Systema (as taught by Mikhail Ryabko and Vladimir Vasiliev) is very important to me. Its importance is the result of over a decade in study, training and travel across the globe. During these adventures I studied from Masters in numerous Eastern practices like Qi Gong, Tai Chi Chuan, Shaolin Kung Fu and various healing methods. I'm confident in saying I have a substantial knowledge in these styles of holistic management.
When I eventually discovered Systema and met my teacher Vladimir Vasiliev, I was utterly mesmerized by its potential. It contained everything that I had seen before, but then went much further into each category. Even more impressive was there was nothing there! No names, katas, forms, belts or excess ritual. It was the most advanced style I had ever seen and yet was invisible, with only skills or principles being the closest thing to a tangible 'syllabus'.
From exploring the nervous system, to breath work, to forging our psychological capabilities to grasping a better understanding of the bigger picture, Systema has it all. With Systema, I have helped people overcome debilitating anxiety, disease causing stress, traumatic injury and even helped terminally sick people prepare for the inevitable.
My point is that Systema is much more than a military combat system. It's a beautiful way of walking through life; it's an opportunity for your spirit to lead the way along the path of existence.
I feel very strongly about people viewing Systema in all of its glory and not just another martial art. The Masters like Mikhail and Vladimir have touched people’s hearts and healed their holistic wounds not by being hard-men, but by sharing something far more profound.
While being perceived as hard or tough is important for many individuals, especially males between the ages of 20 to 40, there comes a time when more mundane issues take precedence; where just being able to get out of your chair swiftly or walking for miles with ease or being free of pain are more important.
I've trained in Canada with people in their 70's, their only goal was to perhaps reach their 80's and all the while their performance would put many 40 year olds to shame. They were perfect examples of Systema as I view it.
In my humble opinion, Systema is a Real Life Art; when we start training and teaching it this way, we can reveal unimaginable Freedom.
Jamie Robson is the founder/instructor of Systema Scotland; he is the first instructor in Scotland to be fully certified by Vladimir Vasiliev. Jamie has many years of martial arts experience and work with British Forces, Scottish Police and S.O.C.A. www.SystemaScotland.com
Register via the link below to receive key updates on this extraordinary event: Register here for key updates Facebook events page here On Saturday 4th of October and Sunday 5th of October 2014 Systema Founder Mikhail Ryabko and his top student, Vladimir Vasiliev are coming to the UK.
The seminar will be held at Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Shropshire, England. This stunning estate location has excellent and very reasonable on-site accommodation. 24hr residential rate including all meals is £80. The capacity for this event is 200. The event WILL sell out long before the date. We are already nearly half full. There are not enough beds for everyone so it is first come first served. The discounted price of £200 is available for the first 100 bookings. After this the price is £250 and £300 if you wait and pay on the day. We do not expect there to be any spaces left on the day. Please note that the cost is £206.80 on PayPal, this takes account of the PayPal fee.
Directions and Travel links. ▪ For International attendees the closest airport is Birmingham International. ▪ From here it is a 1hour train ride to Telford. Trains run 2 or 3 times per hour. This is approx £16. Click here for the train link ▪ From Telford get a 10 min taxi to the venue from the train station.
Vladimir Vasiliev "The power of Systema is in natural movements. We develop the power of natural movements when we train and start to understand ourselves. Natural movements remove unwanted emotions such as aggression, pride and fear. The fighter then becomes calm and composed, he would just be doing a warrior’s job. For him defense-offense issue would not even exist.
For example, it does not matter for us whether we open a tap or close a tap, it is just a move. Being calm and in a confrontation allows us to see the unnatural actions of the attacker – his aggression, tension, lack of mobility and other weaknesses. Spontaneously and instantly, we can then choose the right distance, movements and speed to get the job done
It's interesting to observe students work through a particularly demanding drill. Perhaps where they start from being restrained or blindfolded or restricted in breathing, and they have to navigate out of the situation. Too often, I notice people missing the best part of this process, that being, the losing part.
