Khevsur clansmen, c. 1910

Discussion in 'Western Martial Arts' started by Louie, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. Louie

    Louie STUNT DAD Supporter

    Some interesting pics of Georgian Khevsur clansmen, c. 1910 armed with sword, buckler, musket and pistol....



  2. RAbid Hamster

    RAbid Hamster Herr Trubelmacher

    aren't they the bods who are (allegedly) descended from a bunch of lost crusaders?
  3. max Chouinard

    max Chouinard Valued Member

    That's a theory which doesn have much credibility. People saw them with mail, crosses, swords and shield and said: "Wow, crusaders!" While they themselves have know idea what it's all about.
  4. adouglasmhor

    adouglasmhor Not an Objectivist

    Some of those men fought for Russia in WW1 rode off as soon as they heard Mother Russia was at war without a second thought.
  5. berdiau

    berdiau New Member

    Khevsurs are the indigenous people. They were called "მთიული"[mtiuli] or highlanders. They with other Georgian people adopted Christianity in the fourth century A.D and became devoted defendants of their land, language and religion.

    # 1 This is why you find so many cross on their clothes.


    # 2 People say they were excellent soldiers and tell heroic stories because they resisted and survived great empires like Persian, Mongol, Arab, Roman and Russian dominations. Even now they are quite strange people with their strict rules and traditions. Throughout history they subordinated themselves only to the King during Georgian Kingdom and never to the feudal lords.

    They were simple but reliable guardians of the "Northern Gates" of the Kingdom



    Shatili - Khevsuteri


    # 2 Fighting System is called "Georgian Marital Art" or "Georgian Fighting System"

    Sell also - "Xridoli" or "Khridoli"

    Official Web site :

    Even dances are full of military elements:
    [ame=""]YouTube - Georgian Legend[/ame]
  6. lklawson

    lklawson Valued Member

    These guys have been coming up from time to time on various WMA forums for the past 2 years or so. What it boils down to is that, right now, there is no consensus over exactly who they are, or where their martial traidtion derives from. There simply isn't enough information known about them. The same pictures get recycled and the same text and no one knows any more than they did last time.

    But it's certainly fun to speculate. :)

    Peace favor your sword,
  7. Yohan

    Yohan In the Spirit of Yohan Supporter

    Isn't there a documentary out there about these dudes?
  8. berdiau

    berdiau New Member

    Yes, unfortunately there isn't enough information in English. I know books and films but in Georgian language.

    Historically, region has been famous for its physical education; Romans were fascinated with their physical qualities after seeing the training techniques of ancient Iberia (

    The Ancient Greek also considered it as «inventors of steel» seeing warriors Equipped with good weapons (


    This is true with the Argonauts where Greeks found symbolic expression in the legend of Medea and the Golden Fleece.

    Georgian Marital Art was the part of Georgian culture and history. Every Georgian region had its unique military traditions. Khevsurs had a rule of revenge for example and a “Warrior Codes” which conducted the way of life.

    In the 14th century, traditions of Georgian martial arts were under serious threat of extinction. Last Georgian King formed alliance with the Orthodox Russian Empire to protect country from the growing Islamic world.

    Since then the Russian government tries to eradicate all aspects of the Georgian cultural heritage and especially military traditions. This is why Russian servicemen propose hypothesis that Georgian highlanders are the decedents of the crusades, which he couldn't prove

    They baned the practice of Georgian martial arts and those who opposed exiled from the region.

    These people are mentioned in the early chronicles of the Georgian history. For example in 4th century A.D Georgian King Mirian forced highlanders [including Khevsurs] to adopt Christianity, which they adopted. And then Christianity became official religion.

    These people existed before Crusades.

    I don't know any documentary about Khevsurs and in English, but there are quite many books and films in Georgian which tell you all about them.

    So the fighting system of those people you already saw is part of the "Georgian Martial Art" which is called "Khridoli" and which developed throughout the history of Georgian people.

    If still not sure:

    Work cited:

    "Georgian Martial Art" - Official web site

    If you wish to visit the region:


    or just google :)
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2009
  9. adouglasmhor

    adouglasmhor Not an Objectivist

    I thought Iberia was the roman name for Spain not Georgia.
  10. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    No, the Roman and Greek also called what is modern day Georgia, Iberia too.


    Berdiau your making alot of interesting claims about this, could you provide citations to your sources please. It's an area of great interest also if you have Georgian sources can you translate them?

    The Bear.
  11. berdiau

    berdiau New Member

    I cited from the sources I already provided.

