Hand-to-hand fight has always served as a kind of visiting card of the Russian Army. Even now in the era of the predominance of firearms, it often becomes the last and decisive argument able to turn the tide of any battle. The term “Russian army” emphasizes not the national composition, but belonging to the multinational Russian State. The fearless attacks of Ingush horsemen, the rapid raids of Tatar regiments, and the desperate courage of Bashkir soldiers inspired the enemy with no less horror than the "Russian bayonet"…this list can be continued infinitely! Each nation of the Russian Empire had its own military traditions and combat techniques, and skills honed for centuries. Each nation had made its own invaluable contribution to the formation of the concept “Russian hand-to-hand fight”.
Any national culture has three necessary components – material culture, moral culture and physical culture. The physical culture, which largely determines the Russian national identity, includes the skill of single combat from ancient times.
Hand-to-hand fight is complex and versatile concept. On one hand, any battle which includes the use of edged weapon can be called hand-to-hand fight. On the other hand, the modern sense of this term means rather one of the styles of single fight which characterized by the presence of:
• Methods of protection and attack (throws, hits, painful and suffocating techniques)
• Training methods for training athletes and employees of various security and law enforcement agencies
• Methods of psychological training, including the development of concentration and relaxation skills
• Unified rules for training and sport duels
Hand-to-hand fight has two main directions – applied and sport. Applied direction is practiced in the army and different special divisions. Practically there is no limitation for methods that are used in the army, the main task of the soldier is to disable the enemy or put the opponent out of action with guarantee. Another thing is the use of techniques by law enforcement agencies. Depending of the task the techniques may vary, but in any case the opponent shouldn’t be injured and even more killed. That’s why the training process is based on the development of required skills.
The sport direction differs from applied one, first of all, by the limitation related to the safety of the fighters. Dangerous traumatic tricks and hits are prohibited, protective equipment is used, evaluation system of the action of fighters is introduced, and duel time limit for fights and tournaments is established.
As a full-fledged sports and applied martial art hand–to-hand fight was formed in the seventies of the last century. The specialists from the USSR State Security Committee became the authors of the style. They analyzed the tremendous experience gained over millennia of the development of various styles of martial arts and put it on the latest achievements of psychology, biology and medicine. As a result, the most perfect applied style appeared, able to resist the “Eastern” and “Western” schools.
Soviet and Russian school of hand-to-hand fight is not as well-known as its numerous “Eastern” and “Western” competitors. And it is not a matter of efficiency, but only of the enormous funds spent on advertising and marketing. In many countries (a classic example is South Korea) the promotion of national forms of fight was raised to the rank of priority state programs. Time, however, puts everything in its place, and the combat system, which was born in a great country, occupies a worthy place in sport arenas and training halls.
Hand-to-hand fight did not arise on an empty place, but became the natural continuation of the military practices and traditions of many generations of Russian warriors – from the bogatyrs of pre-Mongol Russia to the soldiers of the Great Patriotic War. The history of hand-to-hand fight is inseparably linked with the history of Russia and, by following this connection, one can see and understand the source of its true strength.
Professional ancient warriors with outstanding physical strength and special combat skills are usually called bogatyrs. Actually, the word “bogatyr” itself has Turkic or Mongolian origin and came along with the Horde invasion. From the historical point of view, it should be more correct to consider the word “knight”, denoting a powerful and skilled warrior.
For a long time, historical science considered bogatyrs as fictional characters, who came from folklore. However, researchers noted the presence of many details and detailed “household” descriptions in the epics. It would be difficult to expect these details from a simple “fairy tale” story.
The epic theory received a crushing blow in the eighties of the last century, when it was proved that the personality of the monk Elijah Pechersky, whose relics rest in the Kiev Pechersk Lavra and the first Russian hero Ilya Muromets, was proved to be exact. The analyses showed surprising coincidence – physique, age and even the presence of childhood paralysis of the legs! Do you remember “sat on the stove thirty and three years”? Modern researchers also make parallels between other bogatyrs and real historical persons. So, Dobrynya Nikitich relates to the uncle of Prince Vladimir voivoda Dobrynya, and Alyosha Popovich – to Rostov boyar Alexander (Olesha) Popovich.
