HMB in Kyrgyzstan: development no matter what

Despite the difficulties with the epidemiological situation in the country, the club was able to successfully hold two events.

Step by step, the members of the HMB movement from Kyrgyzstan are engaged in the development of historical medieval battles in their country. Previously, for a long time, there were only 7 fighters in armor in the country, and in Central Asia itself, there were no more than 45 people.

A year ago, due to restrictions in connection with COVID-19, an acute problem arose with inviting both marshals and fighters from neighboring countries. It became clear that the pandemic and the difficulties associated with it would last for a long time. However, the historical reconstruction club Gvardiya (Bishkek) managed not only to maintain its number, but also to increase it, and most importantly, the preparation of its referee corps from among teammates began. International Marshal Bogdan Sbitnev selected candidates for the judges’ positions, held seminars on rules and regulations, distributed homework on scoring in battles, focusing on tournament categories due to the small number of fighters.

Despite the difficulties with the epidemiological situation in the country, the club was able to successfully hold two events. This spring, Gvardiya organized the Berendey Tournament, which allowed the newly minted refereeing team to try their skills. 

And nine fighters from Kyrgyzstan, including three debutants, showed their skills in duel categories in full-time battles on the lists.

The tournament was held in a circular system with differentiation of points in battles against experienced fighters to better prepare for international events and stimulate young fighters. What it means: When fighting an experienced swordsman, each beginner’s strike is multiplied by a factor of 1.5. After the fight, the secretariat deduced the score based on this coefficient. This innovation piqued the interest of recruits and did not allow more experienced fighters to relax. As a result, one of the tournament debutants was able to take third place, which served as a very good incentive for the rest of the newcomers. It turned out to be a very interesting experiment in the current epidemiological situation: maybe someone will like it and come in handy.

In October 2021, another military-patriotic festival Zhash-Batyr (Young Bogatyr/Hero) took place within the framework of which a tournament with the Sword and Shield category was held. We can confidently say that HMB is becoming an increasingly popular sport in the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic. Three more debutants joined the ranks of armored fighters at the Zhash-Batyr festival, one of which won first place. The youngest and fastest fighter, Alexander Sozashvili, became the winner. He took part in the “iron” tournament for the first time, but the result was quite expected since he has been at the club for the third year, trains hard and for two years retains the title of champion of tournaments in soft equipment.

Alexander Sozashvili:

“I have been at the club since 2016. I chose battles on soft equipment as my main focus due to its lightweight. I’m not so big, skinny guy, so I did not believe that I could achieve anything by wearing a piece of iron weighing more than half of my weight. But the coach convinced me that this experience would not be superfluous. At the festival Zhash-Batyr for the first time, I participated in a tournament in armor and, to my surprise, showed a pretty good result. This strengthened my intentions to develop in the direction of historical medieval combat. The event itself was remembered for its frantic rhythm, someone constantly shouting something,ran, fell and got up, loud fighting music played, the faces of people in the crowd changed, the clanging of steel on steel practically did not stop”.

Adilet Tolebekov:

“It was my debut fight, and it was just great. I didn’t take a prize, but I got a lot of motivation to continue training, study the culture of the Middle Ages and win the next tournament to feel like a real knight.

The battles themselves were a difficult test, all the fighters were worthy rivals, and it was an honor for me to fight them. At such tournaments, there is always a place for knightly valor, honor, and solidarity, and I believe that every fighter was able to show these qualities. And, of course, many thanks to the judges for their work”.

Sanzhar Aliaskarov:

“So the festival Zhash-Batyr has passed. It is gratifying that this time I was not only a spectator but also a participant, I was able to test my strength. This festival was demonstrated in a fun, dynamic, without delay, and in compliance with the rules of safety. This event left a lot of positive memories. I look forward to the next festival”.

It is also worth noting so far the only girl who fights in armor here. Tournament participant Yulia Khizhnyakova took 4th place, which deserves special respect.

“For me, the Zhash-Batyr festival has become very indicative. At the winter tournament, in a fight with our most experienced fighter Alexander Erofeev, we had a score of 2-18 in his favor (no coefficient). At this tournament, it is 10-17 in his favor (no odds). I think this is not only an indicator of my training but also a good indicator of how training is going in our club. I came to training in 2010 and during this time the HMB movement has changed a lot. Our captain is constantly looking for new approaches and methods, invites the best of the best to seminars, constantly organizes opportunities for club members to develop and gain new experience not only in military affairs but also in acquiring new skills in the workshop.

Among them:

Sergey Vasilev – workshops on working with leather, correct fitting of armor sets, psychological and tactical training of fighters;

Evgeny Shilin – the construction of the training process when working with children on soft equipment;

Alexandra Obryadchikova – workshop in archery;

Elena Androsova – workshop on the reconstruction of medieval civilian clothes;

Vadim Polyuga – duel fencing seminars;

Alexey Petrik – seminars on the principles of building a training schedule in 1vs1 fights, sports nutrition for fencers, as well as general physical training and its application in fencing;

Over time, this all yields results – our training is becoming more effective, people are more interested and more experienced, and the general movement is getting closer and closer to what I would like to see ideally – a club with a good material and theoretical base, a close-knit team, variety in the choice of directions … I hope that this non-stop development will inspire our neighbors from other countries (and maybe some of our compatriots) and in the future, we will have more clubs (and these clubs have more female fighters) with whom we can compete already on a completely different level”.

The work with the marshals of the country also gives results. At the Zhash-Batyr tournament, the candidates for the marshals’ position got one more field experience, became more confident in making decisions, and one step closer to obtaining the official status of the HMBIA  Marshal. 

At the last festival of the military-historical movement REKON-2021, Ruslan Akhmetgareev completed his second stage of the marshals training. We hope that he will become the third official Marshal in the region.

Bogdan Sbitnev also shared his impressions of the REKON:

– The most important thing is that for a long time there was no opportunity to participate in major events, it was possible to maintain skill and referee training. To be honest, at first, there was a slight jittery due to a long break in work at HMB events, but it quickly passed. I wedged myself into work like the good old days. It was very gratifying to see colleagues from the judiciary and a huge number of old friends. Due to the fact that in Kyrgyzstan we regularly conducted training sessions for the judiciary, it was quite easy for me to maintain my qualifications at the proper level.

HMBIA News would like to thank the guys from Kyrgyzstan for the interview and for all the tremendous work they do to develop our sport in their country. We wish them success and look forward to meeting with the national team of Kyrgyzstan on the lists of the World Championship in HMB “Battle of the Nations”.