Spetsnaz shovel video

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Rommel

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In my search for a spetsnaz shovel and video showing the same I was given an e-mail by someone from the systema forum which had a link www.spetsnaz-gru.com. Does anyone know who this Alexander Popov is? His biography states the following:

I, Alexander Popov, welcome you. I am the President of Spetsnaz Training Association (nongovernmental) and the Chief Expert in knife and hand-to-hand combat in the version of Spetsnaz GRU (or Special Forces of the MAIN INTELLIGENCE DEPARTMENT of the General Staff of the Russian (former Soviet) Army).

The aim of this serial is to introduce amateurs of fighting arts to the most effective and deadly system of hand-to-hand combat of today that is not known to the public at large or even to a close circle of specialists.
This unique system was developed in 20-30-th of the XX century in Russia on the base of the best fighting systems of the East and the West. It was successfully tested during the Second World War.

In 1943 the Soviet Army started a counter-offensive against the fascist invaders and a need arose to purge liberated territories from enemy's agents, reconnaissance/saboteur groups, remains of defeated German troops, bandit units etc. On 19-th of April, 1943 by order of Stalin SMERSH, the Chief Counter-Intelligence Department for People's Defense Commissariat of the USSR, was set up.

The counter-intelligence SMERSH was under Stalin's personal command and was not a part of the GRU. However, the most of SMERSH investigating specialists were taken from GRU Special Force units. Such a specialist-investigator, called a "wolf-hound" in the slang, had not only to master the hand-to-hand technique, to use any available thing as a weapon, to fire with both hands (such method of firing is called "Macedonian style fire"). He must be able to catch alive a well-armed, specially trained and physically strong fighter. To do that, it was necessary to master such a fighting system that would surpass all existing fighting systems.

Here we can quote some figures. Only in 1943 "wolf-hounds" investigators neutralized and arrested 80.296 hostile agents, saboteurs, bandits, and other criminal elements at liberated territories.
After the end of the Second World War the counter-intelligence SMERSH was disbanded and the most of its workers came back to the GRU.
After Stalin's death the new leadership of this country started to conduct their reforms in the Soviet Army. Training of universal super-fighters seemed to be a useless and even a dangerous thing, therefore the special units of the GRU were disbanded. Instead of them formations of the Soviet Army built up their own units - companies, later - battalions and brigades of special forces where the well-known SAMBO system (self-defense without weapons) was taught as a method of hand-to-hand combat.

So, the most perfect system was neglected for a very long time. By now almost all of the famous cohort of investigating "wolf-hounds" are not alive. But some of them spread the knowledge among their learners. I had the luck to be a learner of one of the "wolf-hounds". My coach, even in his old age, could easily overpower a few young and well-trained fighters of "the black belt" level at least.
I hope that all amateurs, regardless of their level of training, will like this serial.

Alexander Popov
 
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Gregor

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Ive received this video cassette. No additional information about Popov and the history of the style, but his technique is impressive. At any rate, I havent seen anything like that.
It does not look like the Kadochnikovs style.
Is he from Russia?
 

Samurai

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The sample video clips on the Shovel looks like he is doing some sort of Chinese Wushu. I even saw the crane step and some other COMMON wushu techniques.

I understand that the "work" is hard to show without a partner so I am not passing a judgement, just making a comment.

Thank You,
Jeremy Bays
 
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GouRonin

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Interesting how that little black bat makes it way into everything spetsnaz ain't it?
:D
 

Arthur

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Gotta agree with Samurai... definately looks like Wu Shu/Gong Fu.

Certainly looks nothing like any of the Systema, ROSS, Kadochnikov, Combat Sambo or other RMA I've seen.

And yes Gou... it is amazing how that bat gets around.

Arthur
 
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Rommel

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Arthur,

Have you seen any shovel work in ROSS or Kadochnikov systems?
What's it like cross-training in ROSS and Kadochnikov with systema?
 

Arthur

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I've seen some ROSS and Kadochnikov shovel work on video. Its similar to ours in the same way other parts of those arts are similar to ours.