The existence of real prototypes confirmed the reality of a special class of professional warriors – the elite and, using modern terms, the special forces of the Russian army. “Spetsnaz motives” can be really seen in the actions of bogatyrs – fulfillment of the particularly complex tasks, the use of non-standard methods, effective actions alone or by small forces against a great number of opponents. Thanks to the natural physical strength, faith in God, living life in accordance to the foundations of the Ortodox faith, moral and strong willed qualities (again use the modern term), knowledge of tactics and strategy of warfare, and, also, having techniques of hand-to-hand fight, bogatyrs reached the top of the military art.
Unlike their northern fellows, the Vikings, who considered to be in a special state of a “fighting trance” as the best way of fighting and despised all sorts of “tricks”, the bogatyrs kept cold head during the battle and actively used a wide variety of defense and attack methods. In that they were more like representatives of the classic “Eastern” martial art schools. For example, one of the “main” folk bogatyrs Alyosha Popovich did not have special physical abilities, according to some sources, even suffered from a limp, but try to meet him in a fight! The bogatyr was nimble, “evasive”, owned cunning tricks that allowed him to deal with much stronger opponents. Obviously, this historical prototype had exactly these qualities which kept his memory alive.
Certainly, the epics were much more hyperbolized, many of the details were made by later authors, that’s why conclusions about the very existence of bogatyrs, as well as their fighting techniques and tactics, should be done on the basis of known historical facts and general logic of military art.
For professional warriors the skill to master the weapons was vital necessity which meant the existence of special training system. The training concerned as ordinary squads and so the representatives of the nobility from their childhood. In general, they became the prototypes of the epic bogatyrs. One of the most famous and undoubted historical examples is the Great Prince Alexander Nevskyi who was canonized and sainted for his righteous life. From childhood he studied military science, participated in the battles, had a good command of weapons and had uncommon physical strength. According to the legend, the weight of his sword was seventy-two kilograms! Let’s make a discount on folk art, but nevertheless, it should be recognized that before us the description of an extraordinary warrior!
Children’s armor designed for the sons of Russian princes testifies to a serious and systematic approach to the education and training of soldiers. Real exemplars are presented in the Armory of the Moscow Kremlin.
Legends also describe “udaletsky” fun – training and sports battles are described in the epics as well as “practical” trainings, when a warrior went to the field and called an equal opponent for a fight from the troops of the enemy (following “epic” terminology such practice was called “polyakovaniye”). The oldest literary and historical source “The Tale of the Time Years”, according to the interpretation of historian S.M. Solovyov, directly confirms the existence of sport and demonstrative competitions of hand-to-hand fight - “… we see a place fully occupied and a lot of people there, suppose they start to push each other…” Kostomarov also wrote the same, describing wrestling and fist fights competitions as a “fun”, amusement since ancient times…”
The structure of the Russian army (here it is appropriate to speak of pre-Mongol period), with the presence of “bogatyrs outposts” standing separately in the steppe, initially meant the leading of the battle with a numerically superior (often many times) enemy. The task of the outpost was to delay the advance of the enemy as much as possible and warn the cities about the beginning of the raid. Such tactic was possible only in the case of perfect mastery of the art of battle, as outposts did not have powerful defenses, and surviving of garrison depended only from the individual skill and strength of mind of warriors.
From the practical point of view, combat training included skill of using cold weapon (with extremely wide arsenal – swords, spears, various battle axes, maces, bludgeons etc.), throwing techniques (“lifted and threw on the earth from all over…”), striking and kicking techniques, chocking techniques (“squeezed the enemy so hard that the spirit left his body…”).
Cold steel itself served as a fine stimulus to constant trainings and exercises. A strong blow with a sword requires not only physical strength but special technique, and certain types of weapons (like a bludgeon) without proper training can be dangerous for the fighter himself. Certainly, at that time, it was difficult to talk about the existence of the united “all-Russian” school of hand-to-hand fight. Training centers were localized in the squads (for royalty, boyar or, in the case of Novgorod, “republicans”).
Constant fighting and border clashes have helped to adopt the most effective techniques and methods of warfare. The unique position of Russian lands on the border with “eastern” and “western” world significantly enriched the arsenal of weapons and skills of Russian soldiers.
Practice of hand-to-hand fight in Ancient Russia was oriented, first of all, on skillful use of cold weapon, and mainly had military and applied character. Even the demonstration of the strength and youthful boldness at holidays, feasts and etc. had emphasized the potential military qualities, while the winner in fights was considered as a future defender.