Now, of course I don't mean a conscious and strategic failure. It's obvious we must eventually succeed in escaping, evading or surviving. However, it's our sub-conscious preoccupation with winning that hinders that very process.
By glossing over the fact that you're pinned down, struggling to breathe or in pain, you deny yourself the valuable opportunity of losing. You see, many others practice only winning. They stand at arm’s length, kick or punch, while the other partner blocks or evades. It starts and finishes at point one, in an almost tick-tock fashion. It's like seeing a drunk draw his arm back in ready for a haymaker swing, while you immediately block that line and perhaps punch simultaneously. Of course, easier said than done, but it's hardly walking the razors edge. It's almost a simple case of do or do not; will you freeze or react.
Personally, I'm more interested in often letting the strike, lock or whatever land (safely) and then studying how tense I become, how my structure changes, if my breathing stops and if I can return the ‘kindness’ with efficient movement.
Failure to explore losing means the opportunity only arises infrequently when making mistakes accidentally. For example, you defend and counter some pre-planned attack 99 times and on one occasion you miss and get hit; then comes a momentary reaction that you may barely register or admit, then it's back to playing pat-a-cake.
So, slow down, breathe, stay in that dark moment where things are not going in your favour, then explore your behaviour with courage and humility. We may one day develop a relationship with failure and when that day comes, failure fails to exist.
About the Author: Jamie Robson is the founder/instructor of Systema Scotland; he is the first instructor in Scotland to be fully certified by Vladimir Vasiliev. Jamie has many years of martial arts experience and work with British Forces, Scottish Police and S.O.C.A. www.SystemaScotland.com
On May 4 2013 three great Systema instructors in UK are coming together to present Systema at Full Range seminar based on their extensive training at HQ school in Toronto, at Systema Camp and at many European seminars.
GARRY HODGINS of Systema Dublin, MARK WINKLER of Systema Wales and JAMIE ROBSON of Systema Scotland will offer numerous Systema topics on training, fighting and health. This event is highly recommended by Vladimir Vasiliev. Register now at: http://systemascotland.com/Events/
With over 200 certified Systema Schools worldwide and over 500 certified Systema instructors and instructors-in-training, it is easy to organize a highly successful seminar. If you wish to invite a qualified guest instructor to your facility and host a Systema event at your location visit Host a Seminar page.
The best training opportunity for 2013 is Mastering Systema 5 day seminar by Vladimir Vasiliev and Systema HQ instructors in Toronto, August 14 through August 18.
I would like to tell you a story, that happened in year 1981. I was 17 years old.
One night, my sister woke me up. It was about 2 a.m. She was unsettled and told me, that somebody is walking in our house and she thought that he was a thief.
I had been doing karate for 2 years that time. I took part in many competitions and I was really good at it in my category. I trained with nunchaks as well.
In pajamas and slippers I got up, took nunchaks, which I had next to my bed, and I started going through our house. Our parents slept on the first floor. There, I heard some rustling. I found out, that next to my parents room, the balcony doors were open. I went to the balcony and saw a figure climbing down. I ran downstairs and out to the place where I saw this figure. It was February, cold, and I was still in my pyjamas and slippers.
Suddenly, I saw this figure in front of me. I was ready to hit him but he started running around our house, in the direction to the gate next to the garage. I ran after him but he suddenly jumped on the gate. That time I knew that now I had no chance to catch him. So I reached out and hit him with nunchaks. I hit him! He fell down but on the other side of the gate. Then he jumped up from the ground and began to run along the pavement. I ran to the lower gate, jumped over it and followed the thief. I reached him after 500 meters of running. He wasn´t in a very good physical condition. I took him away back to our house and we called the police. They came after about 30 minutes. They started to investigate.
Apparently, he was a soldier, who got drunk and didn´t know what he was doing. The policemen found out, that at the spot around the house where I saw him first, he lost a knife. During investigation, they also discovered that at a nearby house he tried to choke an old woman. She survived but was in shock. The thief constantly talked, he was confused and severely shaken up. This thief ended up in a military prison.
