Eastern European Systema?


Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Aug 28, 2001
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Terre Haute, IN
I know Systema was developed in Russia and that there was a lot of active development of it during the Soviet era. During that time, the Soviets provided training to quite a number of Eastern European military/police/espionage personnel. I was wondering if any of these countries had a group that adopted Systema and made it theirs, much as we now see "American Karate" and the like. In other words, is there a Bulgarian Systema?
One of Vladimir's assistant teachers named Alex is currently here from Yugoslavia. I'll ask him tomorrow.
I've met ROSS instructors from police forces in the Western Ukraine and the Baltic states, none of which are culturally Russian. However, their styles were not appreciably different.
This one guy I met did birder gaurd duty in Berlin during the cold war. They'd swap whiskey for vodka with their East Geman counterparts. And they'd drink with each other and talk from time to time. That's when he first heard of systema, although he said that the regular grunt stuff wasn't for skilled fighters, although the version the spetsnaz got was a other matter entirely.

This was at a Radio Shack a couple years ago, when I was picking up supplies for the trip to russia. He was the owner of the store, and the guy behind the counter was into eagle claw - although he claimed it was too deadly to spar with, what with using joint locks and all... I just smiled politely.

One of the guys at my club is born of Serbian parents. When he came back from his first class, he mentioned to his dad what he did, and his dad goes (paraphrase of a translation) "But this is hill fighting! We used to do this when we looked after sheep in the mountains. You are a city boy, why are you fighting like a farmer?"

Apparently there's some kind of poofy pants involved, and they'd hit each other with sticks too.

Of course, this is all hearsay, but fwiw...

Also, I have heard of BelloRussian styles, Ukrainian, Armenian, etc.

If you go to the ROSS site, you'll find a massive amount of links, which hook into the Russian part of the net. I use Systran to translate the pages, although you can also use Alta Vista. From there you will find mention of many various schools, and a lot of expired links. There's manuals on baton use, tons and tons of stuff.
Hello all, (RobG here)...new to site. I posted in RMA that I have a student who was also a border guard back in Russia. They were taught a 'military style' that was NOT Sambo but more like Systema. He understands the principles and is learning how to 'move' very quickly.
I would tend to believe that there was quite a mix of arts available to the various branchesof Russian military/law enforcement - not to mention what the varius members exchanged between themselves. We will be dissecting this info for many years to come.

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