Systema a discussion

Discussion in 'Russian Martial Arts' started by Gweilo, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. dunc

    dunc Green Belt

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    Hi

    So I just watched all the clips and sharing my views on them

    1. Vlad
    I think he’s a talented martial artist and some of the principles illustrates (eg redirecting strikes into disruptive directions) are totally valid and quite interesting
    However, for me this clip falls into the Jedi mind trick category and it’s bonkers to believe that waiving your arm around will cause someone to fall over
    It’s also really, really easy to test. Just try it with anyone not training in Systema. Or even see if you can manipulate someone without contact outside of the martial arts context

    2. Ryo
    The first 30 seconds was more on the practical end of the scale, but his attacker was over responding to the manipulations
    I liked the principle he was showing to make a sudden movement just as the attacker commits in order to disrupt their “game plan”
    However, I really hope no one here genuinely believes that you can deal with an assault by rooting your feet 6inches apart and either bending your knees or waiving your arms around to make your attacker fall over or utterly give up on their attack

    3. Brian
    Some of the principles shown to receive strikes & redirect your opponent into a strike of your own are great
    I also like the way that the participants receive strikes, albeit they are grossly over compensating
    However, this is a good example of participants moving in different speeds during slow training. The attacker is slowly approaching with an outstretched arm and the defender moves much quicker when delivering strikes
    The defender is overreacting to fairly light strikes and unnecessarily compromising their structure at each stage. This allows the faster moving defender to deliver a sequence of pretty ineffective strikes that result in the attacker tying themselves up
    It’s a very different dynamic when both people move in the same time zone and you need to generate a material amount of power to force your opponent to compromise their structure

    I feel that many of the principles in Systema are valid and the style has some interesting and useful characteristics, but the most commonly used training method seems to direct people in an increasingly self deluded direction

    I feel that this is a problem in all martial arts to some extent. There is a spectrum and I’m sure that there are people in styles on the far end of this spectrum who have found ways to counter this natural dynamic in martial arts
     
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  2. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Pmsl?
     
  3. Gweilo

    Gweilo 3rd Black Belt

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    Peed myself laughing
     
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  4. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    Pmsl means ,,I laughed so much I lost control of my bladder, your not down with the kids are you
     
  5. Gweilo

    Gweilo 3rd Black Belt

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    Unfortunately this is common in Systema videos, and it does the art no favours, neither does the BS non touching stuff, but thank you for your response.
     
  6. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Bah, these whippersnappers and their texting and interwebs!
     
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  7. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yeah. You need to jump on a punch machine. See if the data adds up.
     
  8. Gweilo

    Gweilo 3rd Black Belt

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    This maybe of interest to those wishing to understand a bit about how we strike in systema

     
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  9. garik

    garik White Belt

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  10. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Funnily enough this vlad guy is doing a seminar in jersey today. Where I'm on holiday right now. Apparently first time out of Russia. They said you could come in and watch with no charge so I poked my head in and watched for a bit...all I can say is it's not making me rush home and sign up for systema
     
  11. garik

    garik White Belt

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    Soviet Kompleks Spezialnie Upraschnenie N.1 from the Close Combat Methodology 1981 of the Soviet Army, chapter "Special close combat training".

    [​IMG]






     
  12. Gweilo

    Gweilo 3rd Black Belt

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    Vladimir Vasiliev has lived in Toronto Canada for over 20 years, so it won't be him, if it was the 1st time out of Russia.
     
  13. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Whatever either way it's a vert high ranking guy and yeah wasn't impressed I'm afraid
     
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  14. Gweilo

    Gweilo 3rd Black Belt

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    The gentleman in The Channel Islands was Victor Tarasov, and at least you had a look, and decided you didn’t like it.
     
  15. Gweilo

    Gweilo 3rd Black Belt

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    I have never trained with Mr Tarasov so could not comment on his teaching methods, I have heard from people who have trained with him, and been told, he likes ground movement, Kossack swords and whips, and his style of Systema is heavily influenced by his Aikido, but these are rumours.
     
