Internal training in systema

Discussion in 'Russian Martial Arts' started by SilatFan, Apr 18, 2005.

  1. NYCRonin

    NYCRonin Purple Belt

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    I think we are filtering right now.
    No instructor of Systema should add on anything and say "This is Systema".
    If you have previous martial experience - you might pass that along to a friend. BUT - its to be made clear that it is NOT Systema. To a general student, dont do so in any class - for it is easy for a beginner to miss the origins.

    Comparisons for discussions sake are necessary. Dima, you and I know that many times just the difference between Russian words spoken and translated into english...kinda modifies what was best expressed in the native tongue of the speaker.
    Subtle meanings and nuances lost in translation.

    It is amasing to listen to Vlad sometimes struggle with the essence of what he is trying to convey in english - and so often it is his facial or subtle body english that imparts the 'feeling' of what he is saying.

    If a person comes to me and says "This is goldenbell iron sweatpants" and its just like what you do in taking a punch....I will ask to punch him - just to see what he is trying to demo. Then he can punch me and I absorb our way.
    I know I can see where the differences lay, and might even..maybe...find a certain similarity on a few points. BUT - they are not the same and never will be.

    Maybe I seem too 'liberal'...but I have never found any difficulty in keeping my previous m.art types seperate. I can still do a round kick from ShotoKan, or Moo Duk Kwan, or Muay Thai, or even Savate. They are not the same - but are roundhouse kicks just the same...but not the same kick at all.
    I can deflect a strike with a B-G 'turning fan' or a Systema deflection. They both deflect - but are NOT the same thing.

    Paul, I cant envision when an instructor could fill in any gap by adding another arts principles to Systema. That would not be Systema anymore. I dont personally know any teachers of Systema that do this gap filling. I have met many students that attempt to do so, though. When I am contacted, for example; to teach a seminar - I speak to the host about what they want to present. Sometimes it is pure Systema, other times - they want a mix of Systema and my other life experiences. In the former - it is Systema as I was taught it - chapter and verse. In the latter, I might include - say, a something out of my personal bag of experience. An example might be how to use a thumb jab to break a person out of a bear hug...and pulling his shirt up over his head as recoils from the thumb. The first was learned from Hatsumi, the second - from inmates fighting on Rikers. (Dima - its alot like the way hockey players use their opponents shirt against them). Now, these things were not directly specifically taught to me - chapter and verse - by Vlad. But they fit nicely into the dynamics of The System. Would you feel I was bastardizing Systema when I demo this and teach it? OR - are we attempting to be so exact that we try to be Vladclones? If so, we will fail. Misha and Vlad hardly move alike. But the principles of Systema are very clear in their differing movements. But, I digress.

    Perhaps I am more speaking about a language. In communicating with others who have m.a. language/movements different than ours...one can explain certain things superficially. If you speak more than one language, and are fluent in it - then you can converse more fully.

    Back to Furtry - Dima, when I travel around Brooklyn, I sometimes meet a person originally from Russia...maybe asking directions, for example. I know that they are speaking Russian in their minds...and trying to communicate with me, using a mix of russian and english. I think about what they ask - and in my poor mix of russian and english - we both eventually get the message across. It does not change the purity of their Russian, nor my Brooklynese.
    In fact, we might have exchanged a few words new to each other.

    If anyone thinks I am advocating inclusion of another arts methods to ours, then we ARE filtering here. The System needs no inclusion. THATS WHY I GAVE UP OVER 30 PLUS OF PREVIOUS MARTIAL STUDY TO 'DO THE WORK', as best as I can.

    As said previously, I have little concern that Systema will be corrupted. We have the source alive TODAY. REAL Systema is there for anyone who is willing to do whatever they must to find it.
    If a person buys a tape of Vlads - and trys to punch it into the dynamics of whatever art they study - that is simply not Systema....but even a few things added from Systema can help round out their experience of martial movement.

    By the flip side, it doesnt corrupt your understanding of Systema to see what other arts contain, if you wish. Anyone I know as certified in Systema has always shown the ability to filter very well. I would suspect that it is one with less real time experience that says "yes, we do" - when we "dont, at all".

