Systema (Система, Sistema, literally meaning "system") has been presented in some Western media as a Russian martial art, although it is not clear it exists as a single martial art. There are multiple schools of systems that began appearing after the end of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, with teachers claiming their respective "systems" (usually named after themselves).

Country of originRussia
ParenthoodUnverifiable (possibly Sambo, Judo, and Aikido)

The issue has gathered interest as its coverage has increased. Examples include CTV Travel's show Go Warrior in 2008[1] and Black Belt magazine in 2011.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] Starting in 2013, the FX cable series The Americans, a series about two Russians undercover as an American husband and wife couple during the Cold War in the 1980s, use the techniques of systema in the fight choreography for the show.[9] For the 2018 BBC crime drama McMafia, actor James Norton learned aspects of systema with David Kirillov, who runs the London School of Systema, in preparation for his leading role as a London banker drawn into the violent world of the Russian mafia.[10] Systema has also been used by Lamarr Houston of the Chicago Bears in his training.[11] In Japanese fighting games Street Fighter V by Capcom and Dead or Alive 6 by Team Ninja, characters Kolin and Marie Rose have their fighting styles listed as systema.[12][13]


  1. "Go Warrior". Go Warrior. Archived from the original on February 26, 2008. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  2. Horwitz, Raymond (2011-03-24). "Mental and Physical Impact of Ballistic Striking". Black Belt. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  3. Horwitz, Raymond (2011-03-24). "Proper Execution of a Ballistic Strike (Systema)". Black Belt. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  4. Horwitz, Raymond (2011-03-24). "The Biomechanics and Psychology of Confrontation". Black Belt. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  5. Horwitz, Raymond (2011-03-24). "Systema Ballistic Strikes in Action!". Black Belt Magazine. Archived from the original on January 21, 2018. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  6. Horwitz, Raymond (2011-05-12). "Systema Expert Discusses Self-Defense Biomechanics". Black Belt Magazine. Archived from the original on February 17, 2017. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  7. Young, Robert (November 28, 2011). "Train Like a Russian Commando to Increase Power, Speed and Survival Skills!". Black Belt Magazine. Archived from the original on January 6, 2018. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  8. Horwitz, Raymond (24 March 2011). "SYSTEMA: History of the Russian Martial Art". Black Belt Magazine. Archived from the original on January 6, 2018. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  9. Thomas, June. "Why The Americans' Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys Love Their Season 6 Disguises". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2018-05-02.
  10. Sawer, Patrick (2 January 2018). "How James Norton learnt the Russian martial art Systema for his role in McMafia". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  11. Martin Wheeler (2016-08-23), Martin Wheeler Systema - Lamarr Huston - Chicago Bears training., retrieved 2019-04-04
  12. "Street Fighter Kolin - Phantasm of Snow and Ice | Street Fighter V". Street Fighter V. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  13. "DEAD OR ALIVE 6 | Marie Rose". DEAD OR ALIVE 6. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
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