Chapter 1.

Mongol Military Skill or the ancient history of National Martial Art Mongol-Zo


Since the ancient times Mongol nation consisted of mighty martial tribes and clans which had military organization, from that time Mongol Military Skill (abbreviation MMS will be used further) or foundation of science based modern martial art Mongol-Zo was laid.

            MMS which was later called Martial Art is directly linked to Mongolia’s independence, history and customs. Compared to other countries of the World our lifestyle is different, methods of teaching literacy and education is based on nomadic lifestyle, in other words, in practices centred in and around home. A father taught his son what he learned in the same tradition his ancestors taught and raised him, all the things necessary in life and prepared his ride and weapons, taught how to look after and use them, also personal secret methods and technique which saved his life numerous times. As this tradition was preserved, secrets of Mongol-Zo martial art has not been fully revealed to this day.

Clarification: Post home-schooling training was given in groups led by holders of a title ‘Hero’ who excelled in battles and by their heroic deeds, they taught children classic armed and unarmed combat technique and methods that they possess, regularly made them practice and develop their physique and trained them over and over to become proficient.  That is the core of our national well-rounded teaching system.    

            Great secret of how Mongol nation existed and at one point managed to build the most powerful Empire in the World was embedded in simple things and lifestyle, that is Mongol lifestyle which fully provides scientific basis.

            Why the author who was narrating about Martial Art and its history suddenly transformed into this theme? The reason is to make the reader understand that a person who fully understands that all these things are inseparably interconnected and it is one whole thing can become a genuine Martial Art master and expert.

            Remark: Our Nation taught our children since the young age to conduct themselves correctly, to respect the elders, taught about the nature and great power within it and its secrets, how to prevent and protect oneself and the their families from natural disasters and harmful enemies, to choose one’s living environment, to recognize edible, medicinal and poisonous plants that grow in the plain view, how to heal illnesses and injuries sustained during battles and at the household and other illnesses. This core knowledge which encompasses all the sciences was taught in full to children at home before they reached adulthood. This tradition is getting lost and fading as the society develops and the world changes, also the understanding about MMS is also drifting away.

Example: Nowadays fathers who possess a tradition to teach their sons to sharpen domestic tools such as knives, scissors and axes are hard to find, it is causing problems for many families of our nation: their knives are blunt when they want to eat meat and prepare and cut food, cannot chop wood with a blunt axe, cannot saw logs as the saw is blunt and a person sawing gets exhausted, chafes a hand when trying to cut the fabric with blunt scissors.

            What if the home-schooling tradition got lost in ancient times? It is evident that bluntness of swords, spears and arrowheads which are used to protect themselves may not only harm an individual, but it can cause greater harm too. They would have regretfully lost their lives… hearth would have been destroyed… lineage would have broken…

            Therefore, military skill of Mongols, their art of war which was marvelled at and renowned throughout the World was getting lost due to harmful politics implemented by neighbouring countries throughout history which are nowadays came to be called more powerful than our Great Mongol Empire. I am writing to make people realise it.         

            We are a nation that looks far ahead and also concerned about the future generations… How true is our proverb: It is better to break a bone than to lose one’s honour.

            Once Mongol man reached the age of 13, he officially became a warrior and retired from military service at the age of 60. This is an example of how Mongol man’s physical development and growth, also skills and health condition were relatively better compared to nowadays.

            Until recently a saying: A man who reached the age of 40 and the male camel which reached the age of 4 was very popular. In that era 60 year old man was at the height of his power, gained life experience and was hardened, but it is regretful that military retirement age of bygone era nowadays indicates the average age.

            In those times Mongol Military skill or modern-day Mongol-Zo art was based on 13 different branches of sciences: such as chemistry, physics, medicine, natural science, anatomy and biology.


1.    Weapons skill

2.    Riding skill

3.    Physical skill


These three great branches of skills merged and developed into one core art and as a result Great Mongol Empire strengthened and existed for many centuries.      

1.  Weapons skill


Weapon skill is a perfect science aimed towards using all the known instruments which are created as a weapon and use them skilfully almost as part of one’s body part in combat and also turns and uses any object which is not designed as a weapon by investing one’s physical and inner strength into it.   

            Weapons designed to be used in close combat, sword, spear, knife, club, mace, axe are called melee weapons.