    Yes, I can translate Georgian sources. And I studied their history during my University studies in 2005, same year visited Khevsureti and nearby regions where I talked to them and saw their current lives. When I got interested with their Martial Art started training in "Khridoli" in the Club Tori with the master and trainer in the old Georgian Martial Art - Nodar Lursmanashvili.

    There are other trainers and masters as well, but they all share the same goal, to revive nearly lost military traditions.

    Again, the statement that these people are the decedents of the lost crusades has nothing to do with the reality.

    Khevsurs with other Georgian highlanders are mentioned in the history of Georgia much before the Crusades.

    One who proposed such idea has not consulted with the history of these people or for some reason ignores it.
  12. adouglasmhor

    adouglasmhor Not an Objectivist

    Must have been confusing when posting legions about.
  13. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    Sounds very good. It would be great if you could perhaps write an article correcting alot of the common myths. I would love to post it here. This is the kind of first hand western martial arts research that I love to see.

    The Bear.
  14. lklawson

    lklawson Valued Member

    I'm with Bear on this one.

    Based on the number of times this keeps popping up, there's obviously a HUGE amount of interest and just not a whole lot of available material (to the English speaker, anyhow). berdiau, please write that article.

    Peace favor your sword,
  15. Louie

    Louie STUNT DAD Supporter

  16. berdiau

    berdiau New Member

    Yes, its worth working, but I'm afraid article wouldn't be enough to write all about these people.

    No I haven't come across it.

    Yes, "Nor Khevsurians themselves , nor any serious scholar ever claimed that. " It was just travelers assumptions without asking anything historians, academics, or people themselves.

    And regarding Article by Richard Halliburton at:

    "The Khevsoor considered themselves the direct descendants of a party of crusaders who got separated from a larger army and got stranded in this remote area."

    no comment

    "There's no record on the social status of these men... if they were knights, common soldiers, or maybe just entourage"

    According to the journal "Myth and Tradition" (2005) Khevsurs were: surgeons, elders [like chiefs in Native America] priests, mystics, warriors and guardians [many served as bodyguard of Georgian Kings, or guardians of northern border across Caucasus mountains.]

    "Instead they all wore a homespun cross-embroidered shirt over baggy trousers."

    Strabo, Herodotus and other Greek historians BC already mentioned that Caucasian highlanders were genuine embroiders and color makers on their wool clothes. Georgian Shirt and Trousers are called "Chokha" [see wikiprdia]

    "in this land where books are unknown and where other forms of sport or diversion simply do not exist"

    One of the book "Martyrdom of the Holy Queen Shushanik" which is the regular part of every school curriculum, dates back in 5th century AD. Also The Georgian national epic, "The Knight in the Panther's Skin" (Vepkhistqaosani), by Shota Rustaveli, dates from the 12th century and so on

    Khevsur sport includes horse-racing, wrestling, hunting, competitions were held in archer, sword and spear mastering and so on. [see Department of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia,]

    "Halliburton believes he discovered French and German fragments in the Khevsoor language"

    Georgian language "ქართული" [khartuli] is the language Khevsurs and other Georgian people speak. Georgian alphabet is one among 14 existing in the world, which was created by the King Pharnavaz (III-IV BC), and which is the largest true alphabet, with 41 letters, where each letter is graphically independent. [wikipedia]


    Hope someone will ever translate Georgian sources into English to avoid further confusions. History is not a personal point of view.

    There is a good information about old Khevsur's Martial Art, Embroidery Art, Herbal Medicine, Steel making, weapon making and so on. There is preserved also the Art of Survival or გარისობა [garisoba] which is taught at the local training clubs. (I had small practice in this, its like they left you in the forest or in the mountain and teach you how to survive, there you need to know herbs, hunting to get food, fire, camp, small astrology, navigation, biology and so on )

    This was a part of the military training, but now its a sport

    Last edited: Jan 15, 2009
  17. adouglasmhor

    adouglasmhor Not an Objectivist

    Thanks Berdiau. And apologies for not knowing there was more than one place the Romans called Iberia, I learned something.
  18. berdiau

    berdiau New Member

    Apologize for overposting
  19. adouglasmhor

    adouglasmhor Not an Objectivist

    That took me over 4 years to get to that figure and every post asked a question or made a point or a joke.
  20. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Molon Labe

    No apologies necessary. By all means, tell us everything you know about these guys... to have a living western sword tradition is something we all need to pay attention to.

    Best regards,


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