Tannenberg club: from armor made of fridge parts to the championship

In 2008 there was no HMB sport as we now know it, there was no club, no trainees, no championship, but there was a desire to fence. This is how the glorious history of the Tannenberg HMB club from Russia began, as told to HMBIA News by its founder and four-time HMB world champion, Aleksei Petrik.

We hit each other with a shovel shaft and in armor made from the cladding of refrigerators found in the garbage. About a year later, we formed the Tannenberg club. For a long time, there were three of us who continued to train. Then we realized that we needed new young blood and went about recruiting newcomers. At first, everything went very badly, since the city of Kondopoga, in which I live, is quite small and such a sport as fencing was so unusual. But still we continued our efforts to attract people and they started to join us. Almost 90% of the newcomers were children. I decided that it was worth developing precisely the training of the younger generation. After all, 10-year-old boys and girls by the age of 18 can turn into tough warriors”.

No sooner said than done! Of course, teaching children to fence with shovel handles would be at least strange and at worst extremely traumatic. However, the industry did not stand still and soon enough warriors in modern, light and safe outfits came to replace the knights in refrigerator armor. This gave the club an excellent impulse to grow, as the number of injuries was minimized and the efficiency from training increased dramatically. This is how the club got its main direction of activity – training in HMB Soft.

“Now our club has 5 world champions in the HMB Soft category. Among adult HMB fighters Galina Kokhvakko can be noted, who won 3 times at Battle of the Nations in colors of Tannenberg. Now we do not communicate, but it would be unfair to belittle the merits of the club where her victory was prepared,” said Alexei.

Today the Tannenberg club has grown and has 3 branches in the Republic of Karelia – in the cities of Kondopoga, Petrozavodsk and Kem. Aleksei proudly noted that children from 5 to 18 years old are actively training there and high-class fighters are being trained.

“Our training scheme has been verified over the years and is quite practical. First, we do a full body warm-up and stretching. After that we can play some kind of game related to fencing. Then the main block of work begins, where the work on fencing combinations takes place. After a short rest, we have a series of sparring sessions and at the end of the training we have stretching. Depending on the upcoming tournaments, the load levels may change, we can work harder on some exact category, special exercises may be added or removed”.

The Tannenberg club still has a lot of work, victories and achievements ahead. We are looking forward to meeting Alexei’s trainees at HMB Soft tournaments around the world.