About Systema

In Systema it is fairly simple: everything that destroys is wrong and everything that strengthens and builds is correct.

Vladimir Vasiliev

Systema is a unique martial art & an effective vehicle for self-realisation & improvement.

In many martial arts you are taught forms and/or techniques which lead you to their principles – the correct state of mind, body & soul.

Systema is different. It starts with the principles that lead you to develop your own way to move & respond, creating a martial art which is:

  • unique: individual to you
  • spontaneous: born in the moment
  • versatile: useful in any situation

The Pillars of Systema

Systema is built on four simple, yet powerful principles – the pillars of Systema:

  • Breath
  • Relaxation
  • Movement
  • Structure

Breath is the foundation of Systema training. Correct breathing leads to relaxation in body & mind that allow movement which is natural & free of tension.

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

  • Healthy Body: The body has to be free of tension, filled with endurance, flexibility, effortless movement & explosive potential.
  • Strong Spirit: The spirit (or psychological state) has to be calm, free of anger, fear, self-pity, delusion & pride.
  • Combat Skill: The combat skill includes natural movements that are powerful, precise, economical, spontaneous, subtle & diverse.

The warrior lifestyle is more than being able to fight. It involves striving to deepen your character, living a life with honour & integrity, taking care of your family & friends.

The goal of Systema is to develop calm, stable, strong individuals who are able to protect themselves and others; performing the ordinary under extraordinary circumstances.

Be a good person and everything else will come to you.

Mikhail Ryabko

Visit our Systema Classes page for information on training Systema with us.

Systema Videos

Matt Hill runs Wiltshire Martial Arts Academy. These 2 videos from him are a useful introduction to Systema.

An Introduction to the Martial Art of Systema

What is Systema? An interview with Matt Hill

Systema Videos featuring Martin Wheeler

Martin Wheeler runs the The Academy Beverley Hills. These videos show some of his sublime work & also help to introduce Systema.

Kick Ass Like a Russian Spy

Systema Short Work Seminar

Systema Knife Concept

Systema Videos featuring Vladimir Vasiliev

Vladamir Vasilliev is the Director and Chief Instructor of Systema Headquarters, Toronto. These videos highlight some of his outstanding work.

Strikes for control

Stick Disarming

Redirection of Two Opponents

Functional Strikes

Further Reading

Every Systema practitioner should read “Let Every Breath…” by Vladimir Vasiliev, which is the essential guide to Systema breathing.

Vladimir’s other books STRIKES: Soul Meets BodyEDGE: Secrets of the Russian Blade Masters are also available on the Systema HQ store:

Articles on the Systema HQ website website:

The following articles are also available on the same website.

Try Systema

The best way to learn about Systema is to come along & try our Systema classes. As I say, Systema’s like a box of chocolates.

Whether you’re new to our club, new to Systema or new to martial arts, the process is the same.

  • Purchase your trial lessons
  • Come along & train!

Use this button to purchase your trial lessons (via PayPal).

Simply download, print & complete the certificate and bring it along to one of the Systema classes.

Systema Gift Certificates

You can also purchase Systema gift certificates & give the gift of Systema.