[ENG] FIGHTS IN FULL ARMOR: REENACTMENT OR SPORTS?
What is the path of a fighter, clad in armor from head to toe: a thorough adherence to the canons or enchanting spectacle? What is the immutable truth and what is from the Evil? Let's explore the dark and lighter side of the world of the full armor and find out where you will be treated to cookies!
I AM GONNA BE A KNIGHT – SURE LET THEM TEACH ME!
Imagine the situation: once again you enthusiastically read "Ivanhoe" or "Quentin Dorward", Vysotsky's "The ballad of the book children" plays in the background, and suddenly you realize that you want to go THERE, in the world of knights and beautiful ladies, in the world of brilliant duels and tournaments of honor. Previously, you would have been considered a sentimental eccentric, born in a wrong age. But now, when almost every city has people, young and quite of respectable age, who seriously follow the path of a knight, make armor and participate in tournaments, you need just to meet them – and the fairy world will open its doors to you. And here is the main thing – to understand in what direction you want to develop. True professional and legend of the full-plate world – Sergey Frolov (sir Clegane), co-founder of BAM (Brotherhood of the Archistratigus Michael – ed.note), will help us with this deal.
– What are the main priorities in your union? What are you focusing on? Appearance? Authenticity? Fighting technique? Load maybe?
Sergey: When a person is engaged in something for quite a long time, first of all he need to answer the question to himself – what I'm doing this for? Historical fencing in the BAM-format is a great help in life. For example, a fighter develops the ability to take responsibility, because in the lists it all depends on the skills of a particular person. Here comes a conclusion: the organization of competent preparation in many directions (reliable convenient authentic armor, strong weapon, correct physical preparation) develops those skills which help in achievement of success in life in principle. Therefore, in BAM all the components are important: appearance, authenticity, fighting technique and load.
– It is no secret that many HMB-fighters (historical medieval battle – ed.note) almost completely reject the reenactment component of their hobby, except, perhaps, only the strict rules of the Authentic Committee. Turns out, they share reenactment, virtually identifying it with LH (Living History – ed.note) and HMB. How are they combined in your movement?
Sergey: For us, reenactment is a reality, given to us in sensations. We are not engaged in the production of replicas of Museum exhibits of armor, and that is why we are deprived of unnecessary disputes about how this or that element of armor corresponds to the original. Armor is making by specific people under specific tasks in the lists. We are interested in exactly HISTORICAL and exactly MEDIEVAL component of FIGHT in the HMB-movement, therefore, we do not use modern materials for the making armor, suits and weaponry. The word "historical" here should be interpreted as follows – through the reconstruction of material values, as well as the principles of development of medieval culture and military thought. In the project "BAM" there is a place for any person who is ready to bring something interesting there. Those who are interested in military doctrine of duels study fighting and tournament component, ladies are closer to the other aspects of the Middle Ages, those who have not yet acquired the armor, can try themselves in "yeomanry" (competition of unarmored).
HISTORICAL OR NOT
– And what is your approach to a completing the armor set?
Sergey: As for the compliance with the original, I can say the following: we do not have the task to repeat the museum exhibit with all the smallest details. Our goal is to create an armor that will look like a museum exhibit, but will be fitted to the shape of the owner. We pay close attention to the process of making armor, that goes to a whole new level of quality: we are goaled to the reconstruction of the means of production. To date, the grinding bench, whetstone and grinding wheel (both - on authentic bearings), mandrels as well as two anvils are ready. In the near future – the production of authentic files and hammers and work on the making grinding pastes, which were used in the Middle Ages. At the future Recon we plan to present the community the acting workshop.
– Tell us about your achievements!
Sergey: We work very closely with the Sambo Academy (among people who are interested in our movement, there is a six-time world Sambo-champion Sergey Lapovok and Oleg Taktarov) and with the Federation of saber cutting "Kazarla" and specifically with the champion of Russia in cutting with a saber, a master of sports in judo Y.N.Sheronov. The association BAM is developing internationally: we were invited to the UK for the anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth. In addition, we work closely with USA and Greece. We will soon announce a new kind of unarmored fighting. We are moving HMB in the BAM format in many areas and are doing a serious work with serious people in order to bring HMB to a qualitatively new level. And so when a lot of discoveries finding out on the intersection of the interests, then true understanding comes, that here and now a martial art of the whole humanity is borned!
DUKE VS SIR = ENEMIES, OR...?
There is another bright personality in the world of full armor, which should not be forgotten – Ilja Nikolayevich, aka Duke of Tyrol, one of the founding fathers of the association "Army of Frundsberg", known for his reverent attitude to historical sources in the making armor and the rules of engagement. So reverent, that sometimes it comes to the detriment of the tournament's entertainment and the mobility of fighters. But it is simply useless to offer a meeting of these two brightest full-plate stars of Russia, even within the same article: many people believe that Sergey Frolov and Ilja Nikolayevich are irreconcilable enemies. So many legends hovers around them, so many conjectures and gossips are born on the backstage when the conversation turns to their personalities. Let's find out how things really are!
