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 Toronto in 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 seminar or 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.