How to become a knight in Russia
I was still at school when I began to get involved in reconstruction. At the turn of the 90-2000, there was really nothing to do. When you are in a group of comrades, you can pick up a heavy iron stick and start rattling on the head with the same morons as yourself, it’s very fun. Years are few, little fear, many hormones.
Gradually developed interest in the Middle Ages. Still, I always liked the story – it was one of the few fives in the school. Then I made my first set of armor. Brigandin (armor of plates, riveted under the fabric), we with friend Lehi were doing it on the balcony, the girl’s trousers were sewn. And in 2005 I came to the stables, because the knights did not walk on foot. At the same time, it became very clear to me that equestrian sport in its classical manifestation does not turn me on very much. It’s cool, it’s really a whole science, but I’m somehow more interested in beating people.
The museum system is completely closed. You can not come to the knightly hall of the Hermitage with a ruler and say: “Open the window, I measure it and do the same afterwards.” I come to London to Tobias Capwell, the famous reenactor, the author of books about cold weapons, and he asks me: “Are you interested in any things? Cause the girl, she comes with the keys, turns off the alarm, opens the window – only gloves need to be worn. And I’m standing there, in the Wallace Collection, with my mouth open: before you are the native helmets of the 15th century, and you can take everything, weigh it, look.
On the whole planet, only a few dozen people are recruited, who can qualify in serious qualifying disciplines. And in this get-together everyone knows everything. Without recommendations for events of the standing level you will not get. This makes sense, because in serious contests you can kill and injure the horses. People are invited to the events, about which you all know: where he went, what he represents, what his iron is, how he suits you.
Getting into the tusovka in Russia is now easier. With foreign countries it is more difficult. I myself got into a hurry with a nuzzle. First we organized in 2013 a tournament within the framework of the festival “Times of the Epoch”. Then I suggested to the “Ratoborzam” (an agency that organizes historical projects and festivals of various subjects – Prim Ed) to make the first tournament in Russia. This is an extremely expensive pleasure, and to make a good event of international level on the means of enthusiasts – the task is almost irresolvable. I can not even say that foreigners did not want to go to us then – 90% of people simply did not answer. At the same time, I already know all these people, we are all friends, knightly brotherhood, and they tell me: “Well, Dmitry, do not keep evil. Well, you understand. “
Arne Kötz from Germany came to us then. He brought his friend Jormul van Nessen, the NATO mercenary, the dog of war, and the Norwegian Ivar Maurits-Hansen.
And after that, in 2014, I got to the tournament in the States. I understood the dualism of the situation: on the one hand, if they do not know you, they will not call, but on the other – how can they make you know if they do not call you? Despite the fact that the entry system in the tournament is not available, I chose America and decided to press it, began to write letters to them. Got refusals several times. I wrote that there are good recommendations. And before that, I also made a bespoke saddle in the Netherlands. I went there to the seminar, met the guys, showed myself, looked at them.
Just met with Arne – he this year, by the way, we have in the tournament as a judge. With him, a difficult situation: he performs at other tournaments, but we do not want him to be killed in our country. He already had a lot of blows to the head, concussions, and now any serious blow to his head turns it off simply. And this sooner or later can not end well. Let it happen somewhere not in our tournament.
So, I wrote letters to them. I was refused. I already scored on this matter, when suddenly six months later a letter comes that one of the participants has merged, there is a place. I asked Dutch friends to write me letters of recommendation. I sent everyone to America, they said: “Very good, but not enough. Now shoot us a video of how you ride. ” I took a video from my workouts. “Now send us photos in suit, in armor.” I sent them pictures. “How much do you weigh?” I have a working weight of 105 kilograms, with armor 140-150 coming out. “No, we do not have such horses.” Another month’s silence. Then a month later the horse was found.
