Systema is the Russian
word for system
and also an ancient Russian fighting style. The fighting style originated around the 10th century
when Russia was attacked from all directions by various nations, using various fighting style
s and weapons. In addition to that it must be noted that although the Russian army
was not weak, it was defiantly not sufficient to defend a country of such dimensions. This meant that the peasants
themselves had to learn how to fight in order to defend their villages. Unarmed, and outnumbered by warriors of greater strength, the Russians were forced to develop a style like no other - the Systema.
In 1917 the communist revolution occurred and all forms of martial arts were outlawed by the government. Luckily, the Russian fighting system did not die at that time but only improved as it was officially used for the Spetsnaz and Joseph Stalin's personal bodyguards.
Today, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of Communism in Russia, the Systema can finally be taught to the public.
The key points of the style are:
No official stance/position - adds freedom of motion, the option of the most natural and comfortable position for the fighter and the ability to defend himself fast without having to change positions. Fighting while sitting is also taught.
Almost all forms of basic attacks are included - punches, kicks, chokes, wrestling moves.
All kicks are low - high kicks take more time, require strong physical requirements, leave you open to a counterattack, and are easier to dodge.
Natural and continuous attacks - all attacks and blocks are extensions of the body's natural instincts, not requiring the fighter to memorize the style.
Economy of motion - movements are fast and fights are fast paced, but all energy must go into the blocks and attacks.
Fighting multiple opponents - not many fighting styles have that idea built-in, because it's not very suitable for tournaments. The Systema was never designed for tournaments and in real life it is very common that more than one person is attacking at once.
Defense against weapons - gaining control over armed attackers by using the weaknesses of their weapons against them. Including methods to defend against knives, sticks, and even guns (obviously not from a distance, but through disarming moves).
Improvised weapons - the system includes methods to defend against conventional weapons using books, belts, wallets and even credit cards. Also includes methods to use such tools for offense (ever wanted to know how to kill a man with a paper clip?)
Philosophy and spirit - the Systema also has a spiritual side, with methods to control the body, eliminate fear and result in total concentration. Although the Systema is a brutal fighting style with no rules, it still has a code of conduct and, unlike Krav Maga, it is not a completly dirty and ugly martial art.