Christianity and the Martial Arts
- "Orthodox Christian Martial Arts"?:
- Sambo: In full, Samozashchitya bez Oruzhiya,
"Self-Protection without Weapons".
A fighting technique and associated
judo-like sport apparently
invented in the USSR in the 1920s
and very popular in Russia to this day
(In America, Sambo would doubtless fare
better with a different acronym.)
One of the inventors, Vasiliy Sergeyevich Oshchepkov,
was an Orthodox believer who as a young
orphan from Sakhalin Island was personally
blessed by St. Nicholas of Japan to study
martial arts at the Kodokan Institute.
He was executed as a "Japanese spy" in 1937,
but his memory was rehabilitated during
--- Grappling Concepts
- Systema: In full, Rossiyskaya Sistema
Samozashchity, the "Russian System of Self-Defence".
Its origins are obscure, with some enthusiasts tracing
it into the mists of Slavic prehistory and others
considering it merely a combat-oriented offshoot of Sambo.
It is not a sport, and is allegedly practiced by
elements of the Russian state security forces.
Like other Asian martial arts, it has a spiritual side,
but this varies from teacher to teacher. Some well-known
teachers seem to lean toward Slavic neo-paganism
or do-it-yourself cultism,
but others appear to be staunchly Orthodox. A number
of Western converts report having
discovered the Church by way of Systema.
Very interesting first-person account
of training with Mikhail Ryabko, emphasising
the spiritual aspect of Systema almost to
the exclusion of all else.
--- Russian Martial Art Forum
Interview with Mikhail Ryabko.
Aikido Journal online version, 2003 May 19.
Gen. Ryabko and his associate Vladimir Vasiliev have
apparently solid Orthodox connections.
--- Aikido Journal
Systema -- Principles of the Russian Martial Art.
Aikido Journal online version, 2003 (no other
date). The author begins:
"If someone had told me a few years ago that out of a western Christian
tradition would come a martial art as deep, sophisticated and evolved as
the best of the oriental arts I would not have believed them. Yet there
is such an art coming out of the ancient Russian culture with deep roots
in the Russian Orthodox monasteries." --- Aikido
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