Dear friends, we are very happy to announce that we are back in the game this year with a new event: Optimus HEMA Challenge, an entire weekend full of educational and fun activities with swords and friends. Join us in Bucharest on 27-29 September.

Why “HEMA Challenge”?
Because we want to offer a fun and challenging experience for all HEMA practitioners – both scholars and fighters – we decided to try out a new and less-traditional event format that includes activities such as a dueling game and a HEMA knowledge quiz, apart from the traditional workshops and lectures that will be held by renowned HEMA instructors; 

We want everyone to get the chance to win something so points earned in the event activities will be exchanged for “prize boxes” containing various HEMA products, vouchers and other gifts offered by the event sponsors. The full list of prizes will be available during the event.



We will start the instructor announcements with a gentleman that is very close to us, both geographically and in spirit: Mr. Miroslav Lesichkov from Bulgaria, who will teach sword and buckler and biomechanics of the fight.

From an early age Miroslav Lesichkov trained various martial arts and combat sports – boxing, karate, aikido, Katori Shintō-ryū and sports fencing.

He served with the Bulgarian Army, achieving the rank of junior lieutenant and serving as a platoon commander.

After several years of historical study and research, Mr. Lesichkov created MOTUS School of Historical Swordsmanship Школа за Историческа Фехтовка MOTUS / School of Historical Swordsmanship in 2003. Its core curriculum, both armed and unarmed, is based on the Liechtenauer tradition and the arming sword, sword and buckler and longsword.

Since then he has presented numerous lectures, workshops and demonstrations in various national museums, educational institutions and other events throughout the country. Mr. Lesichkov has also been a consultant and fighting instructor for a historical film production – the Bulgarian film “Voevoda”.

In 2015 he was invited as an instructor and taught two classes at the 10th edition of the Western Martial Arts Workshop in Racine, USA. In 2018 Mr. Lesichkov had the pleasure of holding a sword and buckler seminar for the numerous HEMA clubs in Athens, helping them set off on their study of this weapon. And in 2019, he taught basic biomechanics of the fight at the first Turkish HEMA event, Hematolia in Istanbul.

Andrei Xuereb is not just an instructor for sidesword at Optimus HEMA Challenge, we could say he is a muse, the MHFA International Meeting was an inspiration and we couldn’t claim this new format without crediting this amazing event in Malta and Andrei for his advice.

Andrei Xuereb is the person responsible for the introduction of Historical Fencing as a martial art (HEMA) in the Maltese islands, having founded the Mithras Swordfight Club in 2005 and the Malta Historical Fencing Association in 2009. Starting with Sport fencing in 1997, later studied classical foil, epee and sabre, Andrei later totally devoted himself to the research and practice of Historical Fencing and European Martial Arts. For years he is a student of the methods taught by his teacher Andrea Lupo Sinclair, founder and technical director of the A.S.D (FISAS) in Italy.

Andrei earned his teaching qualifications after passing public examinations under the FISAS system, in Longsword, Side Sword, Rapier and Sabre. He is the first non-Italian student to be qualified in the FISAS system.
He has also researched and taught classes in Sword & Rotella, Rapier & Cape as well as the Partizan and has taught classes in various events in Italy, England, Scotland and of course Malta, where he teaches twice a week Malta Historical Fencing Association

He is often invited to give lectures and public demos in Museums and various events as well as TV appearances describing Historical fencing.

We continue the introductions of Optimus HEMA Challenge’s instructors with a real knight, Sir. Mishaël Lopes Cardozo who is coming all the way from the Netherlands to teach us more about Longsword fighting.

Mishaël Abia Lopes Cardozo (1972) is an actor, HEMAist, musician and an artist. He started his international HEMA career in 2008 and since then he has taught at over more than 20 international HEMA events and is considered one of the leading authorities on historical fencing in the world. He teaches on every continent and operates under the name Mishaël Lopes Cardozo SWORDSPORT. He is founder and president of the company AMEK (http://www.amek.org – HEMA, Event & Film).

Mishaël studies a variety of weapon discipline and traditions, but his primary focus is 15th century German fighting tradition, and secondary is Italian dagger and wrestling tradition. His other specialism is the designing and execution of ‘flow drills’ with one weapon and two weapons and the designing of HEMA training exercises.

