Mikhail Morgulis: “I know that I can do more for myself and for Israel”

27 May 2014 18:26
People of HMB movement
Mikhail Morgulis,
captain of the National Team of Israel
…concerning preparations of the team and captain’s work. And many other things.

There are no qualifying events this year, but we have team building meetings. We gather with the guys, have joint training sessions, but also devote a lot of time to team building. We’ll have one more meeting before the trip to the HMB World Championship “Battle of the Nations”-2014.

Last time we gathered for a team building session on a Saturday. For half the day we trained actively, worked to improve personal techniques, general tactics, had intense physical training, and then we spent half the day in a sauna. We communicated and had a rest there. I saw people communicating in an informal way, beyond the training process, they spent time in groups. It is not an idle curiosity, since observing the way people form groups for informal communication helps to
form pairs of fighters for battles, it’s all about tactics. We also had several civil men and it was interesting to see how the guys talked to each other.

I take into account different kinds of problems that we’ve already faced. There were very good, but incompatible with the team fighters. The same issue was with some civil participants. There were issues that emerged from the lack of team building work. Compared to 2012, when we took a laissez-faire attitude towards everything, this year we are working to ensure that everything goes easily and unconstrainedly.

The membership is nice this year, many guys have increased their level. They train at home, they all do physical exercises suitable for their physical development. Even those who lacked fitness last year have managed to improve their level. The guys leapt ahead. And when the fighters are in good physical form, it’s easier for them to master tactics and techniques. Many guys train from 3-4 to 6 times a week. They mainly work on their physical fitness improvement. We all live in different cities, that’s why everyone works on his own, but once a week we try to get together. Our problem is that many guys are serviceman, in their case everything depends on the army. But they come when they can. Now we have 8 men and one woman. She joined us last year after “Battle of the Nations” and began active training in the second half of the year. Now she’s training for professional fights and buhurts. She won’t take part in triathlon.

As I’ve already said, this year’s membership is new in many respects. There are young and inexperienced guys, and experience means a lot in “5 vs 5”. We hope this fact won’t spoil our results.

There were a few inner competitions in 2014, although there were minor inter-club events. But they were rare. The reason is unclear. I think there is a certain stagnation in our movement. Many clubs are afraid of us, people practising HMB. They probably think we are crazy… obsessed with “Battle of the Nations.” But our meeting with “Knights of Jerusalem” club gave us a very valuable experience. The guys are great fighters. There’s also a new ascending star in Israel, namely “Kingdom of Jerusalem” club. They are engaged in the late XIIth century reenactmentn, Horns of Hattin march. They have a great fencer Dmitry Sklyarenko. We invited him for “Battle of the Nations”, triathlon category, since our duel fighter cannot participate due to his health status. Dima has a great level in terms of the “shield-sword” category, worth of “Battle of the Nations.” But at the moment he deals with other projects. So, this year we don’t have a triatlon fighter. We’ll participate in all non-rating events and 5 vs 5.

-Concerning captain’s work
This year I get a lot of assistance from the guys, both fighters and civil participants. It became much easier to work with the team. I can give the guys any task without explaning a lot. Many take the initiative. But it takes a long time to prepare. And here I mean not only physical training, but organization of logistics and coordination. For example, now we are trying to collect donations to support the team. Everyone can help us with money. It is important for us to have the maximum number of reposts in the social networks. Strangers give us more money than friends. We need money to get to the event. Many say, “Israel, go there and fight, and bring many victories.” It helps a lot.

We have to write new posts for the social networks, make photos and get a permission to publish them. Captain’s work is actually about management. You’re captain when you lead your fighters to the lists. And rest of the time you’re a middle-class manager.

There are pros and cons in every business, of course. I like to organize people. But when you’re on the lists, everyone is looking at you, and you have to give them an answer… it’s quite different thing. Participating in “Battle of the Nations”-2012 we had a battle with the Danes. The guys were big, about a hundred kilos each. We had only one equal fighter. And I had to lead the fighters, to decide what to do.

Even when you do not know how to act, even if you do not like the decision, your task is to make a choice. Now I have to give training tasks. I have to read a lot of information to give people the correct instructions, to advise. But what is even more important is that you have not only to give tasks, but to perform them as well. Captain needs self-discipline. You can not give orders and do not follow them. Captain does not have to be the strongest, but has to be the most experienced and confident for the guys to believe in him.

I know that being on the lists the guys believe in me, and it comforts me. I do not know whether I am always perfect in terms of the the organizational work. But while on the lists, when I lead the team, I see it during every training session that they are calm and obey me, because believe in me.

I take team’s result as my personal result. All that I know and can do on the lists I have to pass to my fighters quickly. During the last month I have to teach them as much as I’ve learned during the year. Prior to “Battle of the Nations”-2014 we will participate in the Cup of Austria. We will practise and improve our skills. We will see the result then, and I want to achieve success there which we’ll take to Trogir.

-Concerning opponents
We have a bone to pick with England, though this year’s composition will be new. It was the only team we lost them last year. We want to meet five-member units of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. Frankly speaking, we’re afraid, but we’ll get no experience without meeting them in a battle.

Many people ask me, “Aren’t you afraid of fighting?” I’m afraid, of course, but I enter the lists. Because the result you get is much better than the fears you have.

You just need to fight against the best. When you do that, you become better. I would like to have many worthy opponents.

We’re constantly monitoring info about some countries, watch videos from their trainings, follow their development process. We want to meet every opponent that tries to raise his level. If we had time, we would cross our swords with each participating country.

We’d like to meet new countries.
Of course, we want to be in the top ten. We have several relatively new people, they are inexperienced and relatively weak. But we have the core group from “Battle of the Nations”-2013. We want to enter the top ten, at least, especially taking into account the fact the Championship will be attended by thirty countries. If there are any significant changes in the composition, they will be for the better. Last year we fought almost without replacements. Now we try to avoid that.

-Concerning himself, sports and patriotism
Mainly, my last trips were connected with competitions. Two weeks ago my friend and I managed to take a rest trip. As for other times, I attend tournaments and it’s great! Every time I come back with a lot of new experiences. But it is quite expensive to travel in this way, as I have to take armor, tickets are expensive … So it becomes more and more difficult to attend events.

As a result, this year I’ve managed to get only to the “Russia South Cup”. It’s not enough. Last year I traveled a lot and got a lot of experience. And now I get stuck here. I know that I can do more for myself and Israel.

The event is important for me in the patriotic sense. When I arrive somewhere, every time it turns out there are a lot of myths about Israel. I bust them. All begin to understand that the Jews are nice people, and all the Israelites are very nice and that Israel is a cool country. I ask people not to believe everything they see on the telly. Especially concerning conflicts. Every time we enter the lists, many people realize that Israel is a good place, worth visiting. When you address a man personally, he realizes the truth very quickly.
Many people think we all wear helmets and bulletproof vests at home, that our country is being constantly hit with missiles. But the sun shines in Israel and everything’s fine. And many realize immediately the info they heard was a myth.

We show real us. We do not need to say that all the world is bad. All that we need to show is that we’re good people. You do not need to love us, but you can be our friend. And it’s nice if people understand it.

Interview by
Nina Valeyeva

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Oradea Fortress, Romania