Systema is a relatively new art to Australia and to Sydney bearing a striking similarity to Aikido. It comes from the Russian military traditions rather than Japan though. Its focus is on relaxed power and moving with the energy of the opponent to avoid and drive counter strikes or unbalancing movements to throw immobilise the partner. While Aikido which starts with learning basic movements and form Systema starts immediately with drills to move with the opponent. This method has advantages and disadvantages. With a number of our Sydney dojos members doing the odd bit of cross training we find we can pick it up pretty quickly, though obviously only long term student could do the art justice.
Somewhat tongue in cheek we suggest the choices are weather you want to suit up in Japanese pyjamas to do Aikido or combat pants and do Systema.
Stanley Pranin , a well known aikido researcher comments on Systema and its relevance to Aikido
My first exposure to Systema, the Russian Martial Art popularized by Mikhail Ryabko and Vladimir Vasiliev, came in April 2001. I was in attendance at the formal presentation of a Shindo Yoshin-ryu Menkyo Kaiden to Sensei Toby Threadgill in Dallas, Texas. At the party following the ceremony, a group gathered in the living room to watch martial arts videos. At least 20 of us–mostly seasoned martial artists with decades of training experience–watched parts of videotapes of several styles and eventually got to one on a Russian martial art that most were seeing for the first time….…Out on the mat I found the training in Systema to be very rigorous. It includes lots of pushups, situps, varied breathing exercises, and body strengthening exercises. Since it is so demanding, anyone who seriously trains will become very fit quickly. The techniques themselves are applied with wave and spiral-type motions which can transform into a cascade of follow-up movements depending on the reaction of the attacker. An important part of training time is devoted to light, sparring exercises that are quite enjoyable and constantly challenge you to resist the temptation to use power. Systema techniques performed at the highest level use only the minimum amount of energy and operate largely on a mental/psychic plane……”
Read the full article on the Aikido Journal here