1. #1
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Siberian Cossack Systema Seminar Review, May 2015


    mma review ratings
    Aliveness: 3
    Equipment: 5
    Gym Size: 6
    Atmosphere/Attitude: 1
    Striking Instruction: 4
    Grappling Instruction: 5
    Weapons Instruction: 3
    Andrey Karimov of Siberian Cossack Systema will be coming to the U.S. at the end of this year. The following is my review of the recent Siberian Cossack Systema seminar in St. Petersburg, May 2015. There were parts I enjoyed, and there were parts that were disappointing.

    On the first day of the event, there was registration and dancing, with a little bit of martial arts mixed in. Interesting approach to tie dancing to fighting. It encourages footwork and movement. I have not seen that at other schools and seminars.

    The first days of the event were mostly focused on dancing and its connection to fighting. At one point, Andrey Karimov brought me to the front of the class to try a takedown while we used the dancing movements we were practicing. The student I was demonstrating on managed to resist my takedown. Andrey Karimov told myself and the class that my movement didn't succeed because of who my parents were. It was a little strange and didn't help my technique at all. Fortunately, the Russian student I was demonstrating with was kind enough to give me some tips to help me maximize my leverage and how to get more out of my effort. All of the Russian students and instructors were kind, helpful, and encouraging. Same with the other international students.

    In the evenings, they started doing more concert preparations and dancing, which I didn't have much interest in myself. I was told all of the training was optional, and chose to skip the concert preparation.

    I often asked what was on the schedule, and was often told that they didn't know what was going to happen. This was unfortunate, because there was a schedule for the event, but it was not being followed. The schedule had more martial arts segments planned than was being instructed. The focus of the seminar seemed more and more to be about dancing and performing.

    The dancing and performance practice was in preparation for the May 9th Victory Day celebration. I believe that it is a great and justified celebration and tradition. I, however, as an American, didn't feel it was my place to dance in celebration of the Russian triumph over Nazi Germany. I think Americans have already taken too much credit for victory in World War 2. Also, I came to practice Systema, I'm not big into performing at events. But I digress.

    As the schedule wasn't being followed, and more optional training events were focused less on Systema, I decided to go walk across St. Petersburg. All of the dancing and walking of the previous days aggravated a old injury, which made it less appealing to train when there was training I was interested in.

    When I returned from my excursion late in the evening, I arrived to a group discussion. In the group discussion, the American coordinator was gloating about how great it was to not follow a schedule, and proceeded to say that they wished they had better American representatives. Considering I was the only other American not affiliated with them, I assumed they were referring to myself and my friend. When it was my turn to speak, I told them I was happy to leave. Ultimately, I did leave early. Not following the schedule, and less martial arts than promised by the schedule (at a Systema seminar, no less) had me on the fence. Disrespectful management made my decision for me.

    There was some good, too, though. The Russian students, practioners, and instructors were all very friendly. There was awesome instruction on sword movements and patterns. There were many skilled and helpful people in the group. I had a lot of help and patience as I stumbled my way through learning shashka swinging patterns, fighting with a sword, learning Russian words and phrases, footwork, posture...really, so many things.

    Also, a shout out to the translators. It would have been impossible without you.

    But with only so much time to spend in Russia, I decided to go and see other martial arts options that are not available in the United States. I wish the school and community well, and hope you can find something useful from my feedback.
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  2. #2

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    This?



    I'd take lessons from him in how to convince your student to fall over when you wave your hands at him.

  3. #3
    1
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Yeah. That. For people looking for alternate or "legit" Systema, this isn't much better than what is offered in North America currently.

    I like Systema, especially Kadochnikov and it's lower acrobatics, but you're going to get as much non-instruction and bullshido as much as many other options in North America. Couple that with terrible PR and some of the most miserable and unpleasant American representatives, I really warn people to not waste their time, money, or effort investigating this "option".

  4. #4

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Response to your"review"

