Systema vs. (Insert Art Here) Repost from RMA Forum

Brad S.

Yellow Belt
Jan 15, 2005
Reaction score
Systema vs. (Insert Art Here)

In the endless and frankly tiresome debate about which art is superior I personally experienced something that truly is unique about The System. Forget the whole slew of this or that doesnt, couldnt, wouldnt work in real life, You stole my sacred, ancient art and put a Russian name to it, We are just the toughest around arguments. Since this experience occurred I have tried and tried to see what would have happened if I had never studied The System and instead studied any other martial art. I only ever come up with one answer: death to the other person involved. Let me explain.

I hit a middle-aged woman! Well, we crashed into each other anyway. Here is the story, the short version: I was on my snowboard, like I try to be on weekends, and I was at the top of a beginner slope, albeit a pretty steep beginner slope. I was trying to catch up to the rest of my party who were supposed to be at the bottom of the run. So I started down the run and I came upon a mass of beginners all clogging up the right side of the run. I then banked to the middle of the run going about 30 mph at least. I was flying. I cut back to the right to slow down, just as some woman broke out of the pack and decided to ski right where I was going. Basically, she was in my total blind spot at this time. I yelled for her to look out but it was too late.

I had no time to evade and I knew instantly we were going to crash head-on. She was going way too fast for a beginner and I was going fast myself. In a split-second I realized that she was older, if not old, we were going to hit and that I was going to either put her in the hospital or kill her. (I was wearing a helmet-she was not)

Then something amazing happened. I actually waved my whole body and arms around her just like we have all done in training when someone comes at us. There was virtually no impact to either of our bodies from us colliding! Imagine running into someone at about 50 mph, not in your car but body-to-body. People die like this every year. In addition, my heart rate did not even change through all of this.

Of course my board got tangled in her skis and we both fell down. I actually helped her to the snow while I went tumbling about 30 more feet down the mountain. This is fascinating as well. I had to take a nasty fall to keep her from being injured and I hit the snow in a fairly awkward position. As I kept going end over end and spinning the only injuries I sustained were slight neck pain and the aggravation that she ruined my run! We had time to talk about it and then both of us got up and went on our way. I remember riding down to the lodge thinking that she did not even know how close to death or serious injury she was.

I think to the other arts I have studied before training in Systema and I can imagine the impact. (I actually did hit a friend on skis when I first started to learn to ride. The speeds were much slower-she was standing still and I was riding to her. I hit her and gave her a concussion and knocked the wind out of me.) Hard arts might have done me some good because I would have been tough enough to take the hit; This lady would not have been. Other soft arts I have seen or trained in would have done my body little good at getting out of the way like I did, being stuck to a plank of wood at the time.

It amazes me that all the elements of training that we employ in The System, such as gently putting someone to the ground, all coalesced into this one moment. This was everyday living, not some macho tough-guy fight or competition. In the end the skills I learned saved not only myself from harm but also the other person involved. That is testimony enough to train in The System for me.


Latest Discussions