He performs at other tournaments, but we do not want him killed in our country. He already had a lot of blows to the head, concussions, and now any serious blow to his head turns it off simply. And sooner or later it may not be good to end
And this is 2014, well-known events are happening – they simply depress the peninsula, and the organizer here writes to me: against the backdrop of the foreign policy situation, we can not guarantee you a warm reception from the American public. I answer: “I’m an adult boy, I can stand up for myself”. Then they sent me a questionnaire. Absolutely wild. There were questions: “What will be your reaction if your squire turns out to be a black man? And what will you do if your squire is a woman? And if there is a representative of non-traditional sexual orientation? “When I came, I understood why this is happening.
The guys who organize the Phoenix tournament, live in the town of Ramona and the surrounding area – it’s some wildest suburb of San Diego. And for them, the outside world is something very far off, they are seriously repeating the tales of Russia about the bear with the balalaika. They are in the center of civilization, and what happens on the periphery, they simply do not care. I was one aunt from the organizers, when we were sitting drinking, she said straight out: “Do not be surprised. When I was in school, we were threatened with a missile attack by the Soviet Union, and all that we knew about the Russians was that they were terrible people in big caps with machine guns. ” I answered this to her: “Well, nothing has changed. It’s like that”.
By the way, I acted normally in the USA. The very first day I sent one of the Americans to the hospital. And then accidentally moved the horse organizer. For me the Russian community of Los Angeles came to be ill, it was great. You feel that you are fighting for the flag. At the same time, the American public does not perceive the knightly heritage as part of its culture. They think: this is not ours, it’s someone else’s, something like a Japanese ninja. In principle, this is logical. They never had such nobility.
After the US, I went to tournaments in Denmark, England. Began to invite, that is, entered the pool. Last year I went to France, just for one of these three major tournaments, the Order of St. Michael, which organizes in the castle Michael Garden, he performed at our last tournament. I went well, I won. He beat them all. This year I will go to Australia. I try, I want to open the way to the West and the national community of knights. I, of course, constantly try to move our people, but so far it has not turned out – there is not enough authority.
There is an interesting difference between our guys and the European ones. For our people this is largely a sport, courage: it is very important and very much want to win. Straight show that you are the most peasant guy. It’s great, but not always good, and sometimes very bad. Because when you have the main goal – to win, then everything obeys this goal and people sometimes make unacceptable mistakes. The European mentality of those engaged in this discipline is different. The stadium is a place where two equal people come out to exchange compliments. And it’s important not who will win, but the trust that people give each other. That is, if I go out against you to fight, this is an act of absolute trust. I know that you are so well prepared that you will not hit a prohibited place, you will act strictly within the rules.
They do not put victory in any significant place. And it’s strange for us to look at this. I now feel like a conductor: I try to broadcast our philosophy to them, and ours to them. I get the impression that the ideal tournament will come when riders with a European level of training and our national desire to win will perform on it.
In Russia, this happens (not at the St. George’s Tournament, we have a very strict body of rules), as the horses are beaten in tournaments. In European philosophy it is generally haram. In horse riding there is a certain science: here the knights come into the barrier, one made a gallop – his horse did not rise from the wrong foot. He feels that he is not ideal and will not beat, he will simply remove the spear, he will pass. And a good tone, respect – this, if you see that the enemy refuses to fight, also not to pull out. Our guys do not have such a story. If you do not beat – well, you give me a gift. I’ll drag you into it for you, for yourself, and for the whole story. In courage they can afford to make a mistake. To strike at any cost, to harm the enemy: let it be an imperfect blow, but I dragged him. And it happens, somewhere the spear could not hold back, it dived down, hit the horse. In the European tournament, if you hit a horse, then you can forget about the trips there. You will not be called again anywhere, and, most likely, you will also get serious money. Unfortunately, we are treated differently.
Arne last year, when the tournament came to judge, collected all. He says: “Guys, understand one thing, in two years no one will remember who won this tournament. But if you kill a horse at this tournament or kill a person, you will always remember this. Think about what’s more important to you. ” Our guys look at this, nod their heads. Arne is an authoritative uncle, he will not say anything. Then they step aside and discuss what nonsense is all this and how to pull someone to someone.