The “Bogatyr” period of the development of Russian hand-to-hand fight laid the basis not only of the technique, but also of moral and ethical standards and rules, which later became a part of the Military Code of behavior of the Russian warrior. It was then that the service to the Fatherland, faith in God helped to establish the concept of honor, dignity, nobility, protection of the weak and fidelity to a word.
In Soviet historical science there were several personalities who were absolutely unfairly forgotten, and not fully appreciated. In the series of great figures of the past, it is necessary to note the Grand Duke of Moscow Ivan III Vasilyevich - the man, who became the actual founder of the Russian Empire, a talented and courageous commander, who largely laid the foundations of the Russian army, and, in particular, saved and enhanced the traditions of Russian hand-to-hand fight. Of course, we are talking about the Grand Duke not as a melee fighter, but as a politician that determined the direction of the development of the state for centuries forward.
Ivan III was the ruler who actually declared independence from the Golden Horde and began a policy of "collecting Russian lands." It was he who turned a small, even by European standards, Moscow Principality into a leading world empire. You can talk about his achievements, territorial gains and victories for a long time - in this regard, he was one of the outstanding Russian monarchs.
No less important is the fact, that he was able to change radically the psychology of the Russian elite and the Russian army who accustomed to use inferior position during the rule of the Horde. He revived and multiplied what was once characteristic of the Russian heroes - the psychology of the winners!
Moscow troops successfully resisted the Horde, fought back the Crimean Khan, and defeated the Polish-Lithuanian troops. The military successes of Ivan III and, subsequently, of his son Vasily the Third Ivanovich (the father of the Great Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible) was largely due to the advanced organization of the army. The basis of the Russian army was so-called local militia - in fact, a professional noble army.
Professionalism, above all, meant excellent mastery of military art. Despite the appearance of firearms (including heavy artillery) the main argument that decided the fate of the battle remained hand-to-hand combat.
Russian soldiers had to resist, on one hand, the Polish-Lithuanian troops, in which saber fight was raised to the rank of high art, and on the other - the Eastern neighbors, first of all, the Turkic-speaking people who had an ancient school of sports and applied fight (kuresh, belt fight and similar martial arts). The popularity of kuresh was so great that the Great Tamerlane made kuresh an obligatory element of training of his soldiers. Constant fighting forced willy-nilly to adopt the most effective techniques, and, as a result, a unique Russian style of hand-to-hand fighting was developed.
The basis of the "Russian style" was, first of all, an exceptional moral and psychological training, or what is also called the military spirit. Professional militaries, belonging to the elite of society, had the opportunity and serious motivation to improve their own skills and train their subordinates. Around this time there was a concept of "battle lackey". This phrase, cutting the ear of modern man, did not carry an offensive or derogatory sense, but meant a professional warrior, who was in social dependence and was a part of a nobleman’s personal squad. The life and well-being of the commander depended on the fighting skills and military spirit of his subordinates, which forced him to organize the preparatory-training process as efficiently as possible.
Besides specialized military training, the military capabilities of the army were positively affected by the very way of life of the Russian people, which completely and naturally absorbed the Orthodox faith as an integral part of human life. As an interesting and illustrative example, it is possible to give an expression "a man with a bear spear", which became known in Europe around the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries. This expression denoted the wild force resisting "civilized army" and, terrifying, first of all, by its wildness.
In this notion lies a misconception which then, more than once, bewildered “civilized world”. Yes, a bear spear is an exotic and widely used weapon due to its simplicity. However, the use of this weapon requires honed technique and excellent courage. Let's remember that initially bear spear was a "civilian" weapon intended for bear hunting. Can you imagine one-on-one duel - a man and a terrible beast, fast and powerful? The movements of the hunter are calculated to the nearest millimeter, and the slightest mistake threatens immediate death. Nerves are strained to the limit, but the head must remain cold, and the mind clear. Doesn't this remind you the description of the ideal soldier?
