Childhood, adolescence and discovering HMB
– Where are you from? Were you an active child, who liked active sport games?
– I was born in the UK, but I grew up in Sydney, Australia. I moved back to the UK in the 90s, living in Wales and England, then I moved to Italy, where I spent 13 years, but for the last 2 years I have lived in Lithuania. Sports are a big thing for young people in Australia, so I was pretty active back then.
– How did you find out about HMB? Do you remember your first impressions after discovering this sport?
– I guess you could say I was a late starter. I saw my first longsword tournament in 2008 in Italy – a tournament that I haven’t missed since – and I was hooked. Seeing buhurts in other countries after that showed me that the sport had an incredible potential, not only on a physical level, but also on a historical level, which broadened the spectrum of weapon mastery.
– When and where did you start doing HMB more seriously?
– That came from my first meeting with Sergey Tsymbal in 2013. He came to Italy, where I met him in Milan and helped him get to a national training weekend. I had so many questions for him about the movement, and he suggested ways, in which I could be a part of its development.
Friends & Family
– How do your friends and family treat the HMB and your participation in it?
– For many of them it’s something which is completely new, so it takes a good explanation for it to come across well! But seeing is believing – simply showing videos of the sport is a much better way of getting people acquainted with it. My friends and family see how much I travel and put into my role and see that it is a big part of my life, so they are supportive.
– Did you engage some of your friends into HMB movement?
– Not in an active way; my friends live in different parts of the world, so it’s not that easy. But they follow the bigger tournaments with interest via live streams.
On a leader’s position
– When did you become the head of the Development Committee?
– I started almost immediately in the Development Committee after my meeting with Sergey Tsymbal in late 2013. In terms of actually becoming the committee head, it only really happened after my colleague in the committee and good friend Ivan Koryagin became the head of the Tournament Committee. That was roughly 2 years ago.
– What are your tasks on these positions?
– The objectives of the Development Committee are to improve the experience of “Battle of the Nations” for fighters and the audience first and foremost. So we take existing procedures and functions and find ways to improve them – you could call us ‘‘problem solvers’’ if you like. More recently I have taken over the commentary, which I started in Prague, then expanded to 2 commentators, and gave ongoing support to the live interviewers at Battle of the Nations. I also do live commentary and presenting for HMB events, which I have done in Italy, Finland, and the Netherlands.
– What sport do you practice, except HMB?
– I used to be a big football and rugby fan, but I don’t practice them anymore. When I lived in Australia I often went surfing too…quite a strange mix I suppose!
– Do you like traveling? What countries have you been to, what is your next spot and what is your dream-country?
– Of course I do! I have travelled a lot since I got involved in this movement, but I enjoyed it even before that. I’ve been to different countries in Europe, Oceania and Asia – too many to name. I’d like to go back to Asia as it’s such a wonderful and culturally rich continent.
– Do you like history? What period and what region are you interested in the most?
– I would be surprised if anyone in the movement said they didn’t. I don’t have a particular period and region of interest, but I am obsessed with medieval cuisine. I have studied it extensively, and taken part in and won several medieval cooking competitions – it’s fantastic being able to combine my two favourite passions!
So, our editorial office express gratitude to Gavin Stewart for his incredible story and wish him to achieve new aims in his career.