Systema has its roots in the military culture of the Slavic peoples. Historical evidence suggests that the military culture of the Slavic peoples in any case was not worse than the military culture and systems that have been created in the East. Throughout its history, the old Rus, like other big countries has always fought against enemies from all sides of the world. Battles took place in different terrain and in different weather conditions. The attackers brought to battle a variety of weapons and combat styles. The basis of the Slavic military systems were the local events, therefore the main task of the training of a single soldier or a military group was to survive in a combat against the multiple enemies.
Even though they were sometimes worse armed than their enemy, often the Slavs surpassed in skill. Cleverly exploiting the terrain, attacking through surprise attacks and ambushes – everything what is meant by „Scythian war“. Their superiority was not numerical but in courage, perseverance, ability to endure hardship, to use little to achieve the goal – it was a basic guarantee of victory of the military culture of the Slavic peoples.
These factors of the Russian fighters over the centuries were forming their own unique fighting style that was natural and free, had no clear rules, structure and limits, except perhaps morality. All tactics were based on instinctive reactions and individual abilities and therefore are easy to remember.
After the revolution in 1918, Russian art of close combat has served partially to the Soviet government, some masters went abroad with emigration officers, some fell into the criminal environment, partly it was cultivated only in the family circle, or has been lost. The Soviet government was trying to disable or hide any information about how versatile and destructive this fighting style was, and kept it only for some special units.