Another aspect of the internal life of the Russian state, which stimulated the development of hand-to-hand fight, was, somewhat unexpectedly, the innovations of judicial legislation. The so-called judicial duel was introduced into Russian law (by the way, it was actively used in European countries of that time). In some cases, the parties of the trial could require a duel to find out the truth. It was believed that God sees the truth and will not allow the wrong side to prevail. The rules and conditions of such court battles were strictly regulated. It was allowed, among other things, to set up a professional fighter instead of himself. However, initially unequal fights were forbidden, for example, a professional fighter against obviously weaker opponent, who didn’t have means to hire his fighter.
Anyway, such judicial system has led to the emergence of the institute of professional fighters, who were skilled ¬¬in holding "one-on-one" fights. Such fights could take place with or without weapons that caused the necessity of versatile training of duelists.
Judicial fights became spectacular and extremely popular events that attracted crowds of spectators. It, in turn, stimulated interest in training in martial arts. Such statement sounds little unexpectedly, and in mass consciousness is rather applicable to "Eastern" countries - to Korea, China and Japan. Nevertheless, there are authoritative confirmations of the popularity of fight (and, in modern understanding, with training process and competitive practice). Austrian diplomat Sigismund von Herberstein, who visited Moscow several times during the reign of Vasily the Third, wrote in his book "Notes of Moscow Affairs" about Russian fighting competitions: "...young men and boys try to knock each other down. Who will overcome more opponents, is the winner..." Please note, here we are talking about the systematic competitions with ongoing calculation of the results! If a foreigner during a relatively short stay in the country noted the universal passion for wrestling, it is possible to imagine how significant the scale of this phenomenon was. About a hundred and fifty years later, the Italian traveler Guido Miet was surprised to write about the special art of Muscovites in the fight, and their desire to learn and train. In other words, independent sources confirmed not only the existence of a special national fight, but also the existence of an organized training process!
Echoes of the fighting practices and traditions of the XV-XVI centuries can be seen in our time. The well-known term "fistfight" means nothing more than a competitive and demonstrative tournament held on the holiday of Maslennitsa (Shrovetide). Fist fights could be carried out both in group format (wall to wall), with the participation of two teams of fighters, and in the individual, which is a classic type of martial arts.
Fist fights had an unwritten, but undoubtedly honored (fighters who broke the rules were shamed) moral and ethical code that has absorbed the moral principles of Russian warrior. For example, the popular expression “do not hit a man when he is down” came from there. Traumatic blows, blows in the back and pain points were strictly forbidden. In some cases, breath-taking blows in the stomach and solar plexus were also under the ban.
Sports and show fights became not only an element of culture and national identity, but also a fine practical tool for military personnel training. Martial arts skills served as a great help for the subsequent mastering of the most effective applied techniques of defense and attack.
The next stage of the development of hand-to-hand fight in Russia is characterized by the active introduction of special fight training into the standard training program for ordinary soldiers.
The most mass and practical army weapon in the XVIII-XIX centuries was a gun with a bayonet attached. Until World War II, bayonet attacks by infantry units were considered as one of the main formats of warfare; so it is not surprising that the main practical military and sports discipline was bayonet fighting (in the cavalry units an alternative discipline was saber fight – close to reality version of fencing).
Emperor Peter the First and, later, the Great Russian generals, Rumyantsev and Suvorov, became pioneers in organizing mass training of soldiers in practical skills of conducting a real fight.
In 1770, with personal participation of Peter the Great, the first drill charter “Short Ordinary Doctrine” was issued in Russia, regulating, among other things, the principles of conducting and training bayonet fighting. This most important document was not just an instruction for fighting, but it fulfilled the most important mission — it became the basis for the systematic organization of army training.
A popular expression of Suvorov "bullet – fool, bayonet - well done" emphasizes the importance of melee fight. At the same time Suvorov paid attention not only to physical and special training, but also to the development of moral and strong-willed qualities of fighters. As a result, the enemies had to deal with well-trained highly motivated soldiers, possessing both individual and group actions.
In the first half of the XIX century, after the Decembrist uprising, the educational program in the cadet corps and the system of training of personnel of the armed forces were substantially revised. The concept of "gymnastics" was widely used, designed to develop in officers and soldiers qualities necessary for modern fight, such as strength, endurance, speed of the reaction. Detailed practical manuals, including the specialized guide "Military gymnastics and fencing on bayonets and sabers on horseback", were introduced into educational programs.
Unfortunately, the measures that had been taken were insufficient. The heavy defeat in the Crimean War not only revealed problems in the armaments and tactics of the Russian army, but also showed the discrepancy between the level of training of soldiers and the requirements of the modern warfare.
