[ENG] BY THE WAVE OF MY MEMORY
We all are wondering: when, oh when the first tournament will be announced, and all the fighters who are longing for a good fight will immediately sign up for it?! And while we are waiting for this event of the year, we decided to fill our brave warriors with the ruthless nostalgia, asking them to remember their most unforgettable tournament in the whole history of HMB. And you, the organizers, keep in mind what the fighters remember and what they admire!
There are a lot of memorable tournaments, but the most fun was «Chernomorskoe Porubezhye – 2009»: we drove 1700 km, and in the very first fight in the defensive unit me and Yura Samoylov (Mandulay) were running to each other and got into a car rut, breaking the cruciate ligaments. Both. And then we sat and watched the fights, swallowing tears.
There were hundreds of battles but indeed only a handful were remarkable. The one which stands out the most is «Belmonte Challenge 2015». I believe it was due to a mixture of factors which contributed for this event to be so remarkable. Spanish torrid weather, attendance of top teams from Russia, Ukraine, USA, and also my participation in all available categories: 10x10, 5x5, longsword, sword&shield. I still remember having difficulty putting my helmet on due to exhaustion and pain before going into the final battles against Petrik, Avenirov and Waszkielis on the last day. «Belmonte Challenge» will always be special to me, it was a place where my mind and body were put to grueling tests.
It must be «Buhurt Prime 2020» with winning over «Old Friends», but more than that it would be tournament «Berlepsch Cup – 2019» in Germany, where we fought with KSR 4x5, getting «red card» before, and then won 4-0! Then I took out 3 of them and that was damn priceless!
I think it was a tournament «Great Bolgar 2017» in Tatarstan. When we asked the organizers if we should take camp equipment the answer was: «No, everything will be fine!» I was scared a little, but after arriving in Kazan they met us and the guide showed us the city – it was wonderful! The next morning they loaded us into a minibus and took us about 300 km outside the city and dropped off in the middle of the unimaginable plains at the tournament venue. There was no one around! They showed us three tents where we could sleep, and a pile of wood and hay. Then they just said that they would come back for us in a few days and... drove away. At that moment we knew nothing but that we had to survive somehow (we had only one small knife and few sleeping bags) and that we could look forward to a lot of fighting. That moment, when minibus disappeared in clouds of dust, remained in my memory forever :-D
For me it was «Battle of the Nations – 2018» in Santa-Severa, 30x30. Eight nations, including us, made a team called «HMBIA Red» – just an amazing team! On the last day we went to try for bronze, but we didn't make it. One moment is very special for me: last day, when we faced Poland, after I had hit down one fighter, I was surrounded by two Polish guys and one of them took off my helmet. At that very moment Michael Morgulis covered my head with his shield, keeping me safe, – there was an axe on the way to me, you know, it's extremely dangerous! Michael was one of the fighters who came to China to help us in HMB-sport on 2016. He is always kind and helps us a lot – that's just a magic of HMB!
Damn, I had a lot of memorable moments on tournaments! But I think the flood last year at Battle of the Nations was the craziest! All of the guys of all teams ran around like it was the freaking Apocalypse! I found my armor under 50 sm layer of water – it was crazy!
For me it was the tournament «Buhurt Prime – 2020» in Monaco, because it was a unique experience! I was as nervous as in the first armored fight in my life! And also because we were there with fighters and teams that are legendary in this sport! Every fight was tough and full of emotions and experience, in addition to that many fighters gave us support and advice.
Probably, it was in 2013 at the Battle of the Nations in Aigues-Mortes: potato field of Force, and victory over Ukraine! And there were cool toilets - not bio toilets, but it smelled of sawdust :-) Aah, I almost forgot! There was also a journey on the ZIL to the place of fighting at the Battle of the Nations in Khotyn: something epochal, enchanting! There was one Pole, whose bracers were larger than our German's shins (we thought we wouldn’t be able to get him off the truck without a crane).
My most memorable HMB tournament was at the «Battle of the Nations – 2010» in Khotyn, Ukraine. It was my first tournament at all. I recall that organizers used old ZIL (tipper truck) to transport fighters from the camp to arena. That was a marvelous view: old military truck full of armored knights in the car body. Everybody was joking: «Here it comes a special delivery!» or «Our horses are drunk!» It was my first fight in mass battles and just a beginning of my buhurt story.
Definitely, «Battle of the Nations – 2014» in Trogir, Croatia. The second day of fights. An awful heat accompanied by short moments of pouring rain. Exhausted, having our armors absolutely wet, we finally got totally crushed by the Russian Team. Breathless, we were sitting on the grades with our heads down. But Artemiy Gershwald (who was fighting and leading us to battle as our captain) stands up in front of us all and, in the loudest voice he can, screams to us a sentence that will be with me until my dying day. He yells: “GUYS!! TODAY! HERE! YOU MAKE HISTORY! YOU MAKE HISTORY!!!!!" And he is right till now. It was the best performance of our country in the BoTN. I still have a dream to write another page. And here's the thing! Just imagine: a bunch of people came from the other side of the world to Croatia. Many of us had never been in a building more than 300 years old, just because in Buenos Aires, the oldest building is dated by XVIII century, the oldest building in the country is in Cordoba (it is a cathedral, I’ve never been there), and its construction began in 1582 and finished in 1787, and we don’t have there any castles or fortresses... So... Many of us had never flown on a plane before. But that afternoon, after we had fought next to Kamerlengo fortress, we were swimming in the Adriatic Sea with a red sun falling on the West...
