Principles of Systema

  1. Be good, be kind.
  2. Breathe.
  3. Be efficient. Use as little effort as possible. Relax. Don’t tense up.
  4. Be water. Flow down & horizontally. Use body waves. – flow of kinetic energy,
  5. Be fire. Flowing up define your structure.
  6. Accept. To see the situation objectively you have to accept it. To use the opponent’s force, you have to accept his force.
  7. Synchronise. Merge with an 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. Expand your mind, vision and body.
  11. Keep it simple.
  12. Smile.

Breathing principles

1. Relax
2. Inhale through the nose & exhale through the mouth
3. Breath leading
4. Intake sufficient volume of air
5. Continuity of breath
6. Cycle (pendulum)
  Breath independence


  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 a 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, renounce 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 the 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 the 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) your 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’.