Josting (a kind of equestrian sport, jumping on spears – Ed.) Can not be tried, you either do it, or you do not. And the decision will have to be taken ashore. Because you have to swell a million rubles into your iron. There are people who give the opportunity to try, I think this is a pernicious way. People do not appreciate what they get for free. You have to fight for your desires and aspirations, pay with blood, then you treat this differently. If you spent two years eating only semolina porridge for breakfast, lunch and dinner, saving money, and then ordered your armor in the best workshop of the country, then you treat this differently. Plus quality – the armor of the XV century strictly adjusted to the shape of the owner, take into account the anatomical features, and this affects everything. If you are uncomfortable in armor (and in other people’s armor, most likely, uncomfortable), you will not show the desired result. I would like all this to be cheaper, and then the influx of people would be greater. But, unfortunately, it costs how much it costs, and the inflow is microscopic.
By the way, in the tournament in 2013, about which I told, Pavel Kolenkov from the Minsk “Golden Spur” won. They say that God loves courageous: his armor was of such a quality that he was simply not miraculously killed. He also left without injuries from this tournament. This is really miraculous in my experience, wonderfully wonderful. Now he does not participate in tournaments – just because of the armor. I, by the way, myself from that tournament went to the hospital by car with flashing lights, straight from the stadium. Also, there was a hole in the armor, my leg broke in the first battle. In general, we have many cones in 2013.
Always there is an ambulance on duty at the tournaments. But in fact, our sport is not the most traumatic. In the same hockey, for example, more serious injuries. And in boxing? Are the gymnasts a little broken? If you quit fighting and think ahead of time about how you are going to be hurt, it’s better not to go out at all. Nothing good will come of it. The man who was kicked out of the saddle, if he is a real warrior, gentleman, will always come and congratulate. He will say: “Well done! Well dragged. God grant, next time I’ll take you like this too. “
Russian knights are the youngest. The current champion, Andrei Kamin from St. Petersburg, is only 28 years old. To me here 36, I come for a hillock and the youngest I appear, as a rule. In this case, we come to this year’s uncles: an Englishman, a Canadian – they are 50 years old. And there is such an uncle in New Zealand, Jesse Smith is his name. Its local called josting grandpa. He is the seventh ten. And nothing, stands.
In the West, it takes longer. Canadian Darkness Amel, just 50 years old, before going on his first full-spear tournament, had ten years of tournament practice on balsa (softwoods from South America – Ed.) – these are spears that are easy scattered into chips. Balsy tournaments are also not useless. It’s a riding school, competitive experience, base. And I came to the stables on August 25, 2005. The first tournament I had in October, two months later. Because there was a holiday on VDNKh, the Day of Harvest, and it so happened that we had to do an exemplary performance. So take a stick and fight. Well, it is clear that we won so that it was a pity to watch. But this is the principle. And they have another principle.
By the way, I acted normally in the USA. The very first day I sent one of the Americans to the hospital. And then accidentally moved the horse organizer
On historical certainty
We at the Tournament of St. George reconstruct the tournaments of the XV century – this is the mainstream. The whole period of history until 1917, all these entertainments, tournaments in the Middle Ages, “royal carousels” in the XVIII century. They participated in them, and it was done for her. On the show no one thought – the opinion of people who stood behind the fence and looked at it all, no one was interested. Now it is important for us to maintain the authenticity, but at the same time we need to make a tournament for the spectators. That is, to observe just the same genre of show, and here it is difficult to maintain a balance.
Historically, the sport at the tournament was not important. But in your head, inside yourself, you’ll never win it – for our guys it’s still a sport. And the viewer sees this as a sport. Because we fight, it’s important for us who wins, the person gets a prize. And in the Middle Ages on the tournament came not for this. The dear person came to the tournament, so that other respected people saw that everything was going well with him. The fact that there is a background: somewhere to jump, stick a stick, is not the first and even, probably, not the second.
