Zerr, Germany: “We allow any person, interested in the Middle Ages, join our club”

06 Oct 2014 16:39

– HMB clubs

“Zitadelle”, Germany

Valentin Zerr,
Vice-President of the HMB club “Zitadelle”,
fighter of the National Team of Germany

…About club

We registered our club “Zitadelle” officially at the beginning of 2013. At some point we came close to the need of registering it. Our Nuremberg group had been existing for many years prior to that. My engagement started in 2001-2002. I visited the historical club “Excalibur” in Latvia once and became fascinated. Firstly I was looking for something like that in Germany… Then I realized that nothing of the kind existed here, and I had to create everything myself. Now we have the result of more than ten years of hard work.
 In general, there are not more than fifty active full-contact fighters in Germany. And about the same number of those who are just beginning to take their first steps in this direction. Therefore, it makes no sense to tie people to any particular region or time, unless we want to lose potential fighters. In this regard, our club “Citadel” secured in its charter the following points: – in addition to “Citadel”, a person can be a member of any other club or organization; – a person doesn’t need to be an active fighter. In addition to fighting, there is a lot of other necessary and decent work in the club.
We do not impose any periods or regions on our members. The period to which the combat gear relates is dictated solely by the format of a competition. At the moment, it’s the fourteenth-fifteenth century. We allow any person, interested in the Middle Ages, join our club, and find in it what he wants to do. This policy gave positive results soon. The club has grown within six months. We have two strong branches in Nuremberg and Frankfurt am Main. Plus, there are representatives in Wurzburg, Ingolshtate, Munich… The club consists of about thirty people, half of them are active fighters. We managed to gather one five-member team this year, and prepare three triathlon fighters for “Battle of the Nations.” We could prepare more fighters, but, unfortunately, in Germany everything is not so simple concerning vacations and free time.

Nuremberg and Ingolstadt have premises which we use as training centers. The guys from Frankfurt and Würzburg train in the open air.
The issue of training is solved this way:
– Firstly, I have a lot of contacts with Eastern European countries. I’m in close contact with good fighters. I take their consultations concerning trainings, try to learn from their experience… I lack knowledge to train beginners.
– Secondly, our club has fighters who have outgrown my personal fighting qualities. They train themselves and train fighters who compete actively.
– Third, we try to meet and exchange experiences as much as possible.
– Fourth, in addition to me, we’ve got other people who establish contacts with Eastern European countries and learn from them.
– Fifth, at least once a year we organize a workshop and invite a good fighter from Eastern Europe who shows us his skills and teach us something new.
– Sixth, we take joint trips to different events.
In short, we try to share our experiences with each other as often as possible, we assimilate knowledge and skills of stronger fighters.
Our club is absolutely democratic and follows all the requirements of the state. It allowed us to get official registration. The club president is chosen for one year and may be re-elected at a club meeting, which we are obliged to hold once a year. I am the vice president of the club, and I’ve been also elected. I’m vice president because I deal not only with inner-club work, but also with external tasks, as a representative of HMBIA.

Every year we organize a large (by German standards) tournament in Nuremberg. It gathers participants from different countries. This year, in addition to the Nuremberg Tournament, we had another one, which served as a qualifying event before “Battle of the Nations.” Next year we’ll probably have not two, but three tournaments…All our events are open, with a lot of spectators, and we devote some time to the audience. We also hold small junior chanbara tournaments…

In addition, we have open trainings where we invite visitors… We cooperate with our regional media and take the first steps to work with the central ones… In short, we are active enough to attract people and promote our sport and the movement.Interview by
Nina Valeyeva,

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