The appearance of long-range and accurate firearms, powerful artillery systems, the massive use of explosive grenades and shells, radically changed the tactics of the battles. Please note, for the first time the description of a bayonet battle was given in the Petrovsky Front Charter, where a musket or a gun with a fixed bayonet was considered as an element of group actions of the division. But times have changed, and usual for the Russian army formation bristling with bayonets became useless. Dense square formation could stop the attack of cavalry, but was powerless in front of the artillery fire.
As a result, the requirements for physical training significantly increased, and not group actions of the detachment, but individual skills became the basis of hand-to-hand fight. It can be said that to some extent the “era of the bogatyrs” has returned, when the military art of one person could decide the outcome of the battle.
To the credit of the Russian military authorities, serious conclusions were made. In the army, intensive gymnastic exercises were introduced everywhere as an obligatory discipline. In 1859 the manual "Rules for training troops in gymnastics" was published, which included, among other things, a section of training methods and hand-to-hand fighting techniques. Five years later, the military department issued a detailed guide "Rules for using bayonets in battle," designed to provide systemic training of troops.
Since that time bayonet fighting has become a separate discipline, effective techniques and tactical schemes were developed, experience was systematized, and competitions were held. In 1914 uniformed rules and regulations of competition for bayonet fighting were adopted.
To be good in using a bayonet had not only practical importance, but, like any other sport, developed the physical and moral qualities of the fighters.
Until the great Patriotic War, bayonet fighting, along with shooting, formed the basis of combat training first of the Russian and then of the Red Army. At the same time, even if we consider bayonet fighting an outdated discipline, in the days of heavy artillery, aircraft and tanks, the ability to wield weapons in hand-to-hand fight saved thousands of lives of the Soviet soldiers.
The rapid development of the theory and practice of hand-to-hand fight in Russia began at the beginning of the last century. Practical interest in building an effective martial arts application system has largely grown out from spectacular performances, such as French wrestling competitions ("classical" or, in the modern sense, "Greco-Roman"), traditionally held in the circus arena. The names of Ivan Poddubny or Grigory Kashcheev rattled around the country, and tournaments and championships were extremely popular. Any circus Chapiteau on tour around the country necessarily had a professional wrestler who challenged everyone from the public. By the way, Kashcheev began his sports career having defeated a circus wrestler, who offered 25 rubles to the person who could put him on the shoulder blades.
The peculiarity of the French wrestling was that the determining factor was physical strength. Most of athletes at the same time acted as circus strongmen. The same Kashcheev, having fantastic force, easily "broke up" technical opponents. Moreover, in most cases tournaments were not sporting, but demonstrative.
The French wrestling could not become a full-fledged basis for practical hand-to-hand fight, but it stimulated the public interest in martial arts.
The Russian-Japanese war, at all catastrophic political and military consequences, opened a mysterious eastern world for Russia, one of the phenomena of which was "jiu-jitsu" fight.
The modern vision of hand-to-hand fight in many ways connected with the personality of Viktor Afanasyevich Spiridonov. A fighting officer, a participant of the Russian-Japanese war, a talented athlete, a theorist of fight, and an experienced teacher - his name became the real legend of the Russian sport. Let's hurry to disprove some misconceptions related to the biography of staff-captain Spiridonov. He had never been in Japanese captivity and, therefore, never learned "jiu-jitsu" techniques there. He did not train in the Chinese monasteries, and did not get into mountains to meet kung-fu masters.
Spiridonov, along with English boxing and French wrestling, successfully mastered the “European” version of jiu-jitsu borrowed from Japan, and he mastered it deeply, with an understanding of the characteristics of each technique and the mechanism of its impact on the enemy.
The October revolution, at all tragedy of this period of the Russian history, gave Victor Afanasyevich an opportunity to do his favorite work, to fulfill himself as a theorist, and to practice hand-to-hand fight.
