If a nation does not know its history, if the country loses its history, then its citizens have nowhere to go.
Mirzhakyp Dulatuly

On How Advanced Nomads' Military skills were

On How Advanced Nomads' Military skills were - e-history.kz
Throughout history, the Turkic world was a unique place where powerful cultures and civilizations originated and developed, which had a tremendous impact and influence on the course and development of

world history, culture and civilization. This was due to the fact that the Turkic world, being geographically located in the central part of the Eurasian continent, has always been a connecting bridge between two great cultures: the East and the West. The world of nomads set the starting conditions for the development of many civilizations, including the European one. Today it is time for the revival, unclaimed for many reasons, of Turkic culture, and the understanding that universal human civilization represents not only the achievements of the West, but also of the rest of the world, including Eurasia, where the main historical subject of geopolitics was Turkic peoples .

The Turkic world, as in the past, and now, occupying a significant part of the Eurasian continent from the steppes of Mongolia and the shores of Lake Baikal to the shores of the Mediterranean and the Danube, brings together about 200 million people, with a similar identity, mentality, language, traditions, history - spiritual and material culture. In this space, the destinies of many nations - the carriers of different cultures, religions and traditions - intersected. Today, the problems of self-identification of nations and peoples, cultural identity and dialogue of cultures are becoming particularly relevant in connection with globalization processes. Or, in other words, the need for a new rethinking of the place and role of the new independent states in world history, their contribution to world culture and civilization. The definition of its historical, cultural and national identity today acquires its special significance for Kazakhstan, which also recently gained independence and sovereignty. The Kazakh people, as part of the Turkic people, historically living in the expanses of the Great Steppe, where the most important historical events, which often changed the course of world history, mainly began and were completed, is considered one of the heirs of Turkic history and Turkic civilization. Kazakh folk games and competitions, including the martial arts of nomads, which are the “Great Heritage of Nomads”, can become one of the real foundations of the revival and development of the modern nationally-oriented pedagogical system of physical education, based on truly folk traditions and experience.

Martial arts of nomads developed in the region, which are characterized by the fact that the cultures of the peoples inhabiting it were interrelated and enriched each other. The martial arts of the Eurasian steppes (including the expanses of Kazakhstan) reached a significant dawn during Sak time. A gradual change started taking a shape in the ethnic environment of Eurasia as well. The predominance here is more passed to the Turkic-speaking tribes. The acceleration of the processes of territorial-political consolidation led to the creation of the Turkic Kaganate. In addition to the Uysun, Hunnic and other tribes, it included such Turkic and Turkic-speaking tribes as Turks, Karluks, Turgeshes, Kipchaks, Kimaks, Uigurs, Oguzes, and in the era of the developed Middle Ages - Arabs, Avars, Naimans, Kerey, Argyns, Mongols. Turkic Kaganate to the Black Sea coast, from the headwaters of the Yenisei to the borders of Iran. In the period of the highest development, the space from Corley to the Black Sea. By the 60th years of the 6th century, the Turkic kaganate was involved in the system of political and economic relations of the largest states of that time - Iran, Byzantium and Ephtalits, whose possession extended from the Caspian Sea of ​​Northern India and East Turkestan. Under these conditions, a huge role was played by the lands that were located on the caravan routes between East and West. The Great Silk Road created ample opportunities not only for trading in lye, spices, but also facilitated the exchange of cultural and spiritual. In connection with these martial arts of the east could not be completely isolated from each other, because they had essentially common roots. Supposedly, it was formed when the clashes between the peoples of the Great Steppe and China were the strongest and most active.

The constant reflection of Chinese aggression prompted nomads to the need to improve combat disciplines, develop martial art - and popularize the physical perfection of warriors. The martial art of the Kazakhs had its historical basis, philosophy, deep spirituality, based on the Kazakh world view - Tengrianism and traditions, its own tactics and style. It differed from the Chinese, as the they and Kazakhs differed greatly in behavioral stereotype and mentality. The Chinese were mostly farmers and did not eat dairy products at all - the main food of the Kazakhs. Because of the constant hard work in the fields and in the craft shops, because of poverty, the main population of China was not in the martial arts. This case was trained only by wealthy people recruited for commander positions. Peasants were mobilized only for war and were trained in military science in short-term courses. Kazakhs their avant-garde shock troops recruited from the batyrs.

