Kevin Secours

Discussion in 'Russian Martial Arts' started by nobodyspecial, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. nobodyspecial

    nobodyspecial White Belt

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    Hello!

    I am a member of a very small Systema practice group in a rural area. We attend all the seminars and camps we can and also rely heavily on the excellent Systema DVD library. Kevin Secours DVDs have played an important part in what we do. Like Vladimir Vasiliev`s DVDs, they are clear, easy to follow, and enable us to clearly improve our skill.

    It was a bit of surprise to hear that Kevin has split off from "Ryabko systema". My sense has been that Systema instructors has a lot of leeway in how they present the art. I do not quite understand how Kevin could not continue with his idea of how systema should be taught within the organization as it stands.

    As just one example, I see that there is an instructor who has combined Systema with Aikido and not only is listed on the Toronto site as a representitive, they have hosted a seminar with Kwan Lee. Of course Kevin`s decision is a personal one and will have included elements which only he can understand.

    One thing I cannot understand is something he has written on a recent blog post. He writes that after splitting, he has received "hundreds of death threats". Presumably these are from "Ryabko Systema" followers.

    This I completely do not understand. I would be very grateful for any kind of information that will help me understand what is happening.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Flea

    Flea Beating you all over those fries!

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    Hi Nobody,

    I've never met Secours so I won't address anything specifically related to him. I've only practiced Systema for a couple years, and without regard to "whose" Systema it is. But in my two years I've only met one person who made me feel even remotely nervous or distrustful. I think it's fair to say that if anyone's threatening him they aren't of the Ryabko camp. And that if indeed they were death threats it would probably be only a couple.

    In short, I don't think you have anything to worry about. :angel:
     
  3. RachelK

    RachelK Purple Belt

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    This is my opinion as a Ryabko Systema student, not an official spokesperson or any professional affiliation with Systema HQ. Kevin's a great instructor and if you're looking to learn martial skills - particularly grappling and groundfighting, but his expertise extends to so many different forms of combatives - then you could hardly go wrong training with Kevin and his Integrated Fighting Systems. I personally would take advantange of any opportunity to train with him. I have been a student of Ryabko's Systema for seven years, and I take regular Systema classes with a certified instructor, so for me, it would be a supplement. I'm always glad to train with any professional with Kevin's qualifications.

    But if you are looking learn Ryabko's Systema specifically - keeping in mind that there are other styles of Russian combatives, including many regional styles that we've never seen in North America - but if it's Ryabko's Systema you specifically seek, then you need to train with one of the certified instructors, which are listed by location here: http://www.russianmartialart.com/main.php?page=affiliates

    Kevin has many friends in the Systema community and his decision to focus on developing his Integrated Fighting Systems hasn't changed that. Systema is not a cult; we are actual human beings with friends and colleagues who we like and respect. I have no idea why this is such a big deal - I was startled to read of the death threats and hate mail, but that is not the attitude of a true student of Ryabko's Systema (Kevin writes in his blog "Far exceeding the hundreds of death threats were the thousands upon thousands of positive emails"). I am just posting this to reinforce that if you want to learn Ryabko's Systema, find a certified instructor, attend a seminar, or start a study group by under the virtual guidance of a certified instructor (you can ask for advice on the latter at www.russianmartialart.com/forum ). If you have the opportunity to train with Kevin, I don't see how it could possibly be anything but helpful to your martial education, whether it's your primary source of training or a supplement to your usual style.

    Just my $0.02 as a student, once again, emphasizing that I am speaking only for myself and not for any other organization or individual.
     
  4. nobodyspecial

    nobodyspecial White Belt

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    Thanks Flea and Rachel for your replies.

    As I have written, I am a Systema student in a group connected to Messrs. Vasiliev and Ryabko. However, we are certainly on the outskirts due to our rural location and other factors.

    My general question is why is it that Kevin felt he could not continue under the aegis of Toronto. I ask this knowing full well the answer can only come from Kevin himself. However, maybe someone here can give some impressions of the overall situation of what it means to be a student/instructor, the limits and structure?

    My specific question is what people think of the "death threats"? As Rachel wrote, this is a shocker. If it is true, I believe that they would only have come from within the "Ryabko camp" as anyone else would likely not care less. So then, as Rachel seems to indicate, are there those who consider themselves students of Ryabko that are not "true"? An important point I have gotten from Ryabko/Vasiliev is "do not be a fanatic". And, to me, death threats are a sign of fanaticism.
     