At that time I didn´t think about it, but nowdays I still remind myself of two things.
First, that he lost the knife. What would have happened if he hadn´t lost it? I can´t even imagine it. Because I did karate, but I didn´t know how to response to a knife attack. I am glad that Mikhail and Vladimir are giving us their experiences on how to work with the knife. Both of them know exactly what they are doing. I can recommend to you their seminars or you can learn from their DVDs. Especially the last one: Knife in a Fight. No one can be ensured that they will not be attacked, especially with a knife. Today in the Czech Republic, knife attacks dominate. It´s almost a daily routine.
Second image for me to remember is when the thief jumped over the gate, he got a blow with nunchaks from me. I hit his back, but what if his head was there? I think that in that case, I would be the one going to prison! In Systema, we learn how to stay calm and damage the other person as little as possible. Each situation can be resolved in many ways. In my opinion and the opinions of experts, Systema solves problems in the most humane way. Calmness gives you precision and sureness, reaction will be fast and simple. You will destroy the opponent‘s form and then you just control him.
You can practice some special technique against a certain attack a thousand times, but if the opponent uses a different way of attack, you will not know how to react.
That´s why Systema puts such big emphasis on natural movement. In most cases, we don´t know how our opponent will attack us. Systema prepares the students for such situations.
I wish everybody good health, because healthy persons can train and protect themselves. During training, learn how to be calm, study natural movement, breathing, sensitivity, humility and other important features, which you need in daily life.
Thanks to Vladimir and Mikhail for Systema. Each meeting with them gave me vital information that moved me ahead.
About the Author: Karel Cerny is a certified instrictor teaching at Systema Pardubice, Czech Republic. Karel has over 30 years of martial arts experience, training and teaching Systema since 2011.
Learn from Vladimir Vasiliev’s how to defend yourself in an office or very tight space!
Small office or against the wall - there is a way out, and you are shown exactly how, along with nice practice drills. From dealing with threatening gestures while sitting at your desk to outright aggression from holds, punches, kicks or knives, this film covers it all. Standing or sitting in confined space is no longer a liability; anyone can apply these concepts for self defense.
Extra class at the Toronto School on Sunday, June 22nd
There is an extra class scheduled for Sunday June 22from 10:45 am – 12:15 pm. This session is highly recommended for all those attending the Weapons seminar that day. All students of our school, whether or not participating in the seminar, are welcome to attend as part of their regular membership. Additional fee for this class applies to visitors only.
Working with older people will be presented at the Full Immersion Camp for all those teaching Systema and all the participants who have a desire to learn this topic. I think it might be helpful to share my experiences on teaching Systema health and recovery classes to the elderly.
How does aging start and progress? At what age does the degenerative process begin? Can we do something about it? Why do some people show advanced aging symptoms at 40, while others still look young at the age of 60 and some are active and fully competent at the age of 80 and more? Should people limit their physical activity as they get older?
These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered before attempting to teach classes to seniors. We’ll do our best to answer them without delving too deep into the physiological details of the process.
As our bodies age, they begin to accumulate deep muscular tensions and limit their own mobility.
There are numerous potential causes: stress, injuries, illnesses, surgeries, heavy physical workloads, and many others. Childhood and old age are polar opposites. Childhood is highly mobile; while old age is mostly low mobility.
The process that limits our movement begins gradually, with minor aches and pains, discomfort, feelings of “weakness” or “loss of control” over the muscles. Fearing full range of joint movements and of sudden actions appears. Next, the body begins to adapt to these limitations, changing the habitual movements and positions. At this point, the person focuses excessively on physical movements. What follows is the excluding various physical activities from the daily routine, slowing down and altering the lifestyle. Soon, the brain functions follow the body, resulting in problems with memory, attention and thought processes.
This is where we see a fundamental physiological law in action: UNDERUTILIZED FUNCTIONS ATROPHY, or simply put, USE IT OR LOSE IT! It means that if you stop walking for several months, you may not be able to stand up afterwards. You would have to learn to walk all over again... This law applies just as much to your mental faculties.
