Interview with Majken Roelfszema
From April onwards we will be posting an interview with one of our members on our website monthly. In this way, we hope to show the world what is happening in the Dutch world of H.E.M.A.
Majken Roelfszema is our first candidate. This 22 year old longsword fencer won a silver medal in the ladies competition in Helsinki, making her the first Dutch woman to win a medal in a Nordic League Competition. Having become curious about what motivates her as a fencer, we decided to ask her a few questions.
How did you end up in H.E.M.A.?
In my second study year a friend of mine wanted to go to sword fighting training, but didn’t know anybody there. Very scary of course. So, he asked if I wanted to join him and I did. I stayed because of the great group of people. Only later did I learn what H.E.M.A. is all about and did I realize it’s fantastic.
Where do you train and what do you train?
I mostly train in longsword with a focus on Ringeck at MARS in northern Netherlands. Sometimes we also train with dagger and ringen. In the past year we have trained a lot with dussack in our free hour, and we also organized a dussack tournament when one of our oldest members left.
What do you like about your club/school/organization?
MARS has very friendly atmosphere but also trains hard. The shared fascination for this sport, love for pushups and the great group dynamic make MARS the best sports club that exists, to me.
What do you train for?
I train because I want to be a better swordfighter. That includes wanting to be physically fit, have good control and balance and wanting to be able to use the right technique at the right moment. Tournaments, to me, are an important way to test if I have mastered techniques under pressure, and to see how fast I can make choices.
Do you also study manuscripts?
I bought my first book about swordfighting not too long ago, which I am currently studying. I’ve also studied the zettel. I wouldn’t say that I’ve studied a lot of manuscripts, but I expect to be spending more time doing so.
What are your ambitions?
I’d like to win a tournament, but above all I think it’s important to fight, according to my own definitions, technically. That means, amongst other things, trying to take the vor only when I can (and when I have it) and not by simply trying to be faster.
What are your expectations for the future of H.E.M.A.?
H.E.M.A. will continue to grow. I think H.E.M.A. will come to be seen as a real sport more and more, partially because instructors are becoming more official and structured. However, I do hope that we will keep plenty of room for discussion about manuscripts and about what specific movement is used by what specific bit of text. Apart from that, I hope that there will never be an official European or World Championship, because the tournament structure as it is now has its charm, but also because it’s very difficult to determine what makes a good swordfighter.
What are you proud of?
A while ago, I had a lot of difficulty getting the hang of swordfighting, and I thought about quitting. I didn’t. Besides that, I started off thinking pushups were horrible, but by now I enjoy them and wouldn’t want to miss them. Burpees, on the other hand, haven’t won me over yet.
What is your dream?
It’s my dream to be a serious contender at Swordfish in a couple of years. I’d like to be able to see the big names like Kristian Ruokonen and Carl Ryrberg as rivals.
We thank Majken for her time and wish her a lot of luck!