    This thread was just brought to my attention today, and since I am the person or the "American representative" in the discussion, let me just go ahead and introduce myself. My name is Olivia Overturf, and yes, I represent Mr.Karimov in the United States. I do not need to hide being an anonymous avatar or anything else for that matter. The following was a published response to all the negative hype the two men who "did not like the seminar" posted in several other forums. As to not continue to repeat myself, I have copy and pasted this response that is dated from May 20th(we were still in the seminar in St. P). While BOTH these men had the opportunity to go to Mr. Karimov about the schedule (or ever Mr. Sheshukov), neither did and both waited to be clear of St. P when they chose to be online keyboard warriors.Both had the seminar contents prior to the seminar and yes, unfortunately the schedule had to change due to overcrowding of events in the massive gym hall( this was the same time, and location that the now famous Steven Segal demo was behind held) Announcements were made of schedule changes. I am not a babysitter. I was not a coordinator, I merely told Mr. Karimov I was coming in May. The rest of us are trying to really stop this kind of immature inner art bickering, it seems to be relentless. There are better things to do in the world and while one half of this duo wrote an ok review of the 5 or so days he tried to hang in there, the other half half heartedly called Mr. Karimov in a public setting(online, of course), to challenge or work with him privately post seminar. Unfortunately, Mr. Karimov was not aware of this , nor would he care, but also, his son was wounded in a horrible car accident which left him hospitalized. While two insignificant people were playing keyboard commandos , the rest of us were at hospital bedside . The bottom line, this was a cultural event, the event tile ws "Together For Peace". And yes, I was damn miserable while they were there because I had never heard two grown men whine so much in my life(only to me of course).Once these men left the seminar, we continued to progress, train and go forward in a much happier place. Of course I am only speaking on behalf of myself, but I also have nothing to hide. I wish them the best in their journey, and the other almost 40 participants who remained the ENTIRE 21 days, had no complaints(not counting the 10 or so children who handled it like bosses).....
    (my response on May 20th )...
    "No, this isn't a cult....many of you who know me, know that I would not even be asked to join a cult, hahaha! While it seems like the details of our seminar(still going on) have webbed into something else, and yes, I've read the reviews.... let me clear a few things up , for those of you who have messaged me about comments being made off list.
    First, I am not an "organizer" of this event...I did try to help people find rooms and Visas, but to organize an event would require knowing the location, scheduling training times, forms, accepting payment, keeping track of people...etc. I , personally, was not even sure where the event was even on the day of the event( I was lost for two hours...). I merely told Andrey Karimov I was coming to Russia, in May. I left all creative decisions up to him. I did ask for a few key components(which he delivered) and I did ask for a heavy cultural immersion aspect(again, fully succeeded).I also asked for as much work with children as he can provide. These were my personal interests and I am completely satiated with what was taught. I have never or will never read the schedule. I came in organically.
    Second, the schedule. Yup..the schedule went off track. It happens. The event took place in an olympic sized training facility and there were overlaps that we could not control with meeting rooms and times. Being adaptable is the best character quality to have, especially for martial arts. This event had a registered number of participants (15 total) two days before start time. That number increased significantly on day one of training. The schedule change was announced at different variables, if it was not heard or understood by attendees, then it was up to the attendees to gather information. Not one part of the event(including performance) was mandatory. Not one. I personally have missed a few days of training because I chose to go to military stores and museums and also, because I was sick. It was a non issue. I became responsible for the information I missed out on, including further schedule changes. Everyone had the right to both ask and discuss these issues with the two core instructors.
    Third..the "cult" reference. Interesting choice of words. While there is a Father from the on site Orthodox church here at the gym, I'd hardly say this was a cult. In fact, Mr. Karimov himself is largely against group ideaologies unless they are for the positive impact of both the environment and for children. The costumes and song choices are authentic Cossack style, which...is clearly displayed in his school title. This event, again, was heavy with cultural and ethnographic tones, meaning...everyone was "dressed"up at some point or another(um..even I was asked to bring a skirt..which I will talk more about later). Singing and dancing were both on the itinariry . This was not a strictly combatives type workshop , however , Mr. Karimov does provide those types of workshops when there is a demand. Combatives were trained at intervals and down times as students approached individual instructors for this. Also, I have not posted many of the "combative" photographs because I was actively training or writing about the technique. There will be at least 10 if not more DVDs from this event. Again, anything combative came from a cultural standpoint, which was specifically designed for this event.
    Fourth..suprises...I personally was not expecting some of the guest instructors. This was especially pleasant for myself and others because they are amazing as individual instructors and as a co-instructors...this, was not on the schedule(um, more than likely..that is because it was a surprise for me). Once the group , as a whole , decided what we wanted more of, Mr. Karimov acted.. More sword demonstrations..check. More singing..check. More sword dancing ...check.. If people were not there to vote, then they did indeed miss their opportunity to make a choice and voice their opinion. I missed one major opportunity myself...my fault, no one else's. I missed other voting opportunities just by running down to grab a coffee. It's Russia, in Russia, no one waits for you smile emoticon
    Fifth.."training"hours... the hours were indeed exhausting and long. This is most likely due to living a "Cossack" solider life style of being nomadic, then training, singing, dancing and fighting as a group. We danced and trained to exhaustion. 8 am until 2 am to be exact( and yes, Mr. Karimov himself was energetic the entire time. In fact, we trained like this to a breaking point... the blisters on my feet were excrutiating. Dancing is not for everyone. Myself included...my fiance, looked like a brick, in the beginning...NOW, we both move pretty fluidly and can flow better with training. I would like to note that I have lost 15 pounds while doing so, so my self eval of dancing has now changed. I have become more limber, more solid in my stance and my rolls and falls are more amazing than ever. Not to mention my confidence. Again, not for everyone, but everyone who signed up for the seminar knew this was a huge element of the seminar and was initially "ok" with it. Again...all of this was very clear in the seminar outline which all attendees received and nothing was mandatory. People had the option of paying per diem or for the entire seminar.
    This event was also held in conjunction with the Victory Day Parade,meaning attendees knew they would be performing at a parade, which is why it was crucial to understand and learn the dances and songs. That was also discussed prior and openly before the event.
    The event currently is in it's last few days and we are all grateful for our experience. It will be held again next year, same time, most likely, same place. This event was very , very specific in nature and does not determine the overall type of event that Mr. Karimov conducts. I am speaking for myself on this one though, if you'd like something similar or do not want something similar, I suggest you ask him personally or find out for yourself. Each technique, theory, fight manuever have all been discussed in detail , by both Mr. Karimov and Mr. Shehsukov and no one leaves until we all understand the concept, theory and can execute the drill. I, personally missed some of the lower acrobatic work because I was moving the over 2000 photographs I have from one device to another.
    If this type of seminar is not for you, then it is not for you...I've said that from the beginning. There were several announcements, FB page and a VK page about the type of event this was. It was not strictly combatives, not strictly dance, not strictly one thing vs another.In fact, we've had some language lessons, art tours, balalaika making, song and voice lessons. It was a cultural experience , which is not for some people and that is totally understandable. The event increased in size over the course of the last two weeks which again, required a schedule change. The seminar was 21 days in length and is not for everyone. There was almost an equal amount of women AND men at this event(trust me, I was completely thrown off with that one) and ALL of us did the same work. While we are truly sorry two people did not enjoy themselves at the event, the future of RMA cohesiveness and evolution, should not rely upon that. In the end, be responsible for your own actions and choices and read clearly what you are signing up for. If you show up and are not happy, then voice that to the instructors during the event. Since we are all trying to make this a stronger , more diverse community, let's do just that. Happy training!"

