Karajala Kickboxing Club is a training facility in Karajala, a small village near Tbilisi. The club is located in the house of trainer and owner Isvahan Aliyev, a professional kickboxer. Aliyev, and all of the members but one, are ethnic Azerbaijanis born in Georgia. Saying that the facility lacks equipment would be an understatement — it has only one bench press and one punchbag — but despite this, Aliyev says that some of the children from the club are Georgian kickboxing champions. [Read more…]
Ingushetia remains one of Russia’s most troubled and impoverished republics, one rattled by Islamic insurgency, corruption, and a sluggish economy. However, with the president’s indirect use of mixed martial arts to enhance his republic’s image, two brothers have emerged to spearhead the movement for the betterment of Ingush society.
Every Easter, people in Shukhuti, a small village in Guria, western Georgia, clash in the centre of the village over a heavy, 16–17 kg ball. This tradition, a kind of game of honor, is called Leloburti. Shukhuti is divided into two parts — Zemo (upper) and Kvemo (lower) Shukhuti — both of which field teams which clash every year.
The North Caucasus is well known for its Olympic champion wrestlers. However, a move towards the more brutal ‘mixed martial arts’ is leading some to question why such a violent sport is being allowed and even encouraged, whether or not it is compatible with local traditions, and if it is engendering violence.