The New York Times

This Is Longsword Fighting, The 'Game Of Thrones' Of Sports

You win or you die. Well, you probably won't die, but you'll get badly, badly bruised.

Baseball. Basketball. Football. Longsword fighting. "One of these things is not like the other," you say? Well, while you would only find one of these activities in Westeros, it turns out that longsword fighting is alive and well in the modern world of competitive sports as well.

An article and video published by The New York Times highlights renewed interest in historical European martial arts, also known as HEMA. It refers to competitive combat sports including, and most popularly, longsword fighting.

"Fights are fast and sometimes brutal," writes Times reporter Mac William Bishop. "Essential to the art is landing a blow while preventing an opponent’s counterstroke. Nevertheless, even the best swordfighters earn large bruises in the ring, which they display with flinty pride."

It sounds intense, and it looks even more so. Check out the sport for yourself in this video from Longpoint 2014, which drew 200 participants for various forms of HEMA competitions, including the longsword:

Ned Stark and Jaime Lannister, eat your heart out. (Although, that's really more of a Dothraki thing…)