            Bow and arrow, catapult, ballista, trebuchet and firearms are called ranged and siege weapons.

            Main personal weapons of ancient Mongol warriors are: bow and arrow, sword, spear, shield, knife and dagger, sling, hooked spear.   

            Although historical records noted that Mongols started to use firearms from the 1230s above mentioned weapons were mainstay weapons of our nation up until 17th century.

            Out of all the weapons whip was picked to be used as a weapon in Mongol-Zo martial art which is developing as a modern combat sport as it is a traditional Mongol item of cultural and domestic use.

            Bow and arrow:  consist of bow, arrow, quiver and bow quiver. Although everyone is aware that it is a ranged weapon, they do not know about its full use.

            Bow: It plays crucial role for shooting an arrow at a great distance. It is made from high quality wood, horns and sinews laminated together. There are many types of bows such as: crossbow and composite bows of different Mongol ethnic groups.

            Crossbow was made to be used by children and adolescents, it is made mostly from supple wood such as birch and willow. Other bows are made from tough materials as they are designed for adults.      

            Uriankhai bows were powerful and were used since ancient times, were designed for long distance shooting. It was difficult to carry it on the horse and use it from the horse and manoeuvre with during the battle. With the development of MMS, gradually it went out of use for warfare, instead it was replaced by genuine military composite Mongol bow, short powerful and long range, easy to carry on the horse which met all the requirements of warfare. By the 13th century it became the World’s best weapon of that era.

            Trivia: In modern times archery is one event of the three manly games, in order to develop Uriankhai archery in Western Mongolian provinces /Khovd, Uvs, Bayan-Olgii/ they include archery event in minor local festivals.

Bow consists of five parts such as limbs and string.

Arrow: Consists of head, shaft, fletching and nock.       

Quiver: Designed to contain arrows and to be carried on the back. Bottom part is made from wood and edges are covered in metal. Main body is made from leather and it has many pockets to keep arrowheads of various shapes and designs.        

Bow quiver: It is designed to keep the bow and decorated with brands, patterns and symbols of clans and tribes. It is suitable to wear it together with quiver, one over the top of the other.  

Arrowheads: It is an integral part of archery. They are designed for warfare and hunting. They come in various shapes and designs such as bodkin point, bulbous and crescent. They all served particular functions: Whistling arrows were used to give signal to the warriors from commanders, also loud noise of many whistling arrows released at the same time caused fear and panic amongst enemies and their rides and disrupted their formation and discipline. It was used as a form of psychological warfare. It is noted in the history that Hunnu (Hun, Xiongnu) Empire’s Tumen Chanyu’s (Emperor) son Modun Chanyu invented and used it.   

            Mongols invented various archery games to improve archery skills and as part of military training and organized tournaments to compete in marksmanship skills.

            Oral literature is rich with legends and myths of sharpshooters who said to have shot down birds in mid-flight, hopping rabbits and fox’s tail from a galloping horse. They became pride of their clans and tribes and gained legendary status.

            There is a historical record that a warrior shot at a distance of 596 meters which was a record at that time. Early discovery of modern war weapons theory about ballistics and elevation angle enabled archers to shoot at hidden targets and destroy them. This caused heavy losses to the enemy forces.

Shield: When it was first developed its use was limited to protecting oneself from weapons by using as a barrier, made from any materials, was heavy and clumsy. It required a lot of energy to use it and was heavy to carry on military campaigns. All of this made it necessary for Mongols to redesign and redevelop it. Mongol military inventors of weapons worked hard and produced a shield which was round, central part was protruded, was most suitable to use it on a horseback and for travelling over long distances for war.

            The reason for Mongol shield’s round shape is that it was easy to use on the horseback, easy to carry over long distances, did not injure the horse and a warrior could use it as a replacement for melee weapon and was able to swing it horizontally and vertically just like a sword.

            Until the beginning of 13th century Mongol nation made this protection weapon from hard wood, covered it with leader, edges were covered with metal and metal mirror was attached in the centre. All the round shaped shields which served protective purposes were called “Khalkh”.

            From the protruded centre where there is a mirror a gradual and even curve design was used to deflect attacker’s weapon’s direction and decreased the danger, force and weight that will fall on the shield user and requires less energy to use it.