    On forums, the posters are usually unknown to each other in real time. A guy could easily write about the "yes we do" - and not know Vasilieve from vasaline. ANY reader has to take any post from a person they do not know...with a shaker of salt.

    Including all reading this that do not know me.

    BUT, Dima. You and I DO know each other. And I feel I understand what you are saying, and although I agree in Systema staying and being expressed in the purest of terms....we cannot do anything but comment when someone is way off base. If we choose to.

    REAL Systema understanding is available....forums comparisons to anothe rart will allways happen. ONLY real time experience is the yardstick.

    And be thankful that we are doing 'this art' now. In time, it is just inevitable that it will find those that will attempt to alter it -- maybe soon, maybe in a hundred years..but that happens to all m.arts, it seems. Even then, I still feel real Systema will still be available to those that seek it out.

    Enough of our time -- I have to go change my filter. LOL!
     
  2. BobP

    BobP Guest

    Just a quick repsonse form the perspective of a former CIMA student..I've had exposure to different types of external and internal iron shirt, qigongs, neigungs, "energy" work (encompassing things from massage and dim mak through to "no touch" and "transmission) as all the usual CIMA training methods.

    To my mind you can't draw many comparisons between them and the System. Different paradigms, different cultural expressions, different methods and theories. In fact in some ways they conflict quite fundamentally. So to say, for example, that MR is using "chi power" just doesn't hold water.

    cheers
     
  3. mscroggins

    mscroggins Yellow Belt

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    The problem here is reading comprehension and critical thinking.

    The question was: Is there internal training in Systema?

    Furty supplied the answer:

    This answer is clear. Systema contains no ideas or concepts relating to chi or qi, or methods promoting them.

    Knowing that there is no concept of "internal training" in Systema, claiming there is internal training is Systema is as absurd as claiming: "My dog has a transmission". In another conceptual model, your dog may have a transmission.... but to most ears that statement is as meaningless as "Michael has hitting for qi disruption" is in the context of systema.

    I'm not saying "internal training" is false or meaningless in the proper context, only that, as Furty pointed out, in the context of systema it is without meaning. Neither true, nor false, but without meaning, and therefore useless.
     
  4. Jerry

    Jerry Blue Belt

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    Well, I don't know about "dilution" of Systema, but it does appear to me that a straw-man is being propped up in terms of the discussion itself. While other arts / material was brought up as a comparison (it's in the original question), I don't believe anyone has claimed that the specific material exists in Systema (IOW, no one said that Systema has LoHan in it).

    I'm not interested in sitting an comparing crediential size... and take some umberage at the appeal to authority running around in response. While I would be happy to discuss my experiences, and compare-contrast them with those of others, comments like "Jerry, would you tell the leaders of Systema that they dont know the 'wherefores' of what their art is about?" are hardly a discussion of material and experience. Good luck to you all. :)
     
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  5. SonnyPuzikas

    SonnyPuzikas Yellow Belt

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    I don't think anybody is throwing any authority "weight" around here, Jerry.
    Simple fact is that Dima has been directly training under Vladimir for years and has been Systema instructor before your instructor attended his first Systema seminar... Comments made by others are true to some degree- some (including some instructors) do try to fill in certain gaps with their knowledge shaped through the prizm of understanding some issues from other arts perspective. Most do that to some degree- yours truly as well (guilty as charged... :partyon: ). Yet some stay there and present those personal interpretations as THE way, and others go to the sources with their questions and concerns.
    There are many ways to get to the other side of the wall...
    Bash your head upon it untill that wall gives (hopefully before your brain bucket gives...)
    Try to climb over the top of the wall...
    Walk along the wall untill you find the opening...
    Or ask yourself- why am I in front of this wall- maybe I was heading in the wrong direction to begin with?
     
  6. Furtry

    Furtry Green Belt

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    Rob, there is nothing wrong with drawing parallels to explain a concept. But if you're doing chikung and calling it Systema you are not doing Systema.

    Jerry, you said that Systema has all those things that are CMA.

    Sonny, kak dela? vsevo dobravo semay.
     
