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Battle Of The Nations

Wielding longswords and halberds, more than 750 fighters from 34 countries have descended upon the Czech Republic to compete in the Battle of the Nations on May 6. The medieval-fighting competition, which takes place over five days in Prague, pits national teams against each other in a number of categories, including women's 3 on 3. Blades are blunted as a precaution, but the fighting is full-contact and brutal -- as one would expect to see on a medieval battlefield.

A fearsome-looking member of the French team before marching into battle. 
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A fearsome-looking member of the French team before marching into battle. 

Spanish contestant Santiago Torres Bejarano makes his way to the battleground with his team's flag. 
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Spanish contestant Santiago Torres Bejarano makes his way to the battleground with his team's flag. 

Anna Danilukova, from the Prague band Jagabab, sings a medieval drinking song on the outskirts of the battle.  
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Anna Danilukova, from the Prague band Jagabab, sings a medieval drinking song on the outskirts of the battle.  

Andrei Serebryakov from the Ukrainian team taking a moment before entering the fray. "I'm a little nervous now but always after the first hit I stop being afraid." 
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Andrei Serebryakov from the Ukrainian team taking a moment before entering the fray. "I'm a little nervous now but always after the first hit I stop being afraid." 

The U.S. prepares to engage in battle. 
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The U.S. prepares to engage in battle. 

A French fighter on the march to battle. 
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A French fighter on the march to battle. 

A fighter with the British team with a well-armored GoPro camera. 
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A fighter with the British team with a well-armored GoPro camera. 

Belarus and the U.S. team crash into battle. 
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Belarus and the U.S. team crash into battle. 

With the crowd roaring and battle cries resounding, the Polish (foreground) and Italian teams run at each other. 
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With the crowd roaring and battle cries resounding, the Polish (foreground) and Italian teams run at each other. 

The small but well-filled arena, situated on a hill overlooking Prague. 
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The small but well-filled arena, situated on a hill overlooking Prague. 

An Italian fighter hacks into a Polish opponent. 
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An Italian fighter hacks into a Polish opponent. 

A German fighter surrounded by Ukrainians. 
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A German fighter surrounded by Ukrainians. 

Levente Daniel Varro taking a rest after an intense battle. The Hungarian fighter entered the fray with a borrowed helmet that proved a touch too small. "My nose always gets hurt, because it's big."
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Levente Daniel Varro taking a rest after an intense battle. The Hungarian fighter entered the fray with a borrowed helmet that proved a touch too small. "My nose always gets hurt, because it's big."

Charging Belarusians swing at a British fighter.
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Charging Belarusians swing at a British fighter.

Almost anything goes in the fighting. This Belarusian fighter was throttled to the ground by a British opponent. 
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Almost anything goes in the fighting. This Belarusian fighter was throttled to the ground by a British opponent. 

Sofie Maceanruig (right) is herself a fighter for Britain in the women's division, but today she is supporting (literally) her male compatriots. 
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Sofie Maceanruig (right) is herself a fighter for Britain in the women's division, but today she is supporting (literally) her male compatriots. 

The Ukrainians gather for a team talk before entering the arena. 
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The Ukrainians gather for a team talk before entering the arena. 

U.S. fighter Richard Starr nursing a fractured wrist. "I ran into Russia." 
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U.S. fighter Richard Starr nursing a fractured wrist. "I ran into Russia." 

Harvey Palmer from the U.S. team after bowing out of the contest. His helmet is inscribed with knightly virtues. 
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Harvey Palmer from the U.S. team after bowing out of the contest. His helmet is inscribed with knightly virtues. 

A participant takes advantage of the massage tent. 
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A participant takes advantage of the massage tent. 

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