Gladiators are back. Finally they are back. But don’t worry; no one is going to die. A company called Unified Weapons Master (UWM) wants to bring back gladiators into the 21st century but they want to turn it into a new type of sport. Through the use of a carefully designed suit of armor (think full paintball or SWAT body armor) they believe they have reached the next step in combat simulation. But be advised this isn’t on par with UFC, after all what gladiatorial competition would it be without weapons? The main focus of UWM is to fight using weapon martial arts. Kicks and punches are still very much appreciated but the point of the suits is to take the blows for weapons. Since UWM correctly points out this would be dangerous for anyone without protection their suit fulfills this purpose and so much more.
The suit of armor they have created is called the Lorica, after the Roman word used so commonly for their armor. It will protect combatants from harm while using sensors to detect the pressure and locations of blows from actual weapons, kicks, punches and pretty much any way you can hurt the other person. This simulates real world damage so they don’t have to. The suit also contains cameras on the visor and microphones inside so you can hear and see what the fighter does. An extra feature is the ability to monitor and then show the heart-rate and body temperature of the combatants. With all of this in depth information so easily available it should give almost any viewer what they want in terms of pure immersion.
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Their scoring system measures the level of damage and then reflects it on the suits by having LED lights change colors but if neither fighter falls, the damage needs to be scored to determine the winner. This is where strategy will come into play if neither one gets a kill but frankly it doesn’t seem very hard to score kills. It’ll be interesting to see if this becomes just a rare occurrence or more standard as experienced competitors vie for survival. The full inventory of available weaponry has yet to be unveiled however I’m really pulling for the medieval weaponry. So far they are blunted weapons however they are working on edged ones due to the problem of low sensitivity from edged weapons. I could describe the combat but seriously click below; you have to see it for yourself.