Since June 2021, the HMB USA is headed by Andrew Tunstall. In his post, he succeeded Jeffrey Galli who kept his position as the National Team captain.
Our editorial staff gave Andrew a chance to get up-to-date and invited him for an interview. In the conversation, we found out how the new President sees the development of the sport in his country and how he builds the work of the organization itself. As we find out, he was a regional representative for the Midwest of the HMB USA and seems highly likely his previous work let him win the elections. Also he is the HMB fighter as well so knows the sport and all its needs.
We received comprehensive answers to all our questions. So now we can’t wait to share this information with the international HMB community.
“I was serving as a regional representative previously. I was asked by several members and reps to consider becoming President. Now, as the HMB USA President, my job is to help oversee the development of fighters, clubs, and tournaments within the USA while working towards fielding the best possible national team. It’s giving me great opportunities to meet people from all over this huge country as well as many new people from the HMBIA and other nations. Additionally, I am learning a lot more when it comes to how marshaling works, authenticity, and tournament regulations”, said Andrew.
In the past, the HMB USA primarily focused on creating a national team and competing at the Battle of the Nations. Now, they are expanding that to include many tournaments and training camps for Buhurt and Duel leagues, as well as WMFC profights. The new President expects that transition to bring unique challenges as the process of improvement.
“We have many plans for the continued development of the HMB USA. Our goal is to develop more Buhurt and Duels league events on a regular basis throughout the country. Given the size of the USA, it is important to have many events hosted in a variety of locations, so fighters don’t always have to travel so far. In July, we began a program to help offset the cost of hosting an event, and since then we have already contributed over $3000 towards helping put on events all over the nation from coast to coast. We are also developing training programs for support staff, marshals, authenticity, and secretariat staff”, he said.
Also, Andrew Tunstall noted that the HMB USA is a registered non-profit business here. That way they can get donations without paying taxes like other groups. The organization has taken on creating a unique insurance policy that actually covers steel combat and registered the business with the tax department. HMB USA can receive donations from people and businesses to help the development of sport.
The board is made up of 6 appointed core members and 5 membership elected representatives. From them, the offices of the President, Vice President, and Secretary are elected.
HMB USA has a unique structure. There are 2 Vice Presidents here:
– Executive VP Daniel Krug helps on the business side.
– Membership VP Joel Casillas Sr helps with membership issues.
“As we shift focus from a group that only focused on creating a roster for Battle of the Nations to a full-service organization helping host events all over the country, we have had to create a lot of new policies and reorganize many things.
And while I would love to tell you it has been smooth and easy, it really hasn’t.
New changes bring new problems, but they are necessary to grow. So far, the majority of our community has been very understanding when they understand our vision for growing beyond where we have been”.
According to Andrew, there are more than 500 fighters and support listed in the HMB USA databases. In August, they implemented a new registration and membership system and so far they have around 130 registered with more signing up weekly.
As it turned out, Andrew hasn’t been involved for a very long time.
It all started quite unusual for a novice athlete:
“I was introduced to HMB a few weeks before the Battle of the Nations in Serbia 2019. I met Brad Schaive, talked with him a few times, and just started training in soft kit with him. He told me about the upcoming BotN and said “It might sound crazy, but you should come”. So I did. 6 weeks later I was standing in Smederevo Fortress with my head spinning. And I was hooked”.
As we can see, a very pragmatic and thorough approach to building the organization and development of sports in the country is practiced here in the United States.
We are confident that with such an approach, the new President and his team will succeed! And we, in turn, hope that for many more years Andrew will be as passionate about our sport as then in 2019 during his first Battle of the Nations.