The Kazakhs, as opposed to the Chinese, were mostly herders. We ate livestock meat, drank horse milk, dressed in clothes made of leather and hides. Their products were abundant, since their herds were enormous. The life of an ordinary nomad in peacetime consisted of migrations, military exercises and rest during the spring and autumn outskirts. The absence of exhausting labor, the constant occupation of hunting, horse riding and archery contributed to the physical development and improvement of the martial art. Each nomad (Kazakh) was a warrior and therefore from an early age he studied military art. When the boy was three or four years old, they saddled a horse and the child was taught horseback riding. Ashamay is a type of saddle made specifically for teaching a child to ride a horse. Instead of stirrups they used tepkishek - a small canvas bag sewn from felts. On the day when the child mounted the horse, all the people of the village gathered. After the blessing, the child's left hand was given the reins, and the right hand was given a knuckle. When the child, tired after riding, and gifted with gifts by his fellow countrymen, returned home, they organized a ram in honor of his dedication. A six, seven-year-old boy was given a horse, and the boys rode horses no worse than the best riders. A man who did not own a weapon could not be called a man, so the boys, who were twelve to fourteen years old, had a good command of weapons. And most importantly: the nomads taught their children not to fear death in battle. Death in battle should be beautiful and glorious. It is necessary to kill many enemies in battle, at least seven enemy soldiers, we must fight bravely, bravely, skillfully, we must defend our nomad camp, our land, our wives, children, old parents. It is necessary to fight so that over the centuries they tell tales and legends about you, narrators-zhyraular sang their songs at evening and night bonfires, and young warriors listen to these tunes about the fallen brave warriors with great awe, love, respect and incense.

The mentality of Kazakhs and Chinese was the opposite. The Chinese love to delve into the difficult-intertwined and intricate intricacies of life. The Chinese can work for a long time and monotonously, until exhaustion to train. They do not sit and engage in meditation. Kazakhs, in contrast, constantly choose a clear, clear, without various details line of conduct, discarding all superficial. They are monotonous work. Understand the unit to do meditation with the Kazakhs. Therefore, the nomads defeated the battle or the fight mainly with their rage and fortitude.

The nomads' worldview was different from the Chinese. While the Chinese had a philosophy of Confucianism, and only the emperor was the son of Heaven, the Kazakhs and the Mongols were convinced that they were all the beloved Sons of Heaven Tengri and that Tengri patronized them in the Great Acts. In the military and martial art, the cult of ancestors and faith in the gods, which inspired the fighters to feats, had a big role in raising the morale. In order for the fighter to be an honest and reliable warrior in battle and in ordinary everyday life, the teachings of Tengri were implanted, according to which lies and betrayal were considered an insult to nature, and therefore to a deity. In the armies of China, the state of the scammers was necessarily envisaged, and the nomads who were in the Chinese service did not tolerate this and the revealed scammers were killed.

This whole philosophy and worldview was laid in the martial art of the nomads, which differed in spirit from the Chinese. Having such internal strength and philosophy in the military and martial arts, the nomads did not win by number, but by high fighting spirit. The Chinese were skilled in the performance of martial dances, where several hundred people could sometimes participate, usually they were professional warriors playing historical battle scenes. For beautiful demonstrative martial dance you need to know dozens of martial arts techniques. Kazakhs also appreciated fighting dances, but even more victories on the battlefield or clash in the ring. For a real fight or fight, a large number of tricks are not always required. Therefore, nomadic warriors studied up to fifteen and seventeen receptions, and that was enough to defeat even the most distinguished adversary who owned many-techniques-martial-arts.

