Valentyn Kalyn, Ukraine: “Only people who have never participated in buhurts can dislike them!”

16 Sep 2014 17:00
People of the HMB movement
 Valentyn Kalyn,
HMB fighter,
certified HMBIA marshal
 …concerning mass buhurts

I participated in a mass bugurt in 2006 for the first time, when I was only eighteen. The fighting took place near Vyborg Castle (St. Petersburg region, Vyborg). I knew that was an old fortress of the XIIIth century. Big buhurts of “100 vs 100″, “200 vs 200″ were held in front of the castle, on the grounds of approximately 200 by 150 meters. We didn’t
have enough room there, and the people were like in a “can”. Two teams that look more like two crowds met and started fighting. Fighters used halberds, axes…

Naturally, there was a parapet made of those “killed in action” in the middle of the field, between the two groups of rivals. The host shouted “Stop fighting”, and the “killed” left the grounds. After that, the battle continued until a new parapet made of the “fallen” formed. Then again the host shouted “Stop fighting”, and the “killed” left the battlefield. The procedure was repeated as long as the teams had “alive” men. There were no marshals as such. There were referees, but they were chosen from among the public, right on the spot.

I was quite young and afraid of such fightings… but only until the battle started! When you stand in the front row, and a crowd of people in armor and with weapons runs at you… But then – your body releases a lot of adrenaline in your blood stream and the fear is gone!By the way, in those days fighters, as now, widely used European armor and less – armor of Rus region. However, it was more difficult to get armor. There were not so many workshops as today, but we extricated ourselves from that situation, some armor we bought, and some made on our own.

I remember a funny moment! Before the HMB World Championship “Battle of the Nations” we often went to Poland for the festival called “Grunwald”, where large staged battles were organized. But a stage battle is not the same as buhurt! As for me, I was more fond of going to the festival called “Iron Town”, which took place in the village of Izborsk near Pskov. A Russian border fortress is located there. It requires restoration, but the process is going slowly. I remember we invited several Poles to participate in our buhurt at the “Iron Town”. Hubert Filipiak was there. He came to Izborsk with some of his friends. The event was a revelation for him! He was used to large camps and 20-30 people fighting. Then he saw a small (by his standards) camp and a lot of fighters who were coming continuously from that small camp. He said that was the first time he saw so few tents and so many fighters :). There were 200-300 people there who participated in “100 vs 100″ or even “150 vs 150″.

There were even carts there, fighters hid behind them when opponents attacked. And it was convenient to hold the line standing on them. Men repelled attacks, standing on those carts. And those who were on the ground were in a difficult situation. Just imagine 3 men with halberds standing on a cart and deliver blows. As for me, I was on the ground and had to fight with them. There was a lot of adrenaline in our veins =)I think people miss the big war. Of course, those who have never participated in mass battles cannot miss them. We need mass battles to be able to fight line vs line!

Concerning strategy of such battles, everything depends on the professionalism of the participants. If the men have enough experience, they discuss a specific strategy and follow it within a battle. Every line has its center, flanks… And every man plays his role.

There are no “rank tables” in such battles. Of course, if a club participates, then there is certainly captain there. And if a lot of clubs take part, their “groups” meet and discuss what to do.

It was fun! I would like to participate in such mega-buhurt again. Only people who have never participated in buhurts can dislike them!

Interview by
Katherine Koda,

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1st-4th July
Oradea Fortress, Romania