Country of originRussia

Systema (Russian: Система, romanizedSistema, lit.'system') is a Russian martial art.[1][2] 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).[citation needed] Training includes, but is not limited to: hand-to-hand combat, grappling, knife fighting, and firearms training. Training involves drills and sparring without set kata.

Mass media and popular culture appearances

Systema has gathered interest as its coverage has increased. Examples include CTV Travel's show Go Warrior in 2008[3] and Black Belt magazine in 2011.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10] Starting in 2013, the FX cable series The Americans, a series about two Russians undercover agents 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.[11] 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.[12] Systema has also been used by Lamarr Houston of the Chicago Bears in his training.[13] In Japanese fighting games like Street Fighter V by Capcom, character Kolin has a systema fighting style,[14] as well as Koei Tecmo's Dead or Alive 6 with Marie Rose.[15] Systema was used as the basis for the fighting style of the Black Widow trained assassins in the 2021 Marvel Cinematic Universe film Black Widow starring Scarlett Johansson.[16]


  1. ^ Secours, Kevin R. (16 July 2012). "Takedown Defenses of Russian Systema". Revista de Artes Marciales Asiáticas (in Spanish). 4 (1): 68–79. doi:10.18002/rama.v4i1.227. ISSN 2174-0747.
  2. ^ Doan, Thi Bich-Ngoc (2013). "La perception juste en systema: points de vue en première personne". Movement & Sport Sciences (in French) (81): 67–77. doi:10.1051/sm/2013058.
  3. ^ "Go Warrior". Go Warrior. Archived from the original on 26 February 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  4. ^ Horwitz, Raymond (24 March 2011). "Mental and Physical Impact of Ballistic Striking". Black Belt. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  5. ^ Horwitz, Raymond (24 March 2011). "Proper Execution of a Ballistic Strike (Systema)". Black Belt. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  6. ^ Horwitz, Raymond (24 March 2011). "The Biomechanics and Psychology of Confrontation". Black Belt. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  7. ^ Horwitz, Raymond (24 March 2011). "Systema Ballistic Strikes in Action!". Black Belt Magazine. Archived from the original on 21 January 2018. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  8. ^ Horwitz, Raymond (12 May 2011). "Systema Expert Discusses Self-Defense Biomechanics". Black Belt Magazine. Archived from the original on 17 February 2017. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  9. ^ Young, Robert (28 November 2011). "Train Like a Russian Commando to Increase Power, Speed and Survival Skills!". Black Belt Magazine. Archived from the original on 6 January 2018. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  10. ^ Horwitz, Raymond (24 March 2011). "SYSTEMA: History of the Russian Martial Art". Black Belt Magazine. Archived from the original on 6 January 2018. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  11. ^ Thomas, June. "Why The Americans' Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys Love Their Season 6 Disguises". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  12. ^ Sawer, Patrick (2 January 2018). "How James Norton learnt the Russian martial art Systema for his role in McMafia". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  13. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: Martin Wheeler (23 August 2016), Martin Wheeler Systema - Lamarr Huston - Chicago Bears training., retrieved 4 April 2019
  14. ^ "Street Fighter Kolin - Phantasm of Snow and Ice | Street Fighter V". Street Fighter V. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  15. ^ "DEAD OR ALIVE 6, MARIE ROSE, WICKED LIL' SERVANT". Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  16. ^ Marvel Studios Assembled: The Making of Black Widow (October 2021)