  5. Mark Jakabcsin

    Mark Jakabcsin Green Belt

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    Nobodyspecial,

    How long have you posted on forums? I ask this because your posts come across very insincere and smacks for fraudulence. Your very first post is provactive in nature and most likely self serving. Since you choose to remain anonymous it is highly likely that you are far closer to the topic at hand than you attempt to portay and have a thinly veiled hidden agenda. Very poor form for any forum. IMO, if you want to be taken seriously, instead of a troll pushing his/her own agenda, provide verifiable information about yourself.

    Although, with that said, the question is still inappropriate. Kevin left for his reasons, if you really want to know his reasons call him instead of asking for 2nd/3rd hand (at best) conjecture and speculation on a public forum. If you are really looking for answers to your questions instead of creating 'press' go to the source(s). The question remains why would you care? Does it affect you or your training in any way, shape or form? Kevin has moved on, I wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.

    Following is an official letter from Systema HQ concerning the topic:


    Take care,

    Mark J.

    _________________________________________________________________

    Dear Systema practitioner,

    The purpose of this communication is solely to avoid confusion and try to keep Systema pure.

    Kevin Secours is no longer a certified or recognized as a Systema instructor by Systema founders – Mikhail Ryabko and Vladimir Vasiliev. Kevin chose to form his own style and what he teaches is clearly not Systema as presented by Mr. Ryabko. If someone wishes to study Systema, the founders of this martial art cannot recommend that he or she trains with Kevin.

    Any instructor that stepped away with Kevin is always welcome to return. He can surely participate in Systema Headquarters events, seminars, classes, obtain instructional materials, communicate with Mikhail, Vladimir, other Systema instructors and with our head offices.

    People come and go, this is a common occurrence and there is no need to create a big issue out of this. Systema Headquarters has never solicited anyone to join and never had any issues with practitioners leaving. In fact, Kevin himself was told that we will be very happy to resume our work and training together any time he is ready.

    If anyone would like to discuss this in person, please contact us directly.

    Feel free to forward this note as needed.

    With respect and kind regards,

    Systema Headquarters Moscow and Toronto
     
  6. nobodyspecial

    nobodyspecial White Belt

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    Hello Mark,

    I believe my posts have been misunderstood and I will take that as my failing to clearly articulate my interests/questions. I sincerely apologize for any consternation I may have caused. I am exactly as I have written above. If you wish for more details about me before commenting on the issue, I would be happy to give them via pm.

    I hestitated before posting but decided to do so after reflecting on the fact that Kevin Secours posted what he wrote on a public blog. I also recalled a comment Mikhail Ryabko made that "nothing is personal." I do not think anything I have written here reflects badly on Vladimir Vasiliev, Mikhail Ryabko or Kevin Secours. I have met Mr. Vasiliev and Mr. Ryabko and am convinced that they both are of the highest calibre of morality and respectability. My sense of Kevin Secours is that he is the same.

    My first question was not why Kevin left. As I wrote, I do understand that only he can answer that. What I am asking is, what is the situation that certified instructors find themselves in, as far as what they can do and what they cannot do?

    Why do I care? And does it effect my training? Yes, it does. And that too, I would be happy to discuss with you via pm.

    Thank you and again I apologize.
     
  7. Mark Jakabcsin

    Mark Jakabcsin Green Belt

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    Perhaps your posts are honest perhaps not. Having seen posts exactly as yours used as 'marketing' for many, many years on forums I have strong doubts. I note how you now talk about things being personal, which was clearly not what I wrote about, an attempted deflection.

    The first time anonymous poster asking questions about a situation is a simplistic method to market and to provide public spin. Seen it many times before and find it distasteful and dishonest.

    Quack, quack. It's a duck no need to look farther.


    Mark J.
     
  8. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Folks, MT allows the use of usernames that express personality or character rather than requiring the use of real names. A member's profile page often includes their real names. If you're concerned about a user's motives or identity, you can always make use of the Report To Moderators button, and we'll look into it.
     
  9. RachelK

    RachelK Purple Belt

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    Contact Systema HQ: http://www.russianmartialart.com/main.php?page=contact They can best answer questions about the instructor certification - such questions are not uncommon.

    Your qualifier, "If it is true," is mystifying. In one line you say that Kevin is of "highest calibre of morality and respectability" and yet in another, you speculate that he is a liar. And can we just agree that death threats and hate mail are unscrupulous behaviour regardless of who you are? As far as what I 'seem to indicate' - I haven't gone out and asked all the thousands of people who have ever taken a Systema class whether they consider themselves "true" or not. I haven't even asked the many hundreds of people who have trained at the school where I practice whether they consider themselves "true" - that would be an impossible task in just one city, so how could I possibly survey everyone who has ever taken a Systema class or seminar or bought a DVD or otherwise been exposed to Systema whether they consider themselves "true"? But I don't have to survey thousands of people - whether they are Systema students or not - to know that most will eschew death threats and hate mail. Thus Kevin's remark that he has received thousands of positive e-mails in contrast to hundreds of negative ones. Why not inquire about all the positive e-mails which greatly outnumber the negative ones? If you really want a general impression of how everyone who has ever been exposed to Systema feels, shouldn't you look at the majority and not the minority?

