Viktor Nikolaevich Leonov and his Russian Martial Art

Author: Aleksandr Volkov

“Everything should be done properly”. This phrase is the motto of Viktor Nikolaevich Leonov. It doesn’t matter what he took up including studying and teaching the Russian martial art he did it with devotion and great diligence. Due to his motto Viktor Nokolaevich never deviated from the given aim – do as much good as possible to your native land.

Viktor Nokolaevich was born in 21 November 1916 in the family of a laborer. Viktor Nikolaevich Leonov gained a lot due to his persistence, will, pushy and sometimes even sharp character. He was one of the most prominent representatives of the Russian martial art, made a good career in a maritime reconnaissance, was given the rank of lieutenant commander and awarded as the Hero of the Great Patriotic War. Twice. His first award he was given in 5 November 1944 and the second one in 14 September 1945. You should admit that not everyone can repeat such a great exploit in less then a year proving his love for the native land.

All this didn’t come to him out of the blue and it wasn’t some happy accident. This was the result of his great zeal to achieve more. When he was young Viktor gave himself a word that everything he would get down to would be done properly with ardent heart. In this mood he came to Moscow and started to work on a factory.

In 1937 Viktor Nikolaevich Leonov was drafted to the army. At his request he was sent to the navy and taken on a submarine. Since childhood Leonov has been dreaming of the sea. But after a severe illness he was sent to a repair shop ship. It parted him from his dream but nothing could make him go back on his words because no matter what everything still should be done properly.

On his new place Leonov served diligently, maintained discipline and due to this won respect of his comrades-in-arms. In spare time he wrote poetry. Of course he did it secretly at first. But then he showed it to several most close friends. They offered him to send it to the newspaper. The poetry was published and that inspired Viktor. Thus he decided to join the Institute of literature after the army. But coming war suddenly changed his destiny.

Looking a bit ahead I’d like to mention here that despite all the difficulties and sorrows Leonov went through during the Great Patriotic War he never lost his gift of literature. In 1956 his book “Face to Face” was published and in 1973 – “Get Ready to the Exploit Today”.

In 1941 when the war started Leonov decided to go to the battlefront. With great difficulty he got through all the refusals of doctors and was sent to the reconnaissance detachment 181 of the Northern navy. Leonov and his detachment successfully fulfilled about 50 combat operations in the enemy rear.

Leonov was very exacting and no only to his comrades-in-arms but also to himself. He regarded the work in the enemy rear as invaluable labor that requires great self-control, endurance, ability to assess the situation quickly and accurately, make decisions instantly. Leonov had very important quality he could influence his comrades with firm word. That was supported by personal example in all situations.

The main task of the scouts was to collect the valuable information, make sudden strikes in the enemy rear and disappear without a trace from the enemy’s visibility range. The enemy feared the detachment of marine reconnaissance scouts under the command of Leonov like death. They even call them “the black devils”.

Once they were ordered to carry out task of unusual character. They should act not secretly but demonstrative attracting as much attention as possible. By taking the strike and in this way distracting the attention of the enemy they allowed a large landing party to land. During the operation Leonov displayed great heroism, courage and quick wit.

The operation in 1943 was also successful. In December Leonov was appointed as a commander of the reconnaissance detachment 181 of the Northern navy. In 1944 he was given military rank “lieutenant”.

Interesting that after Leonov became the commander of the reconnaissance detachment not a single soldier was accepted without his approval. Leonov personally selected only best fighters.

This detachment was shipped deep to the enemy rear and could make its way over boggy and covered with ice areas for weeks. They could go where even beasts hadn’t threaded. This is achieved due to physical and psychological training and skills of the Russian martial art.

In between the raids the reconnaissance scouts were engaged in the unusual activity considering the fact that they were at the front-line. They did exercises with weights, competed in jumping and running, practiced Russian martial arts. If the landscape allowed they trained the skills of mountaineering. This non-standard approach made it possible for the reconnaissance detachment to fulfill any task given and be fearsome for the enemies.

The reconnaissance detachment was done with the enemy at the northern front and was redeployed to the East in Korea for helping to liberate from the Japanese invaders. At the time the lieutenant commander Viktor Nikolaevich Leonov was the Hero of the Soviet Union.

The combat situation there was very difficult; the Japanese had great numerical superiority. The skills of Russian martial arts they got in the North helped the Leonov’s detachment to gain the victory over the enemy. The Japanese were defending themselves by shooting and break down their resistance at the distance was impossible. And Leonov decided to come nearer to the enemy and start the close combat. This impressed the Japanese soldiers so much that they finally lost bayonet and close combat.

For this exploit Leonov was awarded another “Golden Star” and became twice the Hero of the Soviet Union.

After the war Viktor Nikolaevich Leonov went on serving in his dear Northern navy. In 1952 he was given the rank of the captain 2nd class. Besides Leonov graduated two years in marine military school and since 1956 he was in reserve.

Courage and resolution are the secret of Viktor Nikolaevich Leonov’s success. According to Leonov the main law of the Russian hand-to-hand combat: “One of the opponents who are approaching each other will certainly shrink”.

Leonov gave his detachment Spartan upbringing having no mercy for them. Every day they skied up to 70 kilometers; practiced military hand-to-hand combat and other elements of the Russian martial art. The main peculiarity of his technique was the element that included combat of the armed man with unarmed. The most important thing here was that they used a live rifle with a bayonet. The top brass didn’t like it and was worried for the soldier’s state of health. Leonov explained that he was preparing his people for the real conditions of the battlefield. This was the vivid example of the Russian martial art.

Leonov used to say: “There were a lot of great people and magic heroes in our country. I was brought up following their example and I’m telling you: never forget the traditions of the Russian martial art keep them, extend them! Everyone dreams of an exploit. To achieve this dream you should be able to control your body and have an iron will. How to become a man of iron? There are no special exercises for this. Its core is in patriotism. Those who don’t care about their native land won’t achieve anything! Of course you need knowledge and skills of the Russian martial art. You also should trust your comrades who trust you in return. The will appears with these qualities. If there is will there will be an exploit…”

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