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.


Polish “Lady in Red”: Chain of chances leading to victory 

The stunning dress that impressed the audience, participants and judges of the Best Female Authentic Costume of Battle of the Nations 2016 was created thanks to a series of happy coincidences, lots of devotion, dedication, hard work, and the result was undoubtedly beyond praise. Dorota Kriger from Poland told us how the dress which brought her the victory in The Best Authentic Female Costume at BotN 2016 was made.

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Who knows what the HMB future holds?

We’re not going to repeat once again how challenging and unpredictable 2020 was. That’s pretty obvious for everyone who was struggling with its restrictions, postponements and the virus itself. What we do want to repeat is the fact how grateful we are for having such an incredible HMB community. We cannot thank all HMB teams and athletes enough who managed to brighten our days with the true spirit of comradery. This time we want to have a quick look back and acknowledge our victories and defeats and say – we faced the facts, we saw what was needed, and we did it. And this time we also want to look to the future and reveal the most promising upcoming projects, experiments and ideas. 

So, ready for a 2020 glimpse?

For the 1st time in the HMBIA history we didn’t have Battle of the Nations but thankfully not due to Covid-19 as it was decided long before the pandemic struck the sports industry. Having Battle of the Nations every 2 year was a decision based on the evolving of the World Championship into a complicated large scale project that takes much more time for preparation. With the expanding growth of the HMB sport, developing mass categories and increased number of the National Team members, it’s definitely much easier for National Federations to have a 2 year gap for organizing the qualifiers, national team trainings and the trip itself.   

For the 1st time HMBIA created the concept and announced a new type of the 9 day event Knights & Legends planned for the beginning of May in Serbia. It was supposed to unite several events into the HMB vacation with the Masters tournament in Belgrade and mass battles festival in the Smederevo fortress. We were ready to present the HMB Academy camp training and certification but this time we have to admit the whole project was our major loss. We’re sure we’ll be able to get back to it and we continue working with the local organizers and authorities but we won’t have the same concept. We’ll have to transform it into something else and we assure you that it won’t be less catchy.

For the 1st time we held Host City Race of a new format with 13 cities as applicants for hosting XI HMB World Championship from 9 countries, and we must admit despite the fact the work was complicated with the lockdowns, restricting measures and unpredictability that led to the constant delays of negotiations, it was an amazing awarding experience and we can be proud of the fact we managed to set the venue. Romania and Oradea fortress won the final bid and we can’t wait to meet you all on the territory veiled with legends. 

For the 1st time we held a month-long social media online campaign BotN Total Recall dedicated to the Battle of the Nations that included a set of activities on HMBIA sources. By this time we also presented a renewed BotN website and a new HMBIA website.

It was definitely a time of hard work but we could see how much all the world miss the Battle of the Nations as the monthly reach on the sources exceeded 1 000 000!

For the 2nd time we held the final tournament of the Buhurt League season in Monaco with the unprecedented attention of the local media and audience and we’re thankful for the fact we managed to have Buhurt Prime in February just a month before the world entered the era of the pandemic.

For the 1st time we held HMBIA General Assembly online and turned out to be one of the most unusual in the history of the Association. 138 participants from 42 countries were registered beforehand and got access to the folder with the reports. 77 attendees from 31 countries managed to join the live Q&A session that was also recorded and uploaded later.

Definitely a huge amount of work left behind but what’s ahead?

For the 11th time we’ll gather the strongest HMB athletes of the world, this time within the walls of the Oradea fortress in Romania, with the goal to find out the World Champions at the Battle of the Nations. We hope that the situation in the world will let us to greet you all in person and immerse ourselves in the BotN atmosphere that has nothing to compare with.

For the 1st time the new rule set for the Full Plate Harness category will be implemented at the Battle of the Nations with 4 subcategories that will definitely add something new to the HMB World Championship. 

The work on the Duel League project will be forced and include more countries for international ranking system tests. 

The new concept of the Communication Committee will be implemented and tested with the announcing new conference leaders and officers. 

The HMB Soft World Championship is planned for this year and we hope to bring even more young HMB athletes to the international arena after the year of the absence.

The new set of tournament tests aiming to possibly adjust the current rule set codenamed HMB Future will be developed and tested by the Marshals Committee. With the overall improvement of the HMB kits, safety bar and level of marshaling it became possible to reconsider the current battle scheme for the sake of more dynamic actions in the list. Several modifications were suggested for the tests and further analysis at the tournaments held by the HMB Russia having the most developed and numerous community and a huge number of small tournaments not included in the Buhurt League rating system. 

The following modification will be implemented and tested:

  • modification of the construction of the list rail to prevent the capture by the fighters during the clinch;
  • modification of the rule regarding touching the list surface with a knee or a shield during attacking actions (throws);
  • possibility to change fighters during the round.

The HMB Future statement with the modified rules will be available on demand in case you’d like to join the project. The most important thing is the fact that such modifications cannot be fully tested just during the team training, we need a full-fledged tournament observed by certified HMBIA marshals and fully recorded. Such tournaments won’t be registered in the Buhurt League system as well. 

To cut the long story short, we’ll continue working on the global HMB sport development hand in hand with national organizations of 42 countries and step by step we’ll be bringing the common dream of the HMB sport being officially recognized.