Imagine Roman gladiators dressed down in slick-black body armor going toe-to-toe in a mixed martial arts ring. Instead of take downs and submissions they use shinai’s (bamboo swords) and bokken’s (wooden swords) against their opponents, earning points with each successful blow. The risk of injury is gone; in its place a safer, more precise way of fighting that take elements of 96 weapons-based martial arts from around the world.
Unified Weapons Master recently introduced such an armor and as CEO David Pysden puts it, it is the future of combat sports. “(UWM) is not about MMA. It’s about weaponized martial arts,” Pysden said. “We are using modernized technology to revolutionize mixed martial arts.”
With the assistance of engineers and martial artists, the Australia-based company has worked to perfect their concept over the last four years. Their product, dubbed Lorica after armor worn by ancient Romans, is a body suit tailor-made for a superhero.
“It is definitely cool looking armor, but what’s special is the technology under it,” Pysden said.
A point-of-view camera, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and a two-way microphone are installed. Most importantly, 52 pressure sensors calculate damage a weapon would have done to an unprotected body. The information is then transmitted to an external computer where medical conclusions can be drawn. This light, flexible armor is also designed to withstand full-speed attacks and blunt martial arts weapon shots.
The armor’s software has already garnered attention from the local government. “Military and law enforcement agencies have reached out to us,” Pysden said. “With the high-quality data, they can enhance their existing data programs and simulate real-life combat situations.” Much like UWM uses it to measure strikes, the armor’s technology can help government officials prepare for weapon-based attacks.
The last few weeks have been hectic for Pysden as he negotiates potential broadcast deals with production companies. The hope is to have a tournament with a scoring system that grants points based on data gathered from the suits.
“We are working on a training version of the armor, and a separate version will be in production for competitions either later this year or early next,” Pysden said. “Our goal is to re-ignite an interest in WMA.”