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“Russian Systema: Aikido’s Kindred Martial Art”
Duration: 7:15 minutes
Access: Free through Saturday, March 10
This video presents the entire demonstration of Vladimir Vasiliev of Russian Systema at Aiki Expo 2005. The Expo featured both Vladimir Vasiliev and the art’s Founder, Mikhail Ryabko. Vladimir’s demonstration showcases the completely natural movements of Systema in dealing with a variety of empty-handed and weapons attacks. The relaxed and benevolent nature of dealing with attacks makes Systema something of a kindred art to aikido. You will notice many aikido-like movements being applied in the demonstration. At the Expo, a large number of aikidoka joined the Systema workshops to try out this discipline.
The antecedents of Systema go far back in Russian history and much of the credit for the preservation of these traditions is due to Russian Orthodox monasteries. Following the Russian Revolution the military coopted these fighting skills and taught them to elite troops. Mikhail states that he received his training from one of Stalin’s bodyguards starting from boyhood. He further refined the knowledge transmitted to him eventually developing Systema into its modern form.
The technical curriculum taught to the Spetsnaz forces is extremely rigorous and designed to eliminate the fear of death in the trainees. Many of the drills inflict tremendous pain and suffering among the men in an effort to harden them for the battlefield and dangerous special missions. The training develops the trainees’ intuition to a high degree and teaches them to act spontaneously when in harm’s way.
About Vladimir Vasiliev — Director and Chief Instructor of Systema Headquarters
Born in Russia, Vladimir received intense combative training and is the top student of Mikhail Ryabko. He spent some 10 years with a Special Operations Unit of the Russian Army Special Forces. Vladimir moved to Canada, and in 1993 founded the first school of Russian Martial Art outside Russia – Systema Headquarters. He has since personally trained and certified well over 500 qualified Russian Martial Art instructors and schools in 30 countries worldwide.