In 1919, at first he became a head, and then an instructor of boxing and fencing of the Moscow district courses of instructors of sport and pre-conscription training. Colossal practical experience prompted that none of the existing and available at that time types of martial arts could fully meet the requirements of modern warfare. In addition, the "new time" forced to refuse the ideology and terminology of the Russian Empire in all sectors of the young developing Soviet Republic, as sung in the song of the International:
“We will destroy the whole world of violence
To the ground and then
We will build a new world, our world –
Who was nothing will become everything. ”
Obeying the requirements of the time, Spiridonov began to create a new, synthetic style, including the most effective elements of jiu-jitsu, boxing, wrestling techniques, punches and kicks. Without using the term "hand-to-hand fight" (a rejection of the historical past), he introduces a new subject – "Defense and attack without weapons".
Victor Afanasyevich for the first time in Russian history made a classification of techniques, highlighting various mechanisms of influence – loss of balance (throws), impact on pain points (pain techniques), "compression" and "pressure" (asphyxiating techniques). The proposed classification and terminology turned out to be so successful that they still remained relevant in the practice of hand-to-hand fight.
In 1923, the “Dynamo” Sports Society was established (initially - the proletarian Sports Society “Dynamo”), one of the founders of which was Spiridonov. The system developed by him showed excellent results in the training of police officers, border guards and security officers, all of whom, by the nature of their service, had to fight in melee.
Spiridonov's main postulate was to choose the most effective techniques from all existing martial arts systems. External beauty and complex technique fulfillment are not the main thing! In a combat situation, rather simple techniques that are not designed to produce an external effect can be effective.
In the work of Spiridonov, “Self-defense without weapons,” the principles of the new system are formulated, and the most effective techniques, borrowed from various martial arts and adapted for practical use, are given. This is the principle of "synthetics" - take the best, develop and analyze the usage.
Spiridonov's system passed the main examination during the World War II. The Special Forces fighters, trained by it, showed the highest fighting effectiveness, and their knowledge of defense and attack techniques saved thousands of lives of the Soviet soldiers.
Together with V.A. Spiridonov, a tremendous contribution to the development and popularization of sambo, a self-defense system without weapons, was made by the talented athletes and coaches V.S. Oschepkov and A.A. Kharlampiev.
After the war, sambo became one of the most popular sports. Sambo techniques were included in the combat arsenal of army units, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, although the same style of fight in the army was traditionally called hand- to- hand fight.
In the mid-seventies, the Soviet Intelligence Agencies and the Armed Forces faced new challenges. At this time, a variety of martial arts, having "Eastern origin” and widely cultivated in the "West" (thanks to the development of the cinema) got a wide spread in the world. Best-trained process allowed in the shortest time to train fighters with very serious combat capabilities. Employees of the State Security Committee even more often had to deal with "objects" who knew karate, u-shu, kickboxing, taekwondo, etc. at a good level. The threat from international terrorism, which has well-trained "combat" personnel, became more and more real (the future development of the situation in the world fully confirmed the reality of this threat). The military received information about dramatically increased level of training of a potential opponent, and especially its special divisions.
All this required careful analysis and the development of measures to resist potential threats. KGB specialists were given the task of developing a fight system able to resist effectively all known types of single fights. The operational staff and fighters of the Soviet Special Forces had to get an advantage in a hand-to-hand fight with any opponent!
Again, the "synthetic" approach was extremely useful: take the best of the known and adapt it to the real conditions! KGB managed not only to choose the most effective methods of defense and attack, but also using achievements of sports sciences, medicine and physiology, transfer them to a new, higher level. New knowledge in the field of psychology made it possible to supplement physical and technical training with concentration and relaxation skills.
Thus, when creating a new type of martial arts, thousand-year experience of generations of fighters, and the latest scientific developments were used. As a result, "like a Phoenix bird from the ashes", an "old-new" style called “hand-to-hand fight” was born. And participation in competitions had become an obligatory condition for employees of special units of the KGB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, being an essential element of moral and psychological training.
Similar tasks were solved in the Army, with the only condition that hand-to-hand fight becomes a massive, mandatory form of training for the Airborne Forces and Special Forces in all military branches.
If the World War II became the main exam for sambo, then hand-to-hand fight passed the test by Afghanistan. Soviet Special Forces had to meet more than once in battles with the Mujahedeen, including those trained by elite Western programs. Our soldiers confirmed the full advantage of the new system by practice.