            Later two different shield designs were developed. One is small and light with diameter of 40cm, the other is big and heavy with up to 70cm in diameter.  Some historians claim that Mongols borrowed the small shields from China or Near East and big shield from Arabs, that is incorrect.

            Transformation into round, light and durable design made it highly manoeuvrable, stopped getting caught in clothes or other objects during combat and moreover its function expanded from a defensive weapon into melee weapon which was used to hit and chop with its edge.

            Technique of that period for using a shield as a melee weapon is the base of modern Mongol-Zo art’s elbow strike.

            One feature that sets Mongol shield apart is that whether it is small or big size all of them have crisscross metal reinforcement on the inner side which made less susceptible to be cut through and break apart, also its capacity to be used during melee combat improved.


Sword: By the beginning of 13th century, straight swords of various lengths were used widely. Powerful European states such as England, France and Holy Roman Empire, Italian States and Russia, Asian kingdoms what is now known as Japan /samurai sword/ China, Myanmar and Philippines all used straight swords.

                However, we Mongols discovered scientific evidence that due to air resistance and circle, rotation and its inertia force increased and as a result straight dagger shaped sword was changed and instead produced half curved sword that became known in the world as “Mongol”.

            Warriors at that time used to have a long, curved knife called “matga” as personal weapon, but Mongol clans and tribes used them in everyday life too.

            Sword replicated movement of tying a sash around a robe and became easy and convenient to withdraw it from a scabbard. Also, its ability to overcome air resistance increased greatly, chopping and slicing action was combined into one swift motion, as a result it could cut through most armours and it required not too much energy from the user which helped him to fight longer without tiring out.

Clarification: Straight swords are used for stabbing and chopping actions.

            When defending from a straight sword it is easy to determine its gravity point and direction and therefore counterattack, but when slicing with a Mongol sword it becomes difficult for the opponent to determine the gravity point and defend against, because it can slide and injure an opponent, also when stabbing it became difficult to predict the direction and block against. All of that was a big achievement in weapons development at that time.

            How long and wide was a Mongol sword? Very clear traditional national scientific measurement was used to measure it. Depending on the size of the person it equalled to the distance the sword was fully withdrawn from the scabbard.

          Sharpened edge is 1-2mm thick and it is a hardened steel (same as woodchopping axe). The fact that only 15-20cm of the tip was finely sharpened is just one shining example of how many scientific achievements were used in one weapon, the sword.

            It is amazing that despite the thickness of the steel that was used to produce the sword, one can fold the sword by grabbing the tip and handle pushing it together. Mongol sword is that flexible.

            Let me explain why it was like that and what advantage it gave!

During that period soldiers of most countries widely used case hardened, mail and plate armours, also armours made of leather, some parts had metal mirrors attached to them. Forearm protectors were used too.

            1-2 mm thick axe like basic edge was used to cut open the main part body of metal armour, next during chopping and slicing motion, the finely sharpened tip caused devastating injuries to the people and animals. However, you must understand one simple thing. Basic edge of the sword which is 1-2mm thick steel is not finely sharpened, but it can cut clean through fabric, people and animals’ limbs and joints.

            Also, when using it to fight against similar steel swords, the edge has to be that thick. Otherwise it will crumble and break just like modern day big brand best quality factory-made kitchen knife set’s small and big knives.

             If I write here in detail all the weapons used in MMS it will divert me off the course, therefore I only included weapons related to Martial Art and which I researched.

              Trivia: In order to disrupt the enemy cavalry’s charge and also to escape from mounted pursuers weapon called caltrops were used.

When it fell on the ground one sharp tip always landed pointing upward and it pierced into the hooves of enemy horses and tripped and injured them and thus made them unable to proceed further. Since its shape reminded of Czech hedgehog (anti-tank obstacle) and its effect were similar to land mine we could assume that this weapon was the progenitor of those weapons and defences.    


2.Physical Skill: basic physical development, endurance and mental preparation, wrestling (grappling) methods, jumping or athletic ability, balance, punching and kicking and other fighting techniques performed by body and organs are included in it.

            Physical development and Mongol lifestyle education provided at home and in the clan when Mongol men were growing up played main role in physical skill.

