Unified Weapons Master is Revolutionizing Sports Combat
I had the awesome chance to talk with David Pysden, CEO of Unified Weapons Master. His company has created a new form of combat that is revolutionizing the way we view sports battle. Imagine combining cyberpunk style technology with traditional martial arts and you get the Unified Weapons Master® system which allows real weapons based combat in a safe yet highly entertaining format. When I first read about this system I couldn’t help but wonder how my childhood would have been different if this stuff existed forty years ago. I grew up sparring with my friends every weekend. We would use padded ax handles and sledge hammer handles. The battles were epic. To say that we had a few injuries is an understatement but we always came back for more. With the UWM system we will be able to revisit those days again. David revealed some interesting tidbits and I guess its time I share them with you.
Please tell me about UWM?
Unified Weapons Master (or ‘UWM’) is a new weapons martials arts combat sport that uses advanced technology embedded in modern body armour to objectively measure the force and location of strikes to the armour in real time during combat. We relay that data wirelessly to a scoring system that includes medical data to determine what damage would have been sustained by the competitors had they not been wearing armour, and display that to an audience. Globally there are close to 100 martial arts that are either weapons- based or include weapons in their curriculum. Until now the opportunities for these weapons practitioners to compete in true full contact combat have been limited, due to the fear of serious injury and the inability to objectively determine the outcome. UWM aims to change this by creating a competition that unifies these arts into a single competition where the winner is decided objectively using UWM’s patented combination of technologies.
The idea for UWM came from the UWM Chairman and co-founder Justin Forsell. Justin has trained all around the world in a number of different martial arts and has instructor level qualifications in four different arts. He saw that many of these arts are slowly dying because there is nowhere that you can practice them in a full-combat situation and nowhere to compete. Justin had a vision to create a forum where weapons practitioners can compete in their chosen art in a full combat situation and to use technology to provide a scientific and objective measure of who won. This was just a vision until around seven years ago when Justin met with co-founder David Pysden and they started working on protecting the idea through a series of global patents. Once this had been achieved they put together a team of specialist armour designers/manufacturers and force measurement engineers to build a number of prototype ‘Lorica’ suits. This was completed in November 2013 and is the armour that is currently featured on our website. We are now in the process of building production versions of the Lorica armour and software. Our ‘Mark II Lorica’ will be lighter, have greater articulation and allow more movement, and will include a number of new features including upgraded sensor technology and a cooling system. We are building these for use in our first competitions that are currently planned for next year.
UWM’s intelligent armour called the ‘Lorica’ has been designed to withstand high impact strikes from real blunt martial arts weapons but is much more than just protection. The Lorica also encapsulates sensor technology that objectively measures the force and location of strikes to the armour in real time. The software utilizes medical research including fracture profiling and blunt trauma data to determine the level of damage and severity of injuries that would have been inflicted to an unarmoured fighter. This data is relayed wirelessly to a scoring system with software that calculates and displays the damage that would have occurred in real time – much like a video game, but based on real combat with real weapons.
Is the system durable enough to withstand the roughest play that a user might engage in?
The Lorica has been engineered for full contact weapons combat. It is designed to withstand blows from blunt martial arts weapons at very high impacts. The highest impact we have measured to date with these weapons was 800 kilograms of force, which was delivered with a composite Gladius sword. This is enough force to shatter all but two bones in the body with a single blow. Although the fighters are well protected in the Lorica there is still a high degree of “feedback or shock transference” through the suits. In other words the fighters know if they have been hit and how hard but are still protected from serious injury.
Yes! UWM wants to find the world’s best weapons martial artist. We intend to unify all of the weapons martial arts from around the world and to allow practitioners of these arts to compete in tournaments, and for the first time to objectively and scientifically determine who is the best. We will soon be announcing our “Call to Arms – In Search of Warriors” campaign, which will invite experienced weapons practitioners to submit videos of themselves in action for a chance to participate in the inaugural UWM competition, which will be held in 2016. Eventually we would like to hold tournaments in countries all around the world to find national champions in various styles and then bring those national champions together in world championship competitions.
How much to purchase a suit of armor and weapon?
The suits that you have seen to date are prototypes and are not for sale to the public. Once we have completed our Mark II Lorica, which we are currently working on, our intention is to produce a low-tech training version for sale to the public, however it is too early to price them.
Is this available in the United States?
Our intention is to hold events in the US. To date we have had an overwhelming response from fans in North America with many questions about when and where they can compete.
Anything else you would like to add?
Our vision is to honour, preserve and reignite interest in weapons martial arts from around the world that have been practiced and developed over thousands of years and using modern technology create a new, global combat sport and entertainment experience. UWM will provide a forum for the best fighters from each style to face off against one another. For example, imagine a Japanese Kendo Master pitted against a Chinese Shaolin Staff Master.
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