December 5, 2019
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‘No guns, hands only’: Snoop Dogg impressed with Russian folk tradition of fist fighting US rapper and producer Snoop Dogg has expressed his admiration for the Russian folk sports entertainment – fist fighting – by sharing a video from a recent ethnic festival in Tambov, which included a traditional wall line fight.

The video was taken during the annual “Ataman Fists” ethnic festival, and shows dozens of men battling each other in a massive wall-to-wall fight wearing boxing gloves and helmets.

“Man up. No guns hands only,” Snoop Dogg wrote on his Instagram page, where he shared the video clip from the festival.

The “Ataman Fists” showcases ancient Russian sports, giving participants a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the peculiar atmosphere of the ethnic festival that promotes the cultural heritage of Russia.

It was held on the last weekend of summer, coinciding with the Orthodox feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God.

Fist fighting has always been the central part of the festival since its introduction in 2010, reproducing traditional Russian bare-knuckle battles which were a symbol of men’s courage and bravery.

The competitions were usually held on major holidays, with the most spectacular taking place on the Russian spring festival, Maslenitsa, when people celebrated the end of winter.

Holding the fights on a snow-covered Moscow river had a special meaning, as warm winter clothes softened the heavy blows and snow drills protected the fighters from serious injuries after being knocked down.

Despite resembling an uncontrollable brawl, fist fights had very strict rules which had to be obeyed by all participants. They could not hit a man when he’s down, nor strike them in the back, and no weapons are allowed, including sticks and stones.

The fights lasted until the first blood was drawn, with the injured man being excluded from the competition. Drunk people were not allowed to fight.

The rules have not changed much since then, with the exception of allowing fighters to wear protective gear, instead of fighting bare-knuckled.

The battles had a street-against-street or village-against-village format, usually attracting crowds of people who furiously cheered for their “teams.”

The old tradition which embodied fundamental martial arts virtues was an excellent fighting school for young men, developing the skills necessary to defend their country in the event of war.

Conrad Contributor

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