            Most Martial Arts of the world are based on certain theory and produced a basis, then provided club and school-based training to a group of people who were interested in learning. Our National Martial Art’s main stand out difference was that nomads who are spread throughout the vast territory they inhabit could learn Martial Art’s main theory and understanding in a wide spectrum at home and in their clans by the time they reached adulthood.   

            Clarification: Since Mongol ger is close to the nature, children learn to listen to noises at close and far distances, since children grow up tackling foals and livestock their balance improves and physique builds up. Father passes on to his son many classic techniques that saved his life many times during battles. When eating meat, father makes the son to hit with his fingers the scapular bone until it splits, makes the son to break off the knuckle bone from the shin bone using his teeth or just a thumb. Also fermented mare’s milk drink needs churning hundreds and thousands of times. There are countless such customs and practices embedded in traditional life of Mongols which develop physique and improve coordination.

            Grappling of that period differs from modern wrestling, because techniques used in modern times were used in combination with combat techniques: pressing on pressure points, punching, poking, joint locks, bars and chokes.

            Proof of the above: In one chapter of the ancient book called The Secret History of the Mongols (Chapter 10-245) main plot is: Chinggis Khaan’s youngest brother Otchigin’s subjects joined a shaman and his 6 brothers and their father which represented Khonkhotan tribe. However, when Otchigin sends his envoy to reclaim his subjects his horse is taken away and made to walk back, then Otchigin goes himself to see them he is disrespected and made to kneel to the shaman. When Otchigin complains about it to Chinggis Khaan, he is given a right to avenge for this disrespect. When next day shaman comes with his father and 6 brothers Otchigin wrestles the shaman indoors, then when they go outside to continue, three wrestlers Otchigin prepared in advance and hid grab the shaman, wrestles him to the ground and breaks his back and kills him. This is a proof that Mongol wrestling and grappling started in upright position and continued on the ground and it used all the combat techniques and methods.

            Since then National wrestling passed through many centuries and phases of development, modern form and order changed completely from what it was originally and gained its modern form as a sport.

            Also Sambo wrestling technique of giving shock to the sensible point and attacking, which is widely used by our armed and police forces can be understood as one part of MMS.

            Sambo is an abbreviation and it means self-defence without weapon in Russian language. This is a Martial Art which has a Russian national characteristic and is practiced by Russian (Soviet) army and special forces.

            Mongolian National Wrestling has retained main basis of physical skill, main event of the Three Manly Games, national sport, tradition, heritage and pride.

3.Riding skill     

            What gave advantage to the Mongol soldiers and army since ancient times? Nowadays one would argue that it was a manoeuvrability which allowed them to change their position very quickly.

            Not only during military campaigns, but throughout the year nomads moved and chose the best pastures which helped their horses to become strong and fast.

            At a glance it may look like an ordinary move, but it was a practice for men, women, children and elders to pack up and move away very quickly in an orderly fashion. This practice helped them during military campaign, sudden attack by the enemies and other times of need. In modern understanding it was a constant foot drill.

            Riding skill is a complete science that needs to be considered separately.

Mongol men, women and children learn to fall off the horse without injuring themselves from the age of four or five. Also learn to saddle, ride and tend to horses, camels and pack oxen. When, especially boys reached the age to ride horses, their fathers used to pick a horse and give it to them, that allowed them to get close to their rides and train them how they see fit, this unique way reached our days as an ordinary custom.

            Most men possessed knowledge to identify their horses (good horses), they started training horses when the horse reached the age of one, taught them to come when they are called, to rear, to kick, to jump over a long distance, to lie on the side, to remain silent and all these trainings became especially useful during battles and wars.

            We heard of many examples that Mongol horse does not leave its master in the wilderness or in a battle. We mistakenly came to understand that it is an inherent intuition and ability.

            Where did the Mongol nation’s art of war secret lie? Our wise ancestors embedded this comprehensive science into our lifestyle as ordinary customs and practices. That’s what pushed Mongol Empire of that era onto the World Arena.

            To this day fathers teach their sons before “foot can reach the stirrup and hand can reach the jockeys” (reached adulthood) to ride horses and give them one-year old horse as their own ride.

            In our time riding skill is represented by Naadam festival’s horse racing event. Secret knowledge of how to recognize and pick a potential champion race horse, look after, prepare, train, heal, treat injuries are passed down from a father to a son, taught at home. Different regions have different methods and it reached our days.

