Principles of Systema

  1. Be good, be kind.
  2. Breathe.
  3. Be efficient. Use as little effort as possible. Relax. Keep it simple. Use bodywaves.
  4. Be water. Flow forward or down.
  5. Be fire. Flow up.
  6. Accept. To see the situation objectively you have to accept it. To use opponent’s force, you have to accept his force.
  7. Synchronise. Merge with opponent.
  8. Get out of the path of the strike.
  9. Make a shallow angle to the line or plane of the strike / Strike perpendicularly.
  10. Smile.


  1. Out / Into range.
  2. Active / Passive.
  3. Flow / Stay still.
  4. Keep an obstacle or not.
  5. Grounded / Free legs.
  6. Facing your opponent and move behind him / Flow through any position.
  7. Yin / Yang. (e.g. Pull to push / Push to pull; or strike soft tissue with hard tissue & hard tissue with soft tissue.)
  8. Work with the bodywave (momentum/kinetic energy).
  9. Feel wave, see wave, use wave, hide wave.
  10. Pendulum force (in phase / out of phase*, loop, constructive / destructive interference*).
  11. Wave from core / to the core. Bouncing power.
  12. Redirect, yield, absorb, rebounce or crash force.
  13. Linear / Rotational motion.
  14. Balance / Unbalance.
  15. Close to core stronger / Further from core quicker.
  16. Expand / Contract.
  17. Expand your peripheral vision – watch whole picture (not just weapon, lips or one attacker).
  18. Keep contact / break contact.
  19. Variety (training wide variety of strike or any movement)
  20. Creativity (let body create movements; think out of frame, express yourself). Play.
  21. Tension. Relax / rigid / flexible / plastics / stick.

Tactics and guidelines

  1. Bend your knees.
  2. Give him a problem back.
  3. Disguise (mask) you action movement behind normal movements (don’t activate his alarm). Don’t telegraph it.
  4. Flow – Go to the zone. 
  5. Don’t do a final step. Step such, that you can continue to another step.
  6. Don’t put yourself down to say: ‘I cannot do it’.