There is such a famous film “The Story of a Knight”, where Heath Ledger plays the knight of the 13th century Ulrich von Liechtenstein. The film is cool, but has nothing to do with history at all. If a person of non-noble origin took part in a knight tournament and would have learned about this, it would be unequivocal death, only the question of how terrible it would be discussed would be discussed. The original Liechtenstein is a nobleman, he was not only a tournament fighter, but also a writer, wrote a whole book about worshiping ladies. He once committed the wildest gender challenge one of the first in history. This was one of the first steps in the path of sexual revolution. Liechtenstein made his famous tour of Venus – in honor of the Virgin Mary and all the beautiful ladies went to a European tournament tour in a women’s dress.
In the film, there is no historical certainty. With armor there is also very bad. I worked in the cinema, it lives by its own laws. Certainly, there are some things: what the BBC shoots, or some rare pearls of cinema like the movie “In the Hotel” with Gerard Depardieu, where the materiel is just a dump of the head. But specialists are needed for this. We do not have such people in Russia.
Plus, I usually start projecting my personal, subjective perception. Then I’m skeptical, to put it mildly, to the domestic cinema. Necessarily need more mud, so that everyone yells. We just shot the film “The Golden Horde”, and all the Horde were really like homeless people from the Kazan station. The person who created the costumes did not ask himself: “Why was the horde called golden? Maybe it’s not just gold? “The Horde really was in gold, in silks, precious stones, especially if we’re talking about princes, about Genghisides. What is shown in the film is the same as Putin’s going to the summit somewhere in a draped quilted jacket and shabby coaching.
About how he became a blacksmith
In general, I graduated from the University with a degree in engineering and land management, but I was also interested in the reconstruction of the first courses – I set up my first workshop and made a horn. The profession that I studied was not creative, but the technical education was useful in the blacksmith business, which I am currently engaged in. First of all we need knowledge of physics, resistance of materials, theoretical mechanics.
I did not plan to be a blacksmith, everything happened spontaneously. Armor in the early 2000’s cost space money and often did not suit the quality or did not correspond to historical realities. Of course, you could find a good sword or some piece of armor, but it was not possible to collect the whole image. And to make to order is very expensive, even more so then.
Therefore, in our club armor did everything themselves – from what was at hand: they wove chain mail from wire, for example. A professional blacksmith, however, no one has become, except me. Now I have a demanded profession, experience and my knowledge bring money. I honestly went to the tax and declared myself as an individual entrepreneur, indicated several activities, as the main one – “the manufacture of various products from iron sheets, forging, pressing and stamping.”
Usually, armor is made for six months or a year. The full armor of a mounted knight, together with a saddle, costs from 200 thousand to 1.5 million. Often this is a set with removable parts, because you need different types of visor and different types of helmet for different types of fighting. But it happens that the knight has completely different armor for different types of combat: for foot – with a solid skirt, without a cutout for sitting on a horse and a helmet with small holes, no slits for the eyes, and for the horse – with a special cutout for the saddle in front . Now I use high-carbon steel for chain mail. Of course, it is expensive, but it can be hardened and make a strong armor, suitable for competitions.
Previously, in the 2000s, many clubs were engaged in the reconstruction of chivalry, but it was a chivalry of the spirit – the reconstruction of some traditions, outfits. There were many people who proclaimed themselves knights – but there are no pedestrians. When I realized that there is no way to ride a horse, I just went into the reconstruction of the XVII century – the Swedish infantry. Now basically the format of all European chivalric tournaments is the end of the XV century. Moscow used to be oriented on the XIV century, it’s easier to armor, but they are less secure. Then we switched to a pan-European format. There are individual maniacs who are oriented to the XVI century, these are people who do something on the table, like, for example, me. The movement and a single environment on this topic has not yet developed. All the movement of the XV century, in fact, is also held by several people. If they suddenly disappear somewhere, then all this will not happen either.
I saw the first knockout of knights on horses, probably, in 2007 or 2006 at VDNH, with the participation of Dmitry Savchenko. I was so impressed, I decided that I also want to take part in it. By that time, I had learned to make armor as it should be. Dmitry turned to me for this, and so we met.
