Working Lives Georgia

Working Lives Georgia: Fight Club

There's nothing martial arts expert Nukri Mchedlishvili doesn't like about his job.

The 43-year-old was a born fighter.

Georgia Direct graphic

The son of a wrestler, Nukri learnt judo and the Soviet Russian martial art, Sambo, as a young boy.

This was when Georgia was part of the Soviet Union and traditional Georgian pursuits were banned.

Since independence in 1991 Nukri has championed a revival in khridoli, an ancient Georgian martial art involving sword-fighting, wrestling and boxing.

In a sports hall full of young Georgians dressed in traditional fighting costume he says the pursuit has grown so popular that he can hardly keep up with demand.

He now runs twenty special khridoli centres in Tbilisi.

"I'm worried we don't have enough instructors to teach all those who want to learn," he says

Nukri says the revival has been fuelled in part by the war with Russia in 2008.

"Georgians are patriotic people and have always had to defend their country, but maybe after the conflict that sentiment has grown."

Despite the rise in interest in this Georgian sport, Nukri says his training centres remain underfunded. He says that although the government supports what he is doing it appears it is reluctant to provide any direct assistance.

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