The difference between Chinese and Kazakh psychology was also reflected in combat tactics. The aggressive power and strength of the Chinese empire on the one hand, the enormous pushing force on the part of the Roman Empire, and then the aggression of the Arabs from Central Asia and the Caucasus could not but affect the tactics of the Turks. Stop a frontal attack such power Turks could not do it, they would simply be destroyed. Here is what the chief adviser of the Turkic kaganate Tonykok wrote about the Turkic tactics in 720. The Turks in terms of numbers cannot be compared with a hundredth of the population in China, and the fact that they can resist this state, the reason that the Turks, following the grass and water , do not have a permanent residence and exercise only in military affairs. When they are strong, they go ahead for acquisitions, when they are weak — they shy away and hide. The tactics of nomads consisted in exhausting the enemy and in unexpected raids, that is, in guerrilla warfare. The nomads, if they won, then cut down the enemy in unison, but if the enemy defeated them, they did not consider it a disgrace to retreat dispersed. The Chinese commanders noted that before a decisive offensive of the enemy, the Turkic horsemen part like a flock of birds in order to gather and re-enter the battle.

The army of nomads was formed from cavalry units. The main weapon of the lightly-armed rider was a bow, spear, saber, drot (zhid at the Kazakhs) and a shield. The main features of the military strategy of the nomads were the sudden penetration of cavalry squadrons into the deep rear of the enemy, the spreading of panic and chaos. The main tactic of the Kazakhs (Turks) was to exhaust the enemy and in unexpected raids. The nomads sought to attack the enemy with cavalry lava, when he already faltered, broke the structure and began to retreat. At this point, it was possible to decisive attack to accelerate the victory, inflict a crushing defeat on the enemy. Tactics based on the use of increased range of bows. Effective shooting, ensuring the defeat of the enemy from a distance at which the archers themselves remained virtually invulnerable, as a rule, decided the outcome of the battle in favor of the nomads. One of the main advantages of a warrior-nomad - accuracy with archery. The best skill of a horse archer was considered not only to run forward at a gallop, but also by releasing the reins turning back to shoot straight at the enemy. This was the usual, traditional part of the nomadic tactics to ambush the enemy. The enemy, assuming that they were fleeing, tried to finish them off and was ambushed. During the retreat, the nomads (as if fleeing) turned around on the saddle and managed to strike the enemy with arrows, causing damage to them even before the ambush. The warrior had to be able not only to shoot accurately, but also to skillfully avoid arrows, now standing on the stirrups, then pretending to fall backwards. And the horse also had to dodge arrows, making jumps and stuff. A warhorse was trained to crash into the enemy line and trample on foot soldiers.

Small nomads successfully resisted the weapons of mass destruction of Chinese crossbowmen, who simply could not find a target in the steppe for their crushing salvo. Naturally, with such a conduct of battle, the military art of the equestrian warrior was especially appreciated. Military art was the pride of a horse warrior, easy boarding on a horse, impeccable ability to keep in the saddle, the art of trick riding. The warrior had to hold himself on a horse so that no one could move him or throw him to the ground, because this is exactly what the opponents are trying to do in a duel. The warrior's protective armor was: a leather robe, protected from above by metal discoid metal plates or plates, or bibs. A thick quilted gown made of cloth served as protective clothing for ordinary soldiers. Turks wore long flowing hair. Warriors wore a metal helmet or a fur hat with a brush on their heads. Attribute, a sign of military prowess served as a combat belt. From ancient times in the culture of nomads, this detail of equipment was an obligatory part of the rite of initiation into the category of soldiers, a sign of their social status. The combat belt served as a sign of social differentiation. Warrior riders from a young age received the right to wear it. At the same time, by the number of plates and tips on the belt, the social significance of its owner was determined. The horsemen had shields, but not the same as the infantrymen (covering the man almost entirely), but small round ones, protecting only the upper half of the body when sitting on a horse. The shield served to repel the blows of a sword, saber or spear.

In modern academic literature there is a widespread stereotype that the basis of military victories and the military history of the nomads of the Middle Ages was an extremely effective tactic of fighting in the equestrian system. Such a formulation of the question is largely fair. The magnificent horse park provided the nomads with the most important competitive advantage - mobility, both at the tactical and at the strategic level (on the battlefield and during the military campaign, respectively). The combination of mobility and the massive use of powerful weapons of distance combat (compound bows) brought nomads victory in dozens and hundreds of battles with armies of sedentary agricultural peoples. However, it is wrong to reduce the military art of the nomads exclusively to combat in the equestrian system.

