In Sweden we have a saying about having ‘blood on your teeth’, meaning that you’ve sunk your teeth into something and now want more of it. Here Joshua ‘Ironheart’ Bekker tells of his recent and upcoming fights.
– How did you personally find VTC1?
This was an amazing experience and I was so excited to be a part of it. If I’m being honest, it was probably the highlight of 2016 for me, if not my entire fight career. I didn’t even mind the early starts and late finishes as I couldn’t get enough of it. I always had a smile on my face and I genuinely didn’t want it to end and made me wish this was my career. The overall experience I had competing in VTC1 and the bonds I developed with the team and especially the other fighters will stay with me forever.
– How was it to fight against other styles in VTC1?
It was exciting and also a little nerve racking as it is not something you do every day and you didn’t necessarily know what to expect. That being said, I did have a general understanding of different weapons and their strengths so I wasn’t flying completely blind. Not only is it interesting to fight against other styles, but rarely does one have the opportunity to compete in an asymmetrical weapons match up. By having people be able to choose their weapons, there is so much more variation in the fight and your own strategy which will definitely be influenced by it. Generally speaking, I knew that I would have a longer ranged weapon than most of my opponents and thus it was important to keep my distance and pick my shots until coming into range and then it was time to get heavy with my pommel strikes.
– Did participating in UWM influence the way you train and/or instruct in your style?
I think a lot of individuals that participate in weapons martial arts don’t appreciate the physicality that is required to fight either in armour or for a prolonged period of time and UWM really cemented that for me. Therefore, I’ve adopted an increased focus on endurance, particularly using weighted apparel, whilst training.
– What have you been up to since VTC1?
Late last year I competed during the Hex Fight Series. This was the first high level HEMA fight that has been televised across Australasia. It was a capacity event broadcast to more than 2 million people globally.
Following the Hex fight, I competed at the invitational Japanese Armored Battle League, which was a large televised event held at the Tokyo Star Tower studios. This was a sort of an East meets West experience, knights and samurai battling it out in the ring. It was quite surreal; fighting in 32 kg of armour, whilst extremely loud J-Rock is playing and massive screens displayed anime in the background. Overall, it was a ton of fun and not for the faint hearted.
– What/how are you currently training, what’s next?
Funnily enough, more recently I’ve been focusing on the unarmed side of things (back to my roots I suppose). I’m currently being coached by Vik Grujic (former UFC fighter) which is an amazing experience. A lot of wrestling and kick/boxing for my upcoming MMA pro-fight on August 19th in Melbourne; which will be televised (Foxtel).
– What do you think the future holds for UWM?
I think the future is very promising. I think you’re going to see an ever increasing range of weapons and styles being represented by the UWM as it grows. Including a lot of previously overlooked forms/weapons. I’d like to think we’ll see weapons combat becoming more mainstream and televised in the near future.
One of Joshua’s fights in the Japanese Armored Battle League. Check him out on Instagram and YouTube for more.
Interested in what the other UWM fighters have been up to? Check out the updates from Red Rock, Ronin, Fierce and yours truly (Wolf) for more.