Russian Martial Arts are taught by several different schools. Traditional Russian fist fighting has been there from first millennium A.D. In 1832, the Russian Empire outlawed it. It however gained popularity again after the Soviet Union’s breakup. The government focused more on creating combat sports and military hand-to-hand combat systems at the time of the Soviet era. Some of the styles at that time were Sambo and Systema.

Russian Martial Arts
Russian Martial Arts. Sambo

The interest towards Russian martial arts re-awoke at around 1980, after the fall of Communism. Several new styles that were based on folk styles came into picture via the ethnographic study. Some of the styles that were most famous during that era are Buza and the Russian All-Round Fighting. Buza involves old local village dances and fights. The Russian All-Round Fighting, on the other hand, involves old Cossack saber fencing, old folk styles and Soviet era styles.

Russian martial arts are reflections of large borders, a mixture of several cultures within the country and a long history of external and internal conflicts. For a long time, many European and Asian martial arts were first absorbed, then mixed and finally developed into some fighting systems, which were unique to the military and the tribal regions of Russia. Currently, these systems are grouped into four main styles.

Styles of Russian Martial Arts

Fist Fighting Russian martial arts

Villages used to hold competitions during festivals and holidays, where boys and men of all age groups participated. The opponents took turns while striking each other and exchanged a single blow at any given time through the use of bare fists. The other bouts had some similarity with the modern boxing and the opponents delivered several blows as they defended themselves using the hands. In whichever category of the bout, the declaration of the winners was done after the first blood, a fall or after one of the fighters quit.

Sambo Russian Martial Arts

It heavily borrows from martial art judo of Japan. The Soviet Red Army developed it in around 1920 and has three styles: combat sambo, freestyle sambo and sport sambo. Sport sambo uses ground work, submission and throwing and has some similarity with the Judo and the Olympic wrestling. Combat sambo features some military styles where bent joint and chocking locks are legal. It allows neck cranks and leg locks with no strikes.

Systema Russian Martial Arts

This is a combat-oriented art which uses firearms and knife fighting on top of grappling. The fighter makes use of the body levers of his opponent’s elbow, ankle, knee, waist, shoulder or neck so as to have control as well as a combat advantage. Many Russian Spetnatz prefer to use it a combat art.

Skad Russian Martial Arts

It is a new martial art that emphasizes the techniques and tactics of stick fighting. The length of the sticks ranges from 1 – 4 feet. Skad fighters use different techniques of stick fighting and they don’t use any protective equipment against the unarmed and armed opponents. Chokes, locks and grappling are used in case the fight moves towards the ground.

These styles have gained popularity not only in Russia but in the entire world. All you need to do is master them.

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