Asgarda

Well, my visitor traffic went through the roof while I was away, due to my post about the Ukrainian Amazons, which got mentioned on Metafilter. Hi to everyone coming from there; hopefully some of you will stick around!

I didn’t expect that – which reminds me that I should always be careful about what I say in my posts! That was a very spur-of-the-moment, tongue in cheek, post written while I was waiting to go to the airport, and it was slightly more flippant than it ought to have been. The dressing up as Xena does rather amuse me but, let’s face it, post-Soviet Eastern Europe isn’t famous for its enlightened attitudes to females, and if these women choose to use ‘Amazonian’ martial arts training as a tool for self-empowerment and mutual support then all power to them, I say.

The whole t-shirt of Yulia Tymoshenko thing, I dunno, is that just because she’s a symbol of a successful woman? If so, cool. If it means that they’re some kind of party-based militia? Hmmm, less cool, but I don’t get that impression.

What really amused me was another page that’s linked to from the Metafilter thread, which comes from what seems to be the official Asgarda site. Actually, that’s also not fair – most of the aims it lays out are pretty good, though I wonder about some of the claims regarding the ancient Amazons’ territory… Again… I don’t want to disparage them at all; even if I might raise my eyebrow at some of the historical assertions, they certainly wouldn’t be the first to build a supportive mythology. There’s nothing wrong with looking back into history to develop a positive national idea, and so far I haven’t seen anything to indicate that they’re nationalists of the negative kind…

Anyway, that page confirms the connection though with the “Combat Hopak” Ukrainian dance/martial art, and I’ve already expressed my doubts that that has any genuine historical roots (but… let’s not go there. That kind of discussion reminds me too much of the “Is Piper really African” flame war; it’s just not possible to win this kind of debate). No what amused me was the description of the guy behind Combat Hopak, Volodymyr Pylat, as “Supreme Teacher of Boyovyi Hopak”. Now, granted, this isn’t his site, and I have no idea if he himself uses this title. I hope not! If he does, I can only say dude, lighten up…

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