  7. NYCRonin

    NYCRonin Purple Belt

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    Hells bells, I agree with you, Dima!
    NEITHER you nor I would 'teach' a triangle choke from BJJ and call that Systema..although full movement might give that to a person in defence. We might demo it for a reason. cause it is a good eeffective thing - but not state that its "A Systema thing" - its just a good move....and give credit to BJJ or JJJ as an origin.
    THATS more a personal thing of wide experience though.
    YOU have such experience...and I know that, as a teacher of self protection; you, I, Sonny, et al - we desire to pass along the effective things we know work.
    We can do and quote Vlad as 'chapter and verse'. Can take a movement like a backfist and twist it to fit the System - although Vladdy might never have taught any 'classical backfist' move.

    I MUST Agree with you, my friend.
    "Rob, there is nothing wrong with drawing parallels to explain a concept. But if you're doing chikung and calling it Systema you are not doing Systema."

    Nothing wrong with seaking a terminolgy of parallels to EXPLAIN as best as one can. And if one is doing chikung and calling it Sytema - then one is only fooling oneself.

    Well, my filters are cleaner than ever.
    Thanks to all posted above.

    Hey Dima - why must I go to babelfish when you speak Pa-ruskie?
    Oh, i know why.
    Ya ess Shswa, nyet gavaroo pa-russkie.
    Ya nye panimyoo.
    Spaciba Dima.
    (pardon my fractured Russian, moy druk)
    I do envy your skill in communicating with our teachers, though.
     
  8. BobP

    BobP Guest

    I quite agree and I wouldn't do that. To be honest I wouldn't even draw parallels there. The only time I might do that from a CIMA perspective is in the area of sensitivity or body softness - and even then there is divergence from the idea of rooting or groundpath.

    Also the only time I might find that useful are times, such as last Sunday for example, when I'm teaching a CIMA group who have expressed an interest in the System. It might help give people a reference point they are comfortable with and help us move on into the work. As long as it helps rather than hinders and is seen purely as a reference point. The danger is - and I've seen or heard this quite often - that people assume familiarity with a principle or concept and it prevents them exploring that to its full They already "know" it because "yeah, we have that in our style". Then it acts as a barrier to the work.

    cheers
     
  9. Jerry

    Jerry Blue Belt

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    Qigong simply means "energy work". So the question is not technique based, but whether there is energy work in Systema. In my perception / experience there is. Obviously, others here disagree.

    Differences are, themselves, useful to draw parallels from. The "normal" CMA tendancy to push energy to the ground as contrasted with Systema's tendancy to expell it out (out the back of the forearm in the most classic hit, though the "let the hit you got move through out and come back out in your hit drill" does more advanced work with it.

    BTW, that drill can be "tightened up" to the point that you never come out of contact with your partner. At this point, the movement is almost entirely internal and the effect is a lot like some forms of push-hands.
     
  10. RachelK

    RachelK Purple Belt

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    de-lurks
    Hi,
    There is also "energy work" in walking down the street or for that matter, typing at a computer. Energy and movement are fundamental aspects of human biomechanics. Drawing a single breath is a form of movement, and it would not be possible without energy.
    I'm a novice Systema student but I'll add to the fray. If there is internal work in Systema, there must be is external work, as well. But I've never heard any of my teachers make this distinction between internal and external. The work is all the same. Perhaps there are principles yet unrevealed to this novice, but I would be surprised to discover a contrast between internal and external in Systema.
    *Vsego nailuchshego* (best wishes),
    Rachel
    re-lurks
     
  11. BobP

    BobP Guest

    True, but it can also simply mean "breathing" or non-simply can mean a lot more than that. It's actually a fairly recent term to describe a very wide range of Chinese practices, from simple breathing work through to spiritual rituals, (predominantly buddhist and daoist).
     
  12. Arthur

    Arthur Blue Belt

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    See... I was right... without first defining terms, you just end up with a big mess, and conflict that might actually be agreement if terms were first defined.

    Be that as it may... a couple of thoughts since I have a rare moment of internet time.

    Any art whether it be Systema, Ba Gua, Skin Diving, or Ms. Martinez's style of basket weaving is what it is... and if students pay a teacher of that art to teach them that art... then the teacher should indeed teach them THAT art.

