Systema is a Russian martial art employed by the Russian military. It is an all-encompassing martial art with a wide variety of striking, grappling, and weapon defense techniques. Showing no emotion and remaining calm and cerebral is very important in Systema. You do not want to give your opponent any information.
But how does Systema fair against a novice MMA fighter? This youtube video gives us an example. Though the MMA fighter (in the gloves) is a clear beginner he is able to control most of the sparring. He lands the better shots, though, the Systema practitioner (camo pants) proves to be tricky, incorporating a variety of spinning attacks.
The best shot is a head kick, landed early on by the MMA fighter at the forty-seven-second mark. The Systema fighter doesn’t do too bad early on and mixes up his attacks well in rapid-fire succession.
When it comes to grappling, however, the MMA fighter is clearly superior. Though the action is halted shortly after they get to the ground, it is clear if the grappling would have continued the Systema practitioner would have had a rough time.
As the contest continues, heavy breathing and fatigue are seen from the Systema practitioner and his output goes down because of it. Conditioning and endurance are indeed a part of Systema training yet not to the same degree as it’s seen in MMA competition. The MMA fighter starts to land some good low kicks and some solid punches to the head of his opponent and even gives the Systema fighter a taste of his own medicine, delivering a solid spinning back fist shortly after the three-minute mark.
All in all, though, sparring like this is just one piece of the Systema training pie. Defense against weapons and specific self-defense scenarios are practiced in this well-rounded military-based martial art.