Nope! Armor isn’t necessary to become a member. We actually prefer for new members to hold off on purchasing armor when first getting started. We’d like to make sure you get the quality equipment from reputable armorsmiths. We also think you should take some time to try on some different armor owned by existing members. You should also do a bit of research to which types of armor are most functional for ACL combat (or your chosen fighting style), what is aesthetically pleasing to you, and whether or not it will pass historical accuracy requirements at the international level, should you choose to pursue a spot on the USA team.
We made a whole page for this. Visit Getting Started to see how you can become an ACL armored combat fighter today!
The Armored Combat League is made up of all types of people with varying levels of skill, fitness, and commitment. We have fighters who are lawyers, teachers, active military, firefighters, tradesmen and women, armorsmiths, college students, programmers, you name it. Some fighters have a background in organized sports or martial arts. Others do not. Some pursue armored combat to the highest level of our sport (Team USA and the IMCF Championship). And yet others prefer only local, conference, or national events. The ACL is here to give you the structure and support you need. The rest is up to you!
The Armored Combat League is full of knowledgeable members willing to share training regimen with new fighters/chapters. If you are new to sports, any number of workout or training regimens would be good to pursue such as crossfit, strength training, Olympic lifting, etc. Be sure to consult with your doctor before beginning any new physically/mentally demanding training regimen.
Start with what’s known as “soft kit” practices – regular workout clothing and possibly some padded martial arts gear. Start learning the various take-down and grappling techniques as well as proper weapon strikes. Use foam boffer swords and shields to get used to the movements. Build a pell (something you hit that resembles a human target). These can be made out of a few sturdy pieces of wood and some tires. If you’re a part of an existing chapter, the senior members may be inclined to loan you their steel kit on a limited basis for steel kit practices.
Be sure to read all armor and weapon specifications, regulations, and guidelines outlined in the Armored Combat League Rule set located HERE. Armor and weapons must meet specific guidelines for use in the Armored Combat League. Rules can be found covering topics like rounded edges, weight and thickness requirements, illegal weapons and armor, and more. Please remember: armor and weapons used in our sport are usually custom built for this sport. Do not grab your katana from the basement and start swinging it at your chapter mates. This is a quick way to shrink your chapter, hurt someone, and/or end up in jail!
Between your chapter leadership, your regional commander, and the league’s social media outlets, you will be able to find trusted armorers, other fighters looking to sell their old kits, and other information and guidance on creating some of your own pieces. Armor can be expensive. The league will help make sure you get the right gear and at a good price. Consider crowdfunding campaigns or chapter fundraisers to offset the cost of armor.
A chapter is an Armored Combat League team of 3 or more fighters. Chapters compete against each other in Chapter Wars. The best chapter fighters are recruited to fight on the Regional team which represents multiple chapters within a given region.
If there are no chapters in your area (within 2 hours driving distance), all you need is three paid members. Grab two friends/siblings/coworkers/neighbors (you get the idea) and each of you purchase a membership from our memberships page. Next, pick a team name and logo/heraldry. Submit those via the form below and voila! Your chapter is born!
Train your team, recruit others, hold practices, attend events, host events, and help the league grow! Assemble your steel kits, tweak them. Then tweak them some more until you are comfortable in your own armor. But above all else… HAVE FUN!!
Check out our other FAQ questions above for “How do I train for this?” and “What skills should I practice?” Write out a practice schedule, come up with stations, design drills, and have fun with it! Contact your regional commander or reach out on the ACL’s official Facebook page. Hundreds of experienced members are ready and willing to help you start. From written advice to YouTube videos, there are plenty of resources to help you get your chapter off the ground and into the list!
Check out our chapter locator page. Pick a chapter, get a hold of their president and go from there. If there’s any questions, contact your Regional Commander. You can find their contact info HERE.
First, inform your Regional Commander of your plan. Second, make sure you have space whether it’s in your backyard, a rented warehouse/gym, or at a local park that you’ve obtained the required permits for through your town/county. Fill out your ACL Waiver insurance forms, HERE. Advertise on social media, create and put up flyers and get your friends and family to help spread the word. At the event, people may want more info about the league and the sport. Designate someone to hand out official ACL info packets before, during and after your event. You can download the Official ACLW Information packets HERE. Hosting events can be a great way to attract new fighters to your chapter.
We (the ACL) are a large organization and scattered across the far corners of the map. The ACL is set up as a chain of command. There is management at the smallest level (Chapter Presidents) who run their groups. Chapter Presidents report to Regional Commanders. These Regional Commanders maintain an exchange on a leadership council where they can discuss and compare issues encountered within their region and find answers to common and uncommon situations. There is a special trust in the leaders in our organization. They are expected to manage our people in the level that they are appointed. If a problem should arise across multiple chapters within the same region it is expected that the Regional Commander address it. Anything that cannot be addressed at a given level is escalated to the next step in the chain of leadership until resolution is found. In addition to Regional Commanders, there are advisors who sit on the senior leadership council who are there to assist in the day to day running of league operations. It is rare that an issue has to make it all the way to the ownership of the league to get resolved. So- for most of you, your first step to being heard or assisted on any issue is your Chapter President. They are your representatives. They can bring it to the next level as an advocate or to help achieve resolution. Feel free to approach your Regional Commander, yourself, if you feel the your concern is not being addressed at the chapter level.
League Ownership has great faith in our leadership council. There are some great people sitting in those chairs and they are empowered to look after you.
Yes! Armor really does work! We have also implemented a number of rules for armor coverage and thickness as well as striking/grappling rules to prevent injury. But make no mistake, you WILL get beat up, banged up, bruised, and battered. It’s your responsibility to look after each other and to make sure we all go home with a smile. Tis but a flesh wound!
Good question! If you have purchased an Armored Combat League membership and reside in the USA, you are covered by our insurance from the date that we receive payment through the last day of the season (typically April 30th). Prior to any practices, events, promotional gigs, or any other event or activity in which you intend to promote and fight under the ACL ruleset, you MUST fill out the ACL Waiver form and securely file it. This insurance covers your and the league in the event that someone is injured. The waiver can be downloaded HERE. If there are any questions, you can contact your Regional Commander.
If it is an emergency, call 911 or your local emergency responders. For non-life threatening injuries, call for medical assistance and seek treatment right away. Fill out an injury report form, located HERE. Fill this form out within 24 hours of the incident and submit the form to the ACL at email@example.com. Contact your regional commander to update them on the incident and injured party(ies).