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Andrei Chirlesan (Instructor and Founding Member).jpg

Current roles within IWHA:

Founding Member

Andrei Chirlesan

"Will it so."

About me

I've been practicing HEMA since the end of 2011 as a self-taught trainee, I started at the same time as my clubmate and good friend Cristian Tudose.


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


Here I continued to develop my theoretical knowledge and practical skills related to HEMA within the club's training sessions, but the individual study also continued, to the same extent, outside of them.


Finally, I was appointed as an instructor within the club, taking care for more than 6 months (21.09.2016 - 10.05.2017) of part of the students enrolled in the disciplines: Sword and Buckler, Polish Sabre, Rapier and Longsword.

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

Probably because of this, I was invited by Dragoș Mădălin from the Gebeleizis Sports Club, to hold a Longsword seminar at the first HEMA event in Romania that took place in Satu Mare, on May 5-7, 2017, organized by him. It was also there that I had the honor of meeting and sparring with the legendary Axel Pettersson, from whom I learned a lot both in that short friendly sparring, but especially from the workshop that Axel held at that event.

Within SMG I contributed, in addition to the activities related to HEMA, to those related to the historical re-enactment side of this association, going as an active participant to several festivals with a medieval / renaissance theme.

At some point, in July 2017, I decided together with the other founders of Iron Will HEMA Academy (whom you can find here on the website), to form this new club that would focus only on HEMA and (so far) on teaching only one discipline: Longsword. 

Currently, in addition to being a Founding Member, I also have within the club the roles of Instructor (at all levels of study), Pioneer (because I created the Curriculums for all levels of study), as well as that of Administrator, participating in all the decisions related to the management of the activities of the club and the LLC, as a legal entity. 

But returning to my journey in HEMA, I heard about this field thanks to the Internet where at one point I saw a clip with two people dueling with Longswords. I searched for more details and I slowly started to understand what Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) means.

Together with Cristi, I gathered some friends, who were also interested in HEMA, and we made some "swords" from broom sticks on which we glued pipe insulation and a dish sponge on the tip, all so that it would be "safe" enough so that we don't hurt each other... we thought then. And we began to "duel", chaotically of course, because we didn't know any kind of technique. Let alone notions of biomechanics and tactics... 

Luckily I very quickly found Adam Sharp's beginner's book called "True Swordsman" which presented the basics of the Longsword, according to the German school, the Liechtenauer tradition. And we started to "refine" ourselves...

I got into HEMA because as a young child I was fascinated by sword fighting and ancient and medieval history. So when I heard about the efforts of some personalities in the field to bring back to life the martial tradition of our European ancestors, it seemed to me instantly that this was the sport and martial art that I wanted and lacked, although I had studied judo in the past , karate, ninjutsu and boxing.

My joy and pleasure were even greater when I found out that HEMA has developed and continues to develop rigorously, by: the study of historical sources (especially fighting treatises, but also biographies, paintings, drawings, engravings, statues, etc.), interpreting them as best as possible by modern instructors and then testing them practically in sparring with an uncooperating partner.

Unlike Asian martial arts, for example, where 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 from ~1400 written by a master from that period , and that what I read there is what he wrote and taught, concretely, then.

Of course, although the treaties are sufficiently detailed, they are not always clear, which leads to the need to interpret what I and other HEMA practitioners today believe the master of hundreds of years ago wanted to share. A phenomenon that does not occur in martial arts with a living (even if usually oral) tradition, because there is a living master, contemporary with you, who can instruct you.

But this peculiarity of HEMA also attracts me. It's like solving a puzzle. With the satisfaction at the end when all the pieces fit together and you feel like you've found what was hidden and unclear before...

Besides these two things (historical sources and interpretation), what I like most about HEMA is the fighting itself. When I'm dueling an uncooperating opponent that is trying their hardest to win. Because a duel is an event with a lot of complexity, which requires (correct!) decisions made very quickly, endurance, strength, speed and a lot of technique if you want to win. And when I manage to combine all these factors properly, it's a unique feeling. It really is an art!

Of course, a big part of the satisfaction of practicing HEMA is, for me, also meeting interesting people who are equally passionate about the field. Which I can say has happened frequently so far and I have not been disappointed.

An example being another living legend, Matt Galas, one of the actual founders of HEMA and the person who has helped develop it into a worldwide phenomenon, who came to Romania several times and who shared his vast experience and knowledge with us. To whom we are always grateful for his work. 

But not only him! The HEMA community is full of passionate, trailblazing people that I have had the pleasure and honor to meet. Too many to  burden this page even further. I just want to say that I thank them too for the transfer they made to us, the less experienced!  

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

I also aim to grow the Romanian HEMA community as much as possible and train many new people in HEMA.

My other hobbies include: humor (heh ;) ), music (listening, composing and performing; in the latter case on guitar, drums and vocals), hiking, books (mostly sci-fi and fantasy), computer games, football and boxing. Of all of these, I would say that I am most efficient at ... not having time to do them all. :D But it's ok that I'm trying to, right?!

All the best and I look forward to seeing you at training!

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