Kirton, UK: “I am the first female marshal in the world!”

Kirton, UK: “I am the first female marshal in the world!”





People of the HMB movement 


Jemma Kirton, 

HMBIA marshal 

The last HMB World Championship “Battle of the Nations”-2014 was an amazing experience not only for me, but for all the new members of the national team of the United Kingdom.


In my opinion, Croatia was an ideal venue for the Championship. A lovely medieval fortress, hospitable people and the country itself was perfect for the sport. I remember when at night I went through the gates to the territory of the Championship for the first time. It seemed to me that I went back in time! At that moment I began to feel the beauty of “Battle of the Nations”.



My way to HMB was the following – before the trip to Croatia I visited several trainings of our national team. At first, I went there because of my boyfriend, David Gray. I just wanted to take some photos, to look around. But my camera did not stay for long in my hands, and soon I started helping fighters to put on armor. Medieval armor and fights fascinated me. I was amazed by the fact the guys needed a lot of effort and skills to fight. Before I came to HMB I had not been interested in sports, I had been

bored even by football… But medieval battle is a completely different level, so I liked it.


All the guys of the team wanted to see me fighting in armor, but, unfortunately, I was so scared after watching “5 vs 5” battles on YouTube that I refused to try fighting. However, after talking to John Barry I learned that HMB needed marshals, and I became interested in the role of those people, began to observe them working, started to read the rules. I clearly saw myself as a marshal, I knew it would be my chance to be in the middle of the action without fighting myself.



Over time, I began to referee events in the UK. But I decided to move farther and become a qualified HMBIA marshal, which would be a novelty for “Battle of the Nations”. There were a lot of talks whether women could be marshals or not, but John Barry helped me to develop as a marshal. I knew that 2014 would be a breaking point for HMBIA concerning the “gender” issue, because female “1 vs 1” fights (Triathlon) had been planned.


Before coming to Croatia I didn’t know I would train for a qualified marshal and get a real combat experience at the World Championship. I was shocked! On the first day I had to referee women’s category “1 vs 1”, which was scary, because back at home I had never dealt with those rules. But I managed to understand everything quickly. Also, I really liked “Triathlon”, because the fights were not so tough as in “5 vs 5” or “21 vs 21”. In triathlon the result depends on the techniques and physical fitness of fighters. After that I wanted to put on armor and go to the lists, but I postponed that for the future :).



Within the 4 days I absorbed any possible experience. It was like being behind the scenes of the shooting area and seeing all the cameras, crew, spectators and fans. Knowing that the whole world was watching the event via YouTube, I had a wonderful sense of involvement in the sport.


On the last day I was told that I had worked well for all 4 days of the Championship. I still needed to gain experience for “5 vs 5” refereeing, but I

had done a very good job and could count on becoming a full-fledged qualified marshal. The first female marshal in the world! I was amazed and happy, because no one could think a woman would become a marshal!


I hope to see more female marshals next year, as well as more women taking part in the       “5 vs 5” category. Now I referee events in the UK. I also hope to become a knight marshal in a couple of years. I’m not afraid to set such goals, because the first step has already been made and I’m the first female marshal in the world!



Interview by

Anastasia Kovalenko,