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Systema Strikes

Updated: Apr 11

Systema is a distinct Russian martial art that stands out for its unique approach. It prioritizes fluidity, adaptability, and relaxation, setting it apart from other martial arts that lean towards forceful strikes. In Systema, strikes are not about brute strength but about precision and efficiency, often incorporating the principles of fluidity and relaxation. Let's delve into some of the common strikes in Systema martial arts training.


Palm Strikes: Systema practitioners often use open-handed strikes, particularly palm strikes, which can be delivered quickly and precisely. These strikes may target various vulnerable body areas, including the face, throat, or solar plexus.

Knife Hand Strikes: Similar to palm strikes, knife hand strikes involve striking with the edge of the hand, creating a focused impact. These strikes can be directed at nerve points or soft tissue areas to disrupt an opponent's balance or cause pain.

Fist Strikes: While not as common in Systema as in other martial arts, fist strikes are still utilized when necessary. Systema practitioners may employ closed-fist strikes with the knuckles, particularly in close-quarters combat situations.

Elbow Strikes: Elbow strikes are versatile and powerful techniques in Systema. Practitioners may use elbows to strike or fend off attackers at close range, using the body's natural structure and power.

Knee Strikes: Knee strikes are effective in close combat situations and can target an opponent's legs, torso, or head. Systema practitioners may deliver knee strikes while standing or from a clinch position.

Leg Strikes: While not as common as hand strikes, Systema includes various leg strikes, such as kicks or sweeps, which can attack an opponent's lower body or disrupt their balance.


Systema's unique approach extends beyond strikes. It places a significant emphasis on relaxation, fluidity of movement, and the ability to adapt to changing situations. This approach to training not only maximizes efficiency and effectiveness in strikes but also conserves energy and minimizes tension in the body. Moreover, Systema training includes drills and exercises that foster sensitivity, timing, and awareness, crucial skills for effective striking techniques.


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The striking concept is approached with a different perspective than many other martial arts. While strikes are certainly part of the Systema repertoire, the responsibility of a striker extends beyond simply delivering powerful blows. Here are some key aspects of a striker's responsibility in Systema that ultimately will help build confidence, disciple and focus.


  1. Precision and Control: Systema training emphasizes precision and control in striking. Rather than relying solely on brute force, Systema practitioners strive to accurately deliver strikes to vulnerable areas of the opponent's body. This precision allows for more effective and efficient results, even with minimal force.

  2. Adaptability: Systema strikers are trained to adapt to changing circumstances and environments. This includes adjusting the intensity, angle, and type of strikes based on the opponent's movements and the dynamics of the situation. Systema teaches practitioners to be versatile and fluid in their striking techniques.

  3. Awareness and Sensitivity: A key aspect of Systema training is developing heightened awareness and sensitivity to one's own body and the movements of the opponent. Strikers are encouraged to listen to their instincts and respond spontaneously, using their intuition and sensory perception to guide their actions.

  4. Minimal Effort, Maximum Effect: Systema teaches practitioners to achieve maximum impact with minimal effort. This principle is applied not only to strikes but to all aspects of combat. By utilizing proper body mechanics, timing, and leverage, Systema strikers can generate significant power without exerting unnecessary force.

  5. Integration with Breath and Movement: In Systema, striking is integrated with breathing and movement patterns. Practitioners learn to synchronize their breath with their strikes, allowing for greater efficiency, control, and relaxation. Striking becomes a natural extension of the body's movements, enhancing overall effectiveness.

  6. Defensive Responsibility: While Systema places emphasis on striking, practitioners are also trained in defensive tactics and evasion techniques. Strikers understand the importance of maintaining defensive awareness and posture, even while delivering offensive strikes. This ensures that they can protect themselves effectively in combat scenarios.


Overall, a striker's responsibility in Systema extends beyond mere physical technique. It encompasses mental attributes such as adaptability, awareness, and control, as well as a holistic approach to combat that integrates breath, movement, and defensive tactics. By embracing these principles, Systema strikers are able to effectively engage with opponents while maintaining a sense of calmness and efficiency. #systema

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