            Our people who love horses and prepare race horses all know this.





In the olden days Mongol Military Skill or national martial art was purely designed for warfare and use of weapons. However, modern-day Mongol-Zo style is suited to Mongol person’s physique and characteristics, it has unique technique, theory, costume, weapon and custom which sets it apart from other martial arts of the World. It is developing both as professional and amateur sport.

            After the Democratic Revolution of 1991 World martial arts entered our county and at the same time Mongol-Zo style with Mongol Military Skill tradition basis found its modern shape and started to develop.

            All the fighting styles developing in the World adopted one of Martial Art’s understanding and branch (technique, inner strength, redirecting opponent’s momentum, weapons, grappling, wrestling etc) which is compatible to their nation, society and culture and developed them into separate sports.

            However, the fact that Mongol-Zo style is developing by retaining its complexity is unique.

            Bearer and practitioner Otgonbayar Darkhijav Borjigin was born on 9 April, 1969. In 1987 he served in the People’s Army Special Task Battalion’s 084 Intelligence Unit. In October, 1989 started the open training in Ulaanbaatar City’s Unified Trust for Construction Maintenance sports gym with 47 students.

            He worked in the Police Special Task Unit as a policeman and left voluntarily in 1992 to develop Mongol-Zo martial art.

            Due to changes occurred to lifestyle and social condition only riding skill (horse, camel) is left out and ancient traditional martial art is developing with scientific basis.

            Our nation’s existence and the history of greatness, the secret why our ancestors left us this vast territory and homeland lies in our everyday lifestyle and unique education tradition which every Mongol person knows and possess to a certain degree.

            National Martial Art is closely linked to Mongolia’s independence, historical tradition, culture and customs and when it reached our modern age it retained its comprehensive form compared to other Martial Arts of the World and passes the data of the 13 different sciences of human living to the future generation and the students and it is a powerful secret data since it retained its secret.


Bearer and practitioner

Otgonbayar Darkhijav Borjigin.


National Martial Art Mongol-Zo’s 13 sciences    


1.    Anatomy

2.    Chemistry

3.    Astronomy

4.    Natural Science

5.    Medical science

6.    Physical skill and study

7.    Weapons skill and study

8.    Riding skill and study

9.    Nutrition and Hygiene

10.  History

11. Geography

12. Mathematics

13. Physics


As Mongolia developed, society changed and numerous sources of information appeared, many people emerged who superficially made conclusions and comparisons about the development of foreign countries and appeared not to realise that they also possess to a certain degree vast knowledge and high education that came to us through our national way of life and culture, also through above mentioned scientific basis and understanding and neglect it.

 For example: 90% of the population of developed countries are unable to cook and season their food at the level of an average Mongolian person. However, in Mongolia traditionally people could cook at least four different dishes and serve them to their guests. People have simple knowledge of what food ingredients provide what vitamins to the body, what taste the dish would acquire if certain types of vegetables, cumin, onion, garlic, ramson, wild onion, chives are added. Ability to roast, steam, fry, pressure cook seem to be common knowledge, but sometimes in foreign countries an individual takes special classes and courses and spends certain amount of time and gain a profession. It is such a science, nutrition and hygiene.

            Mongols also possess knowledge of finding directions, recognise stars such as Big Dipper, Polar Star and Venus. How to identify the Polar Star and know that it always points to the North, Full Moon, 1st day of the new month are the knowledge of Astronomy.

            Making a cowhide ropes, tanning a sheepskin, how to dab it with yoghurt and salt. Using yeast to produce yoghurt, making dairy products, breaking and taming horses, making felt, sharpening knives (producing fine edge) are knowledge of Chemistry

            If somebody is injured then being able to identify whether the person needs emergency medical attention or first aid would do and start helping the injured person immediately. Identifying the injury, which blood vessel was affected and bleeding from (to know what makes the blood coagulate…apply cold compress or burn cotton and apply it on the wound to stop the bleeding etc) that’s the knowledge of Medical science and Anatomy.

            Vast knowledge and education about modern rotation and the momentum it creates (modern theory of ballistics), physics etc remained in Mongolian way of life as if it is an ordinary thing. Mongols must understand them and need to realise what a great nation we are.

