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The Turkic Bravery

29 October 2018
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The Turkic Bravery
Assessing the place and role of a people in history, indicate its military successes, that is, which states were conquered and conquered by them, which territories they owned, and for how long they

ruled the conquered peoples. In this regard, no doubt that no people in the world can compare with the Turks in the vastness of their conquests. Not a single nation has conquered so many states and peoples, and not a single nation has been able to keep so many years, under its domination, the conquered peoples. Its conquered territories stretch from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic. In particular, these are the possessions of the Turkic Kaganate, the empire of Genghis Khan, the empire of Timurid, the empire of Moguls, the empire of Zhalairs in Iran, the Ottoman empire and others.

Presumably, it was formed at the turn of the time when clashes of the peoples of the Great Steppe with China were the most powerful and active. In this era, the Chinese have achieved particular success in the development of technology and science. Then they mastered the technology of iron processing. Started the rapid improvement of military weapons and the theory of military art. There were new types of weapons - crossbows and many others, in which the boom range exceeded six hundred steps.

During the war, military scientists summarized the methods of war with the nomads in numerous military treatises. There were schools of military and martial arts.

The military superiority achieved on the basis of the general development of the productive forces, the quantitative superiority allowed the Chinese to go on the offensive. They sought to create a world empire by conquering neighboring peoples and planting in their midst Chinese culture in its Confucian form. Korea, Indochina and part of the nomadic Tibetan tribes were conquered. However, the war with the Huns (Turks) in the north not only proved unsuccessful, but also entailed the complete economic exhaustion of China. Superbly equipped armies, staffed by selected warriors, led by very capable commanders, either suffered defeat or could not consolidate the achieved success with difficulty. The Huns stopped the Chinese aggression, and the Chinese could not implement their program - to get to Europe. But the dreams of the conquest of the Great Steppe did not leave the Chinese emperors, and the clashes with the Turks continued periodically for several dozen, hundreds of years. Back then interest in Turkic culture and language increased significantly in China, and Chinese-Turkic dictionary was compiled by scholars, which unfortunately hasn’t reached our days.

To achieve their goals, the Chinese continued to improve military weapons, military and martial arts. In China, there were fighting dances. Sometimes several hundred people could participate in the performance of such martial dances, usually they were professional warriors playing historical battle scenes. Martial dancing was appreciated at court. On holidays, during the performance of dances, large-scale combat performances were played out, including combat with weapons, protection of an unarmed opponent from an armed one, weapons selection techniques, throws and grabs. Gradually, ritual combat dances were more and more closely intertwined with the methods of training soldiers. At that time, neither styles, nor trends existed, there was no codified technique, but there was already a powerful tree, which was overgrown with deep spirituality and physical perfection of man. Martial oriental art is not a mechanical combination of hand-to-hand combat techniques, but basic techniques, including spiritual and moral education and physical perfection of a person. In China, martial art was based on the philosophy of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. It differed from the philosophy of the martial art of the Turks.

The constant reflection of the Chinese aggression gave Turks an impetus the need to improve combat disciplines, develop martial art and popularize the physical perfection of soldiers. The martial art of the Turks had its historical basis, philosophy, deep spirituality, based on the ancient Turkic world view and traditions and religion (Tengrian), and their tactics and style.

The Chinese were mostly farmers and did not eat dairy products at all - the main food of the Turks. 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. Only privileged officials recruited for permanent military service were trained in this case. The Turks, 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 Turk 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 Turk was a warrior and therefore from an early age he studied the art of war. Six-, seven-year-old boys rode horses no worse than the best riders. A person 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 Turks taught their children not to fear death in battle.

The psychology of the Turks and the 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. Turks, in contrast, constantly choose a clear, clear, without various details line of conduct, discarding all superficial. Their wide scope of thinking is similar to the breadth of the Steppe itself. They are monotonous work. Unity will master meditating among the Turks. While the Chinese had a philosophy of Confucianism, then the Turks and Mongols had their own, more ancient and original religion Tengri, who was considered the creator of the Universe. The ancient Turks were convinced that they were the beloved Sons of Heaven Tengri and that Tengri patronized them in the Great Acts. In the military and martial arts, the teaching of Tengri, the cult of ancestors and faith in the inhabitants of heaven, which inspired the fighters to feats, played an important 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 Turks who were in the Chinese service did not tolerate this and the open scammers killed them.

Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, and other missionaries began to penetrate the Great Steppe. In 720, wise Tonykok, the chief adviser of Bilge, the Kagan of the Great Turkic Empire, prevented the propaganda of Buddhism in the Kaganate on the grounds that the teachings of the Buddha make people weak and humane, and not warlike and strong. During this period Islam was also an alien religion for the Turkic khans. Militant steppe people believed that Islam was a religion of city dwellers, and it binds their martial spirit and freedom of action. The principles of urban, regulated religion were rejected by them. In Islam, they felt clumsy, just bound. And the Turks did not intend to prove their point of view in the Middle Ages, as they respected the spirit of the great ancestors that was preached in the ancient Turkic religion - Tengirism.

All this philosophy and worldview were laid in Turkic martial art, which was different in spirit from Chinese. Having such internal strength and philosophy in the military and martial arts, the Turks won not with numbers, but with high fighting spirit. If the Chinese were skillful in the performance of combat dances, where sometimes several hundred people could participate, usually they were professional warriors playing historical battle scenes, then the Turks appreciated not fighting dances, but victories on the battlefield or fights in the ring. For beautiful demonstrative martial dance you need to know a few dozen martial arts techniques. For a fight or fight, so much knowledge of tricks is not necessary. The Turks trained up to fifteen to seventeen receptions and this was enough to defeat the most artful martial arts dancer. Therefore, the battle or fight Turks won mainly their fury and strength of mind.

Therefore, up to the fourteenth century Turkic Tatars were considered invincible. Especially the degree of high martial art of the Tatar Turks was manifested during the reign of Genghis Khan, his sons and grandson Baty Khan. The army of Genghis Khan, numbering up to 100 thousand horsemen, conquered China, Korea and Iran.  On the Kalka river, twenty five thousand strong corps of Tatars won a brilliant victory over the thousands of army of Russian soldiers. Commander Subetei with his warriors, practically unaware of defeat, won sixty five battles in the territory from Korea to the Adriatic Sea. 

The difference between Chinese and Turkic mentalities 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. Here's how Tonyukuk wrote about the Turkic tactics: In terms of numbers, Turks cannot be compared with a hundredth of the population in China and the fact that they can withstand this state, the reason is that the Turks, following grass and water, do not have a permanent seat and practice only in military affairs. When they are strong, they go forward for acquisitions, when they are weak — they shy away and hide. The tactics of the Turks consisted in exhausting the enemy and in unexpected raids. If the Turks were victorious, they would cut down the enemy together, but if the enemy defeated them, they did not consider it a disgrace to retreat dispersed. The Chinese commanders wrote about them like this: 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.

Such tactics of military combat became part of the martial art of the Turks. 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. Naturally, the military art of the horse warrior was especially appreciated. The art of war was the pride of an equestrian warrior, an easy landing on a horse, an impeccable ability to stay in the saddle, and the art of horse 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.

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. Combat martial arts of the Turks included a wide range of techniques in hand-to-hand combat conducted by the legs, because in battles 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. A special feature of the Turkic 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 martial art of the Turkic masters gave different names.

Between the 11th and 16th centuries, Turks began to accept Islam. At first, it was accepted by merchants, warriors, who were recruited to serve the Caliph, the townspeople, and only after many centuries, the latter - the nomads. Having poorly understood the Arab religion and remaining indifferent to religious disputes, the Turks began to profess Islam in good faith, as a military charter, without changing anything in it and without disputing anything. With the adoption of a new religion by the Turks in martial arts, applied art, tactics, style were preserved, but the philosophy of the ancient Turkic religious teachings, based on the reverence and elevation of the ancestral spirits and on the ancient Turkic traditions, was supplanted. When the Turkic states lost their independence, the 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 patronage of Tengri - the Spirit of Heaven and have ceased to be invincible warriors.

In China, seeing that the Buddhist teachings do not fit well with the national traditions and mentality of the people, in the 6th c. the Chinese abandoned Buddhism and returned to their national outlook and traditions, which had a positive effect on the future of this nation. And they redirected Buddhism to Tibetans, Turks, Mongols, etc. It was the philosophy of Confucianism, summed up by the psychology of the Chinese, that did not allow the martial art to disappear immediately after it was no longer necessary. Nowadays, there are among Tatar enthusiasts who wish to revive the Turkic martial art. Of course, the task is not easy. Reviving martial art is not difficult. The difficulty lies in the revival of the traditional Turkic worldview, philosophy, the custom of which is the spirit of the Turkic martial art. But there is nothing not possible, only desire.

MINUAROV I.B.

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