Russian Martial Art: Knowledge is the Basis of an Exploit

We publish a small fragment from book «The Lessons of Courage» written by Viktor Nokolaevich Leonov – twice the Hero of the Soviet Union and a vivid representative of the Russian martial art. At the Great Patriotic War he went great way from the rank scout to lieutenant commander of the detachment.

Author: Viktor Leonov

Today the activity of a man is closely connected with complicated technique, great amount machines, machine tools, aggregates. You can hardly think of a man who doesn’t need technical knowledge. If a man knows his ropes he gets down to every work associated with use of arms, machines, aggregates with strong belief that they won’t let him down. His will is strong and actions are bold, initiatory and beautiful. If his knowledge is little he has no confidence in success and taking on a task he might think «Will everything come out properly? Will I be able to carry out the task or…?» He’s constantly afraid to make a mistake and looks at the people next to him. What will he do if there are no neighbors?

Speaking about the interaction of knowledge and moral state of a man V.Belinskiy used to say: «People are afraid of the things they don’t understand. Knowledge defeats all fears».

Look at a soldier in the fight. The soldier was given a task and fulfills it relying on his assistants — arms, machinery, skills of the Russian martial art. The way he knows his assistant and trusts him affects his belief in success and the steadiness of his will in general. Besides on his way to the aim the soldier comes across an enemy with machines and arms and it isn’t some empty space. The soldier will act resolutely and with confidence until he understands everything he had to deal with and there are no puzzles for him. His vast store of knowledge allows him to understand and assess the difficulties and dangers on the way to his aim. The knowledge of the Russian martial art helps him to find the right solution when dealing with these difficulties and dangers.

When he makes the right decision confident in his success he displays courage, runs risks and his will is invincible. But when the soldier comes across something inconceivable and mysterious and his store of knowledge doesn’t allow to assess the situation promptly and find the right decision he gets confused and makes mistakes. On the battlefield it results in death.

Answering the question about the meaning of the bravery Ivan Kozhedub declared: “Everything can happen at war. But those who are scared die more often”.

I’m going to tell you the story that happened during the war at the Northern navy. The detachment of sailors under the command of Vasiliy Kisljakov was ordered to protect one of the hills.

The Hitlerites were approaching. They considerably outnumbered the handful of the soviet soldiers. The battle was severe. Many people died, the wounded retreated. Kisljakov sent the last intact soldier for help and was left on the hill alone. He decided to deceive the enemy. Kisljakov collected the remaining weapons of the detachment and expertly positioned it. He shot from different points in turn creating an impression that there was a group of soldiers on the hill. But the fascists were madly gaining ground. Kisljakov fired a machine gun, threw grenades making the enemies scatter down the slope leaving dozens of dead bodies behind.

But soon Kisljakov ran out of ammunition and was left with a single grenade. Vasiliy waited… He let the enemy come at the steepest part of the slope, stood up, launched the grenade and with shouts: “Platoon, follow me! Attack!” rushed at the enemy. The Hitlerites fled in panic. The resourceful warrior collected a lot of weapons and got back at his place on the hill. In this way he managed to blunt the attack until the reinforcement came.

The courage of the warrior who didn’t tremble in the face of mortal danger, his skills of the Russian martial art, quick wit helped him not to get lost in difficult, almost hopeless situation and win over the enemy.

Kisljakov’s courage and resourcefulness were based on huge solid knowledge and skills of the Russian martial art, ability to use all kinds of weapons and above all on his great understanding of the enemy’s psychology. That’s why his will was invincible. He could display courage and blow up himself with the last grenade. But there would has been no exploit in the true sense of this word. The main task would not has been fulfilled – not let the enemy occupy the hill. The fascists would have taken it and it would has been very difficult to throw them back. It would have entailed more loses. Due to this exploit Vasiliy Kisljakov became the first sailor of the Northern navy who was awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union.

The crew of a Northern navy submarine very skillfully used the military weapons and equipment. Once the submarine successfully attacked the enemy’s vehicle but was chased for a long time by the opponent’s security ship. Having discharged batteries and no fuel the submarine was in the balance; it can neither move further nor submerge. It was dark outside and the enemy stopped chasing but the submarine was close to the hostile coast with look-out stations and powerful batteries.

Even in this desperate situation the crew of the submarine didn’t give up. They made a sail from the sailcloth cases and raised it using the periscope. It allowed to sail the vessel away from the dangerous coastline. Meanwhile motor mechanics managed to start up the diesel engine using grease oil instead of solar oil. They perfectly knew the characteristics of this type of diesel engine. Probably even the developers of these engines didn’t assume that this variant was possible. Due to their knowledge and experience the motor mechanics extended the capability of the technical equipment.

Once again touching upon knowledge I can tell that during the war I got all my wounds at the initial period to be precise at the first year. At the time I had little knowledge, skills and experience. When I obtained enough skills of the Russian martial art I knew I can cope with any enemy; no matter how well he is armed I would have won over him.

According to the rules of the Russian martial art: the fight usually ends before you meet the enemy in a close or bayonet combat. Either of the opponents looses morally and in the end of the battle he’s either dead or captured.

All these examples are from the time of the war that passed long ago. Today the technology made great progress. The significance of knowledge in the upbringing of a strong-willed, courageous man that can become a real defender of the fatherland increased great deal.

Not only the store of technical knowledge is required to bring up a strong-willed person. It is necessary to obtain the skills of the Russian martial art: be able to foresee the process, understand the psychology of a person when he is in dangerous situation, help your comrade in time and choose the right moment to defeat the enemy.

You should know the laws of the society and the Russian martial art to defeat the opponent. Only big solid store of knowledge including knowledge of the Russian martial art makes the human will strong and enables him to make right decisions in the most difficult situations.

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