    If this is about your training, then follow Mark's advice, which I have pasted below. If you want to know about the death threats - I can't imagine why or how this affects your training, but if that's the information you seek - then also follow Mark's advice below.

    Thank you, Mark, for posting this. I excerpted it to emphasize that it completely answers the questions posed in this thread and provides an easy and direct solution to finding information that is sought.
     
  10. nobodyspecial

    nobodyspecial White Belt

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    Rachel,

    Let me address what I see as your two main points.

    1. "If it is true.." The sentence about the "death threats" comes from Kevin`s personal blog. He could have really gotten "hundreds of death threats." Or he could of gotten a few death threats and exaggerated the number (he did make a joke of it in the next sentence). Or he could have gotten many emails with an inappropriate level of aggressiveness which he labelled "death threat". On his blog, there are no smiley icons, no usage of quotes which would indicate anything other than actual death threats. No matter which of the above possibilities, it does not mean that Kevin Secours is anything but an individual of "the highest moral and respect".

    2. What you "seem to indicate". A simple reading of your words clearly indicates that you believe one demarcation of the difference between a "true" student of Mr. Ryabko and one who is not, is the fact of whether they would write a death threat. Writing a death threat = not true student. There is no need to talk about asking "the many hundreds of people" their opinion. You are looking at the wrong end of the logic equation. As far as looking at the "majority" and ignoring the "minority", I personally believe that taking in the whole picture will give me better information from which to take my next step. (btw, I am very interested in the nature of the thousands of positive emails! I would like to know exactly how they are positive. But again, only Kevin can answer that.)

    Let me make clear, I have offered to reveal more of myself to Mark via pm. I have been willing to do this to the degree that he felt necessary to convince him of my sincerity. He has not taken me up on this but instead make the "duck" remarks in a disassociated way, adding that because he has experienced posts "exactly as yours" before, he therefore believes that he clearly knows where I am coming from even without attempting to get more information.

    Unfortunately, Mark is in some ways answering my questions. I am what I have written, but Mark is clearly imagining something/someone else. I know that Mark travels quite a bit for his training and undoubtably knows many people in the Systema world. He imagines me to be someone who is already a deep part of this and is posting here for nefarious purposes. So from Mark`s point of view, the existence of someone like this is a possibility. This, in itself, gives me some information I need.

    Mark and Rachel, please let me suggest you are not reading my posts accurately. What I write may be inappropriate for a public forum. The content of what I write may be incorrect. My delivery may be wrong. I do not think so, but I am certainly open to any advise/ideas you may have.
     
  11. RachelK

    RachelK Purple Belt

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    No need to be frustrated that your meaning isn't clear; it happens to everyone who posts to forums, and it only illustrates that forums, while helpful for some discussions, can't substitute for direct inquiry and real-life interaction. My advice is to contact Kevin Secours directly to inquire about the death threats, and contact the Toronto headquarters directly to inquire about instructor certification as well as further questions about Kevin Secours' departure from the certified Systema instructors. Or any other questions you may have about Systema. In this way you will get the information you seek directly from the people who are best qualified to dispense it. I am sure that both would be glad to communicate with you further, so why not give it a try? You can always return to this thread after doing so.
     
  12. nobodyspecial

    nobodyspecial White Belt

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    Thank you Rachel,

    I appreciate your advise.
     
  13. southcraig

    southcraig White Belt

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    If Kevin want to leave Ryabko Systema and do his thing, that is his personal business, not mine. His claim that he got hundred of threats from Vladamir's camp is purely BS. What is boil down is that Kevin has some personal issues with the Systema headquarters and I am not at liberty to post Kevin's personal issues on this forum. I have investigated both side of this issue and when Kevin claim that he received hundreds of deaths threats it is hard to believe his BS.
     
  14. marlon

    marlon Master Black Belt

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    Hi,
    I spoke with Kevin. He has legitimate "philosophical" reasons for leaving, that I imagine some people would not like. He says things are calming down and all is well. He never mentioned "hundreds of death threats", only that there were some very loyal to the organization who really were not happy with his decision to leave.
    The man is an excellent martial artist and as far as I have seen, a gentleman

    Respectfully,
    Marlon
     

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