Ryabko's Systema is a type of martial art headed by Mikhail Ryabko. Ryabko is a Colonel in the Russian military, and has past military, special forces, and traditional Russian martial arts training.
History and Practitioners 
Note: The Systema article describes history common to these arts.
The strongest influence of Ryabko's style is from traditional Russian martial arts, originally through a member of Sokoli Stalina (Russian: Соколы Сталина "Stalin's Falcons" - Joseph Stalin's personal bodyguards.)
Ryabko operates the Systema headquarters in Russia, and continues to train students and military personnel, and also acts as an advisor. Lastly, belonging to the military, he still performs those duties. Students of various kinds travel to Russia to train with him.
Vladimir Vasiliev is Ryabko's senior student, who emigrated from Russia and presently heads the official Russian Martial Art Systema Headquarters outside of Russia, located in Toronto Canada. He has regular classes, and some students travel from international locations to train with him. He travels, mostly in North America to host seminars.
Martin Wheeler is an Instructor of Systema in the United States and teaches in Beverly hills, California. He has also written several films and choreographed and stunt doubled in the recent Richard Gere film The Double.
Kwan Lee is another very senior US based instructor who has produced some very good training materials and travelled to Russia several times to train.
Emmanuel Manolakakis is one of Vasiliev's senior students who also operates Fight Club in Toronto Canada. He also hosts and guests in seminars throughout North America, and has had appearances on television and radio. He has also produced instructional videos. Manolakakis is also one of the first instructors with a youth class.
Valentin Vasiliev, Vladimir's brother teaches in Munster Germany http://www.rma-deutschland.de/
Systema is taught in Port Hope, Ontario, by Sascha Lutz, a student of Vladimir Vasiliev.
One of most senior instructors and Ryabko's representative in Europe is Andreas Weitzel http://www.rma-systema.de/
Arend Dubbelboer is also an instructor, who gives systema in The Netherlands. He is trained by Mikhail Ryabko and Vladimir Vasiliev.
In Belgium, Systema is taught by instructor Koen Vandersteene, also trained by Vladimir Vasiliev and Mikhail Ryabko.
In the UK there are a number of experienced instructors, including Sam Benson, Rob Poyton, Jamie Robson, Mark Winkler, Ed Philips, Garreth Hodgins and more http://www.cuttingedgeshop.com/links.htm
Although as of 2006 there are students who are three and four generations away from Ryabko, both Ryabko and Vasiliev remain the strongest influences and most capable practitioners.
Training can vary widely between classes or the focuses of each student. For example, instructors may have their own unique preferences and students may have injuries or fears which complicate certain exercises.
In general, though, there is no set curriculum and no two classes even by the same instructor are the same. Commonly, training will include general calisthenics, stretching, breathing and exercises which dramatically enhance strength through body weight and one's natural range of motion. Despite generally being categorized as a martial art, training includes many of these health-enhancing exercises. Some training exercises could be seen as forms of meditation or self-psychology.
Some work could be done alone and some could be done with one or more students. Because Systema's popularity has expanded more than the availability of instructors and classes, solo-work is becoming more commonly seen with those who don't have ready access to an instructor.
Systema is particularly attractive to professionals in the police, military or bodyguard professions, and even to "door men" (bouncers). Because of their special needs, and serious professional interest, their training may be very different from the "civilian self-defence" training which most undergo. The core lessons would be much the same, but specific circumstances and tools would vary. A bouncer may be interested in strikes with slaps instead of fists, a bodyguard would be interested in moving their charge to the ground without hurting them. Defence with knives, crowd or individual-psychology may be particularly important, etc. Work with handguns and rifles, night-work, stealth and espionage or any number of other topics are possible.
Any one exercise could be varied countless ways. Indeed, no exercise is counted and few exercises have more than a nickname to describe them. Most exercises are a description or a demonstration followed by the students trying it themselves. The exercise may be varied or transformed into a new exercise, or the training could progress to a different exercise. In some cases, students will choose to vary the exercise slightly to try something new or to practice something specific. In any case, there are many moments within any particular exercise which allow for variation. Working with a bigger or smaller partner is a notable example how one specific activity can vary widely.
