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  1. sambosteve is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/21/2006 7:13pm

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     NY Combat Sambo Style: combat sambo

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    "On August 31, 2006 an official reception in the honour of the Special Forces members was held in Saint George lounge in the Kremlin. Mikhail Vasilievich Ryabko was invited by Vladimir Putin for the reception and was conferred with medal Spetsnaz of Russia" which is one of the forms of public acknowledgment with respect to the efforts of armed forces personnel".

    He is genuine, well respected and is a high ranking officer (Colonel/General) in the Russian Military. Travelled to Moscow on a number of occassions and have observed this at first hand.
    I assume this is true, but that does not answer the original poster's question. It only proves that Ryabko was spetsnaz, nothing about systema or it's use by Russian military in any kind of formal manner. My understnading is that systema is relatively new in the scheme of things and not at all formalized in spetsnaz training. I have an interview with Vasiliev from a few years back (I could dig it up) where he states that even the term spetsnaz itself only came about in the 1970's under Andropov. Most sources I have read and people I have met don't really see systema as a major part of training (only one of many possible arts trained in), and some, who were soldiers, claimed it was never used at all. Granted, they are old time soldiers from long before systema became the flavor of the month.

    A good resource to read is "Spetsnaz: the Inside Story of the Soviet Special Forces" by Viktor Suvorov (a psudonym). Published 1987 by WW Norton. It is out of print, but here is a link to an e-version of the book. http://download.yousendit.com/9287D5470D3332AF The text was written by a defector, no mention of systema...only sambo, boxing, karate, and the like.

    Understand that I am not saying systema is not prcaticed, or not valuable. I have cross trained it a bit myself however, it is far from protocol, or even priority of training in Spetsnaz to my knowledge. I feel, as do many, that systema and it's history, as most people know it today in North America is a product of very successful mass marketing and mythology perpetuated by Vasiliev and Ryabko to target a particular type of student - many of whom have a "weekend warrior" mentality. I have spoken and trained with high level systema guys from Vasiliev's camp who will corroborate this and have mentioned that Vasiliev has even commented on this himself. But, it would not be ethical to name them here. If anyone is in the inner circle of systema, they should admit to this - though it might lead to some problems for them.

    The grandfather of one of my students was in the Soviet Special Forces in WWII (called the black death at the time) and he claimed it was all sambo back then...no such thing as systema. In fact, he comes from a military family and for them they have always known sambo (the cambat variant). My coach, also former spetsnaz said the same thing. Granted they are a few generations older than when systema started coming into being.

    A good book about the Russian Special Forces from back then is:
    "Commandos From the Sea: Soviet Naval Spetsnaz in WW II" by Yuriy Strekhnin. Published by the Naval Institue Press Speical Warfare Series in 1996 (the english translation). The original Russian text was published in 1962. This is still in print to my knowledge.

    I have a videotape from my coach of a contemporary military base fight club in Russia, and these guys literally kick the crap out of each other. Looks nothing like systema...looks like your basic hard style ass kicking.

    Another tidbit to consider...if Systema was the widespread protocol Vasiliev and Ryabko claim, why did Putin not include it in his recently published book on Judo. He does include a chapter on combat sambo (as the primary military and LEO practiced art), but not systema.

    Lastly, keep in mind that much written history about these things were destroyed under the soviets. So, info is is often hard to come by (especially in English). This fact can be used by any group to justify their art by saying the true history has been destroyed - take our word for it. Take everything with a grain of salt - especially when such mass marketing is used as in the case of systema. I have literally hundreds of English translations of soviet H2H, self defense, and sambo manuals provided to me by a good friend and very few mention systema. The ones that do are relatively new texts devoted specifically to systema. If I have time and people are interested, I will post some.

    So, In the end, my feeling is that systema is real, but new and subject to a lot of BS marketing.

    My 2 cents.
  2. jaroge is offline

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    Posted On:
    12/21/2006 7:51pm


     Style: armchair asswuppin

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Sambosteve, thanks for the info, my question to you is , after all of that, why do you beleive Systema is real? Sounds like all your information would lead to the opposite conclusion. Also Systema is supposedly not new at all, generations of russian monks and what have you have supposedly trained in this. I mean it is real in the sense that there are people who practice it but is it real in the sense claimed by said practitioners?
  3. Marrt is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/21/2006 9:53pm


     Style: default std

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Probably the most relevant piece from Suvorov's book...

