Throughout its history Russia has been attacked by invaders from the south, east, and west.
Battles occurred on various terrain, during freezing winters and sweltering summers.
Attackers brought distinct styles of combat and weaponry. Russian defenders were often greatly outnumbered.
As a result Russian warriors acquired a style that combined strong spirit with extremely innovative and versatile tactics that were at the same time efficient, practical, deadly, and effective against any type of enemy under any circumstances.
The style was natural and free, without rigid structure or rules, and only moral limitations. Tactics came from instinctive reactions, and were specifically designed for fast learning, employing individual strengths and characteristics.
When the Communists seized power in 1917, they suppressed all national traditions they could not destroy. Those caught practicing the old style of fighting could be severely punished.
Yet authorities realized the effectiveness of the original combat system, and so reserved it for a few Special Operations Units.
Systema founder Mikhail Ryabko learned the ancient Russian fighting style from his uncle, who was one of Josef Stalin’s bodyguards.
Vladimir Vasiliev is Mikhail’s top student, who brought Systema to Canada in the early 1990s.