The Russian Martial Art Systema

We are going to take a look at the Russian martial art Systema, the word means system and first emerged in the 1990`s after the end of the Soviet Union. This martial art is based around the principles of aikido, sambo and judo, There are a number of styles of Systema, one being the Ryabko style and Mikael Ryabko is the founder and ex Russian Special Forces. This martial art is used for self defense and has many other benefits.

Main Structure

The main principles are Breathing, Relaxation, Posture/ structure. Constant Movement and Redirection Working on aligning your senses and having no tension eventually achieving a high level of fluidity.

If this is something that appeals to you, this martial art is now global and you should be able to find a school.


You should remain relaxed at all time and be able to be tense only when needed, This is not as easy as it sounds, during your training there is lot of emphasis on flexibility of the whole body, this include joints, muscles, on the arms, hands, feet, shoulders, neck, spine, Along with your mind. This will take some time and will be ongoing with many stretching techniques and relaxation exercises to help you to remove tension and achieve that flexibility and mind control. This will be a journey to remove the tensions from your mind and body. Many of those exercises will be similar to yoga and tai chi

There are also strikes to relax the body please checkout:

This will help you be able to relax and absorb and deflect attacks

Controlled Breathing

This is essential in staying relaxed and controlling your fear as when we experience fear we tend to hold our breath which can keep tension in the body as does breathing in fast. We need to be able to slow our breathing down and learn to control our breathing in any situation and Systema will help you achieve this, with exercises focusing on breathing, Those exercises involve training the breath to work like a pendulum, The breath is used to help you to relax and stay stress and tension free this is important in any martial art. Another way to get good breath control is to practice meditation checkout one of my previous posts MEDITATION FOR MARTIAL ARTS

Please checkout this detailed Video Which has 4 different Systems breathing exercises which you can start to practice for systema or the general health benefits stress reduction, learn to relax, etc



In Systema you need to have a good straight structure with your head straight in an upright position. With the spine straight and the legs and arms relaxed this enabled you to be soft and able to deflect and absorb.

Your legs must be soft with knees slightly bent and spine straight, legs not rooted to the floor like some other martial arts like southern style kung fu with the low solid stances. This will enable you to move the arms legs in different directions and you will be able to move your feet moving around, sliding past, stepping past your opponent etc to absorb attacks or deflect attacks while delivering your own attacks relaxed but with relaxed power able to deliver many from different angles.

If you are pulled off balance or upper body is pulled forward you must recover your structure without delay, this could sometimes involve moving in close to your attacked and moving in the direction of the attack or force to absorb the attackers’ power.

The structure is designed to help you fight more than one attacker allowing quick and smooth movements with head up and straight spine soft legs relaxed and agile. Note your spine and head is not rigid but straight and flexible.

Constant Flow and Redirection

The systema principle of constant flow uses constant moving when under attack, constantly blending with your attacker. Reacting to the pressure or strike and removing the effect of their attack, absorbing or avoiding the energy and redirecting it with movement. When appropriate launching your own attack.,

You learn to take the attackers’ energy and redirect it to your own advantage, the art of flow and redirection is learnt to use a number of different training drills, single and paired also with more than 2 person drills

This is not easy to master but, to become proficient you will need plenty of practice under the direction of a good instructor and most cities will have at least one Systema martial arts school.

This principle is great for multiple attackers’ as per the video below

Systema Techniques

All of those principles above come together to produce a modern martial art system which can be practiced by most people as it is not too intensive with regard to strength and fitness but your body will become very intuitive, relaxed, flexible and powerful.

There is also plenty of techniques to learn and you will learn to be able to fight standing or on the ground,

Please see the video below to show you a number of past Seminars so you can see the masters in action demonstrating many techniques



I hope you have enjoyed this post on the Russian martial arts Systema founded by a Russian special forces’ agent. This martial art is an effect and modern martial arts system that is now global. Great for anyone to learn and is designed for self defense, great for men and women.

No great fitness level needed which make it ideal for the person looking to learn an effective self defense system. Other benefits include great breathing techniques learning to master you breathe and stay calm in dangerous situations, Relaxation of the body and mind etc

Please see the complete Systema system on a 20 DVD set below which can be purchased from the picture link below: This DVD set currently has a 35% discount and costs £449.95 and provides 20 hour + of information and covers beginners to intermediate to advanced, Giving you the best hand-to-hand combat techniques in a reality- base street self-defence system you can learn at home.

=>Please click the picture link below to buy the complete Systema system<=

As this is a self defense combat system it will benefit all martial artists,

Ideal if you work in the following jobs. Police, Security, Prison service, Debt collection, Solder`s, Body guards,

`Little knowledge is better than no knowledge`

Train hard, focus and practice

Wince 🙂

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2 thoughts on “The Russian Martial Art Systema

  1. What an awesome self-defense course. I really enjoyed the videos as I could see how well it works and how fluid the people stay when doing it. The grandmaster was amazing. I have also seen a show on other Russians doing Ryabko and was super impressed. It seems to incorporate Tai Chi, Yoga, and martial arts all into one system.

    I’m pleased that it works for women as well. Perhaps we should consider girls being taught it at school. We could all do with some self-defense skills.

    • Hi Lily Thanks for your comments much appreciated, glad to hear you enjoyed the videos they do show the skill of the trained Systema experts. Ryabko is a great practitioner of Systema and he does make it look easy. I agree you can see connection with other martial arts this could be because as martial arts go, this system is relatively young. I see the flexibility of yoga, the angles of Aikido and the smoothness of Tai Chi, 

      I had great joy in producing a post on women self defence this sounds like something you maybe interested in please check it out here =>The best women self defense moves please leave comments on this post.

      Great comments,

      All the best, hope to see you back soon,


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