Video: Mikhai Ryabko demonstrates Systema at Aiki Expo 2005

The Systema Dilemma: “How Can Devastating Force Appear So Soft?”

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Duration: 9:35
Access: paid subscribers

The Russian art of Systema has had a tremendous impact on the martial arts scene in the last ten years. Its founder, Mikhail Ryabko is a short stout man who moves with a remarkable gracefulness while packing explosive power. In part due to the efforts of Aikido Journal, the aikido community has taken notice of the well-researched training methods of Systema and the undeniable similarity of movement between the two arts. Mikhail and his top student Vladimir Vasiliev both agreed to participate in Aiki Expo 2005 and came from Moscow, Russia and Toronto, Canada, respectively.

Mikhail’s demonstration at the Expo was highly anticipated and he certainly didn’t disappoint. The amazing fluidity with which he moves, and the many opportunities for delivering devastating effect he creates, serve as an object of study and inspiration for every martial artist. The dedicated aikidoka will definitely feel at home watching and analyzing the intricate and familiar movements of Systema as performed by its founder.

Mikhail Ryabko Bio

Colonel of the Special Operations Unit with the Russian Military, former Chief Instructor of tactical training for the Emergency Response Team, former Advisor to the Supreme Judge of the Russian Federation.

Mikhail Ryabko was trained from the age of five and involved in combative training from the age of fifteen. 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 a Special Advisor to the Supreme Judge of the Russian Federation. He continues to train his many students as the Master Teacher of Systema. He has been in numerous military campaigns and holds many government medals and awards.

Click here to visit the Systema website


  1. Aikiseeker says:

    I understand this is a demonstration and injuries are least welcome, but I wonder if they do practice systema from stronger attacks, that is more realistic.

    • To answer your question, I have been thrown by both Mikhail and Vladimir, and they are both gentlemen. That being said, there is no doubt that they are both potentially lethal having seen combat in special operations.

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