– In the reenactment community real fairy tales of your confrontation has long been going. It's time to stop all this and listen to a reliable version of events!
Sergey: There is no any conflict. I won the fight with him on his own list by his rules and with his judges, and then at the feast he gave me his two-handed sword, which he fought with me. Right on the lists I made a speach, which completely leveled out his defeat – it was in 2012. Later on the tournament in Moscow there was a revenge, and to this day I consider this fight the most speedy, beautiful and technical. The fight consisted of two parts: the first – "free fight", which I won, and the second – "Champagne", where he managed to strike a lot of blows flat. This fight was dismantling in the way that no other fight ever, neither before nor after. After the first loss in a month Ilya changed his opinion, and they revised results of this duel, and after the second he shot video where it was told that our blows even shouldn't be count. In response to this on "Times and Epochs" I came alone to their camp and proposed to meet and exchange strikes in a head without parry. He refused, and then there was its ever-memorable call on a duel without armor on a long swords in Kiev, to which I agreed promptly. And after that no one went nowhere. And I made him the dagger, made from damask steel on 400 layers, in the memory of the sword, with a casting in the form of his coat of arms.... Here is the history.
...Still, it is not good for fine sirs to pour mud on each other, especially if they go the same way. Although, whether the same?..
"FULL ARMOR" AS AN OFFICIAL DISCIPLINE OF HMB
If you imagine for a moment that the day will come when "full armor" will be the official nomination of HMB, on the horizon immediately appears harsh and unforgiving image of the Authentic Committee of HMBIA. And here the comments of the head of the Authentic Committee HMBIA Laurence Lagnese, whom we invited to support the conversation, will be relevant.
– Laurence, how will knights in a full armor pass the admission of the AC? Are you going to invite experts in 15-16 century? Because (in my opinion) it is much harder to evaluate the full armor than the brigantine or legs.
Laurence: We have a few experts of the late era armor already as officers. Additionally in the Committee we have advisors who are museum curators from around the world. Additionally I will be actively recruiting a few more later period experts for this set topic.
– Many fighters already have some sets that satisfy (or not) the requirements of authenticity. It is clear that to remake full armor is a very expensive happening. What do you think: "Martians" will be obliged to redo the elements or a complete set?
Laurence: I expect that they will likely need to replace most of the kit as everything is arranged to work normally together. So they will need truly expert blacksmiths to make changes for their armor to work properly.
– What do you think is less harmful for the reenactment and HMB: full compliance of authenticity, that crawling on the list like snails and making 2-3 hits per minute, or deep "Mars", showing a great fight and combat training, coupled with spectacular dynamic battles?
Laurence: We saw it with Brad Schaive at Battle of the Nations. He was in full kit and moved and fought like an athlete. Of course, poorly fitting armor of this era drastically reduces the mobility. But as long as the armor fits well and the fighter is an athlete, then he or she is likely to move as easily as any of the fighters in the earlier kits. Armor from this era fits like a second skin, if it is fitted perfectly. Therefore, for those, who move like a snail, most likely their armor doesn't fit right. Or they don't train as athletes whom we see in WMFC. For HMB, a worthy athlete, who is ready to refine his armor, is more valuable than a non-training theorist of armor-constructing. After the first season, we're more likely to have fighters with fancy armor than theorists.
And so, considering opinion of our respondent and comments of the invited expert, it turns out that the one who, perhaps, doesn't consider fights in full armor the part of HMB at all, but follows historical canons in a completing set of armor, has all chances to pass painlessly the authentic commission, but here a question – whether it is necessary for him? And the person who focuses on the fight component, stating his burning desire to bring the HMB to a new level, does not pay due attention to the correspondence of the armor to historical analogues, which can lead to difficulties and all sorts of debates with the Authentic Committee HMBIA. Is it permissible to turn a blind eye to the unhistoricality of armor for the sake of a beautiful action, presented by the fighters to the audience, for the sake of fierce fights, where literally sparks flies from blows, and the opponents themselves fly on the lists, as if not feeling the weight of their armor?
And, thinking about it, it becomes clear that if the "full armor" want to become something more than just a show, if they claim the status of the official discipline of HMB, the fighters will have to accept the passage of the authentic commission and the uniform rules and requirements of the Authentic Committee. But the fighters can not escape from the sports component, because they will need to maintain themselves in excellent shape for keeping a high pace and dynamics of the fight, not to be ordinary, although stunningly beautiful... animators.
IF YOU CLAME – THEN SATISFY!
Written by: Maria Malakeeva