Verein für gerüsteten Vollkontaktkampf Wien Knights of Jerusalem Tournament

german / english


Jerusalem – all and nothing.

a report by Christoph Unterbuchschachner



The invitation for the ‘Knights of Jerusalem Tournament’ was made at the Battle of the Nations in Warsaw. Which athletes from the ranks of the Association for armored full contact fighting Vienna would actually travel to Israel was largely unknown until the beginning of September. It was clear, that we would follow the invitation in any case - it was quite obvious that this event would not only be a physical challenge, but also a historical sensation. Those of us, who would follow the invitation, should become the first Austrian HMB fighters, who ever fought in the holy Land.


When our chairman, Heinrich, announced in early september, that he would not be able to travel to Israel, I made the decision, that I will face this adventure. At first it seemed like I would go on that journey alone, but after some days of reflection, my team-mate Martin Prägler decided to join too.


Our trip started at Wednesday the 3rd of October 2012. Check In at half past 3 pm in Vienna Schwechat, International Airport. At half past 6 pm the aircraft from the airline Alitalia took off from the ground. Next stop: Rome. Transfer to another plane. We continued our trip to Tel Aviv at half past 10 pm.


When we arrived at the airport in Tel Aviv, the main organizers of the Knights of Jerusalem Tournament welcomed us, and took us to the apartment, which we shared with three fighters from Ukraine. One of these athletes was Oleh Podluzhnyi, one of the most famous and successful fighters from the Ukraine national team. 


Thursday, October 4th was a very relaxing day. It was time to get to know the Ukrainian roommates, to relax and get used to the climatic conditions in Israel. In the afternoon we moved to the Eyn Yael Museum, where the event was held. In the coming nights, we slept in a restored building of the Roman garrison.


On Friday, October 5th, started the event and with it the fights. On that day, we fought in the 2 on 2 tag-team nomination. As first opponent we faced the team from Ukraine - the favorites of the tournament. After one single round, we lost the fight due to technical problem.


Team Isreal 3 was our next opponent. Unlike the first fight, Austria clearly dominated this fight. We won with 2:0 after two rounds, and celebrated our first victory in the ongoing tournament.  


Our third fight was against Team Isreal 1, lead by Michael Morgul, the captain of Israels national team. Both teams fought hard for the victory, but after five long and exhausting rounds, Israel won with 2:1.


After this defeat, the 2 on 2 tag-team nomination was over for us. In the final rounds the team from Ukraine won every single fight, and secured the overall victory for themselves.


After a long and happy Friday evening, on Saturday, the nomination 1 on 1 triathlon took place. Although the triathlon, frankly spoken, is not one of Martin's or my strengths, but nevertheless we decided to take part in it in order to preserve the Austrian presence in all nominations. Martin and I, we both lost our first match and where eliminated immediately after the start of the competition. But, nevermind! Besides that, the Ukraine fighters also dominated in that nomination. 


In the evening, a friendly match was held at the 4-on-4 buhurt. Austria and Ukraine fought together against Israel. We fought 4 tense rounds. Victory in every round was ours. To the cheers of almost 3,000 spectators the Knights of Jerusalem Tournament ended after these battles.  


On Sunday, the day after the Tournament, it was time for sightseeing. The two main organizers of the event Gregory Tarmar and Dennis Zlatopolsky took us, together with our Ukraine roommates to the old town of Jerusalem.


We walked from the Jaffar Gate to the Western Wall. And of course they showed us the Holy Sepulcher. It was an amazing and surreal feeling to stay in the Holy Sepulcher. The severity of the historical events, which happened on that place, layed unmistakably in the air.


On Sunday evening all the participants and organizers of the tournament gathered for a great dinner at a bar in Tel Aviv. There was laughter, drinking and celebrating of new friendships. A memorable end to a spectacular voyage.


On Monday, at 04:50 am the plane from the dutch airline KLM lifted up from the israel floor and turned towards amsterdam, our last stop on the way home. During the flight, Martin and I finally had the time to think about the events of the past days. The hospitality of the Israeli population was remarkably warm and exemplary. The fighting was hard, but fair.


As conclusion, I would like to mention, that it was an unspeakable honor to participate at the ‘Knights of Jerusalem Tournament’ and I’m looking foreward to meet the Israeli fighters again at the Battle of the Nations 2013.