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Yuri y Kost rov

MY STORY | Part 2
Black Belt 10th Dan Grandmaster, trainer of the Ukrainian
Special Forces and founder of Kostrovs Universal Fisticuffs
YurIy KosLrov Las been sLudyIn marLIaI arLs Ior over S0 years. He Las been awarded
LLe LILesL LILIe oI 0randmasLer and EIack EeIL 10LL Dan Irom severaI InLernaLIonaI
martial arts associations and federations in many countries around the world including
BouLL Korea, Japan, 0ermany, LLe FLIIIppInes and LLe UB. Erom 2001 Lo 200S Le
taught and participated in the preparation of Special Forces units in several countries,
and is now a Chief Instructor for a top Ukrainian school for bodyguards.
E: | W:
passed all the necessary tests and received
LLe approprIaLe cerLIBcaLIon enabIIn me
to coach karate at my old sports society.
However, shortly after this, karate was
oIBcIaIIy banned across LLe enLIre UBBF, so
karate enthusiasts started setting up secret
underground groups to study the art. At
that time there were almost no experienced
martial arts instructors in Ukraine, so to
learn we had to use very poor quality copies
of karate books and I delved into studying the
techniques and kata of karate styles such as
Goju Ryu and Kyokushinkai from all the old
books LLaL I couId Bnd. TLIs conLInued Ior
LLree years unLII 1976 wLen, on a busIness
trip to Ulan-Ude, the capital of Republic of
EuryaLIa [near MonoIIa], I meL wILL my BrsL
kung fu master Guo Yuan. Over the following
few years I visited and studied under him
often and by studying under the guidance
of Master Guo, I began to learn not only the
techniques and style of his family school
Shang Tao Tsuan, but myself within the
style and the basics of Buddhist meditation.
I came to the conclusion that all the styles I
had studied over the years were all excellent
styles, but in each of them for me there was
something missing. For example, there were
no punches in judo and in boxing and karate
I could not use throws, chokes and locks.
This led me to the idea of skilfully combining
both punching and throwing techniques
In one sLyIe Lo acLIeve vIcLory In a BLL
against heavier, and therefore possible more
powerful opponents.
During this period I was also involved in
underround 'no ruIes' BLLs Ior money,
which took place in basements and abandoned
construction sites around Kiev, and even
now and then on Trukhaniv Island, a little
LourIsL IsIand oI 1.7 sq mIIes on LLe DnIeper
River on the outskirts of the city. I won
mosL oI my BLLs, wLIcL provIded me wILL
a small income, but the main thing was the
experIence I was eLLIn and LLe reaIIzaLIon
that my theories, style and methods worked.
AILer a brIeI perIod oI beIn aIIowed, In 1981
karate alongside a few other martial arts,
were once again banned in the USSR, and I
had to go underground yet again. At that
time, I was working as a coach in one of the
military patriotic clubs in Kiev. The main
objective of the club was to prepare young
people for military service. While teaching
judo to some of the young men, I started a
small separate group, which later became
the main testing ground in creating my
new style.
There was a lot of work to do. We had to collect
material on the history and techniques
of many different styles of martial arts,
thoroughly study their training methods and
then test these methods in the laboratory of
our group, discarding everything which was
I knew I dId noL wanL Lo creaLe a specIBc
sport, but a true multi-purpose martial art
involving education, health and the survival
of the individual in the modern world. So, very
gradually, the philosophy of the new system
began to emerge. Soon it was narrowed down
to the Ten Commandments of a Fist Fighter:
1. Never be a source of aggression.
2. InBuence LLe aressor verbaIIy.
3. Get yourself out, and help others out of
the circle of aggression.
4. Martial art should be used adequately.
5. If there is an option, it is better to weaken
than injure.
6. And, it is better to injure than mutilate.
7. And it is better to mutilate than murder.
8. Help the victim.
9. Do not leave the stricken.
10. Memento Mori (Latin remember that
you will die).
In addition, while studying the history of
martial arts at that time, I discovered that
in ancient Russia, the Cossacks had their
own particular martial art [Editors note:
Cossacks are a group of predominantly East
Slavic people who originally were members
of democratic, semi-military communities in
Ukraine and Southern Russia. They inhabited
sparsely populated areas and islands in the
lower Dnieper and Don basins, and played an
important role in the historical development
of both Ukraine and Russia.] And thereafter
its revival became the purpose and goal of
my IIIe and IaLer, In 1984, I bean workIn
on the reconstruction of the ancient Cossack
martial art adding my own signature style.
Ey LLe end oI 1987, LLe maIn work on my new
signature style of martial art was completed.
The style was roughly translated to mean;
'FussIan BsL BLLIn' and became LLe BrsL
Slavic battle system re-created in the USSR.
But there were still two years to go before the
style could come out from the underground,
as all martial arts and combat styles were
still banned in the USSR. However, thanks
to Glastnost and Perestroika, which began in
1986, we were abIe Lo speak more openIy and
freely about the different styles of martial
One day, whilst in Moscow on personal
business, I met a Japanese reporter from
Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, who became
interested in my story about the Slavic
martial arts. He interviewed me, took a few
photos, and shortly after in Japan, a short
arLIcIe was pubIIsLed abouL my BLLIn sLyIe.
Later the same year, a Ukrainian sports
newspaper published several articles about
the evolution of my style, and shortly after I
was invited to take part in the Conference for
the Development of the Soviet Association of
Martial Arts (SAMA). During the practical
part of the conference, participants from all
over the USSR demonstrated the different
styles of martial arts that were cultivated
and developed in Russia. It was during these
demonsLraLIons LLaL I BrsL saw Tadeusz
Rafailovich Kasyanov, a famous coach and
martial artist. However, personally I did not
like performance of his students; Firstly, I
dId noL see any synLLesIzed sysLem, IL was
an amalgamation of different styles, and
secondly, all the terminology was in Korean
and Japanese yet the system itself was
proclaimed as Soviet. And so I realised that
I was on the right track while developing my
own style as I used ancient Slavic language as
the basis for the terminology of my system.
Over the following couple of years, my wife
and I continued to improve our system,
both technically and methodically. In
1989, FeresLroIka and resLrucLurIn In LLe
country were in full swing; we were allowed
to do business and form cooperatives and
businesses. Most of our students left to
make money, some started families and had
children, but those who stayed continued
training. Ukrainian sport newspapers and
maazInes sLarLed wrILIn mucL more openIy
about the new national style of martial arts;
'FussIan BsL BLLIn,' and aII oI a sudden,
schools and clubs across the USSR launched
BsL BLLIn cIasses, wLIcL Lad noLLIn Lo do
with our style. Also at the same time, karate
and other previously prohibited martial
arts, became legal. Travel for many had
also become much easier, and my wife and I
made a trip to Eastern Europe in search of
martial arts masters with the view of testing
our style. In Bulgaria and Poland, I was able
to spar with masters of Goju-Ryu, Hakko-
Ryu and Kyokushinkai, and in Hungary,
at the Kyokushinkai Karate European
Championship, I got acquainted with karate
Grandmaster and Sosa Oyama Matsutatsu,
Founder of the Society of the Ultimate Truth.
We originally believed that our system would
be inferior to many of the traditional systems,
but in fact in many respects, it turned out to
be superior to many other martial arts styles.
AILer our reLurn Lo UkraIne, we oIBcIaIIy
reIsLered ouL InLernaLIonaI 0ranIzaLIon Ior
UnIversaI EIsL EILLIn, LLus IeILImIzIn our
style. Immediately after the registration, the
FraesIdIum oI LLe 0ranIzaLIon and CouncII
of Black Belts awarded my wife and myself
wILL cerLIBcaLes and beILs oI LLe 4LL and 8rd
Eaysa/Dan respecLIveIy.
