In the dimly lit confines of an ancient arena, amidst the clash of steel and the roar of the crowd, a unique spectacle unfolds—one that blends the spirit of medieval warfare with the rigour of modern sportsmanship. Welcome to the world of Buhurt, where armoured warriors converge to engage in full-contact battles reminiscent of the Middle Ages. Today, we embark on a journey with Tuuli, a seasoned Buhurt athlete and model of the last AAVA Armoured Sports Bra photo shoot, as she unveils the intricacies of this exhilarating sport and shares her personal odyssey within its rugged domain.


Meet Tuuli: A Champion in the Arena of Buhurt

Tuuli, a licensed massage therapist, physiotherapy student, and strength and conditioning coach, may seem like an unlikely contender in the realm of Buhurt. Yet, two hearts beat in her chest: the heart of a healer and a warrior who has risen through the ranks to claim the title of double World Champion (3vs3 and 5vs5) in the arena of Buhurt. Tuuli, serving as the vice-captain of the Finnish Women’s National Team in the fourth year, offers us a glimpse into the essence of this riveting sport and the allure that captivated her from the beginning.


Have you ever tried a combat sport with 30+kg of armour weighing you down? Badass! @Timo Keisala Photography


Buhurt: A Battle Like No Other


At its core, Buhurt transcends the realm of mere reenactment, emerging as a dynamic fusion of athleticism and historical homage.

Buhurt is a full-contact team sport done in medieval-inspired armour and blunt steel weapons. Don’t let the gear fool you - it has nothing to do with LARPing or acting. We don’t have scripts that we follow, and we don’t re-enact any historical events. It is a sport with the same characteristics as any other contact sport.

Within the confines of the list—a wooden fenced arena—two teams of three or five warriors don their medieval armour, wielding blunt steel weapons with practised precision. The rules of engagement are intricate, with a myriad of combat techniques at the fighters' disposal. From grappling and tackling to shield strikes and swordplay, the battlefield becomes a symphony of skill and strategy, culminating in a test of strength and fortitude. As Tuuli elucidates the nuances of Buhurt, it becomes evident that this is no mere game—it is a dance of combat where valour and camaraderie reign supreme.

I have always loved contact sports, and this was something so different and challenging—something I had never experienced before. I have done a bunch of different combat sports, but this has been the most challenging by far. We are doing martial arts as a team, wearing a 30+ kg steel armour—nothing is even quite similar to that.

As we are in the business of athlete protection, we wanted to learn more about this armour. AUAU Athletics products aim to merge maximum protection with maximum range of motion, which, if done right, is a challenging task on its own. Buhurt athletes, however, have an additional challenge—the historical reference of their protective gear.


“My role in my team is to be a so-called “tower”, so I’m right next to the wooden list and try to grapple down anyone that comes inside my range.” - Tuuli, ® Medieval Impact



The Art of Armour: Balancing Protection, Mobility and History

In the world of Buhurt, armour is not merely a means of protection—it is a testament to craftsmanship and historical authenticity. From helmets and brigandines to gauntlets and sabatons, every piece of armour serves a vital role in safeguarding the athlete against the rigours of battle. Yet, as Tuuli reveals, the quest for protection must be tempered by the need for mobility and flexibility. Fighters strive to strike a delicate balance through careful customisation and selection, ensuring maximum safety without compromising agility. It is a meticulous process that underscores the symbiotic relationship between tradition and innovation within the realm of Buhurt.

Every armour has to have a historical reference. You can not combine parts from different areas or different times. All the parts of the armour have to be within a 50-year timeframe. There is an authenticity committee which approves the armour for official competitions.


Innovations in Protective Gear: Could AUAU Athletics Pioneer Safety in the Arena?

While tradition may dictate the parameters of Buhurt armour, innovation continues to push the boundaries of safety and performance. We had Tuuli try the AAVA Armoured Sports Bra and a new prototype of our next product release: the new AUAU Athletics Protective Shorts. As Tuuli reflects on her experience with this innovative gear, she offers insights into the delicate balance between tradition and modernity in the arena of Buhurt:

The authenticity requirement limits what a fighter can have besides their armour. No modern clothes or gear can be visible in an official competition. Many people use motocross gear under their armour, but since they are usually plastic, they are uncomfortable and don’t work well with all the sweat under the armour. I tried the AAVA Sport Bra, and even though it was really comfortable to wear, I don’t see that it would benefit the women in Buhurt since the chest area is not usually a target area. Also, the brigandine protects the chest a lot. I also tried the new AUAU Athletics protective shorts, which I could easily see as useful in Buhurt. They cover all the areas that are usually quite exposed in Buhurt and are also really comfortable to wear. Also, the black colour makes it easy to wear regarding the authenticity rules, since it doesn’t look so modern.

As Buhurt straddles the line between tradition and modernity, Tuuli offers her perspective on navigating this delicate balance. From honouring historical martial traditions to prioritising modern safety standards, every decision is guided by a reverence for the sport's rich heritage. Yet, amidst this reverence, a spirit of adaptation exists—a willingness to embrace innovation in pursuing excellence. It is a testament to Buhurt's resilience and its ability to evolve without forsaking its roots.


Preventing Injuries & Promoting Safety: A Warrior's Creed

In the crucible of combat, injuries are an inevitable reality. Yet, Buhurt athletes endeavour to mitigate these risks through diligent training and strategic preparation. Tuuli shares her insights into injury prevention, emphasising the importance of intelligent training and adequate recovery. From strengthening muscles and ligaments to employing strategic padding techniques, every precaution is taken to safeguard against harm. It is a testament to the resilience and dedication of Buhurt athletes—a testament to their unwavering commitment to the art of combat.

While adequate training is effective injury prevention, the culture and mindset within the community of Buhurt are what turn athlete well-being and safety into not merely a rule—but a shared ethos:

No one is there to deliberately hurt others. That is something every new athlete needs to learn. Even though it is full contact, the purpose is not to injure anyone. The international community is very warm and tight, and the culture itself tends to seed out the people who are there just for the sake of violence. Buhurt is love - as we say.


Want to join the Adventure? Some tips for Aspiring Warriors


In parting, Tuuli shares her words of wisdom for aspiring Buhurt athletes, urging them to prioritise protection and safety above all else. Drawing from her own experiences, she emphasises the importance of investing in quality armour and heeding the lessons of seasoned warriors:

When buying your first armour, don’t try to get it as cheap as possible. It will be a lot of money, but if you get it right the first time, you will wear that armour for years. Make sure you get armour made by a blacksmith who knows the sport and that it is made with your measurements so it fits well. Injuries can also prevent you from training and competing for a whole season, so it’s not worth it.
When I started my Buhurt journey, I made the mistake of buying a second-hand set that didn’t fit me properly, and it was quite a safety hazard, to say the least.


Finding a Buhurt Club

Visit Buhurt International to find your country's national organisation. From there, you will receive information on local clubs. In Finland, you can head to Medieval Combat Sport Finland to find a local club and join the ranks of armoured warriors.


Attending a Buhurt Event

If you want to observe the sport from afar before diving in, Buhurt International offers an overview of all internationally licensed events and tournaments:

Finland’s most prominent annual tournament, the Häme Cup, takes place during the Häme Medieval Fair in August:


If you are involved in a sport requiring no or little armour, check out our Protective Athleticwear Collection for low-profile impact protection for women and gender-diverse athletes in team, contact, and combat sports.