I don't cross train in either of those systems, but I try to learn about thm as much as I can. I have lots of ROSS videos and as Kadochnikov videos become available, I'll get those too.

I have a student who cross trains in ROSS, and I try to pay attention to what he's doing and have also had a some opportunity to get to gether and share a bit with his ROSS teacher.

I think its good for all RMA people to check out what the others are doing, get more familiar with it, etc... It always sets the stage for more learning.

Arthur
PS Now I'm totally wanting to do shovel work and I don't have one in my possesion at the moment. Hmm... do I have an e-tool in the trunk?
 

jellyman

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Art, can you make it up in May? Bound to be shovels then.

As for the clips, they do remind me of wu shu. He may still be spetsnaz, though. Not all units do a russian style, and wu shu (in the pre-communist china sense of the word, somewhat ironically) is used as a base in some units.

I agree with Arthur that it never hurts to look at what other people are doing.
 
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Gregor

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I agree that this style has some likeness to Kung Fu. After all, it was stated about this style: 竄This unique system was developed in the 20-30-th of the XX century in Russia on the base of the best fighting systems of the East and the West罈 (see http://www.spetsnaz-gru.com/spetsnaz.htm ).
At that time the USSR rendered a large military and economic assistance to the pro-Soviet government in the Southern China. There were many Soviet military advisers in China and many Chinese, especially those ones from southern provinces, visited the USSR (it is known to all specialists in the Russian history of the 20-th century). Therefore, it does not look improbable that some combat techniques and training methods might be borrowed by the SMERSH and the GRU from certain Kung Fu styles (some of southern styles are known to be of exceptionally high combat efficiency).

As regard to Arthurs remark: Certainly looks nothing like any of the Systema, ROSS, Kadochnikov, Combat Sambo or other RMA I've seen. It seems to me that the world of the Russian Martial Arts is rather versatile. Probably, it only starts to unveil a little its main secrets.

As regard to Alexander Popov level of technique. Video clips do not give full notion about it, but having seen the videocassette, I can say that he is undoubtedly a master of high class. It gives an impression. At any rate, I also ordered the second cassette Knife Combat.

Gregor
 

Samurai

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Just FYI.....
Cold Steel makes a Spets shovel. Here is the information from the website. You can buy one from
http://www.eknifeworks.com
It is $16.99 US which is about $10 less then from Cold Steel direct.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Special Forces Shovel is modeled after the original Soviet Spetsnaz shovel. The Spetsnaz were the Soviet army's most elite unit, and were renowned for their deadly efficiency.

Because they were trained to travel light, they packed only the bare essentials. One of their favorite tools was their unique shovel which featured a broad flat blade and three sharp edges for maximum versatility.

Our Special Forces Shovel follows the Soviet design as faithfully as possible with improvements in the steel (twice as thick) and heat treatment. This is a super value on a precision-made tool that is also a battle-proven,
improvised weapon.

Features:

繚 Shovel head and socket are forged from mediumcarbon steel, then heat treated for maximum strength.

繚 All shovel edges have been sharpened to a sturdy utility/axe edge. It can easily be made razor sharp with a little effort.

繚 Each shovel is approximately 50 centimeters long so
it can be used as a measuring tool (2 shovel lengths
equal 1 meter).

繚 Each shovel is equipped with a heavy-duty wooden handle, suitable for hard service.
 
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Rommel

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Just an informal survey. How many out there actually own a spetsnaz shovel or copy of one? Where did you buy it? What video tapes do you own that taught you how to use it? And lastly, do you carry it around with you just in case something happens?

When I was still a ministerial student in the Philippines, I often carried a collapsable cane in my pocket because there were stabblings in the squatter area where I was teaching Bible Studies? There I studied arnis under a "mandirigma" or warrior. I could use arnis or my limited systema ability with the shovel, but I want to learn other methods of using it as used by spetsnaz soldiers.

Would anyone recomment Alexander Popov's video tape on the shovel?
 
