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Thread: Turkish Martial Arts

  1. #1

    Question Turkish Martial Arts

    Who knows of any turkish martial arts???
    The swords are psicological displays of cultural diferences and comparisons that define culture itself.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Oregon, United States
    First off, there's wrestling. The Turks are collectively crazy about it.

    My good friend Mushtaq Ali Al-Ansari travelled extensively in Turkey and Iran during his younger days. He learned the bow, the shamshir, mace, lance and yataghan and a few other interesting things on his travels. We're shooting videos of these, at least as much as can be done without a horse.
    The pen is mightier than the sword, but only if the pen is very sharp and the sword is very small.

  3. #3
    very interesting subject indeed

    Turks consider themselves historically as a "militaristic nation". since the early periods of history(pre-islamic era) martial education was a major interest and a part of children aeducation in Turk(-ish or -ic; I really don't understand this difference of suffix) societies. Unfortunately during westernization era most of these martial arts were lost totally or evolved in to sport games or folcloric activities.

    First and the most known form of turkish martial arts is turkish wrestling known as güreş; (kurash, körash etc.) it is very different from olympic wrestling. İt can be said that difference between turkish wrestling and olympic wrestling is similar to difference between olympic fencing and kendo. Güreş is very old and has several subcategories.

    Yağlı Güreş(Oil wrestling) inTurkey:

    Aba güreşi in Turkey: this is form of jacket wrestling very similar to Uzbek Kurash

    Karakucak güreş karakucak is same with yağlı güreş except for oiling. Yağlı Güreş is evolved from karakucak. this form is the most popular in Turkey, even more popular than yağlı güreş .most of karakucak techniques are converted to be used in olympic freestyle wrestling by turkish wrestlers.

    Köraşwrestling: this form is also practiced in Turkey and known as Kuşak güreşi(belt wrestling)

    Cirit is another martial art practiced by Turks. it is a cavalry art. two teams of cavalrymen try to hit each other with a 70-100 cm long wooden lance called cirit while riding their horses in a 70x120m playing field. every team consist 5,6, or 7 horse riders. every horse rider has one cirit. Player tries to throw his lance from horse back and hit his opponent. his opponent tries to dodge the cirit by making acrobatic manuevers at horse back. if player misses his target and loose his cirit, then he tries to catch one of the lances in the air, which his opponent throws at him. it is an extremely hard and dangerous art. people hurt seriously and sometimes die while playing. right now there is a cirit leauge in Turkey which consist 23 teams.

    Matrak: Matrak is very similar to cirit. But instead of using wooden lances; players use maces called matrak made from wood and leather. Palyers throw their maces from distance to hit their opponents or use it in close cavalry combat. this art was very popular in 16-17th century Ottoman Empire cavalry education. 16th century mathematician, geographer, historian, painter Nasuh Es-Silahi, who is also a master swordsman, is the most well-known matrak player in history. He was known as Matrakçı(Matrak player) Nasuh. Some historians even claim he invented this game. Matrak game unfortunatley is a lost art today.

    Çevgen Today this cavalry art is known to western world as polo. it was considered as a martial art in Ottoman empire.

    Kök Börü: This game is known to western world as buzkashi.

    Kılıç-KalkanOyunu(Sword and Shield Play): Sword and shield play is another martial art of Turkey. Originally this art was a part of combat curriculum; it can be considered as a pre-arranged sparring or kata, but in time it evolved in to a kind of folcloric dance. it is based on two teams of fighters armed with shamshirs and small iron shields attack each other.

    Okçuluk(Archery): Turkish traditional cavalry archers
    are very famous in history. There were special sufi orders (Okçu tekkesi) just for archers in Ottoman times. this kind of archery is still practiced in modern Turkey.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Oregon, United States
    Along the lines of a "militaristic nation", my Shaykh's sons were born in America. In order to keep the Turkish part of their dual citizenship they have to serve either in the Turkish or American military.
    The pen is mightier than the sword, but only if the pen is very sharp and the sword is very small.

  5. #5
    Every male citizien of Turkish Republic have to serve army duty unless he is mentally or physically incapacitated. I just completed my 6 months as a tank sergeant

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Oregon, United States
    Well, not completely true. I knew a couple grad students who paid a fee to be exempted from military service.
    The pen is mightier than the sword, but only if the pen is very sharp and the sword is very small.

  7. #7
    Actually Turkish citiziens living and working outside the country have an option to pay a fee to limit (not to be exempted) from their army duty. But they have to serve for 28 days anyway.

    Normally collage graduetes serve 6 months as private or 12 months as second lieutenant. High school graduetes serve 15 months as private.

  8. #8

    Not to Sidetrack the Thread...


    Martially, how has this experience benefitted and/or not benefitted you? Is this requirement looked upon as positive or negative among the majority of Turkish citizens?


    Doug M

  9. #9
    Army duty is considered as an honour in Turkish culture. Young men are not seen as a "man" in public eye unless they finish their army duty. İt can be compared to initiation or "rite of passage" traditions in other cultures. Birth, circumcision, army duty, marriage: these are the milestones of a man's live in my country.

    Personally I can say it was not easy but I benefited from this experience a lot. along with military education, I learned patience and personal discipline.


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