In the “Scientific Research Institute of world martial art traditions study and criminalistics research of weapon handling” a new direction of study was initiated, namely, the study of Russian Fencing School. Every level of it, starting from the period of its appearance till today, will be researched with Grand Maestro Oleg Maltsev specially for the “Lies and Truth about martial arts” project.
The topic of this article is the “zero level” of the Russian Fencing School, therefore, the notion “zero level” itself has to be determined. Zero level is the level of fairy tales andbylinas (folk stories). In the human understanding this level remained somewhere far away, far in the darkness of ages, it has no beginning, but there is an end. Thus, in case if the history of the Russian Empire is divided into parts, then this period begins before the generally accepted history and covers the pre-Horde and Horde periods of the Tatar-Mongol yoke.
Further, using statistical and mathematical analysis, well-known personalities of that period, such as the great warriors and bogatyrs, great “athletes” of those times, which had no equal in the world were examined.
Starting from the very beginning that is the appearance of three fabulous warriors: Gorynya, Dubynya and Usynya. Gorynya personifies a force (depicted with a stone). Dubynya is the first ancestor of fencing (depicted with an oak, a huge club). The mustache is a symbol of defense, the master of the water (depicted with a huge beard, similar to the river bed). These three giant warriors represent the very first zero level, and together they form a certain triangle, at the apex of which the force is denoted, and at the bottom – attack and defense.
Three bogatyrs: Gorynya, Dubynya and Usynya
There were two other heroes (bogatyrs): Mikula (symbol of endurance) and Svyatogor (“Svyataja gora”, that can be translated as Holy Mountain).
Svyatogor is one of the key figures. Probably, the study of his personality makes research even more interesting. Talking about his family, it is said that the growth of Svyatogoris above the dark forest and the head is supported by clouds. He is a symbol of knowledge and abilities. His wife is one of the most beautiful women in the world, and she comes from the Pomor Kingdom. His father is a blind hero from another world, and his mother is a “raw earth”. Svyatogor was born and lived on the high Holy Mountains, which is on the edge of a narrow heath. He is bored, because he has nowhere to use his power, and he never fought with any evildoers. His favorite weapon is the “sword-kladenets”, which he then handed to Ilya Muromets. This sword does notknock down in battle one person but several at once, which demonstrates that Svyatogor is the ancestor of the group battle (“one against all”, the “Doryanskaya Sech” system) and the creator of the science of fencing. It is also said that this warrior possesses excellent weapons such as saber, ax, sword and shield. But the “sword-kladenets” still remains the most important and beloved of his weapons.
This completes the second zero period.
All this period is not available for us, because it has reached our days in the form of fairy tales, retellings, bylinas (folk stories), and therefore cannot be comprehended. But, as it said according to legend, fencing had started with a sword. The very essence of the Russian fencing school is that it initially represents fencing, a group battle, here initially in priority Sech (“one against all”). This means that the warriors prepared to fight alone with superior enemy forces (against several people). This is the art of fencing. This is the beginning of everything.
Passing to the next section, it is worth emphasizing an important point, namely, that it is historically provable, and anyone can check these facts. For example, the holy relics of the hero Ilya of Murom lie in the main church of the Kiev PecherskLavra in Kiev as evidence that such a person “allegedly” existed.
In this section, should be considered the order of the following bogatyrs:
Volga Vseslavevich. This is a Kiev bogatyr. It is said that he is the son of a dragon and Princess Martha, and it is believed that he comes from the Kiev princely family. He lives in Kiev. He is priest and wizard, werewolf (can turn into animals and birds, and turn his warriors from the squad into ants). He has a series of military feats. His main achievement is the defeat of the troops of the Turkish Sultan. Hi is the king of hunting. Favorite weapon: bow and arrows, but also he adores the ax as a pair with a shield, and separate to practice. More often he uses the logical model of a “gray wolf”.
Ilya Muromets. His parents are ordinary people. He is a real strongman, whose one finger able to lift a weight of 100 poods (a measure of weight in the old days). Svyatogor is his named elder brother. Dobrynya Nikitich and Alyosha Popovich are his Kiev friends, with whom he serves the Kiev prince. His favorite weapon is the “sword-kladenets”, which he inherited from Svyatogor, and the bogatyr’s club. He can handle a spear, mace, ax and shield. Mortal feats: the liberation of the besieged city of Chernigov from the Tatars, the death of the Nightingale the Robber (who it this, no one knows), the multiple victory over thePecheneg people. He took a severe vow of poverty, and gave everything he had to the poor.
Dobrynya Nikitich. He was born in a princely family. He is very educated, intelligent and skillful warrior in battle. Mortal feats: he freed many Russian people from dragon captivity, he conquered many different dragons, fought with nomads, and also defeated the main Dragon Gorynych. Favorite weapon: a sword and a whip. His title: The undefeated.
