The HMB World Championship Battle of the Nations 2019 reached an unprecedented scale two months ago, but we still cannot forget the battles of the national teams. Technique, tactics, strategy, strength, power and agility, a high class of possession of combat techniques and many types of weapons … From such a spectacle our heads were spinning. Athletes from Russia, as always, showed high results. How does one prepare against these unbeaten champions? Today we have the opportunity to find out more. We talked about the stages of the formation of a HMB fighter up to participation in international championships with Evgenij Galushin, the chairman of the public organization Courage of Ages. The development of historical reconstruction and the HMB sport in the Russian Federation are part of its activities.
According to Evgenij, conditionally, work with HMB sport beginners can be divided into 3 areas. Each area confirmed the correctness of the chosen strategy for the sport development in the country. Let’s start with very young athletes in Russia. They are involved in HMB Soft or, as it is called in Russia, HMB for children. This direction is well known both in the country and far beyond its borders. HMB Soft is actively developing and gaining new horizons. This can also be considered “additional training.”
HMB Soft tournaments are being held throughout the country, including with the support of the Sport Sword Federation, and from 12-14 year-old athletes are actively preparing for battles in steel. Here the guys train with equipment, get the necessary knowledge and skills, and at the age of 18 they can start to fight in armor. This direction has also given to the HMB sport several new fighters who have fully completed the school of the sport sword and have been participating in HMB tournaments since the age of 18 and already occupy top places both in group battles and in single nominations. A very vivid example is the student of the champion Galina Kokhvakko – 18-year-old Alina Lappo, who this year got into the Russian national team and even became the world champion in the Sword and Shield category.
The second direction of work with beginners in HMB sport is the creation and development of the HMB School project throughout the country, where young men or women can come without any combat experience and be engaged under the guidance of the most experienced HMB athletes and professional trainers. Here they can be helped in the selection of armor and weapons. It should be noted that the youth team of Russia was created by the forces of the HMB schools.
“It is also a deliberate step taken to ensure that the guys gain as much experience in the lists as possible. The fighters of the youth team are selected for many clubs and teams. The best get into the youth team and this team performs at events. For example, this team took part in the mass category at the Recon festival. In addition, this year the youth team participated in a tournament in the Czech Republic”.
The third direction was created several years ago specifically to support new, young teams. Through the efforts of the curators of HMB Russia, the HMB First League was created and a series of tournaments for this League were developed. It includes teams that are just starting their journey in sports, but already having ambitions to get into the Higher League, which also exists in the country. Over the years, already established calendar of the First League tournaments. There are 7 tournaments throughout Russia every year – in Vladivostok, Moscow, St. Petersburg, in Stavropol or Krasnodar, in Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg. Teams winning these regional tournaments are invited to the final tournament of the First League, which takes place in St. Petersburg as part of the great military and historical festival “REKON”.
“The idea of creating the League is that the not so experienced athletes compete with teams of equal strength and level, and not go into battle immediately with the strongest teams, as it was before. So that they gradually prepare for fights with best teams. The guys who achieve high results, go to the higher league and compete with the strongest teams”.
For example, the NSK team from Novosibirsk, which fought at the REKON in the First League tournament and took its place on the winners podium and the very next day they competed with teams from the higher league.
To date, there are no analogues of the HMB First League in the world. However, Evgenij Galushin emphasized that the creation of the League was due to the large number of HMB teams, the different skill levels of these teams and, moreover, the territorial aspect played an important role.
In Russia, a very large number of people are involved in the HMB and all these athletes have different levels of skill. It should not be forgotten that Russia is a huge country and the HMB clubs which are located in distant regions should not be aside from the development of the sport. They should participate at events, but it’s still hard for some of them to fight with a strong opponent. The First League and the organization of tournaments throughout Russia contribute to the steady and qualitative development of sports in the country.
“The similar experience is applicable worldwide if a country has a large number of teams. For example, if in a certain country there are about 10-15 (or more) teams, they will take part in the national team selections having different levels of skill… Probably, it also makes sense for them to divide into leagues.”
It is worth talking about teams and fighters involved in HMB for about a year, who are literally without any experience. According to Evgenij Galushin, in Russia there are opportunities to enter the lists within the framework of current HMB tournaments for beginners as Courage of Ages holds several more relevant events – the “Heirs to Traditions” tournament at the beginning of January, the Alexander Nevsky Cup at the end of May and the Spirit of Time in September.
“We are holding experimental tournaments. They never get ratings for the fighters, of course, but are aimed at beginners. For example, in the Alexander Nevsky Cup we had the 3 vs 3 category, where only 1 experienced fighter could be in the team, the rest of the fighters in the team are those who have been engaged for one year.”
These steps have proven valuable! The First League tournament at the REKON festival can prove why. Many people remember how long the battles were tiresome, often finishing with a draw. This shows that all participants are at the same level, and it means that the task set by the creators of the First League is completed. A large number of HMB athletes participate here and the average level of the teams is improved. Analyzing the Youth team fights on the REKON, it can be noted that the level of this team is almost equal to the level of the National team of Russia. These fighters are united not only by the love of HMB sport, but also by the motivation to get into the National team of Russia and fight under the flag of their country at the World Championship.
The tournaments for beginners, as well as tournaments of the First League, help to improve not only fighters skills, but also that of the marshals. Almost all the tournaments organized by Courage of Ages and their colleagues here in Russia necessarily invite the “trainees” marshals where they can their train and develop their level.
Such innovations are regularly discussed, including at the HMBIA summit, which takes place every year. The leaders of the HMB movement of Russia share experiences, discuss, and offer their own groundwork.
“I’m planning to make a small report on the development of HMB sports in Russia at the summit this year. We have things to share, there is something to tell both about the First League and about the HMB Schools. We are experimenting, trying something new, refining, seeing results and we can share our achievements with the world community. If the First League is spread worldwide, it makes sense to organize a separate international event, but such a serious issue should be discussed at the summit.”
As we can see, a colossal and large-scale effort is being carried out to develop HMB sports in Russia and to train novice athletes, which can be an example for the whole world. The Courage of Ages team headed by Evgenij Galushin, HMB Russia, as well as other leaders of the HMB movement can be proud of the results of their work. However, there are still a lot of plans and ideas about which we will certainly reveal in the following publications.