How karate was banned in the USSR

In the sixties of the last century, an exotic form of single combat - karate - became popular in the Soviet Union. These were the times of the Khrushchev "thaw", the international relations of the USSR, including sports, developed. All over the country, sections were opened in which karate, a Japanese martial art that conquered the whole world, was taught.

No one could name the exact number of karate fighters in our country, there were few real instructors, so a significant part of the athletes were engaged in semi-underground sections, in which the teachers themselves had the most vague idea of ​​karate.

In November 1978, an order was issued by the USSR Sports Committee "On the development of karate wrestling in the USSR." A month later, the USSR Karate Federation was created. She conducted the first All-Union certification of karate trainers. The strongest schools in the late 70s worked in Moscow, Leningrad, Tallinn, Chelyabinsk. The first holder of a black belt in Leningrad was E. Galitsyn, who later became a member of the Coaching Council of the USSR national karate team. The first USSR championship was held on February 19, 1980 in Tashkent.

But the real boom of karate began after the release of the legendary film "Pirates of the XX century". In this film, the actors were trained by Tadeusz Kasyanov, a legend of Soviet karate, who played the role of boatswain. And in the role of the pirate Saleh, Talgat Nigmatulin starred, a famous actor, moreover, the champion of Uzbekistan in karate.

It was then that the karate sections simply could not accept everyone. Perhaps any prestigious university could envy such a competition. According to official data, in the USSR, several hundred thousand people were engaged in this type of martial arts, according to unofficial ones - about six million.

But, this did not last long, already in the early eighties the authorities began to look at karate with caution, and soon the USSR State Sports Committee banned this type of martial arts throughout the country. Moreover, for learning karate, one could get a prison sentence plus a substantial fine.

On November 10, 1981, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR adopted two decrees: “On administrative responsibility for violating the rules of teaching karate” and “On introducing amendments and additions to the Criminal Code of the RSFSR (Article 219.“ Illegal teaching of karate ”). privately teach karate to, say, a friend. Article 219. "Illegal karate training" read: "Violation of the established rules for opening sports karate sections or recruiting citizens in them, or training in the sections for techniques prohibited by sports rules, as well as unauthorized, without the permission of the relevant authorities, training in karate techniques, committed after use administrative penalties for the same violations - are punishable by imprisonment for a term of up to two years or a fine of up to five hundred rubles. The same actions committed by a person previously convicted of illegal karate training, or related to obtaining material benefits in significant amounts, - is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years with or without confiscation of property. " In fact, criminal responsibility for learning karate came in 1982. There were also show trials in order to show the seriousness of the punishment for learning karate. So under Article 219, the famous trainer Valery Gusev was convicted, who received 5 years in prison for illegal training in karate. Another well-known coach, Aleksey Shturmin, was sentenced to 8 years in prison and charged with illegal currency transactions. Tadeusz Kasyanov, who played the boatswain in "Pirates of the XX century", spent one year and five months in prison.

What is the fault of the Japanese martial art?

There are many versions. For example, according to one of them, at that time in Moscow, the nephew of the head of the Moscow city committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Grishin was beaten on the street, so he tried to ban karate.

There were other reasons for the ban: the top officials believed that physically strong young people who knew the techniques of karate could join the ranks of criminal structures.

Interestingly, one of the pioneers of karate in the Soviet Union, a Japanese student, Tetsuo Sato, taught Shito Ryu karate. Sato's school was small; his students, later, actively collaborated with law enforcement agencies. There was even a branch of the school in the Higher School of the State Security Committee. Naturally, this school calmly survived the times of karate persecution without loss.

Karate was "outside the law" until the end of the eighties. In June 1989, Soviet athletes took part in the European Championship, and the same year the Soviet Association of Oriental Martial Arts was registered in Moscow. Since then, no one in our country has banned karate, but the popularity that was in the late seventies - early eighties was no longer achieved.