Women in Systema

Roland

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I have not seen or heard of too many myself.
I have even overheard others say that there are very few that come out or continue to train it.

Any reason why?
How about the exceptions. Who are they and why do they stick it out?
Are the methods different for training women, or with women?
If so, why? And what are the differences?

Just some thoughts.
 
G

GouRonin

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Vlad's school has 2 women I know of who train there regularily and a few more who travel once in a bit to be there.

I think that the ratio of men to women in any art is low.

Which is crappy because I dig hot babes throwing punches.
:rolleyes:

Call me and we'll talk about this re: the free for all fighting Vlad sometimes has at the school at the end of class.

It's not appropriate for this forum.
 

Jackal

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Ive found that its actually easier to train women (than men) in Systema because theyre more comfortable with the concept of non-resistance. There is less ego involved and with that comes less tension. Men usually have to be broken first before they can start learning. Women are also typically more aware of their bodies and are more willing to let themselves go to increase their sensitivity.

Why there are so few involved? Psychological conditioning for the most part. Many dont think they could take being beaten with a stick as well as a man could. They rarely give themselves a chance to surprise themselves.
 
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Roland

Roland

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...women would actually enjoy training in Systema and enjoy all the benefits of it too. I would think it would be easy to introduce the training methods to women and give them the chance to try it for themsleves.
So, where are they?
What is really holding them back from training?
Pychological conditioning? mmmmmmmm, maybe, but I see a lot of women train at other schools, maybe not as many as the men, but there are still a lot out there.
Heck, some schools have an equal, or even more ratio of women.

The few women I have seen who were introduced to Systema loved it, but these were at seminars and there is not really the capacity for steady training there.

I feel like we are missing something here.
 
K

KenpoGirl

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As you know Roland, I have participated in a systema seminar with Martin Wheeler. I thought it very kewl, and enjoyed it emencely, and if there was a local instructor I would seriously consider doing some cross training in systema.

The only thing that makes me hesitate is the practise of beating on each other so that you work "past the pain" or however it's put.

Gou and Jay have both explained the purpose behind it and it all sounds very logical. But when I saw an example of it at the seminar when Mr. Wheeler said. "Who wants me to hit them" and all the guys stuck there hands up and did like Horseshack. "Ooh Ooh Me Me" and stood there, one after the other, while Mr. Wheeler beat on them, and I'm not talking love taps either. Just seemed like a lot of testosterone hooey to me.

I didn't see any girl volunteer. I tend to believe that girls are to smart to stand there and let someone beat on them. That's why we are in Martial arts to DEFEND ourselves. I have no problem taking a hit while training or sparring, but I guess you could say that practise intimidates the heck outta me. ;)

But then again that's just my opinion. :D

Dot
 

Jay Bell

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Where it's real hot..
Gou and Jay have both explained the purpose behind it and it all sounds very logical. But when I saw an example of it at the seminar when Mr. Wheeler said. "Who wants me to hit them" and all the guys stuck there hands up and did like Horseshack. "Ooh Ooh Me Me" and stood there, one after the other, while Mr. Wheeler beat on them, and I'm not talking love taps either. Just seemed like a lot of testosterone hooey to me.

haha..understandable. When you watch it, it *does* seem like a bunch of dudes getting together and seeing how tough they are. It's honestly completely opposite. It's a confidence building tool. The interesting thing about Systema, is all b.s. stays at the door. You can believe your own hype or the hype that the world sets for you, but in the training, the true you comes out.

Behind the curtain of what we allow the world to see of ourselves, many of us need that boost. When you are taken to your limit...and you continue to press forward, something inside of you changes. The fact that you have reached your limit, believe it or not, allows the ego to settle...and more times then not, dissipate. The fact that you continue to move on, get up and go again builds confidence. It's the idea that even though I've reached my point...the path doesn't just come to a dead end in the road.

If you think watching that is bad...you should hear the stories of Mikhail doing the same thing :D
 
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Roland

Roland

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There have been several ladies who did that part at some of the mini-seminars that Martin has done while up here at various times.
Two where at the camp also, and like myself were trying to give others a chance to feel, and believe.
I am not sure about all the anyone else has told you, but it sounds incomplete. It is way more than what you think it is. Really should not be that much pain.
On a side note...
l also find that 80% who come into the school to watch a class never join, but 80% who participate, always do. I think you are kind of going through the same thing here.

