Spar

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Two members of the Right Sector spar with wooden knives outside their tent on the Maidan in June.  Photo by Erin Brown @_opasno for Burn Diary . . All over the encampment on the Maidan, donation boxes sit perched outside of the tents, bearing hand-scratched signs. Most are asking for money for food, but a few honest ones read “For smokes” or “We need a drink.” Crowds of what I can only call war tourists have started flocking to the square, snapping photos and taking video, and the encampment has discovered a new brand of busking—sparring for money. . . . The men are either comically inept at fighting (it’s no small wonder most of them didn’t want to head to Donetsk to fight actual combatants) or unsettlingly adroit at it, like the two men pictured here. Their fight unfolded at a breathtaking speed as they weaved and dodged and twisted in and out of one another’s grips. There was a striking intimacy and immediacy to it—the kind of urgent energy that comes with a close-contact conflict. It was hard not to draw an analogy with the struggle the whole country is embroiled in right now. . . . Their fight left me wondering where someone learns hand-to-hand combat like that, so I stuck around after the fight ended and the crowd thinned out to ask. Turns out, I didn’t need to: one of the men settled down in a plastic lawn chair and cracked open a tepid beer, his hands no longer moving fast enough to conceal prison tattoos.Follow

 

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