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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

History of Krivi (Khridoli) - Traditional Georgian Boxing, Martial Art

Khridoli or Krivi is a traditional Georgian martial art, which could be done using an array of weapons or/and just fighting with bare hands. The tradition of Krivi played significant role in Georgian history and culture. Many countries, nations and empires neighboring Georgia vanished without a trace, but Georgians were able to survive through many wars. Krivi, khridoli and many other Georgian martial arts are the reasons of Georgian historical survival. For the last 3500 years, Georgian warriors were successfully withstanding enemies attacking kingdoms of Georgia and later United Georgian kingdom.

Along with their native motherland, Georgian warriors succeeded in many other countries as main military forces and high rank commanders: Mamlukis in Egypt, Kulemens in Iraq, Kulis in Iran. For example the history of Mamlukis - military slaves in Islamic societies begins with the Abbasid (Baghdad) caliphs of the 9th century. Abbasids bought slave-soldiers to Baghdad mainly from areas near the Caucasus (mainly Circassian and Georgian) Those captured had non-Muslim backgrounds. Same can be said of Georgian warriors enslaved and forced to fight in Afghanistan, India, Turkey and Russia. Due to permanent military actions, Georgian fighters were always on high alert.

According to some historical and anecdotal evidence until the beginning of 20th century, in every region of Georgia there were special areas for competitions in martial arts and other sports similar to ancient Greek Olympic games.

Every region of Georgia had its own unique fighting, wrestling and boxing traditions. More than 30 styles of wrestling and boxing have been practiced in Georgia, as well as, wide range of armaments and combat rules Along with rich traditions in martial arts, Georgians also developed The "Warrior Code" counting 365 rules.

In the 19th century, the traditions of Georgian Krivi were under significant danger of extinction. After the beginning of the Russian occupation, the empire was trying to destroy many aspects of Georgian cultural heritage, specifically everything related to military traditions. Moreover, after the second occupation in 1921, Georgian martial arts along with the whole Georgian Republic were under full control of Russian Bolsheviks.

Interestingly enough, Georgian wrestling and boxing, including Krivi contributed a lot the creation of the Soviet Army special fighting style Sambo (Sombo) or what is called now Russian Sambo

Rules of Krivi/ Khridoli: The rules of fighting in Khridoli originated thousands of years ago, and have developed since; for example the moves that are hazardous for the opponents' life such as arm breaking doesn't exist in modern Khridoli. In the past the masters of Khridoli had to know wrestling, boxing and fencing as well. Below in a video you could watch Niko Abazadze, Master of Khridoli Georgian Martial Arts, giving lessons in Khridoli "Krivi" Georgian boxing.