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Systema - The Russian Martial Art born on the battlefield

3rd August 2016

Systema - The Russian Martial Art born on the battlefield
Throughout history, Russia had to repel invaders on all side. All attackers brought their distinct styles of combat and weaponry. The battles took place on different terrain and in all climates.

As a result Russian warriors acquired a style that combined strong spirit with extremely innovative and versatile tactics that were at the same time practical, deadly and effective against any type of enemy under any type of circumstance.

When the Communists came to power they suppressed all national traditions, including martial arts. However, the authorities realized how viable and devastating the original combat system was and the ancient Russian martial art was taken to the very heart of the Russian military, reserved for Special Operations Units – the Spetsnaz.

A combat system based on traditional combat techniques evolved into what we now know as Systema.

What is Systema?

During its evolution, not only were technical and tactical applications tested and investigated, but soldiers’ battle reflexes and psychological stability in stress situations was also analysed.

The style that was born is natural and free while having no strict rules, rigid structure or limitations (except for moral ones). All tactics are based on instinctive reactions, individual strengths and characteristics, specifically designed for fast learning.

Systema classes cover all aspects of combat training from hand-to-hand combat to the use of weapons, ground fighting and dealing with multiple attackers in any and all combat environments. It also deals with the psychological aspects of combat and offers ways to work with fear.

Systema as a martial art, in the form it exists now, is primarily designed for real life application. It was not designed for a sport environment or a sport mentality. It’s designed to work in unpredictable situations.

Key principles of Systems

The aim is to train principles, so whatever form your training takes - be it solo, on the ground, against a weapon or multiple attackers - you are always working these 4 key principles:

1. Breathing
2. Relaxation
3. Structure
4. Continuous movement

So, rather than practicing one particular technique that is then applied to a situation, you are put into situations to explore the movements and solutions you can develop from them.

You don’t learn set responses to imagined scenarios, as it’s not possible to foresee all cases and situations. Instead you learn how to work in the moment and whatever that may hold.

This approach also means that there is no "syllabus" as such. You are not expected to learn certain moves in order to progress through the ranks. There are no forms or kata to memorize. No techniques, no belts, no predetermined attitudes to conform to, just natural movement that can be practiced for a lifetime.

Three components create a Warrior

In Systema, the synergy of three components creates a True Warrior:

1. Healthy Body
2. Strong Spirit
3. Versatile Combat Skill.

Healthy Body: The body has to be free of tension, filled with endurance, flexibility, effortless movement and explosive potential.

Strong Spirit: The spirit or psychological state has to be calm, free of anger, irritation, fear, self-pity, delusion and pride.

Versatile Combat Skill: The combat skill includes movements that are powerful and precise, instant and economical, spontaneous, subtle and diverse, the signature of a true professional.

Martial Art or Martial System?

Given its roots it is only natural that Systems is marketed and taught primarily as a “martial art”. However, it probably more accurate to label it as a Martial System, as its purpose was to increase the survivability of special operation troops and decrease the survivability of their opponents.

“There is a reason why Russian Martial Art is called SYSTEMA – the system. It is a complete set of concepts and training components that enhance one’s life.” Vladimir Vasiliev, Director and Chief Instructor of Systema HQ, Toronto

Systema is suitable for men and women of all ages, shapes and sizes. It will keep you healthy, build confidence and better equip you to defend yourself and others. You will learn to deal with stress, anxiety and fear in ways that are easily transferred into normal daily life.

The principles of Systema can be applied to any human endeavour.

Find a Systema class

There are hundreds of martial arts instructors and martial arts clubs around the UK offering a variety of martial arts classes. If you are looking for a Systema class near you, visit the Martial Arts Near Youhomepage and search using your location. You can choose Systema as the type and pick an experience level before you search.

Once you have found a class that suits you, contact the instructor to find out more. Or if you've seen enough, you can book your place online!
Source: Martial Arts Near You