Throughout its rich history, Russia had to repel invaders from all directions, each with their own style of combat and weaponry. Battles took place on diverse terrain, during extreme weather conditions, and Russian forces were often greatly outnumbered by enemy forces. As a result of these challenges, Russian warriors developed a combat approach that combined strong spirit and versatile strategies that could defeat all enemies under any circumstances. This Systema style was spontaneous and free from rigid structure and rules. Instead, combat strategies were based on instinctive reactions and individual strengths and characteristics.
Despite Communist suppression of old-world traditions in 1917, Soviet authorities continued to use a traditional Systema approach for Russian Special Operations Units. Soldiers underwent severe physical, psychological, and spiritual training, perfecting the Systema discipline for carrying out covert military operations.