What is Monachium?
Monachium is the Munich Belegarth medieval fighting group. It's the first of its kind in Germany, and holds practice in Englischer Garten every Sunday from 11:00 to 14:00 (weather permitting).
OK, what's Belegarth then?
Belegarth is a medieval fighting sport where the weapons are padded instead of the participants. We use carefully constructed weapons using mostly fiberglass and closed-cell foam, which lets us fight full-speed, full-contact without requiring expensive armor. Thanks to a simple rules system, anyone can join after very brief instructions. The game is honor-based and without point-counting - we do it for the fun, the training, and the exercise.
Is this something like a LARP?
Only to the casual observer. We wear similar clothes and use somewhat similar weapons, but that's it. LARPs focus on the story, and frequently include magic, character classes, and relatively complex rule systems. In Belegarth, focus is on the fighting, with rules as simple as possible. We don't pull our blows or give some players more abilities than others. That's why we call it a sport rather than a game. It bears more resemblance to the "DKWDK" type of LARP, but still without the roleplaying. For more information on the differences in weapons used, see the Wikipedia article on foam weapons.
So it's like fencing or kendo?
Not exactly. Most martial arts sports follow a specific style, sometimes set down long ago. In Belegarth, you are free to come up with your own style, whether a heavily armored line-fighter, a quick skirmishers, or an archer behind the lines. We also tend to do more large battles than duels.
Are there other sports similar to Belegarth?
Dagorhir is a virtually identical sport -- Belegarth split from Dagorhir for political reasons in the early 2000's. Amtgard and Darkon use similar combat rules, particularly in being full-contact, but have more roleplay, including magic, skill levels, and more complex hit systems. The Sotahuuto organization in Finland organizes a large event focused on fighting, but with slightly different rules.
Isn't it dangerous?
No more so than other close-contact team sports like football, basketball or hockey. Most injuries are due to running into each other or stumbling over something. Some safety equipment is employed with regularity, such as knee pads, gloves and sports glasses.
Who can join?
Anybody over 18 can join freely. People between 16 and 18 can join with a written permission note from their parents. For those younger than 16 - sorry, you'll have to wait.
Can I make my own equipment?
Absolutely! The Equipment section has pointers to instructions and where materials can be found. The equipment will need to follow the limits set forth in the Belegarth Book of War, and will be tested for safety. Note in particular that there are strict rules for armor, and much armor found on medieval markets. in shops, or online will not conform to these rules.
Must I make my own equipment?
No, equipment can be bought, though we have yet to find a suitable European source. The American company Edhellen (founded by Sir Kegg of Numenor) makes weapons specifically for Belegarth, but shipping costs are high, so those are best bought in large orders. Some of the weapons from previous group orders may be for sale.
How about garb? Is it required?
In many Belegarth realms, garb is required for members, and it is always required for events. However, garb does not need to be complex, expensive, or even historically accurate - a simple tabard over a plain T-shirt, dark sweat-pants, and plain boots are fine. In Monachium, we don't enforce garb rules yet, but we encourage it, as it adds more flavor to the fighting.
Sounds great! Can I start my own group?
You are more than welcome to, and we will be happy to help you get started. Having multiple groups that meet at events or at each other's practices is one of the greatest things about this sport. Different groups evolve different styles over time, both in looks and in how they fight. In the US, there are over a hundred groups, and national events can gather more than a thousand people to fight, drink, and make merry. We want this to happen in Europe, too!