Systema: Is it the worst martial art in the world?
There is always great debate amongst the effectiveness of specific martial arts. Some advocate wrestling based on the continued success of its practitioners in the UFC. Similarly, others point to the success of Royce Gracie in the early ‘no rules’ UFC Championships where the smallest man in the competition consistently beat much larger experts. As cross training has become more prominent, exponents of almost all martial arts with a sporting component have risen to varying degrees of success in the UFC and Mixed Martial Arts competition.
In contrast, what is rarely discussed is which are the very worst martial arts, and which is the worst of the worst. We wrote an article on Krav Maga that has been widely circulated, questioning above all, its effectiveness. There are some, although not many martial artists, who do believe in Krav Maga and also hold high ranking grades in effective martial arts like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I know of one 6th degree Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who also practices and teaches Krav Maga. However, its difficult to think of anyone who practises or defends Systema with such a background. While Krav Maga could appear to the untrained eye to be effective, with many of its practitioners at least looking athletic and throwing punches and kicks that were someone to get in the way of them may actually hurt, Systema seems to almost exclusively consist of over weight gurus firing invisible force fields across rooms or making people fall over just by touching them. What little contact that does take place beyond these death touches is super slow motion, with the opponent assisting the instructor at all times to sell the technique and fall dramatically. Many martial arts are criticised for only working when the opponent doesn’t resist the technique. We’ve seen some in Aikido, which failed dismally in mixed martial arts, show wristlocks that may sometimes work against a complete martial arts beginner, especially if they don’t resist. The probabilities of success are low. However, compared to Systema, even Aikido looks superior.