            That’s why training Mongol-Zo art for people of any age does not have any negative effect, it gives understanding about all the scientific basis in mother tongue, through that a person is able to gain eternal data of education and skills.

            Trivia: At the beginning of 1990s some instructors attempted to combine some of historically traditional Mongol fight’s methods with what they learned and develop it.

Example: Art called Bandi-Zo emerged. I think that this art had error starting from its name, because Pandi is a Tibetan term for a novice Buddhist monk and it is similar to a vow called “Genin”.

            It cannot be denied that Tibetan language of Buddhism which lived together with our national customs for four centuries became almost like our own, sounds very close to Mongol person’s perception.

            About the term Mongol-Zo: This is our national martial art’s name and since it is becoming familiar to the World relatively late, we used the word “Mongol” without abbreviation, but the abbreviation “Zo” has following three meanings:

·         One. Zorilgo (goal): A human is an intelligent being that looks positively at life ahead, has a goal to develop and to the future. Then after setting a goal for short term, long term and the whole life, lives towards achieving those goals.

·         Two: Zohitsol (harmony, adaptation): Since the creation of living world everything lives in harmony with nature, environment and society. One wise explanation is Mongol proverb: If you drink the water, you must follow the customs.

·         Three: Zodoon (combat, fight): It is a natural order when there is a need one must fight to protect others or oneself.   

  Within our own county we can use the abbreviated version. Approved versions: fully Mongol-Zo, abbreviated Mon-Zo.

In order to bring our national martial art to the world arena as a sport, our martial art is operating besides main professional fighting rules, a version which is compassionate, regulated sport, with points system and has juniors, cadets and women’s categories. 


Emblem and symbolism:

National martial art’s emblem has a comprehensive meaning and consists of a clenched fist in the middle, pair of fish of method and wisdom, a circle and a globe.      

Clenched fist: symbolises determination, warriorlike, observing unity like blood brothers and have united power.

Pair of fish of method and wisdom: Traditional symbol, if mind and strength or method (technique) is used in combination one will attain great power. Also, reminder that there is no good or evil without the other in the universe, one sharpens the other and coexist to maintain balance.

Circle: Colour of golden sun circles and protects from evil, also rise is infinite. 

Globe: Martial Art of mankind is ultimately one thing, also future goal of Mongol-Zo art.


                                                Dan Certificate

Since the time of Ancient Hunnu Empire and Great Mongol Empire a warrior who achieved a great feat and excelled in a battle was awarded a title of Baatar (hero), he was made exempt amongst people, his glory was spread far and wide, he was pardoned from at least three future crimes, emperor’s decree freed him completely from military service and granted him a right to teach the people and youth.

            It is amazing that warriors who received a title of Baatar never once were recorded in the history to have committed a crime and needed a pardon.  

            National Martial Art Mongol-Zo used that tradition in modern times and follows Sports titles and ranks regulations as well as approved title awarding regulation of National Martial Art Federation of Mongolia. Therefore, ancient title of Baatar is called Master and awarded a certificate.  

            Certificate which retains the Emperor’s decree that was addressed to the Heaven and historical sources, are made using design and materials that cannot be found anywhere else in the World, at a very high level of secrecy.  

            Seal of D.Ogtonbayar, Bearer and practitioner, Head master of National Martial Art Mongol-Zo



Mongol whip skill


Whip: Types of Martial Arts usually pick a weapon or household tool which is inseparably related to their national history and culture and develop it as an applied weapon of their National Martial Art which shows their national uniqueness.

For example: Japanese martial art promotes and uses samurai swords (kendo) and “nunchaku or two sticks” which was originated from tools which were used for threshing rice and grains.

In China “Wushu” uses ancient sabre and staff as a representation of weapon skills.

            Although Mongol-Zo researches, teaches and uses various weapons, nowadays develops and teaches the use of whip, which is old historic and traditional cultural heritage and item of everyday use.

            Martial arts weapons of the world’s other countries have gone out of use due to the social requirement and became historical heritage. As for Mongol-Zo martial art we can be proud of developing a whip as a representation weapon of the martial art. The whip is still used in everyday life and remains national cultural heritage.

            Since the time when Mongols emerged as a nation and were in the zenith of their powers between 13th and 16th centuries whip design was usually plaited and short, its genuine use was to whip the cart drawing animals and horses to make them go faster. 

