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A Bit About Me

I've been practicing HEMA since about the end of 2011, self-taught, with my good friend Cristian Tudose (himself a Founding Member of Iron Will HEMA Academy), as study-buddy. 

In the summer of 2015 we both joined the first HEMA club founded in Romania, Societas Milites Getae (SMG), in Bucharest.

 

Here I continued to develop my theoretical knowledge and practical ability pertaining to HEMA, within the club's training sessions, but self-study also continued, in equal measure, outside of them. 

I was eventually appointed as instructor in the club and charged with taking care of part of the attendees for the disciplines: Polish Sabre, Rapier, Sword and Buckler and Longsword, for more than 6 months (21.09.2016 - 10.05.2017).   

Despite this, I consider my specialty to be the Longsword, for which I have the greatest passion and the most experience. 

This is probably the reason why I got invited by Dragos Madalin, from Gebeleizis Sports Club to hold a Longsword workshop at the first HEMA event in Romania, that took place in Satu Mare, between 5-7 mai 2017, organized by him and his club. It is also there that I had the honor of meeting and "duelling" (friendly sparring) the legendary Axel Pettersson, from whom I've learned very much, both in that short friendly sparring, as well as from the workshop that he held at that event.  

 

Within SMG, I've contributed, apart from HEMA related activities, to those that revolved around the historical re-enactment side of this association, going as an active participant to a number of festivals with a Medieval / Renaissance thematic. 

At a certain point, in July 2017, I decided, along with the other Founding Members of Iron Will HEMA Academy, to form this new club that would concentrate only on HEMA and (so far) on teaching a single discipline: Longsword. 

At present, in the club, apart from being a Founding Member, I also have the roles of Instructor (at all study levels), Pioneer (because I created the Curriculums for all the study levels), and Administrator, participating in all the decisions that have to do with running the club and the LTD, as a juridical entity.  

 

But to get back to my journey in HEMA, I first heard of it thanks to the internet where at some point I saw a clip of two people dueling with Longswords. I looked up more details and I slowly started to understand what Historical European Martial Arts mean. 

 

Along with Cristi, we gathered some friends, who were also interested in HEMA and we made some make-shift "swords" out of broom handles, onto which we glued plumbing isolating material and a dish-washing sponge on the tip, all so that they were "safe" enough that we won't get hurt... we thought back then. And we started "dueling", chaotically of course, because we didn't have any sort of technique. Let alone notions of biomechanics and tactics... 

 

It was lucky that we soon found Adam Sharp's beginners book called "True Swordsman", in which he presented the basics of Longsword, according to the German school and the Liechtenauer tradition. And we started to "refine" our ways... 

 

I picked up HEMA because ever since I was a small kid, I've been fascinated by fighting with the sword/sabre and with ancient and medieval history. So when I heard of the efforts of some giants in the field to bring back to life the martial tradition of our European ancestors, I instantly thought that this is exactly the sport and martial art that I've been missing and longing for, although I had studied a bit of judo, karate, ninjutsu and boxing in the past. 

 

My joy and pleasure were even greater when I found out that HEMA grew (and continues to grow) rigorously by: the study of historical sources (especially fighting treatises, but also biographies, paintings, drawings, etchings, statues etc.), their interpretation as well as possible by modern instructors and then practically testing them in sparring with a non-cooperating partner. 

 

As opposed to Eastern or Asian Martial arts, for example, in which oral tradition is very important to the evolution of a school, it is very attractive for me to know that in HEMA I can find a fighting treatise since ~1400 written by a Master of that period, and that what I read in it is exactly what he wrote and taught then. 

 

Of course, even though treatises are usually sufficiently detailed, they are not always clear, which leads to the necessity of interpreting what me and other HEMA practitioners of the present think that the Master wanted to share hundreds of years ago. A phenomenon that does not take place that much in martial arts with a living tradition (even if it is usually oral, with a few written documents), because in this case there is a living Master, a contemporary with you, that can train you. 

 

But even this peculiarity of HEMA attracts me. It's like solving a puzzle. The satisfaction comes at the end, when all the pieces fit and you feel like you have found what was hidden and unclear before... 

 

Apart from these two things (historical sources and interpretation), what I like most about HEMA is fighting itself. When I spar with a noncooperating opponent, that is trying with all their intent to win. Because a match (or "duel") is a very complex event that requires taking (the right!) decisions very fast, as well as endurance, strength, speed and lots of technique, if you want to win. And when I do manage to combine all these factors appropriately, it's a unique feeling. It really is an Art! 

 

Of course, a great part o the satisfaction of practicing HEMA is, to me, meeting interesting people that are just as passionate about the domain. Which I can say has happened frequently and constantly so far and I have not been disappointed. 

 

An example being another living legend, Matt Galas, one of the actual founders and developers of HEMA into the worldwide phenomenon we know today, who came to Romania several times and who shared with us his vast experience and knowledge. Something that we will always be grateful for. 

But not only him and Axel. I just mentioned them specifically because of the debt of gratitude the Romanian HEMA community owes them for them coming to help us at our very beginning. But The HEMA community is filled with people that are passionate and way-openers or major contributors, that I've had the pleasure to meet. Too many to add to this already long text. I just want to say that I thank them for the transfer that they are doing to us, those less experienced than them! 
 

In the future my objective is to participate in as many competitions as possible and win them, of course. And if I don't win them... at least to evolve due to the experience and try to become better for the next competition, learning from my mistakes. 

 

I'm also planning to grow the Romanian HEMA community as much as possible and to train many new people.

 

Among my other passions I count: humor (heh ;) ), music (listening, composing and performing, in the latter case on guitar, drums and vocals), mountain hiking, books (especially sci-fi and fantasy), computer games, soccer and boxing. Out of all of these I'd say I'm most efficient at... not having enough time to do them all. :D But it's ok that I'm trying to, yes?! 

 

I wish you all the best and I hope to (friendly!) cross swords with you soon!

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