    On the other hand teaching is an art in and of itself... and if someone can best convey ideas, concepts and even movements by refering briefly to another art... the approach should be considered. I can certainly teach Systema without ever mentioning another art... however occasionally you get a student who can learn something twice as fast by making a given analogy. I thinkI would be shirking my responsibility as a teacher if I didn't attempt to make use of that analogy.

    Of course when ever there is a second hand... there is usually a third (a sort of trinity shot of analysis;-)) And while making analogies to other arts is sometimes useful, more often than not... erradicating analogies to other arts is the most useful thing for most students.

    If someone drives a car, and making ananalogy to driving a car can help them learn then the teacher should do it, likewise if a poerson does Hung Gar and making an analogy to it can help them learn, they should do that too, IMO.

    I have a few students who badger me regularly to show more CIMA or Israeli stuff, but I always tell them... people i this class pay me to teach them Russian Martial Art, not Chinese, Israeli, Indonesian or anything else.

    They are welcome (as long as I don't think it will mess up their RMA) to schedule appointments to learn about other arts I know, but RMA is always taught pure.

    Jerry Said:
    Qi Gong indeed means energy work. Being a stickler for definition though... I can't help but wonder iof that point would have been better understood if a foreign language (IE Mandarin) had been refrained from.

    BobP Said:
    I have to disagree. It really does mean "Energy Work". Thats precisely what it means. Yes people ascribe other meanings to it... but it is again because of a lack of proper and common definition.


    Rachel Said:
    A mighty fine point IMO!


    Rachel also said:
    Rachel may not have heard it but it has definately happened. In Toronto 2003 Mikhail Ryabko Specifically and directly taught a section on what he defined as internal work. There were specific drills given to be practiced. Perhaps of an interest to this thread I should mention they were the same drills and practices my CIMA instructor gave for what he termed "internal work". As they say in Disney world, I guess its a small world afterall;-)

    Arthur
     
  13. kage110

    kage110 Guest

    Jerry,

    I can see where you are coming from when you say you can see energy work in Systema because I see it too. However when I look at CIMA from a Russian perspective I see a whole lot of stuff that is termed as 'energy' work that I can now explain in terms of biomechanics and tension. I do not normally write for Systema - I do something else which stems from the same source - but I would say that there is no overt teaching of energy work or even recognition that it exists in the sense you are aluding to. And I get that from my teacher who had 18 years in Systema in Moscow and who I have talked a great deal with about energy work. However friends of mine who do a lot of energy work recognise my teacher as having abilities in that directions and that even I can do things to them they can only explain in terms of chi. The fact that I can explain it in other terms sometimes baffles them!

    As Rachel says, energy is everywhere and in that context it is certain that it is in Systema. It may also be true that the breathing exercises and the ability to relax and move that stem from Systema training are very good methods for developing chi in the way that you recognise but that is not to say it is part of the system. Mind you, for those who want to say that because MR or VV don't mention it then it can't exist I would say 'don't be so sure and keep your mind open!', but I don't think that applies to any of those who have posted here before me.

    Hugh
     
  14. Franc0

    Franc0 Purple Belt

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    Which IMO, is why sometimes it's a good thing to teach the similarities between systems, even if it is just the terminology, as opposed to teaching it in the context of it being solely referred to any specific art or system. Arthur can see that the above mentioned drills were the same as the CIMA drills, because of his vast knowledge of various systems (U da man Art :) ). But there could be those with less experience that would be led to beleive that those drills were a product of Systema only. To some it doesn't matter where "it" comes from as long as "it" works or helps, regardless of the name attributed to "it". To some detractors though, it could be fuel for their diatribes against them. Who cares? No one maybe, some possibly.
    I agree 110% Arthur, when it comes to the martial arts, it truly is a small world. :ultracool

    Franco
     
  15. mscroggins

    mscroggins Yellow Belt

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    Learning requires, at least on some level, a suspension of belief. You must be willing to let go of what you think you know in order to learn something new. I find mixed metaphors and analogies distracting.