Steppe tactics were much more diverse and flexible. The important thing left was the conduct of the battle in foot orders. We emphasize that we are not talking about the existence of infantry as a kind of military force among the nomads, but about dismounting the horsemen during the battle. Judging by the data of graphic and written sources, such a tactical device in the late Antiquity, early and developed Middle Ages was practiced by the Huns, Syanbi, ancient Turks, Yenisei Kyrgyz, Uygurs, Khitan, Mongols and other peoples of the Great Steppe. In most cases, nomads left their horses if the terrain required it (forest, mountains, wetlands, etc.) or combat situation (assault or defense of fortifications, radial combat in defense, etc.). Thus, elements of the infantry tactics were known to steppe commanders long before the appearance of firearms, although equestrian combat continued to dominate the steppe battles throughout the era of the early and developed Middle Ages. The traditional balance between horse and foot combat was broken in the late Middle Ages and Early Modern times as a result of the “Powder Revolution” that swept across Eurasia.

Cavalry combat martial art included a large number of techniques, archery, throwing a spear, methods of use when felling with a saber, protection from an equestrian and pedestrian opponent, and protection of a horse. The spear of a horse warrior was prominent, this was due to the development of horse fighting tactics. With a spear, the warrior tried to knock the enemy out of the saddle in battle, throw him to the ground, and, piercing him, inflict non-healing wounds. A great place in equipping a horse warrior took a whip. Scourge served not only to control the horse, she was killed by despicable enemies, unworthy of an honorable blow with a saber. On national holidays, historical battle scenes, demonstration battles, horse races and horse games (audarispak, kokbar, etc.) were played, where the techniques of fighting equestrian combat were shown. These were impressive spectacles. Nevertheless, the nomads (Turks) engaged in close combat, as evidenced by the presence of close combat weapons (broadswords, maces, klevtsy, spears), and means of protection ("armored crowns", armor, bracers and leggings). They skillfully owned and melee. Combat martial arts Turks included a wide range of techniques in hand-to-hand combat held by the legs, because in battle the hands of a warrior were occupied with weapons. The armor on the warriors did not give an advantage to the blows, and the main method of applying force in the fight was tremors. The inability to rely on the force of reciprocating movements in combat led to the prevalence of rotational movements, which, in turn, made it possible to combine the training of warriors with ritual dances. The peculiarity of the Kazakh martial arts and its main difference are the techniques in the form of circles and spirals, which in continuous connection create a reliable defense for the warrior. The tactics of military combat entered the martial art of the Kazakhs. Before a decisive offensive of the enemy, the fighter retreats to the side and, using his strength and the inertia of the enemy, knocks him down or knocks him to the ground (Kazakh kuresi).

Between the eleventh and sixteenth centuries, Kazakhs began to convert to Islam. At first, it was accepted by merchants, warriors, who were hired to serve in the Caliph, the townspeople, and only after many centuries - nomads. Turkic warriors, as they entered the service of the Muslims, began to fall under the influence of Islam, because of short-sightedness. They understood little in it. To accept Islam was for them a matter of discipline, and therefore honor. Having sworn allegiance to the Caliph, the Muslim imam, these natural warriors considered themselves obliged to profess his faith. And since, by adopting Islam, they did not retreat from it, discipline overcame their doubts. Islam, they finally adopted, they professed in good faith, without changing anything in it and not challenging anything, as befitted the people calling civilization "obedience", and state law - the order "yasak." By adopting Islam, the Kazakhs remained indifferent to religious disputes, the military habit of subordination was felt. The Kazakhs entered the Sunni mosque, not as humble neophytes, but as recruits in the military, without bowing their heads. Even the mosque was fully armed, which angered the Arabs, as this was contrary to their rules. But the Arabs had to accept the Kazakh mores. With the adoption of a new religion by the Kazakhs, only applied art, tactics, and style remained in martial arts, and the philosophy of the ancient Turkic religious teaching, based on reverence and elevation of the ancestral spirits and on the ancient Turkic traditions, disappeared. When the Turkic states were conquered and lost their independence, the martial art disappeared. Thus, with the loss of their traditions, philosophy and religion by the Turks, their morale was lost. Since then, they have not enjoyed the love and protection of Tengri-the Spirit of Heaven, they are no longer sons of Heaven and have ceased to be invincible warriors.

