Military institute of physical culture: 110 years at army service

PhD O.S. Botsman1
Dr.Hab., Professor V.V. Mironov1
Dr.Hab., Professor G.A. Shashkin1
1Military Institute of Physical Training, St. Petersburg

Keywords: Military Institute of Physical Culture, Head Gymnastics and Fencing School, physical training, sports, war, historical analysis.

Background. Physical training systems have always been ranked among the key components of the military service personnel training for combat missions in the armed forces and navy as required by the national and foreign training standards [5, 6]. Military physical education in Russia has a long and glorious history starting from the first physical education groups, schools and special units at military schools that offered the fencing ‘monitors’ [mentors]/ instructors’ (since 1816–1821) and gymnastics instructors’ (since 1832) training services. The human resource inflow to these education establishments was dominated by ‘cantonists’ i.e. soldiers' children sponsored by the state. Since 1816 the ‘fencing mentors had been trained at the Guards Corps, and since 1821 - at the Page, First, Second and Smolensk corps, at the Imperial Military Orphanage, Noble Regiment and the Noble Cavalry Squadron. It is in that period that the Russian military physical training system has been shaped up to train the first professional physical education instructors for the national armed forces.

In 1854, special courses staffed by cantonists were established to train gymnastics instructors for military schools. Since 1858, gymnastics instructors had been trained by the military colleges under the Defense Agency; and since 1863 a Special Military Seminary for Teachers joined the growing physical education training system. In 1856, a yearly Gymnastic Training Group was piloted in St. Petersburg to train physical education specialists for the Baltic Fleet. In 1862, this Group was reformed into the Naval Gymnastics School that offered one- and two-year training courses for officers and lower rankers, respectively [4].

In the late XIX to early XX century, therefore, Russia had developed a basic physical education system dominated by different courses and schools that trained physical education specialists for the national military education system and different combat training units for officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers predisposed to the combat instruction service.

The training establishments, however, could not fully meet the actual demand of the national armed forces for the high quality physical education service due to the still underdeveloped physical education theory and practice (theoretically grounded physical education curricula, effective physical education methods etc.) and the still poor professional and athletic fitness standards of both the instructors and trainees. This situation forced the decision-makers to establish a special military education academy viewed as a driver for the theoretical and practical efforts to train professional physical education specialists for the national army and navy.

Objective of the study was to analyze on a systemic basis the 110-year progress history of . Military Institute of Physical Training, one of the eldest military training establishments of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation that trains Physical Education trainers for the national academies and military units.

Methods of the study. We used for the purposes of the study a historical analysis of the archive materials, military physical education statues and regulations, combat mission reports and special literature printed in the Imperial Russia, USSR and modern Russian Federation.

Results and discussion. Military Institute of Physical Training was initially established on the Royal approval as the Head Gymnastics and Fencing School by the Defense Minister’s Order #348 of August 1, 1909, and this date is considered a starting point in its glorious history. Lieutenant Colonel (from 1912 Colonel) Alexander Pavlovich Mordovin was the first head of the School in 1909 to 1914 [1]. The School trained 100 officers per annum and accepted 30-minus year old servicemen having a health certificate and at least 3-year service record. In the early Soviet times it was reformed to the State Head Physical Education School that trained the physical education specialists since 1920 to 1932 and maintained a network of multiple military physical education courses and groups, with Alexander Pavlovich Mordovin still heading the School and courses.

From the first service years the School proudly trained the leading Russian athletes of that time: P.A. Zakovorot, K.K. Waterkampf (1913 Russian champion in gymnastics), M.E. Raevsky, G.V. Vikhra, K.E. Eideman. In March 1921, a battalion of the Petrograd district course cadets, sports instructors and conscripts (230 people in total) joined the combined regiment of cadets and the 7th Army to suppress the Kronstadt counterrevolution rebellion. For the unprecedented courage and heroism in the Kronstadt operation, the battalion commander and 7 cadets were decorated with the Red Banner Orders, and the Russian Physical Education Institute was awarded with the Honorary Revolutionary Red Banner by the Russian Central Executive Committee.

In 1921, a Physical Education Research Department was established at the School headed by Professor V.V. Gorinevsky. Sport Anthropometrics, Sport Physiology and Psychology Labs of the Physical Education Research Department were headed by M.D. Chirkin, A.A. Zakharov and P.A. Rudik, with most valuable contributions from V.V. Gorinevskaya, S.A. Baronov and K.K. Kekcheev. In 1930-1932, the physical education courses produced 261 graduates including A.S. Zheltov (future Colonel General, Hero of the Soviet Union) and D.A. Balakhanov (future 609 Infantry Regiment Commissar and Hero of the Soviet Union).

Pursuant to the Revolutionary Military Council Order No. 86 of May 16, 1932, Statute of the Military Department of the State Head Physical Education Institute was approved and the V.I. Lenin’s Revolutionary Red Army Physical Excellence Courses were reformed into a new education institution [1]. In January 1940, the Military Department acting pursuant to the People’s Commissar of Defense Order, certified ahead of schedule the 4th year students including 20 people immediately sent to the battlefields. In the World War II time, operations and services of the Red Banner Military School were put on a wartime basis, with its nine teachers and students decorated with the Hero of the Soviet Union Orders including A.S. Zheltov, B.E. Kovalenko, N.V. Kopylov, L.V. Kudakovsky, V.V. Mironov, F.I. Perkhorovich and S.A. Savushkin.