    In discussing spetsnaz weapons we must mention also the 'invisible
    weapon' - sambo. Sambo is a kind of fighting without rules which was
    originated in the Soviet Union in the 1930s and has since been substantially
    developed and improved.
    The originator of sambo was B. S. Oshchepkov, an outstanding Russian
    sportsman. Before the Revolution he visited Japan where he learnt judo.
    Oshchepkov became a black belt and was a personal friend of the greatest
    master of this form of fighting, Jigaro Kano, and others. During the
    Revolution Oshchepkov returned to Russia and worked as a trainer in special
    Red Army units.
    After the Civil War Oshchepkov was made senior instructor in the Red
    Army in various forms of unarmed combat. He worked out a series of ways in
    which a man could attack or defend himself against one or several opponents
    armed with a variety of weapons. The new system was based on karate and
    judo, but Oshchepkov moved further and further away from the traditions of
    the Japanese and Chinese masters and created new tricks and combinations of
    his own.
    Oshchepkov took the view that one had to get rid of all artificial
    limitations and rules. In real combat nobody observes any rules, so why
    introduce them artifically at training sessions and so penalise the
    sportsmen? Oshchepkov firmly rejected all the noble rules of chivalry and
    permitted his pupils to employ any tricks and rules. In order that a
    training session should not become a bloodbath Oshchepkov instructed his
    pupils only to imitate some of the more violent holds although in real
    combat they were permitted. Oshchepkov brought his system of unarmed combat
    up to date. He invented ways of fighting opponents who were armed, not with
    Japanese bamboo sticks, but with more familiar weapons - knives, revolvers,
    knuckle-dusters, rifles with and without bayonets, metal bars and spades. He
    also perfected responses to various combat combinations - one with a long
    spade, the other with a short one; one with a spade, the other with a gun;
    one with a metal bar, the other with a piece of rope; one with an axe, three
    unarmed; and so forth.
    As a result of its rapid development the new style of combat won the
    right to independent existence and its own name - sambo - which is an
    abbreviation of the Russian for 'self-defence without weapons' (samooborona
    bez oruzhiya). The reader should not be misled by the word 'defence'. In the
    Soviet Union the word 'defence' has always been understood in a rather
    special way. Pravda formulated the idea succinctly before the Second World
    War: 'The best form of defence is rapid attack until the enemy is completely
    destroyed.' (Pravda, 14 August 1939)
    Today sambo is one of the compulsory features in the training of every
    spetsnaz fighting man. It is one of the most popular spectator sports in the
    Soviet Army. It is not only in the Army, of course, that they engage in
    sambo, but the Soviet Army always comes out on top. Take, for example, the
    championship for the prize awarded by the magazine Sovetsky Voin in 1985.
    This is a very important championship in which sportsmen from many different
    clubs compete. But as early as the quarter finals, of the eight men left in
    the contest one was from the Dinamo club (an MVD lieutenant), one from the
    mysterious Zenit club, and the rest were from ZSKA, the Soviet Army club.
    The words 'without weapons' in the name sambo should not mislead the
    reader. Sambo permits the use of any objects that can be used in a fight, up
    to revolvers and sub-machine-guns. It may be said that a hammer is not a
    weapon, and that is true if the hammer is in the hands of an inexperienced
    person. But in the hands of a master it becomes a terrible weapon. An even
    more frightful weapon is a spade in the hands of a skilled fighter. It was
    with the Soviet Army spade that we began this book. Ways of using it are one
    of the dramatic elements of sambo. A spetsnaz soldier can kill people with a
    spade at a distance of several metres as easily, freely and silently as with
    a P-6 gun.
    There are two sides to sambo: sporting sambo and battle sambo. Sambo as
    a sport is just two men without weapons, restricted by set rules. Battle
    sambo is what we have described above. There is plenty of evidence that many
    of the holds in battle sambo are not so much secret as of limited
    application. Only in special teaching institutions, like the Dinamo Army and
    Zenit clubs, are these holds taught. They are needed only by those directly
    involved in actions connected with the defence and consolidation of the
    regime.


    As Sambo Steve was saying, all Sambo (battle, or "Combat" Sambo as it is taught in the US, or sport). No Systema.