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GouRonin

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You're in the Toronto area Rommel, (Well Mississauga doesn't count but I used to live near burnhamthorpe and Dixie heh heh heh. In fact I use to live 15 min from Vlad but it was before he opened) and you have done some arnis. Have you ever worked with Jun De leon?
 
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Rommel

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Gou,

I first learned Arnis Lanada in Boston when I was going to college. I then transferred to a college in Northern California and studied the doce pares system for a while. I then moved to San Diego and studied arnis under an American who studied in the Philippines. I then went to the Philippines for 5 years and studied a variation of Pekita Tirsia and a style called Tracma. When I moved to Mississauga, I didn't continue any formal arnis training because I started studying systema (now going on 3 years) with Vladimir. I have heard good things about Kali De Leon and also Sayoc Kali, but as a pastor I don't have much time to devote to martial arts training except in the mornings. For now, while I'm here I decided to focus entirely on Sokoli Stalina (Vladimir's systema). I KNOW that studying systema has automatically improved my arnis as movement is movement and the use what works philiosphy is alive and well in systema.
 

jellyman

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Well, I have a shovel I picked up in Moscow. I had the edges shaprened, but I'm thinking of getting another for gardening. What little I know is from watching Vlad use it. I think it would be cool if he did a tape on longish weapons - shovel, stick, sword - although it has been pointed out to me that the hand movements are the same/related.
 
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Gregor

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I sent a few questions to Mr. Popov by e-mail. Here are answers to them:

1. Which video should I start with?

It depends on what you want to learn. If the entrenching shovel technique, the starting point should be the film Entrenching Shovel basic technique, if a knife work, the film Knife Combat - basic technique (see www.spetsnaz-gru.com ). If you mean the system as a whole, in this case it is better to start with a film containing the elementary course of hand-to-hand combat which will be issued soon.

2. Do you have an instructor training program?

There is such a training program, but it is not in video form yet. The films on the knife fight and entrenching shovel fight released by now are dedicated to two important and rather independent branches of the hand-to-hand combat. Those two series of video films are comprehensive manuals, they allow to master all basic combat methods used with a knife and an entrenching shovel according to the version of Spetsnaz GRU. Training starts from the basic technique. No preliminaries are needed. It is quite enough to have a desire and necessary implements a knife and (or) a entrenching shovel. Any combat knife or dagger is suitable for this purpose; as far as entrenching shovels are concerned, a lot of Internet shops sell them, they are called spetsnaz shovel there, the price range is from 17 瓣簾 28 $US.

3. Do you have any practitioners in the United States and Canada?

There are no practitioners in this system of the hand-to-hand combat anywhere outside Russia. Even in Russia there is little knowledge about this system, as during the Soviet time it was classified information. Very few specialists in complete command of this system have lived to the present time.

4. Is your system related to other Russian Martial Arts such as the Systema, Ross, or the Kadochnikov System?

No, it is not; this combat system greatly differs from such general combat systems as ROSS, Systema, Kadochnikovs system or Combat SAMBO.
Kadochnikovs system was developed by Alexey Kadochnikov in the 70-th of the XX-th century on the base of the military hand-to hand combat and his own ideas and developments. It is worth mentioning, without diminishing Kadochnikovs merits, that he had nothing to do with the Spetsnaz. Being an officer of the Soviet, and then Russian Army, he taught theoretical mechanics at the Higher Rocket School. The ROSS system was developed by Alexander Retyunskikh in the last 90-th on the basis of SAMBO and Kadochnikovs style.
Our system according to the version of the Spetsnaz GRU, was developed in the
20-th 30-th of the XX century in the USSR to train personnel of special reconnaissance/saboteur units of the GRU (military reconnaissance) employed for combat actions at the rear of the enemy. Such specially trained intelligence officer was able to win several armed and well-trained enemies in a hand-to-hand combat. It should be noted that within two or three years of training a practitioner in this combat system attained a much higher level than the black belt 9 dan in the Eastern Martial Arts.

