I do alot of martial arts so don't mind a few cuts and bruises but lossing a limb well that's just more commitment then I feel I could give. So I suppose I can understand that some training is required beforehand even if it is a bit frustrating
We don't stand much chance of losing limbs, that's why the weapons are blunted. But there's a big gap between that and "a few cuts and bruises". With weaponry, an inexperienced person is most likely to hit an opponent on the hands, since their opponent is bringing their weapon up to parry. Most martial arts cuts and bruises are on well-muscled bits with big bones - torso, forearms, etc. Hands have a lot less resistance to damage and the bones break quite easily.
Even with armoured gloves a good thwack can hurt or pinch the edges of a hand. Some people apparently still believe that gardening or welding gloves constitute adequate protection. A good smack will probably break their fingers, which can affect their ability to work for weeks. Even if nothing's broken, bruising and swelling can impair someone who, for example, spends most of their day at a keyboard as so many people do nowadays.
Frankly, you're not that likely to get hurt by an experienced fighter. The danger is that an inexperienced fighter will hurt someone else. And that's why a reputable society won't let you on the field till you have satisfied them that you can fight safely. They don't want anyone saying "Oh yes, he was hurt by someone from XXX society. They let some clown on the field without training - he was completely out of control and didn't have a clue what he was doing."
The good news is that it's all about mind/body coordination and situational awareness. As an experienced martial artist, you probably already have that, and a decent muscle tone which will give you a respectable amount of stamina. It shouldn't take you long to get to battlefield standard if you apply yourself.
Of course he has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives - it's 1183 and we're barbarians.