When you think of people into medieval fighting, you might picture people at a renaissance fair. Someone dressed up in armor going through a choreographed fight, or maybe you picture Medieval Times. For members in the Armored Combat League, it is way more than that. For them, it is more akin to a sport, something that is taken VERY seriously. In Harlem Knight Fight, MEL Films followed Damion DiGrazia to see what the Armored Combat League is all about. Damion is a member of the East Harlem team and, on paper, isn’t someone whom you’d expect to take part in a sport like this: Air Force veteran, sunday school teacher, degrees from Columbia and Harvard, and a management consultant at a top investment bank in Manhattan. Take that away and you are left with a man who, like any other athlete, is dedicated to his sport. A sport where some have lost fingers, teeth and even had to be airlifted to a hospital. When you watch these guys fight, you somewhat expect to see sword fighting like you would see on tv or in movies, but here you get none of that. Instead, you get the most brutal fighting you’ve seen in an amature sport: an axe to the head here, a sword to the back there. The thing I liked about this was that no matter who you are, there are things that can bring completely different people together. Passion. You wouldn’t think about it, but the passion and love people can have for a particular sport or hobby can bring the unlikeliest of people together, be it an management consultant, an MMA fighter, a veteran, maybe even the pizza delivery man. Who knows? If you have seven minutes to spare, definitely give the video a watch.
MEL Films executive producer, David Freid, had this to say about Damion DiGrazia:
“We came into this thinking it was some advanced Ren Fair, where the fights were more play acting than blood spilling. But these guys hit hard. It all feels very chaotic the first couple times you see it — a melee of swinging arms and clashing armor. More than once I felt much too close with the camera, even when I was outside of the ring. Damion is a guy with a chip on his dislocated shoulder. He’s smart, but more importantly he believes that he can do anything. And he does. Even when this underdog doesn’t pull off the big win, Damion can’t be discouraged. He dusts off his iron pants and gets back in the ring. If you’re into the occasional axe to the head, you couldn’t ask for a better role model.”