  16. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Found this photo on Facebook from the seminar...not a smart idea what he's doing waving around swords right by a children's park

    image.jpeg
     
  17. Gweilo

    Gweilo 3rd Black Belt

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    I agree, but from where he is from in Russia it would be acceptable, it does the art no favours, I also have been told a class in England was taken outside to train last year in the hot spell we had, and the class was in a local park, the lesson was on knife defense, and was halted half way through by armed police. The person who told me attended that class. Just pure stupidity, and again makes the art look bad.
     
  18. Arthur

    Arthur Blue Belt

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    I think somewhere in the last 2 decades Systema has become a term that is in a way as ubiquitous as "Kung Fu". And at this point is probably not productive to judge, interpret, whatever, Systema by any given practitioners performance. Good, great, bad or horrible. You know? I mean it would be ridiculous if we were making decisions about what Kung Fu is by watching one or two guys performing what they call Kung Fu. Well... my thought anyway.

    Arthur
     
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  19. Gweilo

    Gweilo 3rd Black Belt

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    The Russian martial art of Systema is a relatively new art in Western consciousness. Having been previously classified during the Soviet era, it was only first revealed beyond the country’s borders in 1993. Even then, early promoters needed to work to establish its credibility as even many government and military officials refuted its existence. Today, it is widely established and has grown exponentially beyond its borders but still in the youth of its expansion, it suffers from many misconceptions and misinterpretations.

    10-The art is a hybrid of Asian styles:
    Not true. Systema was formally created following a detailed experimentation and exploration of the Asian arts by the government. Naturally, it does therefore contain influences and responses to Asiatic systems. It’s chief foundation however comes from the synthesis of uniquely Slavic cultural folk systems, including ancient Cossack traditions which trace their origins to the 10th century.

    9- Systema is purely a military art:
    Systema was certainly designed initially for the military and is still employed by Special units within Russia as well as individually practised by professionals around the world, however there is much greater depth than simply hand-to-hand fighting. Many people see the sensational highlights of training in forests and lakes, in camouflage with weaponry and assume there is no place for civilians. In reality, the greatest advantages of Systema comes from its unique teaching approach, its emphasis on breathwork, biomechanical efficiency, relaxation and healthy function. Through this, it provides a total health and personal protection system that is at once simple to learn and sophisticated in its profound depth.

    8-Systema is exclusionary:
    Many myths have been propagated about Systema being less than inviting towards non-Russian or specifically non-Orthodox practitioners. This is simply a feeble attempt at counter-marketing. A quick survey of Systema’s instructors worldwide and the location of its affiliate schools will show that Systema is enjoyed by practitioners around the world, regardless of their cultural origins or religious denominations. While every instructor may bring their own life experiences to bear in training, there is nothing inherent in Systema that requires the adoption of specific religious or cultural beliefs.

    7-Systema is all about no-touch knockouts and chi blasts:
    All Systema training addresses the relationship between the psychological and the physical. This includes a very small portion that addresses the role of reflexes and fear responses. Some drills do employ deception and influence quite similar to hypnosis to show students how easily the mind and body can be tricked. Others use stimuli and responses in a playful game of exaggerated movement to help students learn to free their responses from fear. All of these games are simply training devices and can only be helpful within the context of a training environment with partners that one trusts. While these can translate indirectly into strategies for combat, they have little direct translation to combat technique–not unlike fakes in boxing can play a role but cannot be relied upon as a trusted tactic. Sadly, some instructors from other styles have chosen to exaggerate the importance of these drills and to sensationalize them, claiming or implying that they are somehow combat relevant. Adding to this is the unfortunate translation of “psyche” to “psychic”. Ultimately, these drills are of little consequence in the more practical side of things and once experienced can be quickly understood and integrated to their proper role and importance.