    And I like the definition of Defence -
    'The best form of defence is rapid attack until the enemy is completely
    destroyed.' (Pravda, 14 August 1939)
    Last edited by Marrt; 12/21/2006 9:56pm at .
  4. Roidie McDouchebag is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/21/2006 10:04pm

    supporting member
     Style: Snatch Wrestling

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by sambosteve
    So, In the end, my feeling is that systema is really shitty, but new and subject to a lot of BS marketing.
    Fixed.
  5. WarriorOfLuv is offline

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    Posted On:
    12/22/2006 12:22am


     Style: Russian boxing

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by sambosteve
    I assume this is true, but that does not answer the original poster's question. It only proves that Ryabko was spetsnaz, nothing about systema or it's use by Russian military in any kind of formal manner. My understnading is that systema is relatively new in the scheme of things and not at all formalized in spetsnaz training. I have an interview with Vasiliev from a few years back (I could dig it up) where he states that even the term spetsnaz itself only came about in the 1970's under Andropov. Most sources I have read and people I have met don't really see systema as a major part of training (only one of many possible arts trained in), and some, who were soldiers, claimed it was never used at all. Granted, they are old time soldiers from long before systema became the flavor of the month.

    A good resource to read is "Spetsnaz: the Inside Story of the Soviet Special Forces" by Viktor Suvorov (a psudonym). Published 1987 by WW Norton. It is out of print, but here is a link to an e-version of the book. http://download.yousendit.com/9287D5470D3332AF The text was written by a defector, no mention of systema...only sambo, boxing, karate, and the like.

    Understand that I am not saying systema is not prcaticed, or not valuable. I have cross trained it a bit myself however, it is far from protocol, or even priority of training in Spetsnaz to my knowledge. I feel, as do many, that systema and it's history, as most people know it today in North America is a product of very successful mass marketing and mythology perpetuated by Vasiliev and Ryabko to target a particular type of student - many of whom have a "weekend warrior" mentality. I have spoken and trained with high level systema guys from Vasiliev's camp who will corroborate this and have mentioned that Vasiliev has even commented on this himself. But, it would not be ethical to name them here. If anyone is in the inner circle of systema, they should admit to this - though it might lead to some problems for them.

    The grandfather of one of my students was in the Soviet Special Forces in WWII (called the black death at the time) and he claimed it was all sambo back then...no such thing as systema. In fact, he comes from a military family and for them they have always known sambo (the cambat variant). My coach, also former spetsnaz said the same thing. Granted they are a few generations older than when systema started coming into being.

    A good book about the Russian Special Forces from back then is:
    "Commandos From the Sea: Soviet Naval Spetsnaz in WW II" by Yuriy Strekhnin. Published by the Naval Institue Press Speical Warfare Series in 1996 (the english translation). The original Russian text was published in 1962. This is still in print to my knowledge.

    I have a videotape from my coach of a contemporary military base fight club in Russia, and these guys literally kick the crap out of each other. Looks nothing like systema...looks like your basic hard style ass kicking.

    Another tidbit to consider...if Systema was the widespread protocol Vasiliev and Ryabko claim, why did Putin not include it in his recently published book on Judo. He does include a chapter on combat sambo (as the primary military and LEO practiced art), but not systema.

    Lastly, keep in mind that much written history about these things were destroyed under the soviets. So, info is is often hard to come by (especially in English). This fact can be used by any group to justify their art by saying the true history has been destroyed - take our word for it. Take everything with a grain of salt - especially when such mass marketing is used as in the case of systema. I have literally hundreds of English translations of soviet H2H, self defense, and sambo manuals provided to me by a good friend and very few mention systema. The ones that do are relatively new texts devoted specifically to systema. If I have time and people are interested, I will post some.

    So, In the end, my feeling is that systema is real, but new and subject to a lot of BS marketing.

    My 2 cents.

    Wait, where did you get the 'fact' that VV and MR considered Systema a 'widespread protocol' in the Russian Military? From what I picked up in conversations with members of Club Vlad and other historical discussions on Systema, Systema (Ryabko's style, at least) was primarily taught to those who belonged in MR's unit.
  6. sambosteve is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/22/2006 1:43am

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     NY Combat Sambo Style: combat sambo

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Sambosteve, thanks for the info, my question to you is , after all of that, why do you beleive Systema is real?
    Well, because it is real...in the sense that it exists, people practice it, and it has some value. I have enjoyed practicing it myself. I also did not want to get into the "practicality" debate because, I have found many of the movement philosophies very practical and similar to the combat sambo I learned. The movements are not practical unto themselves, but IMO, in combination with hard training I have had from sambo, kickboxing, and other things I have done over the past 30 years. I do feel there needs to be a softer component to training along with the hard stuff. So, yes, I do feel it is "real" or, better yet, practiced and used. I don't think systema itself, as a system is completely BS. I do feel much of the hype, "history", and mythology that has been built up around it is BS and leads to an incorrect impressions about what systema can offer. They systema guys (the very good ones) I have trained with all have backgrounds in other harder styles - from before they began systema. Even Vasiliev and Ryabko have histories in other styles (wrestling, sambo, etc) - it was never all systema for them. Now it is but, it was not always.