            However, when our State power declined at the beginning of the 17th century and it was fragmented into smaller principalities such as Outer, Inner, Western, Eastern, Alasha and Eznee River Torguts. When internal fighting and squabbling amongst themselves were at its highest Manchu aggressors first conquered Inner Mongolia in 1636, then at the end of the 17th century at the end of 1681 and beginning of 1682 our country was conquered with the help of religion.

            At the time when Khalkha Mongol princes and aristocrats under the leadership of Undur Gegeen Zanabazar could not resolve their internal conflict, Zuungar Khanate’s leader Galdan Boshigt attacked when his attempt to unite peacefully has failed. Fearing him and due to many other reasons, also due to policy implemented by Manchus many followed Buddhist leader Undur Gegeen Zanabazar’s decision and fell under Manchu rule. This is a bitter historical fact.

            Starting from this period ordinary men were prohibited to carry weapons by the law and policy implemented by the rulers. Whip substituted a weapon and developed by individual methods, also due to the epoch requirement and use, the material became durable hard wood.

            Depending on the owner’s age and height Mongols made whips out of cotoneaster, bamboo and other hard wood with the length between 3 soom (for children) to 7 soom or barim (national measurement). One soom is about 14-19cm.

            The point and the handle have a metal ring around or covered with leather or hide to protect it from being crushed and damaged and it meets a requirement to be used as a weapon.

            Point of the whip is covered by 10-19 cm long leather, metal, silver and such metals and as a reference to what it used to be made out of, one too (15-22cm) to mukhar tokhoi (30 cm) long plaited cowhide leather fall is attached.

            Handle is covered with leather or metal, also a hole is made to add a wrist loop.

Wrist loop size should be big enough to keep the whip in place when the hand is loose and also should be able to rotate freely in the wrist, the reason for that is linked to its many use during a combat, also the owner does not have to hold on to it during the travel and it is not tiresome, also when the hand is hit it stays in the place. In such ways it was developed into an advanced weapon.

            The fall is not only used to lash horses and cart pulling cattle, but used to lash at men’s sensitive body parts and to make the opponent to drop his weapon during a combat.

            Since for Mongol nation, horses were of practical use and important for livelihood, existence and progress, whip also became essential tool for men and substitute for weapon to defend one’s life and thus custom to respect and cherish it was established. Examples of this practice are: hanging the whip from the saddle pommel, regularly keep it in the hand, keep the inherited saddle and whip of the head of the family who has gone away for a long time in the North-Western part of the home and make offerings.

            Also when an heir of the family comes of age he is blessed by his father and there is a Mongolian saying related to that: foot can reach the stirrup and hand can reach the jockey and he prepares saddle and bridle, but also a whip.


Development of the whip can be divided into three phases:

1.    A tool to goad and hit any type of ride. From the time when animals were domesticated, formation of the state and the loss of independence (Our country lost only once its independence at the end of the 16th century) 

2.    Use as a weapon (to defend against enemies, to kill enemies and wild animals). This period lasts for three centuries of Manchu oppression and ended when Mongolia regained its independence in 2011 by revolution.

3.    Symbolism, decoration, tradition, cultural heritage. (till now)


Whip skill is highly developed through its use, a proof of it is: ordinary herders chase the wolf, which are dubbed as enemies of livestock, on a horse and hit the snout with a whip without missing.  

Also, it is noted in the history that although our nation lost its independence, enemies were still fearful and in awe and said: “Although Mongols are disarmed if they rise holding their whips then they will be undefeatable”.

For Mongol nation, Mongol whip which is an everyday item of use, is a cultural heritage and historical proof which is particular to only our nation in the world.

The whip, which is a main weapon of national martial art of Mongolia has following techniques: Guyadaa, Shirvee, Khatgaa and Yovroo, also two defensive technique called Tashuu tavilt and Khundlun tavilt.

Whip is skill inseparable from body skills, so one must understand that only a person who possesses main techniques of martial arts such as punches, kicks, stances, balance and awareness of space can learn weapon skills.


Therefore beginners who are learning Mongol-Zo are not directly taught whip skill, it can be said that when they reach certain level they learn to use mongol whip through everyday use and experience.