In the eighties of the last century, an adapted version of hand-to-hand fight was established as a combat sport – a new kind of sport. Unified rules were developed and the “Dynamo” Federation of Hand-to-Hand Fight was established in 1984. Every year competitions among various power departments for the prizes of the CA "Dynamo" were held, and hand-to-hand fight was included in the Spartakiada of security and law enforcement agencies. At the same time (mid-80's), in the Army, in the Airborne Forces, they begin to hold competitions in army hand-to-hand fight, later, including it in the Spartakiada of the armed forces.
The collapse of the USSR into independent states with all shocking political and economic changes crossed out the meaning of the life for a whole generation of the country, but devoted fans of hand-to-hand fight did not step aside, once again, having accepted the challenges of the time.
Hand-to-hand fight as a sport rose to a new level of development in the 90's, when martial arts professionals under the leadership of Valery Ivanovich Kharitonov and Gennady Anatolievich Korolev created the "Federation of Hand-to-Hand Fight of Law Enforcement Agencies", which was later transformed into a National Federation. Having passed the stages of development, becoming more and more popular among the civilian population, this kind of martial arts has spread throughout the country. As a result, hand-to-hand fight was accredited by the Russian Ministry of Sports and entered the section of non-Olympic sports. Since 2000, the Federation has acquired the status of the all-Russian public organization "Federation of Hand-to-Hand Fight" (PFH-to-HF), and today it holds more than 60 all-Russian competitions annually, attracting new fans.
The sports version has become a spectacular and bright sport. The Arsenal of modern hand-to-hand fighters includes the whole set of blows and wrestling actions, and the competition rules allow maintaining the maximum dynamics of the fights. The presence of protection makes it possible to strike strongly, and, at the same time, to avoid serious injuries. Traumatic techniques and blows are forbidden, including blows to the back of the head, and in the back.
The ideology of sports hand-to-hand fight means conducting of tough, but not cruel fights, on the basis of which the moral and ethical principles of hand-to-hand fight similar in spirit to unwritten rules of Russian "fist fighters" were formed. The main thing is respect for the opponent, nobility, honor, strength of mind, protection of the weak person, and justice.
Fortunately, during the fall of the Soviet Union, sports hand-to-hand fight, was maintained and developed by the efforts of enthusiasts, especially in the former Soviet Republics (today in independent states) where, like in Russia, it had its independent "post-Soviet" history of growth - the history of creation of National Hand-to-Hand Fight Federations.
The common past, a similar system of the state support and development of sports in general, as well as constant interaction of countries at the level of power ministries and departments, helped hand-to-hand fight to come to international level. In 2006, by the initiative of the National Federations, the Union of Public Associations "International Federation of Hand-to-Hand Fight" HSIF was established.
The main objectives of the Federation are:
• developing and promoting hand-to-hand fight in the world;
• encouraging healthy lifestyle and involvement of young people in physical education and sports;
• strengthening collaboration between athletes from different countries.
The main goal is the inclusion of hand-to-hand fight in the Olympic Games program.
Under the auspices of the Federation, World, European and Asian Championships, World Cups and international tournaments are regularly held among men and women, boys and girls in the age categories of 12-13 years, 14-15 years, 16-17 years, 18 years and older. Official competitions are held in two disciplines: "Fight" and "Self-defense". Since recent time, under the flags of Federation international competitions in army hand-to-hand fight have begun to take place.
Besides public interest, the real needs of the force structures in qualified personnel have not gone anywhere, and, therefore, hand-to-hand fight is an essential part of the service and applied training of the army special forces, as well as of employees of the security and law enforcement agencies of many countries.
Now hand-to-hand fight is going through a real Renaissance. As a combat sport it captures more and more supporters all over the world who want to fulfil themselves in the fighting arena. HSIF closely cooperates with representatives of the other types of martial arts who participate in the Federation's events with great interest. To promote hand-to-hand fight H2HFIGHT Champions League was created, which holds bright and spectacular tournaments according to the classic Western canons of the "fight" show. But only athletes who have achieved the highest results at the amateur level can participate in tournaments. Champions League fights are always a manifestation of the highest level of martial arts.
Hand-to-hand fight is bright and many-sided.
It is a perfect weapon in the arsenal of armies and special services!
It is a relentless sport competition!
It is a healthy lifestyle!
It is a thrilling show!
It is an instrument of harmonious development of the body and spirit!
It is strong moral principles!
It is part of history of our great country!
It is a way of life!
Everyone can choose for themselves their own, the only and unique definition of hand-to-hand fight.