Beware the Russian Speed Slap Warriors of YouTube

Thanks to Reddit, we get to revisit the art of “Russian systema.”
Screenshot via YouTube

In April 2011, a video surfaced from Russia. In the catacombs of their training grounds, a group of warriors revealed themselves to be deadly weapons, quick of mind and true of heart. As students of martial arts instructor Bely Samoryad’s school of slappin’ combat, these few were never given the recognition they deserved.

They smack. They kick pretty high. They destroy some paper and come back to slap some more.


Now, they’re back, thanks to someone posting the video on Reddit. The resurfaced video, uploaded in January 2016 by a throwaway channel called Olip Stars, is disrespectfully titled “These Idiots Invent Their Own Fighting Style.”

These champions are the students of Russian martial arts instructor Bely Samoryad. Master Bely has a limited presence online—his YouTube channel with four videos, and his Facebook page, are all that I could find. So, let’s dissect what’s going on in this video.

Here's a gif that shows what it would feel like to be attacked by one of these warriors. Remain calm, the gif can't actually hurt you.

Master Bely calls his technique “the battle on the run.” Here, he demonstrates why:

Handily taking down his foes.

I could watch him womp this kid’s ass all day.

Paper is one of Master Bely’s greatest enemies. Here, he defeats several sheets easily.

Since these dudes are serious, I emailed Mark Lajhner, founder of and Kaizen MMA Academy from Belgrade, Serbia, and asked him to take a look and assess their style.

Lajhner said this looks similar to the martial arts practice of “Russian systema,” which contains some good methodology, but is lacking in many other ways, such as practical application. So, they may be idiots, but this isn’t an entirely new style of fighting.

“The only thing I liked (and I had to try hard to find something to like) was the older guy's hip relaxation that enabled them to kick three balls like that,” Lajhner said. “That kind of hip relaxation can be useful with kicks to the head, but other than that these guys are ridiculous. Not to mention how unathletic they are.”

Systema instructor Mikhail Ryabko pretty much nails the spirit of this video in his description of the practice on his website: “The body has to be free of tension, filled with endurance, flexibility, effortless movement and explosive potential. The spirit or psychological state has to be calm, free of anger, irritation, fear, self-pity, delusion and pride.”

As a fellow amateur martial artist, I respect their willingness to discard pride and reach their explosive potential.