Competition in martial arts is certainly an individual practice with one opponent facing down another.
A team of fighters helps to shape each individual in the course of their training but when it comes time to square off with an opponent it’s all on that individual.
An emerging sport in Russia has found a new way of inserting “team” into the world of combat sports competition with 8Fight.
Russian author Mikhail Didenko brought the emerging sport to my attention and will provide more insight into combat sports in the future in a posts I have labelled “Russian Combat Series.”
8Fight is a team competition pitting two teams of eight people against one another in a modified team boxing match. The team to knock down all of their opponents or push all of their opponents to the backside of the “ring” is declared the victor.
It’s much easier to watch than it is for me to explain (which I’ll do anyway), watch the video at the link for a better understanding http://vk.com/video8200887_164465789.
Basically you have eight person teams equipped with mma style gloves, headgear, groin protector’s (for cowards it’s noted on the website) and mouthpieces. Teams must weigh-in together before each fight and restricted to between 500 kg – 800 kg per team.
The concept, as stated is to put all of the opposing team on the ground or to force them outside of the ring. A member who is down cannot be touched but they can get back up and continue fighting if their team has not been eliminated. As well anyone who has left, or been forced out of the ring, can jump back in as well but only if their team hasn’t been eliminated.
Fouls include strikes to the back of the head, to the kidneys or the back. Kicking, low blows or striking a downed opponent are illegal. No submissions or grappling is allowed.
Four referees oversee each fight along with four judges along with a timekeeper and doctor.
All competitors are expected to conduct themselves in a gentlemanly manner by refraining from insulting rivals, swearing or making obscene gestures. Both teams are forced to shake hands after the match.
Watch another video http://vk.com/video8200887_164465787.
8Fight is certainly an interesting concept, bringing “team” participation into a sport that has generally been individually based. I don’t think we’ll see this sport sweep across the world like mixed martial arts has but it is certainly an activity that will introduce people to the sport as well as keeping young people busy.
Much like most martial arts, the concept of sportsmanship and a sense of belonging is certainly a positive step in the right direction for these young Russians.