Nothing from I can tell seams so tasty as my first experience in profights. It changed my life! Performing in the profights at «Battle of the Nations – 2019» has changed my mind. Now I know that I must live for it or die, trying to be with the best fighters in the world!
I've always watched and wanted to go fight to «Dynamo Cup» – the toughest list in the world! Well, I got my chance and it was everything I've ever dreamed of. We felt the crowd was cheering against us, but in the end we won their hearts with our tenacity.
My first Itoc in Springfield 2014. I was invited by Reed Harrig to a rematch, we fought with halberds, and then came out in the same five. It was the first time ever that I performed on another continent and fought in the same team with an African-American! By the way, there the phrase appeared: "So that's how much your friendship is worth, Misha!»
There are so many good tournaments, that it's hard to whittle it down. The 150x150 was amazing but we've already talked about that, so I'll tell you about one of my other experiences: my first fights 21x21 under the banner of the national team of Austria. Our primary goal was to get experience and not to get hurt before 5x5. Ignoring the advice, I saw a gap and rushed through to the Russian front line, grabbed the list, and three falchion wielding fighters started to beat me. I thought I was holding well until over their shoulders I saw no one but one Austrian left standing. At that moment the Russian halberds arrived....
It was the tournament «Belmonte Challenge» in 2016: 4 days full of fights. 1x1, 5x5 and 10x10 – I was there with my team «Taurus MFC» and won a bronze medal in longsword. And the most memorable moment for me was coming back to the camp on a little truck with the medal around my neck, when people were cheering at me and my teammates! It was very funny!
It happened last summer at «Zaraysk Warrior’s Gathering» in Russia. Crazy experience: my whole baggage got lost, I arrived to Moscow only with my clothes and documents, alone, without teammates. Many people helped me to spend a good tournament, I've got armor and clothing borrowed from some kind people and had a very good time in the end! The armor didn't fit and the boots kept dropping if I lifted my feet, but despite everything I came back with a silver medal!
Each tournament is an event consisting of thousands of small adventures, a million of moments that we will remember for the rest of our lives. If it was different, then we wouldn't be such fans and we wouldn't go to all the available events. That’s why it is so difficult to single out the most important one. The very first – they are always the brightest. I think it was one of «Dynamo Cups», I don't even remember what year it was, when we came out for the first time as a Canadian National Team. Since then, I do not remember that Vitaly Gryzlov ever said: «I was almost smeared on the lists». Well, «Battle of the Nations – 2016» in Prague: the fight with the Czechs, when it seemed that the sky itself shouted: «Cheshi! Cheshi!» and we beat them!
I had a cool fight at the festival «Stara Fortetsia» in 2018. There was a tournament for 50+ fighters. The tournament, as usual, dragged on, and we were ending our fights in the dark, under the glare of the spotlights and to the sounds of the beginning thunderstorm – it was very dramatic! And then, when I was declared the winner, these three huge guys dragged me to the lists and started pumping me, because for me it was the first tournament this level that I had won!
It was, perhaps, «Battle of the Nations – 2015» in Prague. That was the first time I came out in 21x21 as a member of the Belarusian National Team. I felt so high and even then I began to get a serious feeling for the halberd. And we had a great fight with Slava Burygin at the third «Old Tallinn Cup»: I was a little out of shape and lost, but it was cool! They said that there was an impression of two bison collided: a real battle of characters. In general, I liked it and remembered it. Yes, and I can't wait for revenge!
The first «Buhurt Prime», of course! Flying to Monaco and not to losing a single round in the tournament among the best teams of the season – it is hard to forget. Well, the most memorable fight, probably, still has a little «red» character – «RECON 2019». The first «red card» in 4 years. I also remembered the profight with Max Slavchenko at the anniversary Battle of the Nations in Serbia: great speed, a variety of techniques shown by the rival, a lot of movement on the lists. I still regret that we didn't meet in the finals. And, of course, it is difficult to forget «WARRIOR 2020», where we managed to fight hard with Vitaly Gryzlov.
Entering the arena «Monumental» in Barcelona at «Battle of the Nations – 2017» was the most impressive moment for me in HMB since my first participation in 2014! It was quite awesome!
No wonder, the most memorable was «WARRIOR 2020»! Sweat, pain, blood and a Heavy-weight victory in the Donjon Cup. Of course, the fight with Vsevolod Vlasov was the hardest. The finals were difficult, but mostly positional. Krasnov was the easiest. And I only overcame Seva by 2-3 points – I was very lucky.
Well, are all the organizers ready to rent a ZIL for delivering fighters to the lists and fit in the tournament of «Open» format the fights 10x10, 5x5, 1x1 and even duels (to the pile)? And you, fighters, what tournament do you bring up most often? Share in the comments, why it sank home, and we will also recall it and be happy!
Written by: Maria Malakeeva