  5. #5
    My dog is cuter and smarter than yours. Join us... or die
    BKR's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Wall of text, didn't bother to read it all.

    If the video posted is representative of what was or is taught, your response is really of no consequence.
    Falling for Judo since 1980

  6. #6

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    That's such an awesome comeback, no really. Karimov has hundreds of videos. Let me sum up... the reviewer(s) couldn't handle the seminar. Pussed out. The end.

  7. #7
    ghost55's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by milosmami View Post
    That's such an awesome comeback, no really. Karimov has hundreds of videos. Let me sum up... the reviewer(s) couldn't handle the seminar. Pussed out. The end.
    Or maybe he realized that he was wasting his time when he realized that Systema is for...



    ....





    ....



    ....







    Pussies.

  8. #8
    My dog is cuter and smarter than yours. Join us... or die
    BKR's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by milosmami View Post
    That's such an awesome comeback, no really. Karimov has hundreds of videos. Let me sum up... the reviewer(s) couldn't handle the seminar. Pussed out. The end.
    I wasn't trying to make a comeback. Anybody who demos that kind of fake crap can't be worth paying attention to. Seriously, people getting touched and falling down ?

    Post some better videos. Post the very best, in your opinion,that demonstrate just how wonderful what he does is.

    It' up to you, I'm not going to sift through the dross.
    Falling for Judo since 1980

  9. #9
    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by milosmami View Post
    The rest of us are trying to really stop this kind of immature inner art bickering...
    Then why are you hear? This review was posted on an FB group with my name and picture. We talked about the schedule issues in person with Jaroslav and Richard. We voiced concern in the after action reviews. We have text logs between us and the translators voicing our dislike of the lack of schedule.

    The posted review in this thread was written by myself, Rick Parry, one of the people who attended the seminar. In fact, I obviously mentioned my dislike of the lack of following a schedule, as you bragged about not following a schedule right before disrespecting me and someone who wasn't even there to hear you belittle them.

    You wanna talk keyboard warrior? How about you tell these people you became a 'certified' instructor over Skype, and couldn't even be bothered to train half the time you were there. No, you were busy taking photos, talking big on social media, while hilariously implying that your training was better than Jacob's, and that his 20+ years of martial arts didn't stand up to your approval. Never mind he manhandled every student there, and Karimov never took him up on his offers to spar.

    We never heard anything about a car wreck, it may have happened after we left. Funny you also failed to mention that Karimov decided to take a nap during some of the scheduled martial art training. Also, I attended 10 days of training. Not 5. There are pictures and posts from both Jacob and my social media feed to corroborate this. Again, this is you being dishonest, which is a consistent theme.

    I, unlike you, spent most of the scheduled time participating, not blogging. When I was done with the "scheduled" training, I went to see St. Petersburg. You spent more time talking online than anyone else.

    But hey, I guess you really don't want to create any more "inner art" drama. You earned your review, and are displaying what a pleasant and "great" representative you truly are. Please, dress up like a Cossack, brag about a patch someone gave you, and continue to be the Skype certified "mother" of Systema.

  10. #10
    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Well, aside from the edit feature not letting me fix the autocorrect of "hear" to "here", I would also like to point out that it was made clear the reason we left was that the schedule wasn't being followed; and that you are a miserable, dishonest, delusional creature. We went and did much more legit and intense training in Moscow. No other instructor tried to claim success of a technique had to do with my relationship with my parents. Quack psychology from a cultic guru.

    Lie to yourself. Lie to others. You were the icing on the cake that made me wisely decide to leave and spend time and money on better options.

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