Foothills region and is competing for Team Canada in all the same melee events, as well as pro fights in the Super Heavy Weight division, and pole arm duels.

"In all the other categories, there's no weight classes, there's nothing. You just go," said Warren. "In Pro Fight, there is weight classes and I am in the Super Heavy Weight class for Canada, going to Mexico. Pro Fight is, the best way to describe it is, essentially MMA, but with weapons and in full armour."

Polearms are typically 4 to 8 feet long and are generally a spear or a two-handed axe.

The winner in the duels and the pro fight is determined based on a point system.

In the duels, participants get a point for every successful strike they land on their opponent, while in pro fights, the participants get points for every strike on their opponent, whether it's with their weapon, punch, or kick.

In pro fights, points are also awarded for throwing your opponent to the ground.

In the melee categories, it's all about getting the other team's members to the ground, by any means possible.

"To prevent injuries, there is a numbers advantage," explains Ryan. "For a team, let's say for example, has three guys and the opponents team only has one guy left, they'll stop the fight there. You guys will win the match, just so it's not three guys pounding on one guy."

The duel matches generally consist of three, 2-minute rounds.

Melee matches are typically three rounds that last five-minutes a piece.

Both of the Neilson brothers had also competed at the Canadian Classic tournament in Okotoks back in March and used it as an opportunity to train a bit more before they head down to compete in Mexico.

The IMCF World Championships will happen in Valle Di Silencia, Mexico from May 2nd to 5th.

Both brothers are also involved with the upcoming tournament in High River on the Canada Day long weekend.

Warren says they are always looking for new members, so anyone interested in fitness or combat sports is encouraged to reach out and try this spot.

For more information on the sport or on how to participate, check out the Historical Armored Combat Sports Association webpage.