This year Team Serbia has finally came to HMB World Championship “Battle of the Nations”-2014! This was result of our common effort and… sacrifice, and fulfillment of our wish… And it was great! Much better than we hoped!
As every new team we had a lot of problems along the way. But I`m glad that we overcomed all of them and that we came as a team. To tell you the truth, I was really stressed before the Trogir because there was so many things to be done before the event. Organize the team, talk to “Battle of the Nations” organizations, train, make armor, personal issues at home and work… So, that night before our departure it suddenly struck me: Serbia has a team! We are leaving tomorrow!
Many of us were concerned about our reception in Croatia. You probably have heard about awful Yugoslavia war, many terrible things that happened in WWII. And these wounds are still fresh, for Croatian people and for us. Organizers assured me that everything will be all right, but I was just not sure about this. To have our tabards with our symbols (cross and four cyrillic letters “S”), to have our flag and to sing our national anthem in Croatia… Many people in Serbia asked me about this before we left. But, I have to say that there was not a single incident! Croats (Trogir residents and public) were, at first, very surprised that we came, but they accepted us very quickly. Croatian Team came to our camp and welcomed us. I could really feel their heartiness. And I have to say `THANK YOU` from the depths of my heart. This will not be forgotten, I assure you!
To see so many new people, participants, team members, their colorful dresses, flags, hear them singing national anthems…This all was indescribably experience!
Frist day was more than brutal. The heat was unbearable! We fought Estonia, they were better and they won. I think they have big potential. I can say that for all Baltic states. Then we fought versus France and we lost. They have good team, you can really feel their team spirit. They are true knights. Unfortunately, our next opponent, Team England had problems and we did not crossed our swords. Maybe next year. Then Swiss came and we finally won. Now, I would like to say something about Team Switzerland and Team England. Earlier that day I went to their captains and asked them if they could fight us with four fighters because we had some problems and were down to four fighters and with no substitution. Of course, they could go out with five fighters, versus our four, but they all agreed, Swiss and Englishmen, to fight with four men! I was amazed by their sportsmanship. And at that point I realized: this is spirit of “Battle of the Nations”.
We couldn`t fight vs Team Czech but we passed to next level of competitions. This was great as well as frightening because, as we found out tomorrow, we will be fighting against Russians. And for young and inexperienced team as ours it could mean more than just a simple loss, it could mean some bad injuries…
That night before the third day of competition was without sleep for me. I worried about my team and our upcoming fight with Russia. But when the morning of the 3rd Day of competitions came, everything changed and we were more than enthusiastic about that fight. I can`t say why… It`s probably some Serbian thing, you know, we look forward to battles against stronger opponent, and battles we know we can`t win. I know it`s sounds stupid but that`s us, we are willful and hardheaded people. Just before the fight, Russians came to us, approached and hugged us telling something like “Serbs are our brothers”. That was great moment indeed. Many Serbs look on Russians like “older brothers” and I`m glad that they like us too.
This was my first contact with Russians and now I could see their other side, gentle and kind. But, in fight, they were brutal! That experience I can`t explain. They hit hard, with precision and with great strength, and they act like one big grinding machine. After all was over, I stood up from the ground, I looked my men, they were all standing on their (both) feet and I was relieved. Yes, we lost, but with no injuries. I can`t say that this fight changed me, but it has showed me why they are champions and what man, what team have to do to become one.
Then our fight with Mexico – wonderful guys, great and promising team. We were both really tired, they were a lot better and they won. So, competition ended here for us. But we don`t have regrets. Our greatest victory is not that over our opponents but over ourselves. That moment we entered the list for the first time, as a Team Serbia, that was success, because so many people told me that it can`t be done. It can be done, and it is done!
Now, there are so many things to do at home: we are working hard on promoting HMB as a new sport in our country. I can see that there is a big interest in this sport, people are asking about tournaments, and how to join our team. We had seven fighters in Trogir and they will share this experience with other fighters. Step by step our team will grow and maybe next year we will come with more fighters, better prepared and equipped and with greater desire to win.
There were so many good teams in “Battle of the Nations”-2014 and I can`t single out just one, but I think that National team of Argentina really made great progress. And also Team from France. It was pleasure to watch them fight. Team Mexico was the biggest surprise for me. I didn`t expect them to fight like that. They were running like mad all over the list, like wasps, hitting and bringing down their opponents. Brutal, as we like to say. Great team!
I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who helped us. First of all to Ramon Maldonado. Without him and his counsel, his care and willingness to help me all this would not be possible. Thank you Ramon! Also, team captains and fighters from other countries who shared their knowledge and experience and gave me some good advices. Thank you Laurent Bemtgen, Hubert Filipiak, Igor Omelianchuk, Nicolas Ariel Garcia, Heinrich Stefan Wurzian, Marko (Aureus Unicornis), Dmitri Trostin, also guys from France Behourd, Battle of the Nations Argentina…
Last but not least, to all HMB team! Especially to Anton Trubnikov, Irina Afanasyeva, Sergey Tsymbal, Alina Kuznietsova. Thank you for your help, support and patience. You have one big brotherly hug from Serbia! And, we see you all next year!
Igor Cosic, captain of the National team of Serbia