Besides, it is optional, you do not have to do it, unless you are ready for it, I have seen Vlad turn people down and encourage others depending on where he thought they were. Mentally & Emotionaly.
 
K

KenpoGirl

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I do not know that much about Systema to give a totaly honest opinion. My only experience is from that one seminar and from what Gou has been telling me. You did a very good job of explaining further Roland, thank you. :asian:

Gou is very excited about Systema, when he talks about it you can see it. He talks about what Vlad has taught him, how it can be used with any martial art to improve your skills. The exercises and workouts. LOL and how Vlad beat him up that last time they trained. Sytema sounds like a really great martial art, though very unique in its forms of training. It may be something I will explore more in the future.
 
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Roland

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Everyone gets out of Systema what they want.
Or, maybe, even, what they need.

If you were to spend some time with one individual, you would get the proballly get the feelings that they are experiencing, if you were then to spend an equal amount of time with another, thoses feeling would be completlety different.

Even seeing it is not the same as anything else. I, and several of my friends, laughed the first time I watched Vlads first three tapes. Now, I wish i understood them better.
It must be felt. Some arts can be watched, others talked about, but Systema must be experienced, on a physical, mental & emotional level.

Ofcourse these too, are just my personal experiences.
 
R

Rich_

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In Russia, there are quite a few women learning ROSS; like any martial art (except possibly Tae Bo), markedly fewer than men, but cultural conditioning doesn't really promote physicality for women such as is found in what to most people is seen as fighting. On the other hand, Russian culture (largely due to the Soviet background) has a more equal basis than most Western society.

In the UK there are no senior-level Ross practicioners. It's still a young art here, though, and a lot of women have come to classes for basic self-defence skills (at least one of whom had to - successfully - defend herself within 24 hours of her last class!), and a few more experienced martial artists who've used the Russian training approach to improve their base skills.
 
R

RobP

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We only have one female training regulalry in the enitre group - and she is aged 14. Her movment skills are now very good and what she lacks in power she can usually compensate for in evasion and sensitivity. She'd certainly stand up well against someone in her own age group.
We've had other women come along, but none for more than a few classes. I think some women find it difficult when you start doing ground fighting, for example, or the fact that everything is full contact.
Mind you I think that is a general thing for both men and women - a lot of people seem to prefer standing in line throwing punches into thin air ;-)
 
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Roland

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...why not let them only get to that part when they feel ready for it? In fact, is that not what an instructor is supposed to do. Help build the confidence of the student until they feel they are ready to move on, learn something new?
Any idiot can get on the ground and roll around, or even just beat others up, or even let themselves be beaten. But what about the average person, who needs a progressive learning enviroment, one where they are made to feel comfortable and move along with the help of their instructor?
 
R

RobP

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Originally posted by Roland

...why not let them only get to that part when they feel ready for it? In fact, is that not what an instructor is supposed to do. Help build the confidence of the student until they feel they are ready to move on, learn something new?
Any idiot can get on the ground and roll around, or even just beat others up, or even let themselves be beaten.

Well thanks.

We don't throw people in at the deep end, we do introduce a lot of things gradually, but the fact remains that even seeing other students doing that sort of work can put people off.

OTOH an instructor is also supposed to help a person ovecome their fears, particularly in Systema, which does sometimes mean being "cruel to be kind". Fair enough, it's not for everyone, but you can't make an omellette etc etc
 
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Roland

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My posts are not directed at you, but at what I fee lis a lack in what we are all doing. Or, more probally, a lack of understanding.
I am hoping between us all we can enlighten ourselves and help others in the process too.
I am looking for ways to understand for myself, and to pass onto others that I teach. It is kind of a double edge sword that way, sometimes I get lost while looking. Not sure if I am looking for myself, or for my students.
At the end of the day, it is all good to learn.
(I hope)
 

Jackal

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...why not let them only get to that part when they feel ready for it? In fact, is that not what an instructor is supposed to do. Help build the confidence of the student until they feel they are ready to move on, learn something new?

That's not typically the way Systema works (Well, in seminars maybe, where different backgrounds are taken into account but...). Because Systema is not technique-based, there are no beginner moves or advanced moves.

It's all just movement.

Everyone works on the same drill at the same time. The Students are given a problem and are limited only by their creativity and how comfortable they are with their bodies in order to solve it.

No distinction is made between standing or lying down in terms of fighting. Unless you're in water or you're falling from the sky, you are on the ground. The ground is the least forgiving enemy you'll ever face. Students are taught to love it, "like a dear friend who will never lie to you."