In 2008 Mishaël was knighted in Holland for his contribution to the reconstruction of the historical European martial heritage in the lowlands. He was elevated in the Hall of Fame for Martial Arts in 2014. He played in among others Richard the Lionheart (Lionsgate), the mega series Game of Thrones (HBO) and has now scored a formidable role as King Hakon in the legendary TV series Vikings (History Channel).

Mishaël’s stated goal is to return the European martial arts to their lost glory, both as an art form and as a viable fighting system in the modern fighting sport world. Apart from acting and running five HEMA clubs in the Netherlands he is also in demand motion capture for computer games, stunts and fight choreography. Mishaël provides, both locally and internationally, lectures and seminars, demonstrations, workshops. He is also a talented painter of fine arts (surrealism) and a musician (guitar and drums). He resides in Haarlem Netherlands.

He conquers who conquers himself

We conclude the introductions with another amazing instructor from the Balkans, veteran event organizer and possibly the owner of the most epic beard & mustache, Mr. George Zacharopoulos from Greece who will be teaching La Verdadera Destreza Rapier at Optimus HEMA Challenge.

George is studying and training in Historical European Martial Arts for almost fifteen years now. He started with the longsword (German tradition) and then expanded to the rapier (Italian & Spanish) and a variety of other arms.

He is currently focusing on La Verdadera Destreza (under the Academia da Espada of maestro Ton Puey) and he is an administrator / instructor at Academia da Espada Hellas. He continues to teach HEMA regularly at S.C. Ακαδημία Οπλομαχίας / Academy of Hoplomachia and Marxbrüder Guild Hellas. Provost of the HISTORICAL FENCING AFFILIATES and founder of the Athens Bartitsu Society 1900 .

Previous experience includes Ninjutsu, Combined Chinese and Filipino Boxing (by Angelos Fasois), Sport Fencing, Sport Archery. He is also certified Knife Survival Instructor of the Reality Based Personal Protection system by Jim Wagner.
He has participated in HEMA events & tournaments and taught workshops in Greece, Europe and the USA. Co-author (with Chrysovalantis Renos Tampakakis) of the first book for HEMA in Greek, entitled “The Knightly art of the Sword” by Batsioulas Publications in 2011. His latest book, a translation in English of Philipp Müller’s “Theoretical and Applied introduction to Swordsmanship” (ΘΕΩΡΗΤΙΚΗ ΚΑΙ ΠΡΑΚΤΙΚΗ ΕΙΣΗΓΗΣΙΣ ΤΗΣ ΣΠΑΘΑΣΚΙΑΣ) 1847 military sabre treatise is out by Fallen Rook Publishing.

Member of HEMAC and secretary of the Hellenic Federation of Historical European Martial Arts.


The schedule may still suffer some small changes until the event date.


“The Challenge” allows participants to develop their own strategy, by challenging each other to duels, scheduling matches at their own convenience and judge other players’ duels. Rankings will be made for 4 main weapons: longsword, sidesword/arming sword, rapier and saber, as well as an additional mixed-weapon ranking. The top players will be selected in order to compete against each other in the final duels on Sunday, for fame and glory and a symbolic prize. We all want to smack each other with swords, but we have to do it safely and controlled, so detailed rule-sets for dueling and scoring with each weapon will be published soon in annex “Weapon Dueling Guidelines” (click button)


Friday we will open the event at our training hall in building A, 5th floor of Palatul Universul – Strada Ion Brezoianu 23-25, București.

Saturday and Sunday we will be seeing each other at Strada Dionisie Lupu 46, 030167 Bucharest, Romania


We aren’t offering any organised sleeping arrangements, but we managed to obtain some discounted prices from the nearby hotels. Check out https://www.omegahouse.ro/ and https://hotel-boutique-monaco.bucharest-hotel.com/en/ and if you’re interested, let us know in the Registration Form so we can send you details and a discount code.
There are also plenty of apartments in the area but either way, we recommend that you don’t take too long with your booking, there’s a music festival in the same week as our event and rooms are in high demand.


In order to register, please provide the personal information requested in the form (click the button below) and we will send you an e-mail with the payment details. Please note that, according to Romanian Legislation, all participants to sporting events must provide the event organizers a medical certificate which attests that they are in good health and able to participate in sports activities.

Tickets are non refundable, however they are transmissible, please contact us on e-mail and we will figure something out.

Our Sponsors

An event organised and delivered by Societas Milites Getae

Also made possible with help from our friends and sponsors: