If you thought UFC was the toughest fighting competition out there, then you’ve clearly never looked into what goes on in Russia.
Not only is Russia home to the first and only medieval-themed UFC offshoot, which involves blokes dressing up in metal arm and kicking the shit out of each other with swords, but it’s also a country with some pretty unique sporting interests.
Fighting is a favourite pastime among men is Russia, who are known to meet up for occasional rumbles that look ugly but are apparently all in good fun.
Perhaps the most famous of these types of Russian fist fighting is something called stenka-na-stenku, which translates as wall on wall.
Wall on wall fighting is essentially an organised massed brawl. It’s pretty brutal for everyone involved too, though there are rules to it.
It starts when two teams of brawlers form two ranks or walls. The aim is to force the opposing team out of the ‘fighting circle’ or space where the two groups meet.
The winner is whoever forces the opposing group out, or gets them to give up.
Wall on wall fights have been a popular pastime since the early 17th century and, while they are not as common today as they were back then, footage uploaded to YouTube suggests it’s still something still enjoyed by plenty of people even today.
Combatants can choose between either fighting bare-knuckle or, if you want to keep things civil, using boxing gloves. Most wall on wall fights are also conducted in three specific stages.
Firstly, the young boys from the two groups come out and start fighting. Then the unmarried men join in before finally the more mature fighters get involved. It might look like violent chaos to us but then most Russians probably think tug-of-war is a load of old nonsense too.
Whichever team ‘loses the field’ is considered defeated. There are other rules to follow of course: fighters can’t hold hard weights in their fist when hitting.
No one is allowed to be hit when on the floor. Hits from the side or behind are illegal and anyone sat on the ground should be considered out of the fight. Also, shirt pulling is prohibited. It’s a bit like football then.
Despite all of these rules, you can bet your bottom dollar that cheating does and will occur, often with bloody and violent results for those involved. Illegal punches, weapons and other unsavoury tactics have all been known to occur.
Completely illegal and totally dangerous, wall-on-wall fights could yet play a prominent part in the upcoming World Cup finals in Russia, where intoxicated home supporters could easily end up stripped to the waist and enjoying a bit of rough and tumble.
One bit of advice though: if you see one taking place, walk the other way.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.