Russian-born hand-to-hand fighting technique wins over US

A sport conceived in the Soviet Union has finally gone international, with the hand-to-hand fighting finals being held in the US for the first time.

For Canadian Elaloui Hisham, hand-to-hand fighting is still new. He mostly does judo and teaches Thai boxing. However, this Russian-born sport takes the best elements of many fighting techniques.

“It’s more real than anything else, plus it has an artistic aspect,” he said.

Not only did the KGB use this method of fighting, but also Russian Special Forces are taught it, and it is a growing sport.

“It is a program developed by the KGB and it’s another attractive thing. I mean, it’s a real deal, it’s not game,” Hisham said.

Unlike mixed martial arts, Russian hand-to-hand fighting has rules and limitations which newcomers are still getting used to.

The world champion in hand-to-hand fighting, Igor Egorov of Russia says that fighters’ minds should remain on the mat.

“Once you get distracted on anything except the fight, you are down. Your mind has to be clear. Emotions also distract you. You also should never allow the thought that you’re losing, or that you might lose. If you have the slightest such thought, it’s guaranteed that you will lose,” Igor explained.

The method that Russian Special Forces use also involves guns and bats, but in these US finals it is restricted to just hands and feet. It is not only a good spectator sport, but also some of the moves can be pretty useful in self-defense.

“This sport teaches how to fight right,” President of the International Hand-to-hand Fighting Federation Sergey Astakhov says. “Unlike mixed martial arts, when you just get out there and punch the other guy as hard as you can, it’s more about technique. One day it may help you stand up for yourself – and your loved ones, if needed.”

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