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Ancient Knowledge for a Modern World . . .

Throughout its history, it was a rare year that Russia was not involved in a conflict with its neighboring countries or those abroad. Through their engagements with the varying methods and weaponry used by their enemies, Russian warriors developed an instinctual way of combat, based on the natural movement of each individual, and capable of adapting to unknown situations.

Since maintaining a standing unified army in those times was not always viable, people in townships and villages were called to battle, then allowed to return back to their homes as regular citizens. Warriors who fought and survived returned to their families to work, live, and train for another day.

Gradually, a style of martial arts was developed that allowed the warrior to train on a consistent day-to-day basis without incurring serious injury and requiring long recovery times. The ability to adapt to the unknown required complete comfort with a person’s own body and psyche. It also called for skill in improvisation–something that is better developed through attributes training and not memorization. With no prearranged forms or techniques to memorize, the traditional Russian Martial Arts provided a way to be fluid and relaxed in motion. We call this state Freedom of Movement.

Over time, the traditional Russian Martial Arts were honed through successive generations of one-to-few relationships and through traditional games and festivals held by the communities. With the advent of firearms, the traditional styles evolved, but the principles of movement held true.

Systema represents the direct experience of many generations of warriors, reflecting the diverse combat history of the old and new Russian cultures. It is still used today by professionals around the world and those who just want to better protect their families and themselves in everyday situations.