5. At first sight your style resembles Chinese kung fu. Has it some Chinese origin?

It must be admitted that a great contribution into the development of this system was made by Chinese masters of Kung Fu from the province of Guangdong. My principal teacher was master Sang Ming Chong who served in the GRU staff for a long time. However, this system was not based only on one particular Chinese style. It is a combined style that was developed and tested in combat conditions many times over 20 years on the basis of the best hand-to-hand combat styles of Russia and South China. It pays a great attention to cold-steel work, including work with the knife and the entrenching shovel. A unique system of pistol firing with both hands (so-called Macedonian style), a method to escape bullet hits (pendulum swing) and some other similar methods have been also developed. By the way, my teacher, Sang Ming Chong, being an outstanding master of Hung Gar style, was rather skeptical about the condition of the oriental Martial Arts in the second part of the 20-th century. He thought that they were loosing its main component, i.e. combat aspect. The Martial Arts are changing into either sports or something which only resembles the Martial Arts, not being them in reality. Methods shown by so-called masters are not applicable in a combat, as they contradict existing combat principles and regularities.

Alexander Popov
President of Spetsnaz Training Association, Moscow (nongovernmental organization).
 

Furtry

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Interestingly he doesn't comment on Systema as taught by Vladimir and Mikhail. But tells the same story as VV and MR for the basis and development/history of this art.
The answer to question five again touches on principles, "pendulum swing", of Systema as taught by MR and VV. The man is obviously knowledgeable and very proficient at what he does.
 
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Rommel

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It's also interesting to note how the VV and MK style resembles the higher forms of Chinese internal arts like Paqua or Tai Chi. I remember a thread where some Chinese masters had seen the Master of Fighting Video and said that MK's movements resemble those of the Chinese masters. Others see Aikido or Chi Na. The fact that Russia and China border each other and had many ties more than just the common Communist background during the Cold War days shows how each martial cultures influenced the other. I also remember reading that Russians were often hired as bodyguards to the emperors.
 

jellyman

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I once saw a special on CBC about the Vikings. Apparently a large contingent were invited into what is now Russia to take over - I guess the locals needed some protection. Anyway, these Vikings called themselves the Russ (pronounced 'roose', ie 'goose' with an r for a g) and it is they who are credited with the formation of Rusia as a nation. Through trading they made contact with the orient and the Middle East, and were indeed hired as bodygaurds, due to their fearsome (and earned) reputation as fighters. This all takes place over centuries of course.

I've come across one article in russian on the web about the chinese emporor's bodygaurd, and MR has alluded to this as well.

I'll post the url for the article (and a bunch of others) when I get home - you can translate via alta vista.
 
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Rommel

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That's AWESOME Jelly,

I think you just found the missing link in our art. That is why it seems to also be a combination of eastern and western just like Popov's system. These bodyguards of the emperor could have been trained by the emperor's other bodyguards in ancient Chinese arts. They could have combined them with their European sword arts and come up with the Russian hybrid which was further improved by the Russian spetsnaz when they were trying to look for and at the same time 'create' the ultimate martial art. Another possible theory is that the Russian monastaries could have imitated the Buddhist Shaolin monasteries in further developing the art. Whatever the case, it could have been passed on through bodyguard families. Wasn't MR's uncle one of the top bodyguards of Stalin, one of Stalin's falcons? This explains why our martial art has so many bodyguard applications and drills. It's a perfect Bodyguard, executive protection system that's continually being enhanced and improved by MR and VV.
 
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GouRonin

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Originally posted by Rommel
It's a perfect Bodyguard, executive protection system.

It's true. Just yesterday I was in the kitchen wearing a suit and dark sunglasses with an earpiece guarding the cans of chef-boy-r-dee and tell the dog to, "move along....nothing to see here...move along now..."

Of course I can't afford a real earpiece so I had to tape my friend's baby monitor to my head and all I could hear was his wife asking him why she couldn't find the baby monitor but damn it, I was soooo in character!
 

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