    6-Systema advocates body hardening:
    Systema believes that contact should begin early in training, with slow but incremental increases in the amount received. This includes a use of exercises that teach practitioners how to absorb punches, largely to the body. Many viewers wrongly assume that this means Systema advocates some Russian version of Iron Body Chi Kung. Again, nothing could be further from the truth. Punch absorption in Systema is more of a psychological drill than a physical one. It is designed to show students the role that fear plays in responding to pain, particularly through the use of stances and flinch response. Punch absorption reveals to the student their individual responses to fear and pain and teaches them how to safely and effectively deal with them. The end goal is not to make the body “tougher”–in fact, all Systema combat techniques rather yielding to force rather than stopping or absorbing it. Furthermore, by striking the human body rather than an inanimate bag, students learn to adapt to an ever-changing surface. In actual application, students would rarely employ so much punching or target the body so heavily. Strikes to vital areas are emphasizes far more. To some extent, punch absorption has become a parlor trick that is over-valued by some instructors. In reality, strikes to the eyes, throat and groin can never be “absorbed” or conditioned against. These drills simply appear to be more sensational on film and so have been promoted to saturation.

    5-Systema is based on “natural movement” so anything goes:
    In Systema, natural movement does not refer to simply any action we do automatically. Rather natural movement refers to movement that is optimally efficient in its freedom from fear. When a human is relaxed and healthy and balanced, he or she will move to the greatest degree of their inherent capacity–this is what is the ideal every practitioner seeks. Initial reflexes are often tense and stiff and quite the opposite of natural or effective movement and so training seeks to chip away at the inessential tension. As instructor Martin Wheeler has said, Systema is not the art you learn, it’s the art you remember.

    4-Systema has no technique:
    This is not entirely correct. Yes, Systema does advocate principles over pattern, but some degree of technical training is still required. There is a better way to kick, a more efficient way to punch, etc. It would be more correct to say that Systema does not employ choreographed drills or fixed patterns of movement. Students are taught the biomechanical reasons why a specific technique works and then led to their own individual interpretation of that principle.

    3-Systema training is always slow:
    Systema does make a strong use of “slow” training. As the old military expression touts, slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Every training experience in training has the potential to either erode fear or else to add to it. Training quickly, while helpful for testing, does nothing to improve responses in the immediate context. When you train quickly, you reinforce your existant responses. Like learning to walk, swim, ride a bike or drive a car, Systema advocates slow work where practitioners provide unchoreographed stimuli and explore various responses. Contact is introduced first to understand the effect this has on the psyche, distance and timing and speed is added second. While much of Systema training is done at slowly speeds, faster training is certainly essential in the formula.

    2-Systema does not advocate sparring:
    This misconception stems from the previous point about slow training. At faster speeds, all movement becomes closer in type and more familiar. Simply promoting the end result does little to highlight the distinctions in Systema. In the end, there are only so many ways the body can inflict harm. The true greatness in Systema is the manner in which it approaches learning and training. The slow training approach is a huge benefit, but equally important are theoretical education and pressure testing phases. Sparring is definitely essential, against weapons, empty handed attacks and multiple attackers.

    1-All Systema is created equally:
    There are numerous major lineages of Systema now known outside of Russia. The Ryabko Vasiliev lineage from which I hail is renown for a more intuitive approach to training and the heavy use of contact in application. This stems from the detailed and intensive military experiences of our founders. Other lineages are far more scientific and theoretical than practical and still others are promoted by practitioners with little to no actual ability or experience. These realities can be seen easily in their work. In the end, there are as many Systema as there are practitioners. Each student and teacher combines their own unique life experiences with the art, as with any style. The distinction with Systema perhaps is that there is simply more room for this interpretation and application than in many other arts.
     
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  20. wab25

    wab25 Black Belt

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    I agree. No one here has been making decisions based on the performance of one or two random guys performing Systema. We have been looking at the highest level instructors and practitioners of the art. This is like looking at Masahiko Kimura, Kyuzo Mifune and Jigoro Kano to gain an opinion of Judo. Or looking at Helio Gracie, Royce Gracie and Rickson Gracie to gain an opinion of BJJ.

    As explained above, Ryabko Vasiliev is one of the better lineages, due to the heavy use of contact in application, stemming from intensive military experience. Well, here he is (if you don't have time for the entire 12 minutes, at least skip ahead and see the technique at 8:09...):
    123
     

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