Turkish Cirit/Horsemanship Exercises
Some rather interesting you-tube videos from Turkey, showing ancient forms of cavalry exercises very much on the order of the North African/Iberian jinetes:



Pretty nifty.


Veeery interesting, and fun to watch! Thanks for posting these!
Those are fantastic. Now all I have to do is learn Turkish, and I'll be set.
Thank you Gordon.

Nice to see there is a continuous line from the dawn of horsemanship till today. These two skills are basically unchanged since about 1000 bc.

It clearly shows that the range of the javelin and horsebow (when mounted* are limited. Especially the javelin-action is worth close attention.
1. the length of the javelin (which is pretty much as written)
2. the range
3. the effort needed to throw = the reaction forces on the horse

As a rider I am VERY MUCH driven to understand the latter as these reaction forces are 'aids'.
Although the archer does not show it thát cleary you can imagine that my horses would make a left turn when he aims and shoots.
Apart from the riding skill needed to stay up, the biggest problem with the parthian shot is to keep the horse galoping ánd keeping direction.

* The horsebow used from the saddle the way shown is very light on the draw. The heavier drawin weights are not practical on horseback, at least not as a swiftly moving platform. Same goes for the tumbring. That is just not feaseable in the saddle and the good news is that with the lighter bows you do not realy need it either.
Achery and mounted archery are two different things and this is represented in the mamluk manuals.

Great videos, very interesting. I also liked another video that showed the eastern thumb ring draw. I've kind of guessed how it was done but never seen precisely. In the first video which shows them throwing javelins I was reminded of ancient Roman cavalry sports displays, I wonder if there is any link between the two?
Oh wow.....I wish I could do all that, or even come close to it. I can't wait until the day I own horses again......*sigh*
Alexander Hinman wrote:
Those are fantastic. Now all I have to do is learn Turkish, and I'll be set.

Hi all,

I am from Istanbul and this is my first post to this forum, although I’ve been checking the site for so long.
The name of the game is “cirit” directly translates as “javelin” of course.
Basically the video speaks of heroism, righteousness etc..the virtues that a warrior should have..mentioned nearly in all cultures.
Then explains the rules...
Two teams consisting of seven players and two on the bench.
The main purpose is to shoot the enemy from certain areas of the ground.
The cirit can not be shoot under a minimum distance of seven meters.
Spiritual part of the game is to show respect to the enemy. No man can shoot an opponents horse, it is considered exteremely rude, and if on purpose the player is out.
Also no man should lose his temper or show any kind of anger. This is considered as a bad behaviour as well.
And of course it is a historical war game played in times of peace, to train.

Hope I’m of help
All the best
Thank you Onur!

The game rules are thus very much about 'furusiya'.

Again very, véry good to see this.
We now have the same thing on basrelief in anatolia, on roman parchement about the mauri, in print in the mamluk manuals and now utube. The two most basic reasons for domestication and - skills of horsemanship immortalised in the media of the time :lol:

Shamsi Modarai wrote:
Oh wow.....I wish I could do all that, or even come close to it. I can't wait until the day I own horses again......*sigh*

Untill then http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49t7Oo93g0g&am...mp;search=


My wife took some snaps just before I went out for a ride this evening.

The last picture can tell you a LOT about the best tactic and this is nót it :lol:
I will explain later. No time now.

[ Linked Image ]

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[ Linked Image ]

Peter Bosman wrote:
The last picture can tell you a LOT about the best tactic and this is nót it :lol:

Even with the added forward speed at the gallop and the hight from the saddle, with a light bamboo javelin e reasonably accurate 40 metres is quite far.
At that gallop the forward speed is about to 10 metres/sec.
Gallop less fast, you throw less far.
This means yo should not slow or change course untill áfter you have thrown the javelin.
If you do not immediately afte this, you will get too close to the target surprisingly rapid.
The best tactic is to throw slightly across the horses head and turn towards you trowing arm. I throw with the right, therefore should throw over the left era of the horse and immediately turn right 180 degrees and sprint away.

'As regards range of discharge in shooting we are in favour of the longest possible, as giving more time to turn right about and transfer the second javelin to the right hand. And here we will state shortly the most effective method of hurling the javelin. The horseman should throw forward his left side, while drawing back his right; then rising bodily from the thighs, he should let fly the missile with the point slightly upwards. The dart so discharged will carry with the greatest force and to the farthest distance; we may add, too, with the truest aim, if at the moment of discharge the lance be directed steadily on the object aimed at.' - Xenophon

Throwing another javelin as Xenophon suggests, should best be done on anóther charge to make full use of the speed of the horse, thus adding energy to the javelin whilst being as difficult a target as possible.

The added advantage of this procedure is that a group of skirmishers will minimise the risc of turning into eachother.


p.s. more info on cirid on http://www.allaboutturkey.com/javelin.htm

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