People of HMB movement
Gavin Stewart, Scottish Italian
…concerning himself, life, Italy. And, HMB as a sport, of course
– I’ve lived in Italy for 11 years now, but my involvement in historical events has been relatively recent. I was with – to some extent – a Lithuanian team (Medieval Messengers) until last year when I joined Gens Innominabilis from Castell’Arquato. They hold the largest historical event in Italy, involving teams from all over Europe and of course Italy. Over the years at this event I met many members of the Italian Team but I only met the full team last November at a training held in Castell’Arquato.
As a general rule I tend not to associate myself with people whose personalities are equivalent to the growth process of moss, but everyone on the Italian Team has such great character. Even the members I don’t know so well always welcome me and ask how I’m doing, and others have become good friends. It’s a real pleasure spending time with them.
Italy has a rich heritage and the Italian Team plays to this strength. It is therefore no surprise that each member of the team pays meticulous attention to the philological authenticity of his armour, weapons and clothing. There have been a number of training sessions since the last event so techniques have been rigorously tested. As a result you can look forward to seeing a more developed form of combat this year.
On the 22nd and 23rd March the 1vs.1 selection was held at “Armi & Bagagli” in Piacenza – a huge fair held every year before the season starts. There were 10 experienced combatants from all over Italy – including two from Gens Innominabilis – and let me tell you, this year the bar has been raised. The 1vs.1 tournament will be the one to watch this year at Battle of the Nations as you will see 3 incredibly skilled fighters in combat, the quality of which promises to be as good as you will see in any nation. This year the Italian Team looks dangerously good.
I see a lot of combat with long swords here and in this particular event I saw some interesting combinations and refined footwork. But what was most interesting for me was how well certain combatants fought with the short sword and buckler – rapid attacks and well-placed defensive shots which bought valuable split seconds. It’s not very often we see this particular sort of combat in Italy but it proves the extent of training covered.
2014 will see some stunning events in Italy, some of which will follow HMB regulations. Interest in the sport grows every year and the impression I got from last weekend’s event was that enthusiasm here is electric.
I think it’s difficult to make comparisons with other events here as each one in Italy is special for its own reasons, and it’s this very uniqueness which keeps us doing what we’re doing with the aim of further developing it every year. No event is just a tournament; all the different aspects – the combat, the setting, the history the merchants, the food, the entertainment, the friends – contribute to the belief in what we do and the sense of identity and belonging that we gain from it.