It’s time for a special 10th episode of Interviews with Fencers.
We said that we need something special for the 10th episode, and once we saw Maurine’s questions, we knew that we found this “special” something.
What we like about Maurine Brimau is not only that she’s a fantastic fencer, a promotor of HEMA and that she has a good sense of humor, she’s also tackling the issues that are facing our beloved art in these days.
Enjoy in this entertaining interview.
Table of Contents
- When did you begin studying Historical European martial arts and how old were you then?
- Who was your first teacher?
- What made you want to do HEMA and not Olympic fencing or any other martial art? Were there any special circumstances surrounding your discovery of HEMA?
- What are your thoughts on fitness and how do you stay in shape?
- What is your favorite strike and why? If it’s not a secret.
- What is your favorite fencing manual and why?
- What is your greatest achievement? Tell us about an accomplishment you are most proud of.
- What is the one piece of equipment you can’t live without?
- Has practicing HEMA benefited you in everyday life as well?
- What do you do when you are not practicing HEMA?
- Who’s your idol, someone that gives you motivation?
- As a professional, what advice would you give to a beginner interested in HEMA?
- Instead of a question, I’ll try to point a few things out.
- Final thoughts
When did you begin studying Historical European martial arts and how old were you then?
It started almost four years ago; I was 20 then. I discovered HEMA in Poitiers (west of France), and two years ago I moved in the center of the country to practice in a professional sports hall (Warrior Box).
Who was your first teacher?
My first teacher was a guy called Denis, who’s a very good friend of mine ever since. He used to practice in Paris before he moved in Poitiers. He chose to create a fencing group which quickly became a warm group of friends of mine. We enjoyed hanging out, we laughed all the time, even when we were in the tournaments. We had a very good time.(Cyril Hochmann vs. Maurine Brimau)
What made you want to do HEMA and not Olympic fencing or any other martial art? Were there any special circumstances surrounding your discovery of HEMA?
I started HEMA and buhurt at the same time. Actually, I went to a medieval festival to get some information about armour, because I’m writing a fantasy novel… So this armoured fighting attracted me at first.
Then I found out that there were many ways to practice with a sword. I found my way in both buhurt and HEMA, but at some point, I had to choose between the two (economically speaking mainly). I picked longsword because I’m feeling good with it. And I’ve never regretted this decision because I’ve found true friends on this path.
What are your thoughts on fitness and how do you stay in shape?
I love fitness, but my motivation doesn’t agree with me that much… It goes up, and then down, sometimes I’m into an everyday routine, and other times I’m just too lazy to do anything. That varies depending on the before/after a competition, the weather, my work, and sometimes what’s new on Netflix.
What is your favorite strike and why? If it’s not a secret.
I have two: I have no idea how to explain the first one, and the other is that I jump to strike in the top of the head. The secret is that I never admitted to myself that none of them really work.
What is your favorite fencing manual and why?
I’m actually practicing German Longsword because that’s what my instructors teach me, but I’m so bad with the names of the techniques… It’s more like “I do this thing with the blade and then BAM in the head, right?”
What is your greatest achievement? Tell us about an accomplishment you are most proud of.
I won a prize for being the best judge in a French competition, in 2018. I also enjoy working on improving my judging skills because judging in HEMA is a real issue. That was a true achievement for me, and I’m proud of this more than on any of my medals.
What is the one piece of equipment you can’t live without?
Is the sword part of the equipment?
Has practicing HEMA benefited you in everyday life as well?
I guess I gather confused looks from the guys who I carshare with when I have my sword with me.
Sometimes I think I could solve my everyday life problems with a big thrust in the head. So I guess not.
What do you do when you are not practicing HEMA?
I eat, sleep, and work as a literary director.
Who’s your idol, someone that gives you motivation?
I could have said Thomas Lobo, but actually, he’s equal with Inigo Montoya in Princess Bride. “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!”(Inigo Montoya)
As a professional, what advice would you give to a beginner interested in HEMA?
Can I really be called a professional? Where are the sponsors? Send me some money! Haha.
My advice for the beginners is that you should look for the real fluidity of the movements. Don’t overthink, and try to let yourself go with the sword and its momentum.
No matter where your arms and feet go, they will find their place depending on what you want to do and where you want to go with your sword.
Be instinctive and confident. Work slowly at the beginning and find someone who’s ready to work slowly with you. Finding a good partner is like 50% of the job done. Get rid of your fears and go!
Instead of a question, I’ll try to point a few things out.
It’s about women’s place in HEMA.
This is a real issue for many of us: do we have to keep organizing women’s competitions alongside mixed competitions?
Why are we not organizing men’s only events?
Here is something that we have talked about with a lot of girls.
I think that we have to consider that HEMA is a booming discipline, and all of us are currently building it up, with different values.
We have to think a lot about many things, and I do actually worry about the different choices that will be made in the future.
Also, we have to be inspired by other sports to give a proper answer. I’m really open to discussion about this because I really feel involved, now I’ve met a lot of girls, all with defendable points of view.
That’s it! We’re delighted that Maurine decided to do an interview with us. Her story is amazing, and I think we all need to appreciate the work she is putting into studying and promoting historical fencing arts. Many Thanks, Maurine for this fantastic interview.
We’ll be back next Sunday, with a new interview!
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