There is a reason why Russian Martial Art is called SYSTEMA. It is a
complete set of concepts and training components that enhance
life. In this case, acquiring the martial art skill is a way to improve
the function of all seven physiological systems of the body and all
three levels of human abilities the physical, the psychological and the
The key principle of the Russian Systema is non-destruction. The goal
is to make sure that your training and your attitudes do no damage to
the body or the psyche of you or your partners. Systema is designed to
create, build and strengthen your body, your psyche, your family and
Systema has another name “poznai sebia” or
Yourself.” What does it really mean to Understand Yourself?
not just to know what your strengths and weaknesses are, that is good
but fairly superficial. Training in Russian Martial Art is one of the
sure ways to see the full
extent of our limitations - to see how proud and weak we really are.
Systema allows us to gain the true strength of spirit that comes from
humility and clarity in seeing the purpose of our life.
As the roots of the Russian Systema are in the Russian Orthodox
Christian faith, the belief is that everything that happens to us, good
or bad, has only one ultimate purpose. That is to create the best
possible conditions for each person to understand himself. Proper
training in the Russian Systema carries the same objective - to put
every participant into the best possible setting for him to realize as
much about himself as he is able to handle at any given moment.
One of Mikhail Ryabko’s words to the beginners is
good person and everything else will come to you.” In a
yet comprehensive way Systema helps you choose and follow the right
Christianity and Fighting
Many people who are seriously studying Systema and are trying to
understand its spiritual basis, at one point face this question: If
Christian Orthodoxy is love and peace, how can it be the foundation of
a martial art? Balancing non-violence and acting in self-defense is an
issue that every human being has to resolve for himself. So
take a look at it.
Compare an athlete fighting in the ring and a warrior defending his
homeland. Both are prepared to hurt another human being, but what a
huge difference in justifying their actions! The goal of a ring fighter
is to show that he is superior to the other fighters, to prove that he
best. While the goal of the warrior is to save his family, his friends
and his country from death and misery. The warrior clearly has a noble
goal, at that moment he is close to God. While the main motivation of
the ring fighter is PRIDE, the warrior is driven by LOVE, love for his
family, friends and country.
Thus, training to be a true warrior is not only justified, but is
necessary. How else can we save the innocent people from evil? We have
all seen the events in Beslan. How else can children held hostage by
the terrorists be saved? Professionals such as soldiers and police
officers are trained, armed and prepared for the task of saving lives.
They put their own lives on the line with humility and honor.
Orthodox Christianity teaches us that fighting becomes a sin only when
there is pride and aggression in it, or if it contains hatred, revenge
or callousness, when the causes are greed, vanity, envy, desperation
and other such vices. Otherwise, if it is fighting for defense, for
it is a sin not to fight and let your loved ones get hurt or killed or
have your country destroyed.
There are numerous examples of righteous warriors since the creation of
the world. The first Warrior known to mankind is Archangel Mikhail -
God gave him the sword - the power to fight evil; and with that sword
He had banished the fallen angels (not killed but banished) from
God’s Kingdom, all those who no longer served God, but only
served their own pride. It had to be done, so that evil does not take
We see the Prophets in the Old Testament - such as Gideon or Samson -
they were blessed by God to fight the evil. All the way to our times,
when during World War II, many nations had to go up against the evil.
The Word of God in the bible tells us that there is no bigger sacrifice
than to give up your life for others. Thus, anyone who prepares to be a
true warrior, who undergoes training and takes a weapon in his hand,
accepts this possibility of sacrificing his life in the name of love
other people; in essence, he prepares to become a martyr.
The ultimate quality that Systema develops in its practitioners is
humility. Training in Systema lets the person see his own egotism and
other weaknesses and gives him ammunition to overcome them. A humble
person devotes his life to fighting the evil in his heart and
constantly asks God to help him with that. In reward for his hard work
and resulting humility, God gives him this amazing gift of peace, joy
and absence of resentment no matter what happens.
If humility becomes our character, there is no more room for pride,
aggression, vanity, greed and envy. Our spirit will always be with God
and you will fight only when it is absolutely necessary, only for a
noble cause, always causing the least possible damage to the opponents,
in a calm, firm, fearless and professional way. We have to do it,
otherwise evil will take over.