Despite the wartime hardships, the Red Banner Military School trained officers for the troops and universities managed to renew academic athletic competitions in 1943. Upon completion of the war, the Military Faculty at the SCOLIPE in Moscow was reformed into an independent institute and moved to Leningrad, where its services were started in 1947. In 1947-1956 the Institute was headed by Lieutenant General A.A. Tarasov, Honored Master of Sports of the USSR and one of the key managers of the academic physical education service in the wartime. In the first post-war years, the Military Institute of Physical Culture managed to rehabilitate its assets to facilitate the training and competitive processes. Success of these efforts was demonstrated in 1952 when three Institute students (D.A. Leonkin, I.K. Berdiev and M.R. Perelman) won Olympic gymnastics gold medals as the USSR national team members. Since then the Institute has trained more than 50 Olympic Champions including A. Alyabyev, N. Bazhukov, V. Belousov, D. Bilozerchev, F. Bogdanovsky, V.Bobrov, E. Vinokurov, V. Zhdanovich, V. Kapitonov, A. Kasatonov, V. Kuts, V. Krutov, B. Makuts, A. Roshchin, S. Sukhoruchenkov, V. Fetisov and others.

Keeping up the glorious traditions of the Military Institute of Physical Culture is its present faculty including two-time Olympic champion, Honored Master of Sports A.N. Alyabyev, 5 World Class Masters of Sports and more than 70 Masters of Sports of the USSR and Russia [2, 3]. In 1961, when the USSR Armed Forces were reduced by 1.2 million, the Institute was reformed into the Military Two Red Banner Orders Decorated Physical Education Department of the P.F. Lesgaft State Institute of Physical Education. In 1974 it was upgraded to the Military Two Red Banner Orders Decorated Physical Education Institute and headed by Colonel V.M. Kuleshov.

Generations of the Institute faculty members, cadets and students contributed their efforts, individual progresses and accomplishments to the glorious history of their alma mater. The Institute faculty, alumni and students have published multiple physical education manuals, bayonet/ grenade fight, armed swimming, river crossing, cross-country skiing, gymnastics and other guidelines and instructions.

Only for the last few years researchers of the Institute have completed dozens of projects to solve many professional problems including the Military physical education service related ones. Since the 1960s till now the Institute has trained more than 400 PhD and about 50 Doctors.

As things now stand, contributing to the Institute physical education services and projects are 22 Doctors of Pedagogy, 2 Doctors of Medical Sciences, 32 Professors, 100 PhDs, 44 Associate Professors, 14 Honored Physical Education Specialists, 4 Honored Academics, 3 Honored Trainers of Russia, 12 members and corresponding members of a few Academies of Sciences, 1 Honored Master of Sports of the USSR, and more than 70 Masters of Sports of the USSR and Russia.

Conclusion. The 110 anniversary of the . Military Institute of Physical Training is viewed both as a historical milestone in its history and services to Motherland and a new starting point in its academic physical education specialist training service for the national and CIS armed forces.

References

  1. Evstafev B.V., Sheychenko B.A. [ed.]. Voenny dvazhdy Krasnoznamenny institut fizicheskoy kultury (1918–1988) [Military twice Red Banner Institute of Physical Culture (1918–1988)]. Leningrad: VD KIFK, 1988. 278 p.
  2. Obvintsev A.A. Modernizatsiya sistemy fizicheskoy podgotovki voennosluzhashchikh na zaklyuchitel'nom etape reformy Vooruzhennykh sil Rossiyskoy Federatsii [Modernization of military physical training system at the final stage of the reform of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation]. Doct. diss. abstr. [Hab.]. St. Petersburg, 2012. 54 p.
  3. Obvintsev A.A. 105 let na strazhe Otechestva [105 Years on Guard of the Homeland]. Teoriya i praktika fiz. kultury. 2014. no. 9. P. 3-9.
  4. Mironov V.V., Solomin V.I. Spravochnik po istorii gimnastike. Ch. I. [Reference book on history of gymnastics. Part I]. Leningrad: VDKIFK, 1978 48 p.
  5. Shchegolev V.A. Fizicheskaya podgotovka v voennykh obrazovatelnykh sistemakh SShA [Physical training in US military education systems]. Teoriya i praktika fiz. kultury. 2014. no. 9. pp. 55-60.
  6. Shchegolev V.A., Sivak A.N., Kochin A.A., Egorov V.Yu. Podgotovka spetsialistov voenno-fizkulturnogo profilya v vooruzhennykh silakh vedushchikh stran NATO [Military sports specialist training in Armed Forces of NATO lead nations (based on public foreign sources)]. Teoriya i praktika fiz. kultury. 2016. no. 2. pp. 61-66.

Corresponding author: olushkam@yahoo.com

Abstract

Physical training systems have always been ranked among the key components of the military service personnel training for combat missions and operations in the armed forces and navy as required by the national and foreign training standards. The article overviews the 110-year history of one of the eldest military training establishments of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation that trains Physical Education trainers for the national academies and military units. . Military Institute of Physical Training was initially established on the Royal approval as the Head Gymnastics and Fencing School by the Defense Minister’s Order #348 of August 1, 1909. Historical records of the Institute report multiple feats of its graduates in the Great Patriotic War and later on – on the post-war competitive battlefields. Nine graduates and faculty members of the Institute (D.A. Balakhanov, A.S. Zheltov, B.E. Kovalenko, N.V. Kopylov, L.V. Kudakovsky, V.V. Mironov, F.I. Perkhorovich, S.A. Savushkin and I.S. Ugryumov) were decorated with Heroes of the Soviet Union Orders. More than 50 graduates of the Institute won the top Olympic titles, including A. Alyabyev, I. Bazhukov, V. Belousov, D. Bilozerchev, F. Bogdanovsky, E. Vinokurov, V. Zhdanovich, A. Kasatonov, V. Kapitonov, V. Kuts, V. Krutov, B. Makuts, P. Stolbov, A. Roshchin, S. Sukhoruchenkov, V. Fetisov and many others.