Students attend to each exercise one after the other, without there being a concept of progression through a particular class or between different classes. Each student absorbs the content of their work in a unique way. Each student learns and understands "their Systema" uniquely.
Ryabko Systema philosophy and practices 
Actual practices can vary widely between practitioners, especially for those who come from a different background and continue existing practices and training. Although there is no official, rigid "belief system" or ideology that is taught, most practitioners over time seem to share similar core values, including:
- Training should not wear down the body or spirit. When done correctly, training energizes and heals.
- This could be understood as relaxedness, openness to experience, confidence, mental fortitude or the like. Every practitioner expresses this in their own individual way.
- Systema is also known as "poznai sebia" (Russian language: discover yourself). Everyone is unique and should understand and apply themselves uniquely.
It is because of this personalness in training and understanding that Systema expresses itself uniquely in each person. Though surface ideas and so-called "philosophies" seem to differ between practitioners, Systema fundamentally encourages that practitioners adopt a philosophical disposition of openness to their experiences, so that they may attain truthful insight into their psyches, to better understand personal strengths and weaknesses.
Other practices include massage and strikes to alleviate stress and tension. Some practitioners douse in cold-water. Typically, a bucket of cold water is left out to chill overnight; then poured over the head while standing outside with one's bare feet on the earth. Some students do weight training with kettlebells.
Article sources 
- Vasiliev, Vladimir. The Russian System Guidebook (1997 Optimum Training Systems, Visalia, CA USA)
- Vasiliev, Vladimir and Meredith, Scott. Let Every Breath ... Secrets of the Russian Breath Masters (2006 V. Vasiliev, Toronto, Canada)
- Russian System HQ - History
- Fight Club - About the Russian Martial Arts
Systema in the media 
A number of publications have featured Systema. Here are a few:
- On Thursday October 25, 2007, filming of Mikhail Ryabko and Vladimir Vasiliev at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan will be done for a new Discovery Channel program.
- In The Media from russianmartialart.com
- Systema's top exponent in Dunbeath (archive.org) - News article (and video) regarding Rob Poyton's visit to north Scotland.
- CTV Travel's Go Warrior: Russia (season 1)
- Vladimir Vasiliev was an instructor at the 2003 Aiki Expo.
- Mikhail Ryabko and Vladimir Vasiliev were instructors at the 2005 Aiki Expo.
Notes and references 
- In the Russian military, ranking and security access are directly tied. Ryabko is officially a Colonel but because he is a government special advisor, he has been awarded a rank of General for security clearance purposes.
- Let Every Breath ... Secrets of the Russian Breath Masters, Vladimir Vasiliev p.35
- Официальный сайт ОФСОО "Единоборство Древней Руси". Система Рябко
- Russian Martial Art. The System
- Russian Martial Arts Toronto : Fight-Club.ca
- Systema Fighthouse - Instructors
- Russian Martial Art
- Go Warrior website : Roland heads to Moscow to meet Russia’s Orthodox Warriors. Here, they practice a mysterious martial arts form called Systema. Fighting blindfolded, Roland undertakes the ultimate test of his manhood - and enters a world that no outsiders have ever seen.
- official forum announcement
- official forum announcement
- Mikhail Ryabko's website (in Russian)
- Russian Martial Art. The System by Vladimir Vasiliev
- Affiliates -- has some other websites
- Forum -- The primary Systema forum.
- Pacific Coast Systema -- Pacific Coast Systema
- New York City Systema -- New York City Systema at Fighthouse
- Systema St. Louis -- St. Louis Systema
- Systema Belgium -- Systema Belgium
- Systema UK -- Systema UK
- Systema Scotland -- Systema Scotland
- Systema Rma Bergamo -- Systema Rma Bergamo (Italia)
-  -- Systema - Polygon Elite, NYC
-  Meibukan Magazine no 10 July 2008
"Systema: Perspective in combat training" article by Kevin Secours]
- Meibukan Magazine no 9 september 2007 "Interview with Mikhail Ryabko" article by Kevin Secours
- Meibukan Magazine no 7 June 2006 "The training methods of the warriors of ancient russia" articles by Kevin Secours
- Systema klub RMA Split - Croatia, Split (Croatian)
- Systema Serbia - with instructor Milos Malic