Systema is a Russian martial art. It is designed to be highly adaptive and
practical, training using drills and sparring instead of set kata. It
focuses mainly on controlling the six body levers (elbows, neck, knees,
waist, ankles, and shoulders) through pressure point application, striking
and weapon applications. Systema is often advertised as being a martial art
employed by some Russian Spetsnaz units.
Systema is counted alongside a number of pre-Soviet traditions which are
being actively cultivated by the Russian government. In 2004, the Dinamo
Sports Center played host to a demonstration and celebration of martial
It is still a relative unknown, but Systema or relatives to it are being
taught by several practitioners inside and outside of Russia. Of particular
interest is that different people from different backgrounds were taught
subtle variations of Systema.
Furthermore, since practitioners train in their own preferred manner and
with their individual understanding, their style expressed in their art is
unique to them. This is most readily seen with senior students and other
As some students train to become instructors in their own right, their
understanding evolves and they ultimately teach a personal and more
contemporary version of their understanding. In some cases this personal
understanding keeps the same name, and in some cases a new name is
Some practitioners take their understanding, their own preferences and their
own arts to create a hybrid martial art. Others use the experience for cross
training, to supplement their own training programs.