Alesha Popovich. He is a son of a priest. Favorite weapon: bow and arrows. He is the dragon slayer. Heroic feats: victories over Tugarin the Dragon, Skin-Dragon. He serves in the Kiev squad along with Ilya Muromets and DobryniaNikitich.
MihailoPotyk. He was born in Northern Russia. He is the only hero who visited the realm of the dead and returned (he managed to revive and take his wife from there). A close friend of Ilya Muromets and DobryniNikitich. A feat of arms: he conquered the underground dragon. Favorite weapon: sword, iron tongs.
Nikita Kozhemyaka. He is the dragon slayer. Mortal feats: killed a flying dragon, freed the prince’s daughter from captivity, defeated the Pecheneg giant (this is even mentioned in the chronicle). Favorite weapons: own fists, also he preferred axes as a pair with a shield, and separate. The first ancestor of the Kiev fist fight in Russia.
Vasilisa Mikulishna. The only woman-bogatyr. She is an unsurpassed archer. The main weapon is a sharp mind. The feat of arms: she disguised as a man, Tatar ambassador and freed her husband from prison, fooling the prince of Kiev. She did not fight against evildoers.
Vasily Buslaev. He lives in Novgorod. He is the second ancestor of the fistfight that is Novgorod one. Favorite weapons: own fists, sword, sable, knife, spear. The feat of arms: he fought with the Novgorod people on the Volkov Bridge; he is the only one of the bogatyrs who was in Jerusalem. He has 13 warriors-friends from the Novgorod squad, with whom he serves. He is hooligan. He constantly jokes with bad and good tricks. His nickname: Rebel. The only person he listen is his mother (mama’s son).
Evpatiy Kolovrat. His origin is from the boyar family. It said that he lives in Ryazan, there he has been a warrior since childhood. His courage and steadfastness was admired even by Batu. Fight feats: fought with the Tatar-Mongols; defeated Batu’s army in Suzdal lands (but such a battle has not been recorded in history); He defeated the brother of Batu’s wife and left him on Russian land. He is a master of sword handling, fencer.
These are all the bogatyrs of the Russian land during the zero-level period. At that time the bogatyrs had Novgorod and Kiev directions.
The study conducted by the Grand Maestro Oleg Maltsev, which later will form the basis of the book, demonstrated the prevailing types of weapons used by the bogatyrs in the period of zero level.
Summing up, we can present the results of this study as follows. Of all the great and warriors of the zero period, three are archers, five are fencers, two handle a whip and consider it as a favorite weapon, two like to use a mace and a club, one uses tongs, and two are fist fighters.
The presented summary data completely assuage doubts about the zero level, demonstrating that even in the prehistoric period at the zero level, sword fencing took first place over other types of combat techniques among Russians. And historical documents confirm the fact that the swords of the Slavs were excellent.
The Russians have the wrestling at the very last place, since no one considers it as an art. This is a commonplace, because the wrestling is known by everyone, from child to adult (any person of Rus), and it is not considered as a favorite kind of art.
Pay attention,the type of weapon as a spear is completely absent. People of Rus do not have it. Spear is not good at fighting. But people of Rus like mace, club, whip and, as it turned out, the Russians are good at shooting arrows (archery takes a strict second place).
Thus, it can be said that amongst all martial arts in Russia, first place was given to fencing, second place to archery, third place to weapons with shock characteristics (for example, shield and mace, shield and ax, shield and club), this includes working with a whip, as well as a fist fight, and the fourth place is taken by the struggle.
The start point of every martial art in Rus was a sword. This is a sacred thing; people worshiped to the sword.
According to this study, you should also pay attention to the fact that in preferences there is no such weapon as saber. Most warriors own a saber perfectly, but for Russians this kind of weapon is non-preferred. The reason is quite clear: the saber is a group weapon, not a personal one. This weapon is not for a duel; it is for the battle. The Russians are distinguished by their ordinary attitude towards the saber, because at a certain point in time, it does not occupy the first place. On the first place of the zero level is the work with a sword that is for a duel of one against several attackers. The beginning of this tradition was laid by the bogatyrSvyatogor.
Analyzing the zero level, it is recommended to pay attention to Russian swords: Russian swords – as Venetian swords – have the “ears” on the guard are bent downward. Based on the analysis of the zero level, it is possible to reliably say that in this period fencing already occupied the first place in the variant of fairy-tales and bylinas in Russia. There is no other place in the world where fencing in the legend version takes first place! As well as you will not find the same alignment of forces.
The results of further studies of the Russian fencing school will be covered in next articles. Watchoutfor our releases.