Systema is a term derived from the original Russian Systema of Hand-to-Hand Combat. More recently, as this style has become exported to western nations, it has become synonymous with Systema or Russian System of Martial Arts.
Systema was developed by the early Cossacks, a highly trained paramilitary society, more than a thousand years ago, and historical record of this fighting style can be dated back to 948 A.D. For Centuries Russia had to repel invaders from the north, south, east and west, each of which brought to bear the peculiar martial skills, physical abilities and weapons of its culture. As a result, the need arose for a fighting style based on adaptability, instinct and ease of learning.
From ancient ages the martial art of Russian warriors deserved worldwide recognition. Even then the Russian close fight inspired fear in the enemies. Ancient Russians were strong in the close fight and won even when all military rules said they could not win. Russian Plastoon Cossacks showed their exclusive art of close fight in the First World War.After the revolution in Russia, emigrating Russian officers brought the Russian martial art to the West. It was the Russian Style that was the basis for training the US sea-soldiers. In Russia the martial art perfected for ages was hidden into secret special schools for training diversionists. The Russian Style is a part of the combat sambo (Russian self-defence without weapon) generated by Spiridono, Kadochnikov. However, the today’s Russian Style standard was created by (who trained at a diversion school) Vadim Starov (who systemised and generalised the knowledge). As a result they created a universal survival system based on the historical battle experience and up-to-date developments in technologies and sciences such as mechanics, physics, medicine, geography, psychology, pathology, etc. Eventually, the System became the life system and world outlook of Slavonic people.
The study and practice of this discipline involves a complete system of physical and spiritual health, relaxation, and courage in the face of all forms of adversity. But most of all, it involves a philosophy of life, peace and decency seldom seen. It disciplines its students to relax while striking, rather than focus to generate maximum power, allowing you to strike at unusual and unexpected angles, to smile in combat rather than adopt a fierce visage or announce your intentions with a blood curdling yell. There are no fixed training patterns or combinations of movements, all training is based on the reality that unexpected things happen in combat.
The purpose of this discipline is not merely to prepare for violence, but to gain a positive and strong mental state, to have a healthier and more limber body, to be more relaxed in a stressful society and to live a decent and peaceful life.
The Russian System of Hand-to-Hand Combat, developed from this need. When the Communists came to power after the October Revolution of 1917, the practice of these fighting skills was prohibited, except by the elite units of the Soviet Special Forces, known as Spetsnaz. These groups had unique training and capabilities for working on the highest risk missions within KGB, and other government agencies. It is only since 1991, with the end of the Communist era, that these martial traditions and styles have become available to the West.
Russia. A new millennium eve. A wild outburst of organised criminals, terrorism, separatism, third powers’ aggression in disguise of mercenaries, hot spot wars. This is the reality of our days. It’s grieving to confess that - in some battles against bandit units - up to ninety percent of Russian soldiers died from wounds made with cold steel. The analysis of the military actions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Defence Ministry special teams showed that the close fight role constantly grows in both bandit unit aggression repulse and criminal group suppression. The close fight techniques serve a single aim: saving lives in the extreme conditions of a true Combat.
What is the Russian Style? What is it’s secret hidden in? The secrets of the style should be looked for in regular physics, mechanics, biology, anatomy and psychology manuals rather than in any mystic ciphered treatises. The enemy’s attacks are received softly, in the same plane, by turning the arm or weapon. You should use the enemy’s inertia, add your acceleration, shift his centre of gravity - and the enemy can’t withstand it. By the way -never use your force to oppose the attacking force. Do always feel thedistance. Keeping the contact at the point of touch as a weapon/enemy rotation axis centre allows you to control the enemy by using a system of levers rather than a brute force. Do it easily, spending just a quarter of your physical strength. Having his reserve strength, the close fighter can see and evaluate the whole situation. The close fighter is effective in any age, in any state of health. And - which is important - he can use anything he can reach: a submachine gun, knife, digging tool, even pen or pencil. Moreover, his arms are his weapons too.