He and his team at that time just trained the horses. The most important thing is to teach them to go on the oncoming course, that is not to fear the enemy. This task is highly professional: riders should not think about how to hit each other more painfully, but about how technically better it is to maneuver, how to properly enter the barrier (to meet the enemy along the fence) on a horse. It is necessary to explain to the animal that this is a normal occupation, not terrible, in order to develop the appropriate instinct. Riders are here as two professional pilots who work out a maneuver. And the blow is already so, the exchange of courtesies. No one needs problems here: the blow must be precise and professional, accurate. The presence of the hook and the retaining ring of the spear makes a blow so that the opponent can not be knocked. You can not make a strike stronger – the knight in fact only directs the spear. In fact, the force of the strike is equal to the strength of the spear.
And I also decided to become a rider. In 2012, my first knight tournament was held. It was the so-called Christmas tournament, which takes place every winter at the horse base “Khrabrovo”, called knights from all over Russia. There were 12 people able to take up the challenge. And I acted relatively well. I was helped by the fact that where I had trained before, the horses were very harmful, and in Khrabrovo I got the horse of Viktor, who knew his business very well, and with his help I succeeded. We immediately selected in the semi-final bouts. There were small groups of four people, like in football, because if 12 people fight with everyone, it would be an endless tournament. In the semi-final battle I was defeated by Tankred de Gordon, who was still sitting in the saddle, and now he is tied up and is the judge of the Tournament of St. George.
The St. George Tournament itself, as it is now, exists from 2015, and I take part in it every year. For the first tournament unusual spears were made – from straight-lumber without knots. Spears for the tournament are made in the own workshop of the company “Ratobortsy”. They make these spears for export for tournaments in other countries. If there are knots on the spear, then it can break from a trifling stroke, so the organizers decided to make spears without knots from a top grade tree. Thus, all the sticks are approximately equally strong. But in our case they were very strong. I had never held such a spear in my hands before. We volunteered to try out new spears with the Norwegian. As a result, on the third race I knocked him off the horse with the saddle. The second duel was between Andrei Kamin from Petersburg and Yuri Bogunov – the only Moscow knight who rides his own horse – and Yuri was knocked over with his horse. Then I realized that this is a very serious event, and began to fear for my life.
I got a horse from Victor, who knew his business very well, and with his help I managed everything
I won all that tournament from the position of defense, trying very carefully to do everything. For the second year it was already easier, because with no one did anything terrible happen in the end. That is, it looked very scary, but no one got any special injuries: neither people nor horses. The second time I realized that no one is killing anyone and you can act in full force. It was just 2016, when I took the first place. At that tournament I knocked Arne Kotz from the saddle, he lost consciousness. But there is no resentment between the tournament participants. It all depends on the fortress of the copies, and if the fortress does not suit you, then you can just not get involved. Everyone understands what is going on when they accept the challenge. Arne then said that it was a good fight, that it should be so.
Among the contingent of the St. George Tournament, you can expect victory from anyone. There are so many people selected that their strengths are basically equal. I do not take part in this year because of a hand injury. Injury I received in Tatarstan – the leadership of the republic decided to hold its knight tournament in the city of Bolgar. I do not know why, what connection between Tatarstan and the knights – apparently, they decided to show the overseas curiosity. At the tournament I did not calculate the strength, I broke the saddle, literally collapsed. The metal structure worn out, I did not follow it, and as a result, at the moment of impact, the stop that supports the rider broke. I fell on the fence post, and my hand came out of the joint. Good Tatar doctors all quickly repaired, but I can not perform yet. This is an annoying injury, because it affects my performance. For a person who sits on a computer, this is nonsense, and if you work with your hands – it’s not the matter at all.
In general, I’m a programmer by profession. But in 2001, when I was a student and did not work, my friend invited me to go to the historic fencing together. I went, I got carried away, at first I was engaged only in fencing, then, after a few years I got carried away with horses, and so slowly rose to equestrian tournaments.
Historical interest was also originally. Later, I became interested in horses, but again not in relation to historical reconstruction. For a while I was engaged in equestrian sport, and then somehow it came together this way. I have been engaged in knightly reconstruction for seven years now.