The best techniques of our style is the ability
to stick close to the opponent and arrest his
moves, preventing him from attacking and
defending. These techniques, called Defence
in the attack, were the main principle
oI LLe LacLIcs oI our BLLers. FrevIousIy,
while studying Wing-Chun, we tried to pick
out techniques and methods that could be
creatively re-worked and incorporated into
our own style. After our black belt awards,
we received an invitation from Dr. Dorian
Alexandrov, the President of the Bulgarian
EederaLIon oI UsLu, Lo vIsIL BoBa and Lake
part in a training workshop on Wing-Chun
style, under supervision of a legendary
Grandmaster from Hong Kong, Leung Tignes.
Of course, we gladly agreed to attend the
seminar in Bulgaria and meet with the great
master of close combat mainly because we
also wanted to practically verify that our
creative solutions were workable. And what
we saw at the workshop allowed us to draw
the following conclusions:
The style of Wing-Chun did not allow big
and physically strong people to make full
use of their natural physical features.
This style did not contain any techniques
for special physical training in order to
receIve/accepL LLe bIows.
This style did not suit the Slavic mentality.
We were correct in choosing the
appropriate techniques from Wing-Chun
for the needs of our style and creatively
scaling them down to suit our mentality.
We reaIIzed aII LLe above on LLe BrsL day oI
the seminar. However, on the same day an
incident occurred, which set Master Tignes
aaInsL us! In LLe mIddIe oI a workouL, Le puL
all the participants in a line and approached
each one asking them to grab his wrist in order
for him to demonstrate how he could free
himself using his own style and techniques.
It was my wifes turn. She grabbed his wrist
exactly as she was taught and practised
during our training sessions back home.
Mr. Tignes tried to free himself once, twice...
LLree LImes! To no avaII. I quIeLIy LoucLed
the elbow of my wife trying to hint that she
needed to let go. After Leung Tinges removed
his hand, he turned to me and said in
English through his interpreter; You have
a very aggressive wife. I replied; Cant
complain. The next morning we arrived
to participate in the second day of the
workshop. We were sitting on a small couch
in front of the gym, waiting for Master
Tignes. When he entered the room, we - like
all the participants - stood up and bowed
to the master. He gathered his instructors
and, not knowing that we could understand
English, said to them: Do not show those
Russians anything else. But since we had
already seen everything we needed, we were
not interested anyway. Having spent two
wonderIuI days In BoBa, we reLurned Lome.
While we continued to train our students,
we noticed that among them were a few
young guys who were burning with the
desire to really test themselves and take
parL In compeLILIons. Bo, In 1992, FussIan
Federa-tion of Ashihara Karate invited us
to Moscow to take part in their competition.
We did not bring the whole team, but only
one student Yuri Bruenko. Yuri fought
successIuIIy and conBdenLIy deIeaLed LIs
rivals one by one. And, as a result of two
brilliant knockouts, he became a champion in
the 65kg weight category.
In LLe summer oI 1998, we oranIzed an
international close combat tournament
based on Universal Fist Fighting style at
the Kiev Sports Palace. The tournament was
aLLended by bIack beILs Irom Bve counLrIes
and represented more than twenty different
styles of martial arts including Okinawa-
te, Ashihara karate, Kyokushinkai karate,
Ninjutsu, Koshiki karate, and many more.
0ur Leam won LLe BrsL prIze, and my sLudenLs
were winners and champions in all weight
categories and during the tournament my
wIIe and I were presenLed wILL cerLIBcaLes
and beILs oI LLe 4LL and 8rd Eaysa/Dan
respectively. This competition proved that
our styles two main principles were working:
1. From simple to complex.
2. From slow to fast.
In 199S oIBcers Irom UkraInIan specIaI
forces Falcon and Golden Eagle, under The
Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, began
LraInIn wILL our oranIzaLIon. Bo, on an
InIormaI basIs aL BrsL, we sLarLed passIn our
knowledge and experience to the Ukrainian
Security Services.
BprIn 2018 tough talk magazine 25 24 tough talk magazine BprIn 2018
My Story: Yuriy Kostrov My Story: Yuriy Kostrov