The Russian fisticuffs - a fight or a valiant entertainment? We remember
Since school times lermontovsky “ daring merchant of the " Kalashnikov; not afraid to come for fisticuffs with the favourite guardsman of Ivan the Terrible though knew that in case of a victory execute him “ death fierce, shameful “.
Fisticuffs are known in Russia since ancient times. It is possible that originally they were carried out as part of special rituals in honor of god Perun who was considered as the patron of soldiers. After the Christianization of Kievan Rus` fisticuffs in which the church saw echoes of pagan rites appeared “ beyond the law “ but less popular they from it did not become.
In Russia accurately distinguished a usual fight and a duel “ on cams “ which was carried out by special rules. There were three main types of duels “ in private “ “ a wall on a wall “ and “ a stseplyalka - a dump “.
The most honourable fight was “ in private “. There was even a special category of fighters who preferred only it, without participating in “ walls “ and “ stseplyalka “. Names of such fighters were surrounded with legends, and many even remained in the history. In M. I. Pylyaev`s book “ Old life “ published in the middle of the 19th century, it is written about such fighters: “ Tula were considered as the Best of them in the thirties: Alyosha Rodimy, Nikita Dolgovyaz, Pokhodkina`s brothers, Zubov` family, Teresha Kunkin - they with honor were carried by merchants on the cities “.
In the ancient time fist duels were sometimes used as judicial, was considered that the won fighter confirmed the correctness. But such cases were rare as in similar situations duels with the weapon were preferred.
Fight “ in private “ also some noblemen as defeat in such duel was not considered as disgrace did not avoid. The count Grigory Orlov liking to try forces with the glorified fighters was the known kulachnik. And other famous athlete of that time, the general V. G. Kostenetsky, on the contrary, refused flatly to participate in duels, being afraid that he inadvertently will cripple or will kill the opponent. About its force legends went, in fights with French it was cut with a one-and-a-half broadsword which it was given from Armory, disorganizing opponents from a shoulder to a saddle. Were and “ lucky persons “ tried his fist. In one of fights of 1809 it beat out French from the Russian battery captured by them, working only with fists and an artillery bannik.
Rare kind of fight “ in private “ there was a duel “ blow on blow “. Actually, it was not fight, and a serial exchange of blows from which it was impossible to evade, it was only allowed to close hands the most weak spots. Blows were struck to a lot while someone from rivals was not hit from legs or did not recognize himself won.
Fight " was always considered as the most spectacular; a wall on a wall “ in which more than one hundred fighters could participate. Usually agreed about such fight in advance, coordinating the place and the number of fighters which could be unequal, but with an insignificant difference. Battled “ the village on the village “ “ the street on the street “ “ one part of the town against another “ “ merchants against loaders “ etc. M. I. Pylyaeva writes that “ a wall on a wall the Kazan clothiers were famous for the best fighters; Tatars were their usual rivals. In Kherson clothiers fought with Jews - Karaites. In Tula fights of armorers with posadsky are known; in Kostroma - debryan from sulyana “.
Traditionally fisticuffs were carried out in the winter from Nikola (on December 6) till combined Sunday, but for a similar entertainment Maslenitsa was considered as the main time. Most often the frozen river or the lake became the place of fight. Sometimes fight was divided into several stages: at first children, then young men fought, and after them fight of adult fighters began. Each team tried to have “ secret " weapon; - several strong “ a nadezha - it is fighting “ who originally did not participate in fight, remaining behind a system or among the audience. Only at turning points they engaged to break through the line of rivals. In each team there was the ataman (voivode) directing fight. The party which forced the rival to recede won.
Fight “ a stseplyalka - a dump “ it was carried out seldom and did not enjoy popularity. In this type of fight opponents did not observe a system and “ tuzitsya in all directions or in crowd “.
At fisticuffs certain rules were strictly followed: not to hit a man when he is down, disengaging not to finish, beat only with hands and belts are higher, to fist nothing, not to put in mittens. In passion of fight there were also violations, but it was strictly watched. The guilty fighter could be withdrawn from action, “ to disqualify “ for a certain time and to subject to a peculiar penalty.
In fisticuffs as main blows were considered: “ on sopatka “ - in the head, “ under a mikitka “ - on kidneys and a liver, “ in soul “ - in a solar plexus. It is natural that often fights did not do without serious mutilations and even death someone from fighters. The official power always fought against fisticuffs, but sometimes it were just formal statements. Ivan the Terrible liked to amuse himself a type of fist duels, and here his son Fedor strictly forbade them. Therefore at the end of the 16th century fist duels were practically not carried out.
In the middle of the 17th century Mikhail Romanov issued the special decree under which fist fighters it was necessary “ to imat and bring into the territorial order and to repair punishment “. Similar bans then were published by almost all Russian monarchs though they liked to look from time to time on “ fist entertainments “.
It is curious that presently some enthusiasts of martial arts try to revive and the Russian fisticuffs, even carry out duels including “ a wall on a wall “.