Systema (literally ‘The System’) is rooted in traditional Russian health and fitness practices as well as fighting arts. During the Soviet era it was incorporated into Russian military training, and is still used by certain special operations units in Russia. Informal and practical, Systema is designed to be adaptable to any person in any situation, and contains no techniques but is based on key principles of posture, breathing, relaxation and movement. Training consists of various exercises and activities that allow practitioners to explore these principles in a wide variety of topics, including physical and psychological conditioning, striking and body manipulation, ground fighting/wrestling, rolling and falling, weapons, teamwork, multiples, and more.
Despite its utilitarian nature, training is approached as a form of play with the fundamental principle of non-destruction. Combat-oriented exercises are balanced with breath and tension management drills to promote a calm, clear, aware mind and a relaxed, free and mobile body. The ultimate purpose of Systema is to cleanse the human body, psyche, and spirit, preparing and strengthening the whole being, giving practitioners the opportunity to continually learn about and discover themselves in many ways and on many levels.