A real Brooklyn knight: W’burg warrior heading to Europe to do battle

Knight fight: Zorikh Lequidre will go to Europe to compete with the rest of Team USA in the Battle of Nations — an international sword-fighting tournament.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Sword-toting Williamsburger Zorikh Lequidre will represent the County of Kings — and the nation — in a fight for bragging rights between men who spend their weekends getting all medieval on each other.

The 44-year-old actor is taking his homemade armor to France, where he will fight for Team USA in the so-called Battle of Nations — a massive melee that will let him fulfill the dream of just about every boy since the Dark Ages.

“Who doesn’t want to be the knight in shining armor and the hero to look up to, serving your king and fighting against the best fighters out there?” said Lequidre, who added that, yes, it is his real name. “You are putting yourself in a tradition of noble elite.”

But unlike his medieval ancestors, Lequidre will fight with a dulled blade.

The swords aren’t sharp, meaning participants ought to escape with all of their limbs — but other than that the reenactments are full-scale and full-contact, with teams from 14 countries gathering in May in Aigues Mortes to behave as knights did in the 12th century.

And that extends far beyond just slashing people with broadswords, according to Lequidre.

“You have to take on squires and train them. At events, you have to marshall and make sure that everyone is wearing the proper armor,” said Lequidre, who joined the national team last year after participating in other reenactments with the Society for Creative Anachronism for more than two decades. “And you have to engage in chivalry, the definition of which we love to debate over a campfire and drinks we all made ourselves.”

Lequidre is the only Brooklyn knight on the national team, and he earned his spot on the 50-fighter roster by beating out 100 other applicants and training in jiu jitsu and wrestling.

And he lays it all on the battlefield, according to Team USA officer Jaye Brooks.

Lequidre designs his armor himself, and trained in jiu jitsu and wrestling before dedicating himself the the medieval lifestyle.
Photo courtesy of Zorikh Lequidre

“Where Zorikh really stands out is determination,” said Brooks, who judged the try-outs on skill, strength, and spirit. “He has a ton of heart.”

That’s because he is fighting for love.

Lequidre met his lady, Maria Dedvukaj, three years ago at a Halloween party where he dressed as a knight in armor — and since then his damsel has become an integral part of his recreational combat, serving as a team administrator and coordinating travel, lodging, and food for American warriors.

“It’s history coming alive, it’s adventure and there’s also this pride of having a team come from the U.S.,” said Dedvukaj, who sews all her own outfits.

Adventure doesn’t equal victory: and that’s all that matters in this not-so-bloody bloodsport. In fact, Team USA came in last in 2012’s 21-on-21 melee.

This time, Lequidre says the United States boasts its finest lineup of knights in the nation’s 236-year history, but it’s unclear if America can keep up with the superpowers such as Poland and Ukraine, which placed first and second last year, respectively.

Win or lose, he will return to Brooklyn a knight — even if that lofty title, granted to him by other members of Team USA, is not recognized by the Queen of England or any other kingdom.

“My knighthood and a MetroCard will get me on the subway,” he said.

The Battle of Nations will descend upon Aigues Mortes, France from May 9 to May 12. Video of the battles will be available at www.youtube.com/user/battleofthenationsTV.

One thing is certain: he's more legit than this Brooklyn Knight.
File photo by Paul Martinka

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

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