Recommended reading: “Interview with Systema Founder Mikhail Ryabko” by Stanley Pranin

The article below has been selected from the extensive archives of the Online Aikido Journal. We believe that an informed readership with knowledge of the history, techniques and philosophy of aikido is essential to the growth of the art and its adherence to the principles espoused by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.

I am a little bit surprised that people have never heard about Russian martial arts and that they are surprised to hear that they exist. Look at the huge territory Russia occupies. Someone had to protect this territory. In Russia there were always warriors who were known for their bravery. And if you look at the development of Russia in the olden times, cities were built by rivers and monasteries were the sources of the first settlements. There were no roads so people traveled by river in boats in summertime and in sleds in wintertime. All the infrastructure of the early settlements came from monasteries. They provided the livelihood for communities. All of the functions of life were centered in them.

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Mikhail Ryabko was a featured instructor at Expo 2005 and his fascinating demonstration is available on our Expo Demo DVD-set.

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