I continue to work as a programmer, because you can not earn money by chivalry. On the contrary, it is a hobby, and very expensive. So you have to work hard and make money on it. In order to start, you also need to accumulate purposefully, because the armor is bought in collection, so that everything looks like a single complex. And considering their cost, all this is going on for more than one year. Therefore, in order not to waste money, we must very clearly understand what, why and in what sequence. This requires a lot of preparation. Also, you need to immediately decide on the century, so that all the armor corresponds to one time, one style, and it did not happen that you bought some detail, and then it does not fit anywhere.
First, where only I did not practice: it’s hard to find a place for training in iron. If a person began to engage in chivalric reconstruction from scratch, then the collection of a complete set of everything necessary for tournaments will take about two years. There are very few good masters, all queue, well, in principle, making armor requires a lot of time. I did my whole armor in Russia: there is such a moment that if the cuirass (part of the armor covering the chest and back – Ed.) Can be ordered by the standards, then at the hands and feet, the level of fit that requires fitting in the manufacturing process. There are people who work by casting, but ideally you need to have a person to whom you can come to fit. The underdresser and other elements of the costume I sew myself for the models of the XV century. Under the armor, he wears out quickly, but one can last for about five years, until he finally becomes worthless.
Armor of this level, in which you can participate in tournaments with rules similar to the Tournament of St. George, is the highest league. These are the most complex variants for the design, and cost such armor will be not less than 400 thousand. I have been participating in the St. George Tournament since its inception, and in 2015 was my third or fourth tournament in my life.
If a person is interested in this topic and wants to participate in tournaments, he needs to first learn riding, to collect a minimum of equipment and then try to demonstrate himself at other events
Initially, tournaments in our country were in the XIV century – more precisely, by its very conventional stylization. Because the armor of the XIV century is much simpler, much cheaper and much more technologically. Such armor can be collected for an amount of 80 thousand rubles. But we must understand that it is also less secure. Brigandines are widely used here – small metal platinum, glued to the fabric base. They are good enough to protect against blows, but if you hit such a spear Brigandine can get through. Therefore, the reenactors used what is called in the slang “mops” – lighter and simple spears. They can demonstrate the wonders of accuracy. In the north-west of Europe it was popular to take a ring with it, whose diameter was only one centimeter larger than the diameter of the spear itself. But it is impossible to strike a strong blow with such a spear in principle.
I have one armor for foot fighting and a skirmish on spears, only the helmet changes. I am also preparing for the battles, but this is a separate discipline and separate preparation. Someone specializes in horses, someone on foot battles. Within the tournament this year there will be a separate hiking tournament that will take place outside the overall standings. There just will be people who for some reason do not want or can not ride, but are also interested in foot fights and also want to perform.
I had injuries during the tournament, but nothing particularly serious. The most terrible thing that I had was cutting. For the knight there are no age restrictions – in Europe, for example, there are knights who are over 50 years old. I, too, do not plan to fold yet.
Ideally, before the tournament, in order to be in shape, you have to train two or three times a week. But I get to train on a horse only once a week on Wednesdays. It is often unrealistic because of work. On weekends in the stable you can not train, because people come to ride their horses, work out. Not to frighten neither people, nor horses, there is such restriction. The rest of the time I go in for sports, in order to keep myself in proper physical shape.
Now I do not speak anywhere, except the Tournament of St. George, but if invited to Europe – it would be interesting. For this you need to be noticed and appreciated. Tournaments on all-wood spears are very few in view of the increased danger to the participants. In all, they are, in fact, three: in France, in Australia and the Tournament of St. George. In Europe, tournaments are much more, and there are many more participants.
A new person can come to this Wednesday, however, there is a very high entry threshold here. And for this, of course, you need to be very motivated. Before my eyes, there were several cases when people started to study, and after a year or two they realized that it requires a lot of effort, a lot of expenses and free time, and interest faded.
If a person is interested in this topic and wants to participate in tournaments, he needs to first learn riding, to collect a minimum of equipment and then try to demonstrate himself at other events. Almost all tournaments collect participants by invitation, but there are events where anyone can make a statement. These are, as a rule, festivals. Or in January there is a Christmas tournament, where you can also get to.