One of the most complex yet simple, challenging, and rewarding paths in the vast universe of combat methods and martial arts is Systema.

In basic terms, Systema is more than just a martial art. It is a complete and ever-evolving methodology of combat preparation, martial training, and health and longevity maintenance.

Rooted in Russian traditions and customs, with very significant portion of its combative side being focused on military applications, Systema is unique. Not unlike any other complex methodology or system covering the extensive and deep topic of violence in all its forms and manifestations, Systema is often misunderstood, misinterpreted, and questioned.

What Is “True” Systema?

This question provokes other questions. How can Systema be defined or be framed as real and genuine? How can one determine whether they are being presented a ghost image of true Systema with outward aesthetic similarities, but missing the substance and solid foundation? What is that foundation?

What is its very essence?

Before answering that, let’s define what is not Systema.

It is no longer Systema…

When principles become dogmas. When opinions are presented as gospels. When teaching becomes preaching. When the vitality of the system dies and it becomes stagnant, packaged for show and for sale product. Used for self promotion and the suppression of the freedom it is intended to promote.

It is no longer Systema…

When its principles are repackaged in new, often low-quality and hastily created boxes. Boxes whose contents are renamed with an exotic term from some forsaken region of the vast expanses of Mother Russia or labeled with an additional magical definition that implies more “combative” focus. Packages offering, in essence, below-average quality of work, sub-par training methodologies, and pseudo-scientific explanations as to why their contents are a “step forward”. Hyping the promise of an evolution of principles which many of the proponents never truly learned.

It is no longer Systema…

When its principles are criticized by those who never invested the time and effort to learn them. By parties who decided that it needs a new direction, a breath of fresh air… When work is simplified to accommodate mediocrity. When the virtue of “questioning everything” deteriorates into trash talk about individuals who’s abilities and skills the commentator cannot even comprehend.

What Is Systema?

It is a way.

A path.

A path that potentially can change not only the way one fights, trains, walks, and breathes, but can also change how one conducts himself in all aspects of his life.

Systema can be many things to an individual. It is an in-depth study of self; a discovery of one’s own weaknesses, strengths, fears, and potential.

Yet at its core, at the fundamental level that is the base of self-study, is the science of human interaction in violent confrontations – on all levels of human existence.

In contrast to most martial arts, Systema offers the practitioner a way to gradually discover how he functions and fights. Systema rejects the requirement to remain confined to a rigid and limited technique-based set of solutions created by some legendary masters or gurus. Gurus often hailing from a very different background, with a particular system of values and beliefs, physical attributes, and psychological abilities. Masters often removed from our realities by hundreds of years and separated by an ocean or two…

While Systema is not a sport, it offers plenty of physically and athletically challenging ways to condition one’s body and improve one’s capabilities in numerous areas that are easily adaptable to a very wide range of applications.

It isn’t easy.

It isn’t simple.

It isn’t for everyone.

Systema conforms to the individual, rather than asking the individual to conform to it. This allows people with differing abilities, and what some would call disabilities, to excel. The individual develops movement and applications of its principles which are not only suited to their apparent deficiencies, but are simultaneously more efficient, applicable, and effective for that individual.

In Systema, the synergy of three components creates a complete fighter:

  • Healthy body

  • Strong spirit

  • Combat skill

The body must be free of excess tension and filled with endurance. Flexibility, effortless and efficient movement, and explosive potential are fundamental.

The spirit or psychological state must be calm; free of anger, irritation, fear, self-pity, delusion, and pride. The combat skill includes movements that are powerful and precise, instant and economical, spontaneous, subtle, and diverse. They are adaptable to numerous conditions, surroundings, situations, and the utilization of various weapons.

Russian Martial Art is called Systema for a reason. It is a complete set of concepts and training components that enhance one’s life. Acquisition of this martial art skill is a path to improve the function of all physiological systems of the body and levels of human ability in every aspect of existence.

The key principle of Russian Systema is non-destruction. The goal is to be certain that your training and your attitudes cause no damage to the body or the psyche of yourself or your partners. Systema is designed to create, build, and strengthen your body, your psyche, your family, and your country.

Systema has another name: “Poznai Sebia” or “Know Yourself”. What does it really mean to understand yourself?

It is a concept not confined to knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses. Training in Systema is a way to see the full extent of your limitations. To see how proud and weak you truly are. Systema allows you to gain the true strength of spirit that comes from humility and the clarity of seeing the purpose of your life.