The Russian Combat Knife as a Symbol of a Fighting Spirit and the Object of the Research

Author: Aleksandr Travnikov

Fighting knives were traditionally designed as special-purpose weapons, intended primarily if not solely for use in personal or military hand-to-hand combat.

The Russian combat knife should be definitely referred to the national cold arms.  The fact of existence of the national knife is in a certain degree a matter of politics, national pride and value. We can also say that this is a matter of national self-determination.

It looks like the images of modern Russian combat knives and everything that was created in Russia should have the name of our country. It’s not actually like this.

The key factor that defines the shape, features and qualities of many national knives is geographical determinism. It implies climate and territorial conditions. One of the last examples of this tendency is the so-called «urban knife for self-defence». The environment, conditions and lifestyle affect a lot of things including the type of a knife.

In this relation should be mentioned the knife known as a bowie knife. I should admit that the bowie knife is a simple geographically determined, regional working knife. In the first place it is meant for work with wood. It also the device that helps to survive in the northern forest and the weapon of a hunter and a reindeer breeder.

The Russian combat knife stands out from the orderly row of  bowie knives. Just like many years ago a rapier, saber and sword this knife was created as a weapon for the military hand-to-hand combat or close combat.

The Russian combat knife is defined as totally combat weapon and its fighting qualities are of main importance. Its purpose is to serve as combat cold arms in the military hand-to-hand combat or a close combat.

And its practical features including those that allow using it to survive in extreme cases are of secondary importance.

We should definitely admit that this is a type of cold arms that has no analogues among all the knives in the world.

Today the well-known NR-40 (from Russian: нож разведчика, nozh razvedchika, meaning “scout’s knife”) is a symbol of Russian combat knife.

The Russian combat knife is undoubtedly the unique category in the world of the spetsnaz martial arts. Its significance doesn’t yield even to a Japanese combat sword – katana. For Russian people it means even more. It serves as a kind of symbol of military spirit. You can hardly overestimate the significance of this fact.

In the martial arts world it’s not a secret that a combat knife gives serious priority in a military hand-to-hand combat and even in a close combat with an opponent armed with firearms. At the distance up to 7 meters the knife gives you definite advantage over the one who is armed with a gun.

First of all we need to regard the Russian combat knife as an object of the research. And we should admit that it’s really so. After this we should study it in its components and main parts. Take notice that each of them has its own features and discrepancies.

As you know every knife combat or not consists of two main parts: a blade and a hilt.

Basing on this general features the first and obvious conclusion we come to is that all knives in the world are nothing more then just knives and differ only in size, shape, characteristics, purpose and material.

Try to complicate the task and find features that turn an ordinary knife into combat cold arms and give it characteristics typical for the combat knife in a way it to be obvious for an amateur as well as for a specialist.

Actually it is enough to make over the hilt from the unsafe into the safe one. To this effect you can use either the hilt of special shape or devices known as “stops”, “guards”. Thus mainly the combat knife consists of three parts.

Again there are no cardinal discrepancies that point at national features of the knife and its concepts. We can only admit that these guards that make the hilt of the knife safer allow using this knife as a hunting weapon or solve combat tasks.

This fact proves again that details are vital. To answer our question we should regard the combat knife in its constituents.

We should separately consider its parts:

–         the blade of the combat knife,

–         the hilt of the combat knife,

–         the stops of the combat knife.

Only after you’ve distinguished certain patterns you can move on to synthesis and consider the Russian combat knife as a single, compound combat complex that consists of a blade, a hilt and stops.

In general the research itself is a set of issues that need to be examined and which can be presented in the following succession:

The Russian combat knife is a symbol of military spirit and the subject of inquiry.

The blade of the Russian combat knife. The battle of the concepts.

The hilt of the Russian combat knife. Similarities and discrepancies. Practice of the experience.

The world of myths and the stops of the Russian combat knife.

Two in one. Does the Russian combat knife a weapon or an instrument?

The truth about the adoptions and the concept of the Russian combat knife.

The Russian combat knife and the bowie knife. The comparative analysis.

In conclusion it is necessary to mention that basing on this research it is important to pay attention to the development of modern tendencies in the construction of Russian combat knives and to the cases when the concept of the Russian combat knife was adopted especially lately.

There are new materials, technologies and ideas. That allows making the Russian combat knife a weapon of new generation. From now on the Russian combat knife is not just a knife used in the military hand-to hand combat; it can cut iron and wire, provide noiseless and flameless shooting, serve as a universal device that helps to survive.

Special attention should be paid to myths and delusions which always accompany something outstanding and hamper to see simple and obvious things. For example the existence of the national concept of the Russian combat knife.

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