    Take Alexander Retuinskih, the founder of ROSS, for example. Long before ROSS came to be (and I don't want to get into the ROSS/SYSTEMA debate here - This is just an example of using a similar art), Retuinskih was a Master of Sport in sambo, a boxing champion, and well versed in fencing. It was that background that made his ROSS as hard core as it was. Not the other way around. Those students follwing in his footsteps, practicing only ROSS with no other background, did not have the benefit of what he had. This is the same with Ryabko and Vasiliev IMO. These guys are awsome at systema not becasue of systema, but because of their total history in combative arts and other military training. They made systema, not the other way around. Now they preach systema, but folks only doing systema will not benefit from the conditioning they got from the other harder styles, functioning under pressure, resistance, etc.

    Also Systema is supposedly not new at all, generations of russian monks and what have you have supposedly trained in this.
    I have only read that stuff in their own published literature, so it is very suspect IMO. I have never seen that info in any kind of independet source or a source not tied directly to Vasiliev/Ryabko. I don't buy it...it sounds to much like the same old "secret monastic art" that is typical in many suspect histories that can't be proven. I have an article about systema in an old issue of Journal of Asian Martial Arts - a supposed scholarly journal - where the author actually claims the founders of sambo are the founders of systema...LOL. This article also talks about the "ancient history" behind the art. I don't buy it. The author was a Vasiliev student.


    Wait, where did you get the 'fact' that VV and MR considered Systema a 'widespread protocol' in the Russian Military?
    I think the impression and image they have created with their marketing is that it is. The original post that started this thread is proof of that. They may not have ever come right out and said "this is specific to Ryabko's unit", but when their primary marketing campaign is that it is the art of the Spetsnaz, what else is one to think except it is THE art, not one particular piece of what SOME soldiers might do. The impression they create with their books, ads, seminars, etc, is that you can learn the great art of the Russian Special Forces. So, maybe to the few who have trained with them directly or have become close enough to them to have this kind of discussion, the truth is known. But to every average joe who sees their ads or goes to a seminar, the impression is that we can teach you what makes the spetsnaz so great. That is what is BS IMO. False advertising, plain and simple.
    Last edited by sambosteve; 12/22/2006 2:02am at .
  7. Roidie McDouchebag is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/22/2006 2:07am

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     Style: Snatch Wrestling

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I don't think systema itself, as a system is completely BS.
    This is because you are horribly, horribly wrong.

    Those students follwing in his footsteps, practicing only ROSS with no other background, did not have the benefit of what he had.
    Rendering it useless in anyone's hands but his, yes?

    This is the same with Ryabko and Vasiliev IMO. These guys are awsome at systema
    If someone told me they were really good at being retarded...I don't think that would warrant praise.
  8. sambosteve is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/22/2006 2:28am

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    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    This is because you are horribly, horribly wrong.
    LOL...Maybe so, but since I don't really study systema, I can't say :) Like I said, some of the movement drills were useful as a supplement to what I was already doing and had already learned in sambo. Had I found it to be all it is offered up to be, I would be doing systema, not combat sambo :)

    Rendering it useless in anyone's hands but his, yes?
    When a guy who had his kind of background expects his students to develop the same toughness he has, without doing what he did, yes, in a sense it would be useless or asking the near impossible.
    Last edited by sambosteve; 12/22/2006 2:34am at .
  9. jaroge is offline

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    Posted On:
    12/22/2006 2:51am


     Style: armchair asswuppin

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Interesting stuff guys. Cracky, do you have any Systema experience? I have zero myself.
  10. Roidie McDouchebag is offline
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    Posted On:
    12/22/2006 2:52am

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     Style: Snatch Wrestling

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    It sounds like you think it sucks but don't want to say so. I used to feel the same way. Systema guys train in the same building as I do and some of their stuff seemed OK, but when I saw and felt how it performed against a resisting opponent...it is to grappling what Wing Chun is to striking.

    I would like to see Ryabko vs Putin in a grappling match.
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