    In my opinion, learning to tone down the analytical part of your brain is the most important factor in learning anything physical. If you cannot do this, then the motor skills you are practicing will never come easily enough to be used. The point of learning whatever style you study is to let it sink into your body and permeate your daily life. Otherwise, it is just entertainment.

    Comparison is all about analysis, but analysis has nothing do to with learning and shouldn't be introduced during training.
     
  16. Jerry

    Jerry Blue Belt

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    Ahh yes. There is a great deal termed "energy work" which is, in fact, not. Whether it's structural, or intent-based, or simple biomechanics.

    Well, to quote another poster:

    "In Toronto 2003 Mikhail Ryabko Specifically and directly taught a section on what he defined as internal work. "
     
  17. erich

    erich Yellow Belt

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    Amen Master Scroggins

    IMO - analysis and comparison is best done over beer after physical training if at all. While training you have to give yourself over to your teacher and to the movement. This is why the teacher is, in general, more important than the style and is certainly more important than the language and analogies used to describe this or that.

    Jerry said:
    definitions again. What exactly to you mean by energy? Mass in motion is energy, mass held inert requires energy, from my perspective all martial arts is energy work. There is certainly a scale of subtelty and refinement, but it is all energy work.

    Arthur & Franco - i just had to make an appearance on this thread with you guys for old times sake. Fun!
     
  18. Franc0

    Franc0 Purple Belt

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    If you want to keep your training/learning at the beginners level, I would agree. Once you become an advanced practitioner or instructor, there are times when you need to analyze movements, especially when referring to biomechanics. You can't just show someone a movement, then expect them know exactly what you've done and then do it without explaining some of the finer nuances of the mechanics behind the movement. If that were the case, then everyone could just learn via video.
    Hey Eric! Good to hear from ya man :asian: I've trained (and drank) with EricH and Arthur over the same weekend at my place, and even if they don't agree with my statements, I can hopefully say they understand where I'm coming from. We shared knowledge AND analysis without any disagreements.

    Franco
     
  19. Jerry

    Jerry Blue Belt

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    I mean qigong. If you don't have a general understanding of the material in question you should, perhaps, start a thread in one of the appropriate forums.

    At some level of abstraction almost all terms can be used to describe all things. This is an entirely useless level of abstraction as it means no discussion is possible.

    You also find this in a discussion of proofs, as every claim comes back to a worldview argument of presuppoitions. I could as easily assert that nothing at all is proven energy work as you cannot prove reality exists... but that would be just as silly.

    For your all-inclusive use of the term "energy work", where everything is energy work, you agree with me systema has it... a simple discussion indeed.
     
  20. Furtry

    Furtry Green Belt

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    This thread started as a question if Systema had "iron shirt/golden bell" type of internal training, to which the answer is no.

    Next point; Systema does have an 'internal' aspect to it. From trying to move a person or their strikes with out contact to trying to sense some ones presence with out the pervious knowledge of when and where they will be approaching from. All of which requires that all parties involved be conscious and aware of what is happening. This constitutes maybe one tenth of the whole pie and is developed as one goes along with their everyday 'tedious' training. But that is not some kind of Chinese qigong or what ever. That is the development of sensitivity, which comes out of one of the main principles; Relaxation.

    I'll be speaking with Mikhail in two weeks to clarify this further, but as far as my knowledge goes Systema does not have an understanding or belief or theory of chi/qi or what ever else you want to call it. There is only the human soul.

    The only exercise that Mikhail had us do, when he was teaching the 'internal' part of Systema was push-ups with breathing, more than most could do mind you, but only push- ups :lol:. And form his explanation this was done so that people would stop being so combative and physical with each other, and start to be more aware, in tune, and relaxed when doing the work.

    Side note; some guy walked in late for the start of that session, so he hadn’t done any of the warm up and didn’t really know what we were trying to learn. Somehow he ends up my partner in front of a small crowd. I tell him to hit me in the face so that I may try to make him miss by guiding/leading the punch with out contact. So he swings and does his thing, I do my thing… bamb rite in the kisser. Crowed laughs, I end up with a fat lip, and he feels silly for punching me in the teeth. To this day I can’t do that ‘trick’. :idunno:123
     

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