History of Systema

The Russian style of martial art dates back to the 10th century. Throughout history, Russia has had to repel invaders from the north, south, east, and west, with each attacker bringing their own distinct styles of combat and weaponry. The battles took place on different terrain, during freezing winters and sweltering summer heat alike, with the Russians often greatly outnumbered by the enemy forces.

As a result of these factors, the 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, and under any circumstances.

The style was natural and free, with no strict rules, rigid structure or limitations (except for moral ones). The style was (and indeed still is) based on instinctive reactions, individual strengths and characteristics, and is designed for fast learning.

When the Communists came to power in 1917, they suppressed all national traditions. Those found practicing the centuries-old style of martial art were severely punished. However, the authorities quickly realised the viability and potency of the Russian Martial Art and thus reserved it just for a few Special Operations Units, otherwise known as the Spetsnaz – the elite of the elite.

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