Systema - Russian Martial Arts Style

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Systema - Russian Martial Arts Style

Systema is a military martial arts system that was developed from Cossack fighting to be used by the KGB and counter terrorism groups of Russian special forces (i.e. Spetsnaz). It concentrates on things such as self-protection (i.e. against knife, club or gun), grappling, and weapons training as well as personal wellness. Systema students train for real-life combat situations and the potential to defend against multiple armed opponents.

This system does not use techniques in the traditional sense of the word. Instead, it uses natural and/or logical movements intended for maximum efficiency which can be easily modified for any situation at hand. Not only does this mean that it can be used for anything from cradling a newborn child to disarming multiple armed attackers, but that these things can be done all at the same time. Techniques are taught, however they generally have no practical use of their own; they are intended to develop certain qualities in the student's movement.

Martial Arts Books - Systema

Systema is intended to be used for defeating threats of any kind, be it an unforeseen unsafe situation in the workplace or at home or an organized all out assault on the practitioner. In order to achieve this goal, it ignores most of the more artistic aspects of martial arts, such as forms, patterns & poomsae in favor of drills to improve proficiency in such things as awareness, three dimensional movement, grappling, striking and weapons. It does this through breath work, .

Main Systema Elements & Techniques

History of Systema

Before training in Systema, you must realize that it is a combat and survival system based on the properties of the human body, mind, and spirit. In its early stages, a weak, crippled World War I veteran named V.A. Spiridonov was commissioned by the Soviet Union and given a group of scientists to create a combat system for the military. The purpose of it was to be the same as any other system - to give men who learned it the confidence to enter combat. Spiridonov's vision was to create something that was not only a safety blanket to boost morale, but was capable of being used effectively in any combat situation, however hopeless or impossible it may seem, even by weak or injured people such as himself. He took concepts from traditional Russian martial arts (such as Skobar and Hopak fighting) and worked with his scientists until he created something deadly, effortless, and unrecognizable. It was unique in its effectiveness and its completeness due to the approach of teaching the students to teach themselves to think, feel, and act in the most effective way for the situation.

When it was presented to his commissioners, they considered it the greatest system of hand to hand combat ever created. He called it SAMOZ and its principles of simplicity, logical movement, fluidity, and ingenuity became the basis of many interpretations of Russian combat such as ROSS, Systema Kadochnikova, Systema Ryabko, and IZVOR just to name a few. The word Systema itself means "the system" and most of the interpretations of it, such as the ones listed in the previous sentence, denounce the others and claim to be the one and only Russian Systema. This naturally leads to a question - which Systema is the real Systema? The answer is they all are; each and every one of them are based on Russian ideals of combat, state of mind, and morality. They follow the same basic principles and change and grow with the world around them. This website contains teachings from Systema Ryabko, Systema Kadochnikova, and IZVOR.

Of all the interpretations of Russian combat, one stood out to the Soviets. A young airman named A.A. Kadochnikov learned Spiridonov's system for hand to hand combat as well as specialized methods of things such as shooting, personal protection, mine clearing, evasive driving, boating, and topography for survival and special missions he may have been employed for. When Nikita Khrushchev became the leader of the Soviet Union, the military was downsized, so he retired and taught physics and engineering at military schools and universities. When he was accepted to teach mechanics at the Krasnodar Military Engineering School, he tested and refined his knowledge on commission from the KGB. The result was Systema Kadochnikova, which was the first to use the name "Systema" and was used by Spetsnaz since its creation in 1962.

YouTube Video Focused on The History of Systema

Systema Kadochnikova


  1. Significant contributions to this page were made by Mike, author of Action Heroing Made Easy (blog),, Added - 10/23/14
  2. Russian Martial Art, History of Systema,, Added - 05/28/13
  3. Combat Lab-Russian Martial Arts North West, Aleksey Kadochnikov,, Added - 09/13/14
  4. The Kadochnikov System Russian Martial Art,, Added - 10/29/14

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