Khridoli

Khridoli is an ancient Georgian martial art, which includes fighting with bare hands and different types of weapons. The culture of martial arts played the decisive role for Georgia in pulling through centuries of wars and attacks. Georgia endured the whole eras, in which numerous small and big countries and nations vanished without a trace. In course of 3500 years, Georgian warriors were successfully withstanding enemies attacking kingdoms of Georgia and later united Georgian kingdom.

Along with their native fatherland, Georgian mercenaries succeeded in many other countries as main military forces and high rank commanders: Mamlukis in Egypt, Kulemens in Iraq, Kulis in Iran. Same can be said of Afghanistan, India, Turkey and Russia. Due to permanent military actions, Georgian warriors were always on high alert.

Until the beginning of 20th century, in every region of Georgia there were special areas for competitions in martial arts and other sports similar to old Olympic games.

The competitions used to be held like military maneuvers in which several thousand men fought by the rules of saldasti (a special boxing style with additional use of swords and other combat weapon made from wood).

Diversity and multiform features of fighting styles practised in various regions of Georgia had crucial influences on formation of Georgian Martial arts and its rich culture.

Each part of Georgia had its unique military traditions. More than 30 styles of wrestling and boxing have been practiced in Georgia, as well as, wide range of armaments and combat rules Along with rich traditions in martial arts, Georgians also possessed “Warrior Code” counting 365 rules.

Due to the constant military readiness, the rules were in action all over Georgia and actually defined the code of conduct and way of life for all Georgians. Unfortunately, in XIX century, traditions of Georgian martial arts were posed to serious danger. After the occupation, the Russian Empire started repressing all aspect of Georgian cultural heritage, and especially, military traditions. Moreover, after the second occupation in 1921, Georgian martial arts along with the whole Georgian State went under control of Russian Bolsheviks.

Georgian wrestling and boxing turned into major basis for creation of Russian sambo. In course of 70 years, revival and practice of Georgian martial arts was strictly banned. Under heavy censorship, Georgian scientist were only allowed to conduct minor studies of ancient martial arts style that somehow helped Georgian martial traditions no to perish completely.

Since 1980-ies, several initiative groups started functioning in order revive Georgian martial arts. In 1989, Georgian Martial Arts Department was created at the Rustaveli Society. Later in 1990, Federation of Georgian Martial Arts – Khridoli was formed. The first president was Levan Kikaleishvili, the Head of the Hall – Kakhaber Zarnadze, consultants – Alexander Dorsavelidze, Guram Kajaia. Many old and new groups working with the same goal started joining the Federation: Nikolz Abazadze, David Abazadze, Vaso Kakhutashvili, (club Chauki); Nodar Lursmanashvili(club Tori); Nukri Mchedlishvili, Lado Metskhvarishvili, Manuchar Beselia(club Iberieli Mglebi); Zura Chachanidze, Giorgi Kokoshashvili(club Khogais Mindi); David Alania, Paata Ochigava(club Kiborji – later it was renamed to Kolkha); Giorgi Ambardanishvii(club Dzlevai); Bakhva Chabukiani (club Dahkari); David Gulbani(club Lemi); Archil Gogoladze(club Kartli). Later, the Federation members opened additional clubs: club Davitiani in Kutaisi by Nika Chachava; club Samtskhe in Akhaltsikhe and Adigeni by Zaza Chilingarashvili; club Odishi in Senaki bu Zaal kantartia.

In the promotion of Khridoli significant role was played by the former leaders of the Federation. Namely, Tengiz Shervashidze, Koba Chumburidze and Zurab Lejava, as well as, Vice President Zurab Kakhabrishvili and consultant Givi Kakhabrishvili.

Revival of Georgian martial arts would not be possible without the generation of our grandfathers – old men, especially in mountains, who have preserved various techniques and styles of Georgian wrestling and boxing, usage of weapon and different tricks and feints.

Rules of Khridoli: The rules of fighting in Khridoli originated thousands of years ago, and have developed since; for example the moves that are hazardous for the oppeonents’s life such as arm breaking doesn’t exist in modern Khridoli. In the past the masters of Khridoli had to know wrestling, boxing and fencing as well.