Russian Combat Training

Written by andy osborne
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Russian Combat Training
Russian combat training emphasises individual proficiency in hand-to-hand combat, as well as with the use of weapons. (combat image by Vasiliy Koval from

From the elite SpetsNaz (Russian special forces) to the military Ground Forces, Russian combat incorporates an intense regimen of fighting and self defence training. Russian combat training employs a rich history of mixed martial art styles for hand-to-hand combat, as well as expertise in the use of certain key weapons -- emphasising a highly individualised training, according to the World Security Network, to create the ultimate soldier.


According to the CIA World Factbook, Russian combatants--whether entering the Russian Ground Forces or special forces branches such as the elite SpetsNaz--begin training for military combat between the ages of 18 and 27, with a mandatory draft registration for males at age 17. That said, Russian combat training is versatile enough to suit men and women of all ages, reports SpetsNaz KGB-GRU--and can prove devastating to a potential attacker who seems to have the tactical advantage.

Systema Techniques

Systema (literally, "The System" or "The Russian Style") is a Russian martial art growing in popularity, even in the United States. Systema, is, as the name implies, a comprehensive combat system. It incorporates attack, self-defence and survival in extreme conditions within its training, and is available to much of the general international public as well as taught to Russian military members. Systema emphasises close combat, with special focus on stealth, surprise, and redirecting an attacker's own force against him. Practitioners of this combat style are trained to incapacitate an attacker while on their feet with strikes, as well as to dominate him on the ground through grappling techniques. Systema SpetsNaz is the military offshoot of this type of combat training used in Russian special forces operations.


The standby weapon used in Systema SpetsNaz training is the combat knife. Reliable and silent, the knife adds a deadly edge to Russian combat. Russian SpetsNaz special forces also train with various other weapons to develop a personal arsenal suitable for any covert military operation. According to KGB Military School, a SpetsNaz agent trains in the use of submachine guns, hand grenades and silenced pistols. The highly portable nature of these weapons allows for another key element of Russian combat training--the parachute airdrop. Dropped into a combat operation under cover of night, a SpetsNaz agent can combine his hand-to-hand techniques with weapons to quickly and efficiently dispatch enemies.


SAMBO (Samozashchitya Bez Oruzhiya) is another Russian combat system. Loosely translating to "self-protection without weapons," SAMBO is a composite fighting system composed of over 25 Russian grappling (wrestling) martial arts, mixed with eastern forms such as Jujitsu, Aikido and Karate, states the SAMBO website. Combat training in SAMBO concentrates on adapting to differing circumstances, such as the individual practitioner's body type, his function (soldier, police officer, civilian), as well as to the terrain in which he will operate.


Russian combat training, as mentioned before, is available to the general public and taught through a variety of schools in Russia, the United States and abroad. The intense combat training involved in martial arts such as Systema and SAMBO are options for self-defence among civilians. Additionally, states SpetsNaz KGB-GRU, Russian combat training is beneficial to those who work as police officers, security guards, or bodyguards, since they can enable someone subdue a would-be attacker without permanent injury. Outside of the realm of military, all forms of combat training are intended solely for self-defence.

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