Systema training is very much a sink or swim environment. You have to get your head together and let your body move because you know that when your training partner attacks, he/she is not going to miss you. Granted, movement is done slowly to allow the practitioners to feel their own energy and develop a sence of timing but, to water Systema down in order to make it less intimidating would rob it of the unique value it has.

Any idiot can get on the ground and roll around, or even just beat others up, or even let themselves be beaten. But what about the average person, who needs a progressive learning enviroment, one where they are made to feel comfortable and move along with the help of their instructor?

Agreed, and there are a lot of idiots out there. However, the average person does not have the luxury of being made to feel comfortable when they are learning methods of personal protection. In Systema, people are nurtured and guided, but not carried. There has to be a certain something inherent in the student to drive them to learn, continue and improve.

Systema is not for the average person. It's for those who seek to truly know themselves. Not many people are ready and willing for that. It can be pretty frightening at times. One has to be 'kind of comfortable with discomfort'. Or at least willing to become so for a time.

-Jackal
 
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Roland

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..you could be saying that Systema training will not really train anyone, just weed out those who are not good enough. I do not think you are saying that, it is just how it might come across.

I have always thought of Systema as a way back to natural movement and being comfortable with yourself, and your fears.
I understand you can not carry anyone through, and that training sahould be a personal experience for eveyone, hence the ending of class in a circle to recount what we wish about class. But it seems to me that there is a lot you can do to help others once you understand that everyone has different things to overcome in their training. Some will get through faster then others, but I do not think we should pass those others over.

Oh yeah, saw 1 female in class yesterday, she was doing way better than me in being able to hold her push ups and do situps. Not sure aout the rest of training, but I know she was in there and very active.
 
G

GouRonin

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Originally posted by Roland
Oh yeah, saw 1 female in class yesterday, she was doing way better than me in being able to hold her push ups and do situps. Not sure aout the rest of training, but I know she was in there and very active.

I got to work with her a bit.

She hits harder than you.

Ha ha ha!
:rofl:
 

Jackal

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..you could be saying that Systema training will not really train anyone, just weed out those who are not good enough. I do not think you are saying that, it is just how it might come across.

I was a bit cranky last night when I wrote my post and no, that isn't totally what I meant. :)

My meaning was that Systema training has a way of making one rise to the occasion rather than lie back in the comfort that if you're not paying attention, the other person isn't going to hit you.

If the student is afraid of water but wants to learn how to swim, they can't learn how on the beach. The instructor will be in the water to help them only if they start to drown, not just if they feel uneasy in the water. If you just take baby steps in and you get nervous, you can just wade back to shore. The idea is to make the person feel somewhat uncomfortable, so they don't have a safe and easy out. In that state, the unconscious survival mechanisms that we all have suppressed in our cushioned society begin to emerge. It's those instincts which are then explored and refined so as to prepare the student to rely on himself/herself in a real survival situation.

It's the mindset that gets explored first so that the body can be trained realistically.

As for weeding out those who aren't good enough, that's not the case at all. I've taught small women, people in wheelchairs, a man with cerebral palsy...they all gained tremendously using Systema concepts because they learned how to tailor all movements to their unique situations and then realized that their only limitations were based on their creativity.

My claim was that Systema is not like a sport martial art where people can just go to relax and work out after a hard day and not have to struggle physically or emotionally. To make it such an environment would be a great disservice to those whose professions (protection, law enforcement) depend on the sense of realism maintained in the classroom. (Vladimir said Systema is not a martial art - it is a system of survival - there's a big difference) Many are drawn to The System, myself included, because they feel that it is the last refuge to truly prepare themselves for any hardship or confrontation they might encounter.

I trained for 13 or so years in several different martial arts before finding Systema and was deeply affected by how misled I'd been in some those other systems (where the level of the class was brought down to the student rather than the other way around). I apologize if I seem somewhat hard-edged about the subject - I'm not usually like that. I just get a bit defensive when the concept of "Systema for the masses" is addressed. That's what killed nearly every art taught in America today.
:(

It reminds me of the quote by Van Damme in the movie 'Bloodsport'.

"The Kumite is for the fighters, not for the people who read newspapers."

I know that's kind of a silly comparison, but it's not far off from the truth.

I encourage everyone to study Systema and rise to the occasion. It's taken my skills, abilities and general outlook in life to a place I'd never imagined they could be.

-Jackal
 

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