The accumulated tensions lead to excessive overall muscle tone, which tends to crowd the diaphragm, intercostal and abdominal muscles. As a result, breathing becomes limited and no longer provides sufficient amounts of oxygen to the heart. The heart starts beating abnormally, with palpitations, thus agitating the nervous system. The muscle tone then increases even more and affects the entire network of blood vessels (they are, after all, muscular organs), causing blood pressure spikes.
So, throughout the aging process, our body systems stop interacting with each other in a balanced way. It is a vicious circle that is extremely difficult to reverse or interrupt.
Recent studies have demonstrated that body aging in itself causes no fundamental physiological changes to its tissues and organs. What happens is that some of the organs and systems start failing and shut down for the reasons stated above. Therefore, even as we age, we can and must do the necessary work to maintain and repair the key body functions.
The Systema approach is very well suited for this purpose.
Working with seniors can take two main routes – the general recovery route, and the “selective” route (focusing on a specific body function that has been disrupted).
I am not going to talk about the “selective” work here because it is more complex and requires specialized knowledge and practice. We will address that at the upcoming summer camp. For now, let’s talk briefly about the general, foundational health practices…
This all-inclusive camp is designed for new practitioners and experienced professionals. It is ideal for all instructors who are currently teaching and those aspiring to become one. Exciting training takes place from early morning and into the night in the field, forest and water, with Specialized Instructor Workshops held daily.
Set on a beautiful lake, among the 90 acres of picturesque Canadian forest and hills, the camp has the perfect setting for the Full Immersion into Systema, knowledge, skill and health. The amount of material covered and the quality of experience during the Camp week is equivalent to a few months of traditional classes.
Systema camps are usually held once in every two or three years. The next Systema Camp is not likely to take place until the summer of 2016 or 2017.
My journey in Systema began at the age of 55 and has continued for over the past fifteen years. This May, I turned 72 and I would like to share my thoughts on Systema and the positive impact it has made on my life. My training started with Vladimir Vasiliev in Torontoin 1998. As a Florida native, traveling back and forth from Toronto became increasingly difficult and Vladimir recommended that I continue my training with Rick and David Merrell in Florida. I had opportunities to train with Mikhail Ryabko during his seminars in USA and in Moscow. It was an honor to be invited to stay at Mikhail’s home and meet his family and friends, who I now consider my family and friends.
In Systema, you become a part of a large family of people who share the same enthusiasm for this great martial art and way of life. Through Systema, I have made numerous friends and have now given seminars in the Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
When I first started, my goal was to work “effortlessly” like Mikhail, Vladimir, Dave, as well as other instructors. Little did I know that it would take many years of dedication and consistent training to acquire these skills. Whatever your reason maybe, Systema will change your life in a positive manner. The basic principles arebreathing, movement, posture, and relaxation. These principles result in body mechanics that will greatly help you to defend yourself.
Beyond the self defense aspect of Systema, students are instilled with a sense of hope, faith, and respect that helps one overcome life’s challenges. Our training helps one maintain a high level of both physical and mental health as they journey through life. I could go on and on about all the benefits that Systema has given me. However, as an avid Systema practitioner and instructor at the age of seventy, this speaks for itself. I will indefinitely continue my teaching and training as well as attending as many seminars as I can. I am certain that this will not only advance my knowledge in the martial art, but help me further develop into a better person.
In closing, I would like to thank Vladimir and Valerie Vasiliev, the Merrell’s, the Ryabko’s, and everyone I ever had the opportunity to train with. It is important for us to keep the Systema community growing and spreading all the life benefits that go along with our training. I hope to see you soon at a seminaror down here in sunny Florida. In Systema, the door is always open and you will be welcomed!
About the Author: Peter Annazone is a certified Systema instructor at Systema Fort Myers, he has been training and teaching Systema since 1997 and has over 50 years of martial arts experience.