Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Systema (Russian: Система, "The System", "Combat Sambo Spetsnaz") is a Russian martial art (RMA). It is designed to be highly adaptive and practical, training using drills and sparring instead of set kata. Because of its open nature, it is effective in many situations and against many different fighting styles. Systema is most known as being a martial art employed by some Russian Spetsnaz (Special Forces) units.
A brief history of Systema
Although there is some controversy over historical proof, Systema's Russian martial arts heritage is believed to date back to the 10th century.
The names "Combat Sambo Spetsnaz" and "The System" were first used during the rule of Communism in Russia. These terms were synonymous and described the training which some special forces units and elite bodyguards received. "Combat Sambo Spetsnaz" was coined to misdirect Systema's relation to Sambo. There is little relation between the two styles.
Among the practitioners were Sokoli Stalina (Stalin's Falcons). Joseph Stalin's bodyguards used Systema while he was in power for almost 30 years till his death in 1953 and then its use continued with Special Military Operations Units for the highest risk missions in Spetsnaz units (the KGB's Special Forces), the GRU and other government facilities.
While ancient family traditions continued in secret, some aspects of Russian Martial Arts was included in part in some special forces training programs, including members of Sokoli Stalina.
It is due to Russian Communism's strictly-enforced ban on non-sanctioned traditions, and the sensitivity of special forces training, that it was not until the fall of Communism that Systema became known to the outside world.
It is still a relative unknown, but Systema or relatives to it are being taught by several practitioners inside and outside of Russia. Of particular interest is that different people from different military backgrounds were taught subtle variations of Systema.
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