Punches in Russia: from folk entertainment to professional sports

In Russia, bare-knuckle fighting as a sport is rapidly developing and gaining popularity. This discipline is reaching a new level, and on May 27 in Moscow, in an arena that can host more than 4,000 people, the Top Dog tournament will be held in our country, which will become a major event in the world of punches. This sport has traveled several millennia, was presented at the ancient Olympic Games, fought in Russia after Baptism, and is now revived in Russia with an official status.

“Iliad” and Olympic champion Pythagoras

Even in ancient times, people elevated the practice of fist fighting to the degree of discipline – military and sports.

Archaeologists have found evidence that percussion martial arts were common in Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. And later, they became art in ancient Greece.

In ancient times, much attention was paid to physical development, and this cult of the body is described in many literary sources that have survived to this day. As for the fists, for example, Homer spoke of them in the Iliad:

“… the guest is returning home
It can communicate how different we are from people
We are masters at punching
Fight an agile run in a grueling struggle.

It is known to be in 688 BC. to. punches were included in the old Olympic Games program. A legend can be found in mythologies about how Apollo beat Pharbes to the fist, and sacrifices to Apollo, the patron of the arts, before competitions may indicate that the ancient Greeks perceived fighting as an art.

In ancient Greece there were palestras – especially gymnastics schools, where they taught types of wrestling, including punches.

And one of the first Olympic champions in the fist was the scientist, mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras.

Fist fun – a manifestation of courage

It is impossible to determine the date of formation of fist traditions in Russia. From the sources that have reached us, we know that the first mention of fists in 1048 was made by the historian Nestor. And the Tale of Bygone Years tells the legend of the hero Jan Usmoshvets, who, before the battle with the Pechenegs, killed a bull with his bare hands.

It is also known that in those days there were not only fun, but also competitions where people could show their courage and fearlessness, as it was believed that every man should have military skills.

Traditionally, punches in Russia were held on holidays and reached their greatest scale at Maslenitsa. There were one-on-one or “wall-to-wall” fights, but much more often they went “street to street,” “village to village,” or even “settlement to settlement.” Moreover, they were joined not only by warriors, but also by ordinary people and merchants. And the battles themselves were strictly regulated, after the fun the opposing sides held joint banquets.

fist fight in russia

At the same time, they tried to fight it after the Baptism of Russia, although the tradition of punching for the holidays was preserved for a long time. This was due to the fact that such entertainments were considered echoes of paganism – among the Slavs Perun was the patron saint of warriors and martial arts. Until a certain point, the struggle against this tradition was conditional, but at the Vladimir Cathedral in 1274, Metropolitan Kirill decided to excommunicate the participants in the fists from the church and not bury the dead. But if the clergy actively protested such competitions, then the secular authorities turned a blind eye to them for the time being.

In addition, the attitude to fists largely depended on who once headed the state. Thus, Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich was their ardent opponent, and his grandson Peter I, on the contrary, believed that the battles showed “the courage of the Russian people.” Elizabeth Petrovna, St. He banned fistfights in St. Petersburg and Moscow, and World War II. Catherine encouraged them, especially her favorite Count Grigory Orlov, as she was physically strong and amused herself by fistfighting with famous fighters.

Moreover, Orlov and his brothers took the unification of Russian fists so seriously that they gave a special award for the best fist fighters, one star.

But after that, interest in competitions again waned: in the 19th century, under Nicholas I, they were completely banned.

Withering of the fists and new flowering

The events of 1917 completely changed the way of life of the Russian people, this also affected the fistfights, which were considered the patriarchy of the tsarist era. They did not become a sports competition and gradually disappeared. Although interest in traditional folk physical entertainment was revived during the Great Patriotic War, this almost did not affect martial arts. However, the elements of punch were defined by the actor and boxer Konstantin Gradopolov in his work on the rules of group boxing, in which he recorded continuity with Russian wall-to-wall fights.

Only in the 90s of the last century, the styles of Slavic martial arts, which included punches, began to revive, schools appeared. But literally, until recently, fistfights in Russia and the CIS could only take place on an illegal level. Everything changed after the introduction of the Top Dog league in December 2019. And already in November 2021, after 10 tournaments and thanks to the joint work of the organizers and the Russian Boxing Federation, punches were recognized as an official sport in Russia.

Moscow will host the Top Dog FC 14 tournament on May 27, and today this is the culmination of the development of fist fighting in modern Russia. The founder and chairman of the league, Danil Aleev, announced the tournament in an interview with socialbites.ca, emphasizing that the best fighters will compete in this tournament and the long-awaited middleweight title fight will be the highlight of the night. The tournament will be held at Dinamo Volleyball Arena.

“This is our first major tournament in Moscow. We had a similar experience in Kazan but now we are entering the arena twice the size of Kazan, more than 4,000 tickets will be sold. We’ve also compiled a dream card because our stars will be there.

And, of course, we are waiting for the fight for the title between athlete Sergey “Kratos” Kalinin, who received the status of fighter of the year 2021, and Naim “Samurai” Davudov, the youngest champion of our organization. Everyone is looking forward to this fight, it is not clear who will win until the last moment.

There will also be 14 fights, and it is difficult to divide them into preliminaries and main card, because each of them deserves to be on the air, and it will be difficult to predict the winners in each of them, ”the director said. Flame.

Tickets for the TDFC14 tournament can be purchased through the service. Kassir.Ru.
Best Dog VKontakte: https://vk.com/topdogfc

Top Dog on Telegram: https://t.me/TopDogFC

Moscow is gearing up to host Top Dog’s biggest boxing tournament, with middle division champion Naim “Samurai” Davudov defending the title against Sergei “Kratos” Kalinin. On the eve of the event, socialbites.ca tells about the history of punches in our country and how they gained the status of a professional sport.

Source: Gazeta


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