My daughter loves systema


Purple Belt
Oct 27, 2002
Reaction score
Bellingham, MA
My daughter Kayla started taking systema with Arthur Sennott she said she loves it. She really likes working with No such chick(Jen).

She seems to take to it because the movements are so natural to her, plus Arthur is a great teacher. Kayla has been in kenpo for four years, she is 12 years old and I think training will help her when tough choices in her teen years need to be made.:)
I have not heard of too many children taking classes, so I thank you your info, keep us posted and how much fun she is having.
I think we can all learn from her.

I would imagine that most children would enjoy Systema, and be natural at it, but how about the attention span?

This is a general question for everyone, how many teach to children, and what are your insights?

Been wondering this for awhile now, thanks for starting the post!

Im glad to hear Kayla is enjoying class. Im happy to have her in the class. Shes a smart and good hearted girl, and I believe her presence will significantly add to the skill development of the others in the class.

I wish Id had more time to work with her today. Id just started deconstructing some movements with her, and had to end. I hate leaving someone in that state. On the bright side for her, Ill likely giver her a little extra attention next class.

Jenn (NoSuchChick), made a point of telling me that Kaylas pivot point and rotation work were filled with potential, and I should remember that of the future and continue to emphasize it with her. Jenn said the time they spent working on that drill was quite helpful and she got a lot out of it.

I thought her articulation about the naturalness f the movement during the circle up was quite poignant.

Systema is all about making peace with fear, and that is one of the biggest issues in teen life, so Im sure your right. Oh and thanks for the nice words.

Systema is great for kids. They are closer to their natural motions than most adults. The Systema movements help them to build better synaptic function and neural crossover,.

Normally I dont teach anyone under 18. There are two reasons for that. Unfortunately, those under 18 have no say in their legal decisions. If a 16 year old hits himself in the head with a stick his parents can still sue no matter what he says. While I respect many people under 18 greatly, Ive found that frequently their parents are deserving of a bit less respect.

The second reason is, I want my students to be responsible, but its very hard for a person under 18 to follow through if their parents prevent them from doing so. Those under 16 miss classes because Mom blew them off for the drive in or maybe dad with held the keys for punishment that week. Ive found that when dealing with teens, when the parents cause them to lose their honor in front of the class it can be damaging to their sense of self.

Consequently, my standard policy is no one under 18 allowed, without special permission. When someone under 18 asks to join class I always tell them I have to speak with their parents, and it must be their parents that initiate contact. This allows the parent to blow me off, and if they do then we know it would have been an uncomfortable situation for the kid.

Then I try to get a feel for the parent. Sometimes Ill deny a kid access based on the feel I get from the parent. I hate to do that, but sometimes you gotta. Other times Ill make the mistake of overriding my feeling for the parent with my like/respect for the kid. Its usually a mistake, but my help others out side gets in the way nonetheless.

So occasionally we make exceptions and allow some 15-17 year olds in. Kayla is the first preteen Ive accepted for Systema training. Its a unique situation. Shes wise for her years, I like and trust her dad, and her Dad is right in class. I dont have to worry about him misinterpreting what happened in class. Hes right there, taking an active interest. I wish that could be said more often.

I dont teach kids classes though. If I have a youngster in class, they get treated like an adult. Personally I have an issue with teaching a life and death art and making it kid friendly. I expect them to carry themselves as adults and I also expect the adults to treat them with an equal amount of respect. Frankly I personally believe adults have more to learn from working with kids than the other way around.

but how about the attention span?
I think the dumbing down off the attention span is one of our current problems in society. Weve built up great excuses around it.. and even created pseudo diseases. People tend to get away with what they can whether its an adult or a child. Give them the leeway and theyll hang themselves with it. Give the task dire consequences and the person will listen. I could go into a whole speech on this, but Ill save it;-)

>and what are your insights?
While I dont teach children these days I have in the past. Ive also done a special Systema seminar for young children, which went great and I found very interesting. When asked about this before, I wrote a post on the RMA board and included some pics from that seminar. The post is now archived in the featured posts section of the RMA board. If youd like to read it, you can at

D_Brady - it's great that you're getting your daughter involved in Systema so young. She's going to have a great advantage over those of us who started much later in life :)

I think I would have done well in Systema at 12. It would have given me structure and a purpose in life that was sorely lacking throughout my teen years. It probably would have also kept me out some of the trouble I got myself into.

Arthur's right, we don't expect enough out of young people these days...and they live up to our expectations of them.

I'm looking forward to working with all of you in April :D


Latest Discussions