They say any weapon is dangerous in unpractised hands. What if the very hands belong to a fighter and are a weapon?.. In this case, it is all according to education and training of the fighter himself. So, what should be done for children practicing wrestling to become true sportsmen, not aggressive riffraff or bandits?

Two ways - one path

Martial arts training must include personality development in three directions: physical, spiritual and intellectual, teacher of the Cossack knightly school Ihor Melnyk told ForUm. "A teacher, who respects his martial art and believes in its usefulness in daily life, knows that physical training alone is not enough. Highly-trained fighters should also develop spiritually and intellectually. If a fighter cannot do this, he either stops trainings or starts using his skills harmfully. Moreover, improper use of combat skills may lead to psychological and mental self-destruction," the expert says.

The teacher recommends parents to be thorough when choosing a coach. "Meeting in person, verbal and visual contact are very important. I would also recommend to visit one or two trainings and pay attention to the coach's manner of interacting and his speech, whether he uses criminal slang or not.  Once I was very surprised to hear a coach encouraging his student with words "Hit him in the liver!". This is incorrect and should never happen. Personal example is the best way to train sportsmen. Thus, development of students depends on moral development of the teacher," he explained.

Former combat officer, Afghan veteran and now MP of "Motherland" party Roman Zabzalyuk has his own position on the matter. He reminded ForUm that in soviet times martial arts were forbidden, and boys were training in underground gyms. But even back then trainers taught sportsmen to build a moral wall, which did not allow to lay hands on "unarmed" person. "Skills, raised to reflexes, are a weapon. When I served in special forces we were also taught to have moral "brakes" not to use the skills as a "strong argument". Today, however, we do have a problem of teaching quality. The state should study this matter, to control who trains and how."

"However, sportsmen cannot be put on a par with delinquents, skinheads, neo-Nazi, who do not do sport but use force to assert themselves. However, if a professional boxer or wrestler uses his skills for criminal purposes it can be considered aggravating circumstances in court," he underlined.

What kings say

Naturally, ForUm has also asked opinions of famous sportsmen on this matter. Thus, MP of the of the Party of Regions Elbrus Tedeyev, Olympic champion of 2004, three times world champion (1995, 1999, 2002) and Europe champion on freestyle wrestling, told us that a true professional carries from sport to life only the skill to win, and it does not concern using skills in disputes or fights. "There are individual cases, when sportsmen commit crimes. This is a tragedy and they pay to the full effect of the law. But lawmakers should think not about strengthening responsibility, but about promoting mass children sport. We should give our children a possibility to fulfil their potential, be it sport, science or other sectors. State activity depends on it."

"Computer technologies have monopolized children's attention. Children cannot handle physical training classes at school. It's a shame. And what about the Olympic games, European and world championships? What if, God forbid, a war happens? Who will protect the motherland? We do need good specialists and teachers who will teach how to win, and we must draw children to sport and healthy lifestyle," Tedeyev summed up.

Boxer of global renown, champion of Europe, WBO and WBA heavyweight boxing world champion, MP Vitali Klitschko agrees with the said. He once said that boxer's fist is a weapon, and Klitschko's fist is a nuclear weapon, but it will never be used outside the ring. "Successful sportsmen are not aggressive in life, as they do not have to prove anything to anyone. And if a looser looks for a victim to prove his so-called strength, it is not sport, but wishful thinking." 

"Every sport has its philosophy, and until you learn it you won't get results. Sport helps a lot in life, as it develops such features as commitment, strength of mind and fortitude. Regular sportsmen know how to strive for best results, and many universities and companies prefer to take sportsmen. Moreover, sport enables to take children from the street, away from crimes, aggression, alcohol, drugs," he told ForUm.      

Experience, psychology and law

Parents, who used to practice martial arts, and then sent their children to sport sections confirm the abovementioned. "I started doing Greco-Roman wrestling when I was a kid. Both my parents and the coach always said that the skills could not be used against regular people. Now I repeat these words to my son," Candidate Master of Sports on Greco-Roman wrestling Viktor from Kyiv told ForUm. And Dmytro from Crimea added that sport should develop the ability to count on oneself, to overcome weaknesses and fears, to douse aggression, not to provoke it. "At the age of 12 I started doing wrestling. At the age of 27 I switched to boxing. I know how important the passion and spirit are. But martial arts are first of all the victory over own weakness and lack of confidence, not over an adversary. It is important that the coach teaches this."
Independent expert and former spokesman of Interior Ministry Volodymyr Polishchuk added that physical training should not become a problem in the first place. "As a rule, teachers, coaches, instructors always underline that skills should not be misused. And if a sportsman uses certain skills to solve a conflict and someone gets hurt, he will be held responsible according to the law," he summed up.

Problems of "man and weapon", "man and violence" engross the mind of philosophers, sociologists and psychologists for centuries, and humanist values get instilled first in the family and then in the educational system," Valentyna Bondarovska, director of the international humanitarian center "Rozrada" and candidate of psychological science, told ForUm.

"It is also important where and how a child masters skills of wrestling or martial arts. We know that many martial arts include obligatory study of philosophy and ethics of use of these skills. Good sportsmen follow the rule not to apply their skills and not to fight in daily life. It is a good example for youth, but still it is not enough.

The society and state should pay more attention to the matter of use of force. Especially it concerns weapons. In developed countries, Canada for example, before getting the right to buy a weapon a person must take numerous courses on weapon use and pass exams, which cannot be bribed or forged. We also should follow the civilized path," the psychologist underlined.


It seems that a weak and spiritually poor person will never become a good fighter, while sport teaches to defeat idleness and dominate emotions, to achieve results. However, sending a child to a sport class is still not enough. The success requires efforts of many people and institutions...

Yulia Artamoshchenko


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