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 that acts as an effective vehicle for self-realisation & improvement.

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

Systema is different. It starts with the principles from which you develop your own way to move & respond. This leads to a martial art which is:

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

The Pillars of Systema

Systema training is based on four simple, yet profound pillars (principles):

  • Breath
  • Relaxation
  • Movement
  • Structure

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

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

  • Strong Spirit: The spirit (or psychological state) has to be calm, free of anger, fear, self-pity, delusion & pride.
  • Healthy Body: The body has to be free of tension, filled with endurance, flexibility, effortless movement & explosive potential.
  • 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 Training page for information on training Systema with us.

What is Systema?

I regularly train with Matt Hill who 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

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

First & foremost, every Systema practitioner should read “Let Every Breath…” which is the essential guide to Systema breathing & the core exercises of Systema.

You can purchase “Let Every Breath” as an eBook on the Systema HQ website.

Articles on the Systema HQ website website:

The following articles are also available on the same website.