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ELC Boston Student Spotlight: Dimitri Sakhnenko May 8th, 2015

Dimitri Sakhnenko is 22 years old from Kiev, Ukraine.

Most of us here at ELC Boston know Dimitri as the man who fights with swords. Of course, he is not a dangerous person; he is a member of the Irish Viking Brotherhood in Boston.  Don’t mistake it for an average club; being a Viking is a “lifestyle” according to the club’s leaders and members.  Dimitri came to Boston not knowing anything about this “lifestyle”, he had participated in fencing before, which is part of being a Viking, but nothing as intricate as this.  It wasn’t until he met his roommate from Italy, who knew about this club in Boston.  Fast forward almost two months later, and now Dimitri proudly calls himself a Viking and participates in fighting every Saturday.

What is a viking?

Well, most of us think back in time many years ago when we hear this word, but there is such a thing as a modern day Viking.  A Viking now, or at least an Irish Viking of Boston, is not just someone who likes to fight with swords, but someone who likes to get into character, and actually imagine himself/herself as a warrior.  It is more of a mindset.

Do men and women compete together?

Yes, men and women fight each other; you have to have good technique though because they are not just going to give anyone a sword.

Why do you like it?

My life is boring without fencing/being a Viking.  I was always thinking of doing some extreme sport, which is kind of like this. I like those things. In my childhood, I always imagined myself in medieval times as Lancelot.  My imagination is crazy.  It is important for me to have hobby that challenges me.  The Irish Vikings are different; they are fund, and they like shields and swords like me.

What is your role among the Vikings?

I am a warrior and sometimes spearman.

Do you have to wear a costume?

I don’t have a costume, but I wear gear to protect myself.

What do you do with the team after practice?

After each training we go to someone’s house and have a little party together, sometimes we go to a bar.  I like this part because a lot of people have told me that it is hard to make friends here in Boston, but these people were always nice to me and it is good to hang out with the locals.

Has anyone else from ELC asked to join the Irish Vikings?

Yes, people see the pictures on Facebook and then they come up to me and ask to join or see what it’s all about.  I have already brought a couple of students to my fights/meetings on Saturday and we all had fun.


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