“Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power”

Lao Tzu

Sword fighting has been around a long time and this hard-core group of Perth gladiators, who call themselves the Free Company, are firmly on the map in Australia’s practice of the art of medieval sword fighting.

To them this is more than a sport. It is a lifestyle where they can measure and push themselves to the limit, mentally and physically. It is where testosterone flies high and the sum of it is bigger than the parts.

Although a number of them come from a military background, these are regular people. Fathers and mothers with normal jobs and lives, who practice 2-3 times a week.  Practice includes training with full metal armour with simulations in single and group battle, although more often it is with lighter Shinai swords.

Then they also attend tournaments and show-fights at Western Australian medieval festivals like the York Fair, Perth Medieval Fayre and the biggest one in WA, the Balingup Medieval Carnivale. A few of them also compete and excel at national and international levels including in the Battle of the Nations.

This is the result of my first ever documentary photography project where I photographed this band of brothers and sisters between 2012 and 2014.