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Mikhail Ryabko
Vladimir Vasiliev
(Система, literally meaning The System) is a Russian Martial Art. Training includes, but is not limited to: hand-to-hand combat, grappling, knife fighting, and firearms training.
Training involves drills and sparring without set kata. In Systema, the body has to be free of tensions, filled with endurance, flexibility, effortless movement, and explosive potential; the "spirit" or psychological state has to be calm, free of anger, irritation, fear, self-pity, delusion, and pride. It focuses on breathing, relaxation, and fluidity of movement, as well as utilising an attacker's momentum against him and controlling the six body levers (elbows, neck, knees, waist, ankles, and shoulders) through pressure point application, striking, and weapon applications.
As a discipline, it is becoming more and more popular among police and security forces, including the US Secret Service, and it is taught by several practitioners inside and outside of Russia.

SYSTEMA is rooted in martial culture of Slavonic nations. This culture was and remains now one of unsolved mysteries in world history. Did it ever exist at all? Previously this fact was being doubted. Data and opinions on weapons, tactics, military and social structure of Slavonic army were ambiguous and contradictory. However, more and more historical evidences point that martial culture of Slavonic nations did exist. And it did not yield an inch to other systems that were created in the East.

Slavonic martial system was based on local actions and not extermination of enemy, “right” tactics, planned seizure of territory and actions typical for regular armies and justifying their existence, therefore the task of martial training was survival in a battle: single combat, group fight, single warrior’s confrontation against superior enemy, and then coordinated actions of unit. Being behind other nations in weapons and professionalism, Slavs were superior in mastership, use of terrain conditions, organisation of reconnaissance, ambushes and sudden attacks or avoiding undesired battle – everything denoted by the term “Scythian war”. Superiority not in number but in moral courage, endurance, skill to survive adversities and make do with a little to achieve great goals – these properties formed the pledge of victory of martial culture of Slavonic nations.
Fundamentals of SYSTEMA are historical Russian martial and orthodox traditions, centuries-long experience in training the Motherland defenders from times of Ancient Russia down to our days. Would like to make clear at once that the notion “Russian” means martial art that had been born long before the time when Kievan Russia joined Eastern Slavs, current Russians, Ukrainians and Byelorussians into unified Russian nation. Being born as a means for necessary self-defence of freedom-loving nation, the art of hand-to-hand combat was perfected in military princely bands of men and hardened in the Battle of the Ice and the Battle of Kulikovo.

After the Revolution the art of hand-to-hand partly moved abroad along with emigrated officers and replenished arsenals of foreign secret services, partly was only practised within family ambience, partly got into criminal environment during times of repressions, partly started serving for the Soviet power in bodies of national security and militia, and partly was lost. Soviet power tried to prohibit or conceal everything having common roots or anyhow associated with the church, belief, God. Thus, having the origin of martial arts, we were forced to draw information from abroad...

According to historical notes and sources, SYSTEMA remained in service of the Soviet Army but all associated activities were classified as “top secret”. 

Mikhail Ryabko
Colonel of the Special Operations Unit with the Russian Military, Director and Chief Instructor of Systema Headquarters, Moscow

Mikhail Ryabko was trained from the age of five and involved in combative training from the age of fifteen. He worked in militia in RF Ministry of Interior Security Department, trained the Minister's security guards. He was a tactical commander of hostage-rescue teams, counter-terrorist operations, and armed criminal neutralization. Mikhail resides in Moscow, holds the rank of Colonel and was an assistant to RF General Prosecutor. He is a veteran of military actions and veteran of labor. He has been in numerous military campaigns and holds many medals and awards from the government and from the Russian Orthodox Church. He continues to train many students as the Master Teacher of Systema.

Vladimir Vasiliev
Director and Chief Instructor of Systema Headquarters, Toronto

Born in Russia, Vladimir Vasiliev received intense combative training and profound Systema training from Mikhail Ryabko. Vladimir moved to Canada, and in 1993 founded the first school of Russian Martial Art outside Russia - Systema Headquarters.  Vladimir holds a number of government medals and awards including the Russian "Order of Duty and Honor" and the "Order of Loyalty".