As soon as perestroika began in the Soviet Union, beginning in the late 80s of the 20th century, several people appeared among the Tatar coaches of oriental martial arts who had a burning desire to revive the Turkic martial arts. They even gave the name, such as "Kara Kaplan" "Black Leopard", etc. But to revive the martial art of the Turks, they did not work. In total, in martial arts, in all kinds and directions of about three hundred fifty receptions, it is impossible to invent a new one. Just from so many different tricks, you must choose the tricks used by the Turkic warriors. To learn the techniques is one thing, and the second stage is to know the traditional Turkic worldview, philosophy, and customs, which are inspired by the spirit of Turkic martial art. Without this knowledge - the fight turns into an ordinary fight.

The theme of ethnosport and calendar holidays of the peoples of Eurasia acquires relevance at the planetary level as it affects the relationship between man and nature. Meanwhile, Kazakhstan adopted a law on national sports and established an Association of national sports that cultivates traditional folk competitions: berkutchi (hunting with the help of golden eagles), alaman-baiga arkan-tartu, atoms of audaryspaq, jamba atu, kokpar kumis-alu, kunan-baiga, kyz-kuu, sais and other equestrian games, logic game togyzkumalak, national forms of struggle zhekpe-zhek and Kazakh kuresi. Republican championships, international tournaments, championships of Asia and the World are held in these kinds of sports. The Board of Trustees of the Association has been headed since its foundation in 2004. President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Enthusiasts revive the traditions of hand-to-hand fighting of nomads, created a new national type of martial arts - “Alypsoq” (grab and beat). Alypsoq - an unusually aggressive form of martial arts. There are several rules of warfare. For example, the full-contact version of the "Alypsoq batyr" allows blows to the back of the head and spine. If most of the time does not reveal the winner, then the opponents sit on their knees and clasp each other around the neck with belts. Children compete in the lightweight version of alips, where shots are almost not inflicted. It looks more like a sumo. The one who touched the ground with the fifth point or jumped behind the tatami loses. Currently there are several national championships in Alipsoq. The heir to the ancient kind of bodyguards of Ghengis khan - “one thousand mad” objects to the Turkic martial art - “syrsanat” (secret art - translation from Kazakh). In the Middle Ages, the masters of the sysanate were attached to guard the caravans that were walking along the Great Silk way. According to him, one master could repel a whole group of armed robbers. By the way, for the Uighur merchants, the masters developed a lightweight three-month self-defense course “the art of the merchant”, very simple and effective in battle. The main principle of sinsanate is to win as quickly as possible: “one blow for you, one blow against you”. It is necessary to finish the fight with one movement.

In Kazakhstan, the “Kazakh hunting all-around” was created, which includes, along with archery and crossbow shooting, which came to us from the depth of the centuries from our ancestors, who used them not only on the hunt, but also in battle in the war. There are, of course, professional archers and professional tournaments with big prizes, but the basis of our sport is popular with ordinary lovers of hunting and archery and crossbow, and now throwing a drost into the target from the approach of walking, from horseback, from a boat or canoe. That is how it actually happens on the hunt. Shooting and throwing missiles (zhyda) is performed on targets that have the appearance of real animals, or are depicted on the target in full size, in a natural landscape and at unknown distances.

In pedagogical science and in the theory of physical culture, social mechanisms were often overlooked, ensuring the continuity and reproduction of the achievements of spiritual folk culture in new generations, which united the idea of ​​the actual evolution of culture, its diverse national forms, one of which was physical culture education and sport. It follows that the Kazakh folk games and competitions, including the martial arts of the nomads, which are the great heritage of the nomads, can become one of the real foundations of the revival and development of the modern national-oriented pedagogical system of physical education, based on genuine folk traditions and experience.