Today, Historical Medieval Battles are fought in more than 50 countries around the world, and that’s in just 10 years! The official year of birth of the HMB sport can be considered 2010 – it was then that the name Historical Medieval Battle and the concept of the HMB World Championship Battle of the Nations appeared. How it all began, HMBIA News was told by Anton Trubnikov, co-organizer and first president (2010-2017) of the Historical Medieval Battles International Association, who was at the forefront of the HMB.
“HMB is an amazing movement! I met the progenitors of HMB (role-playing games and friendly buhurts) back in 1998 and 2003 respectively. Then it was still field role-playing games. I was about 16 years old when my hobby was everything related to role-playing games and reconstruction of the Middle Ages. All these outings, costumed battles and replica historical armor captured my mind. Further on, everything developed, better-quality armor appeared, fights became more complicated, and the movement gradually grew.
In 2003, the first time I got to a festival in the city of Vyborg and saw iron buhurts. For me it was really something! At that time it was still barely known. The buhurts in Vyborg impressed me, the first time I saw full contact fights of 100 on 100 with iron weapons, with strikes, blows to the face, using halberds and other steel replicas of medieval weapons. I saw it all, rethought what we are doing. And already in 2006, my club “Prince” (est. 2001), under my leadership, went to Vyborg – 2006, then we were already able to participate in iron buhurts. We had disgustingly weak armor, they were pseudo-historical, rather stylized as history and very poorly constructed. Thank God everyone survived! Both I and my club got their first experience of steel buhurts. “
At that time, the whole movement was very informal. Rather, “fights without rules” than just fights. Mr. Trubnikov recalls that the fights of the sample of the early 2000s did not have clear rules and regulations. There were no winners and ratings.
“There were two rules -“Fight!” And “Stop fight!” And there were two opposing teams. Everything that happened on the buhurt field between these two words was only to those who participated and only God knew. However, this gradually nevertheless turned into an uncontrolled massacre, where there were excesses with violence and a lack of fair play … It was quite dangerous. “
There was another aspect that upset the fighters and did not give the audience the opportunity to recharge with adrenaline during fights on the field. At that time, full-contact battles on iron weapons – massive, adrenaline, spectacular – always took place outside the standings. They took place at a time when there were no tourists. The people were shown the theatrical side of all this: knights went, you could take pictures with them, you could look at the general situation, try to feel the spirit of the time of the knights. And the real battle – for which the guys trained, made armor – was shown in the evening and not for the audience. It was a strange and artificial situation that developed over the years. The organizers and local authorities were not very eager to organize mass battles on iron weapons without rules. But at the same time 89% of the participants went to the festival precisely for steel buhurts!
“It seemed to us like some kind of illogical oddity, and in 2009 we decided to change the situation with the fighting in general.
In autumn 2009, the idea of making the first international championship was born, where full-contact battles became the core around which the rest was built. Thus was born the concept of Battle of the Nations. Immediately after this, the next step was taken – the term HMB was born! I remember how I came up with it and argued for a long time what should be called in such a way that it is more accurate in terms of marketing and perception.
And, of course, we had to abandon the use of the then-familiar term “historical fencing”, which had existed for a long time, somewhere from the beginning of the 90s to 2009. Historical fencing is probably a good term, but there is one problem: when a person doesn’t hear “historical fencing”, he immediately imagines brave musketeers, swords, ladies and gentlemen in powdered wigs, with swords and gloves thrown into the face insolently. And then he sees our tough fights with strong blows by halberds, armor, wrestling and sweaty quilts and, as a result, he begins to be completely frustrated, he had absolutely no idea.
It was difficult for us to overcome the habit of hanging out and introduce a new, essentially artificial, specially coined new term HMB. Moreover, such a combination of words was potentially good for a more accurate search of us on Google. In general, to introduce the term HMB was very important, because we could not say: “Battle of the Nations” – this is the world championship in … what? And it turned out beautifully and solidly: “Battle of the Nations” is the world championship in historical medieval battle”, Trubnikov noted.
In order not to confuse the viewer, to simplify marketing and make the right brand positioning, they created the concept of “Historical Medieval Battle”. The term has appeared tenacious and absolutely unique. What they achieved was something incredible!
“We realized that the combination of HMB in English and “ИСБ” in Russian is unique, and we started to work. We started to promote this term, and today it is already well known. Moreover, in the minds of many, HMB = buhurt. In fact, buhurt is still a medieval concept, and formalized buhurt in modern realities is according to fixed regulations under HMB.”
“Of course, fans of HMB know not only the buhurt, but also fights in duels on different types of weapons. There is a gradation of different types of rules: buhurt or tournament. But they are united by the most important thing – it’s an iron blunt weapon, real, well-protecting armor and strikes in full force. This applies to all categories in all tournaments.”
“It’s always a blow only at full strength. Another thing is that you apply it to earn a point, as in a tournament nomination, or in order to knock an opponent off their feet – this is the second question. Here, a fighter will not be punished for a strong blow, like, for example, in taekwondo or karate. There isn’t such a thing, the stronger and more effective you beat an opponent with a sword, halberd, foot, fist, etc., the more you are recognised. Everything is tough and extremely clear here!”
Since then, it has been the custom: daredevils from more than 50 countries of the world come to the lists, and we enjoy a wonderful sight – HMB battle! How long have you been in this amazing sport?