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  1. NoMan is offline

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    Posted On:
    9/17/2006 8:40pm


     Style: Boxing, Judo, BJJ, M.T.

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    I trained in Systema, (opinion inside)

    I took the fencing team up to a fencing tournament yesterday. I'm not a sponsor or really have anything to do with the fencing team, but I am low-ranking, making me a target for Saturday details. I saw, not two doors down, an open garage that said "martial arts" on it. Curious, I put my head inside and looked around. I see a huge wrestling mat, a ring, heavy bags, MMA sparring gloves from Combat Gear, a throwing dummy, and people grappling. I was in heaven.

    I talked to the owner of the place and asked if it was an open mat. He said it was, and didn't charge me because I'm military. I warm up and start looking at the wall. I see a picture of Chuck Liddell giving a seminar in the gym. A picture of Matt Hughes doing the same, as well as Royce Gracie. Suddenly, admist these luminaries, I see another picture. An out of shape man in a military uniform demonstrating some technique with a knife. I recognized him immediately. It was Vladimir Vasilev, Mr. Systema. He looked as out of place as Michael Jackson at a Girl's Scout meeting. Sure enough, open mat time lasted from about 11 until 2:30, at which time, the next hour was devoted to Systema.

    I rolled with the BJJ guys from 11 to 1:30, (and they were good), gave some boxing pointers to a few of the guys, and took a break for lunch. I decided I would be a bad Bullshidokan if I didn't at least give Systema a chance. I noticed the BJJ guys left when the Systema class started, none of them hung around. So, here's what I learned:

    1.) In Systema, you do not strike an opponent like in any normal martial art. Let your arm go jelly and kind of slap the opponent, which creates a weird suction cup feeling when you get hit. (They don't hit with their fists when they do this, they make like a C with their hands and hit you.) I can only say that floppy shoulders are a big money-maker in Systema.

    The Systema guy they partnered me with struck me with that a few times to what I can only imagine were pressure points. He seemed surprised when I just looked at him and asked me, "You can still move?" I told him I was a boxer and that it took more than that to stun me. He seemed satisfied with that answer, I'm guessing I have mad boxing chi.

    To simulate the way they strike, think about how you would hit someone if you were told to massage them with a strike. The neck strike he did on me actually helped me loosen up a little.

    2.) You are not supposed to use power or move in a threatening manner. As they see it, the enemy does not expect anything when you move in a Systema manner, thus allowing you to easily overcome the opponent and direct him. I followed along and went with the limp with the attacks. I could not get the Systema attacks down properly, as moving in a completely relaxed, floppy-shoulder state is not natural to me.

    2b.) (Coming back and adding something). They also seem to think it's very easy to strip the knife from an opponent, as most of the knife removals revolve around grabbing the dull side of the blade and pulling it from the opponent's grasp.

    3.) The coach never showed any of the chi moves, but hinted at them. He did one thing where he screamed and stopped his student from attacking. He then said, "That's energy, and I don't like to show that." I think he was hinting at a chi attack, but I could also be reading too much into it.

    4.) We then were shown the defenses. I saw some of them on Vladimer's knife disarm tape. The one-on-one knife disarms were ridiculous. The coach was at least honest enough to admit that on some of them, you would get cut. I paid attention to the blade on my opponent, who they paired me with because of his Systema experience. I noticed that on many of them, my blade would have gotten him skewered. And that's me playing along. Being uncoordinated at the Systema style, he absolutely would have diced me if he had any intent at cutting me.

    5.) The defenses from a mounted position were a little better. It wasn't anything fancy, just a hip bump to make the opponent miss and then rolling the opponent off. Same bridging movement as in BJJ. There were still a few goofy things in there, but it was slightly more solid.

    6.) The "bodyguard" defenses were actually okay. In this scenario, you're a bodyguard and your boss is being held at knife point. The drills here were okay, minus one goofy one where the chest is at the throat and you stick your hand between the knife and the boss's throat. (You better really like whoever hired you.)

    7.) Systema doesn't believe in set techniques or in follow-ups. For example, after you get control of a knife in one of their disarms, you are pretty much free to do whatever you want. Don't worry, your opponent will comply with whatever you want to do, just don't use too much energy. (That'll make your opponent tense and fight you.)

    So, my Systema breakdown. On a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being what I think a person untrained in any martial art would do, and a 10 what an uber-badass in martial arts would do, how do I rank Systema?:

    Striking: 0/10. The raw haymaker is more deadly than the slappy strikes they showed me.

    Standing one-on-one defense: 2/10. Well, at least you move. I would say that Systema would probably get your forearms sliced to hell or your shoulder stabbed, which would be better than doing nothing and getting stabbed in the heart or neck.

    Mounted defenses: 6/10. Same defenses you would use in BJJ if someone was striking you. Only they showed a weird armbar using your head when the person missed with a knife.

    Bodyguard defenses: 7/10. The highlight of the day, these were actually decent. I only didn't like the aforementioned 'slice my arm to save my boss' defense.

    Overall: 15/40. So, 37 1/2% of Systema doesn't suck by my ratings. :phil: Note I have no background in knife defenses or anything, so it's completely uninformed outside of my common sense background in fighting, (see the discipline list.)
  2. Don Gwinn is offline
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    Posted On:
    9/17/2006 11:30pm

    supporting member
     Style: Guns

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I'm sorry, I thought this thread was about System A.

    Your Systema experience tracks pretty accurately with Omega's "Systema Committee," which also found that there was merit buried in Systema but probably too little too deep to be worth it for most people.
    *********************************************
  3. Sam Browning is offline

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    Posted On:
    9/17/2006 11:47pm

    hall of famestaff
     

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    That was a model write up. Good job.
  4. slamdunc is online now
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    Posted On:
    9/18/2006 12:45am

    supporting member
     Style: TKD, CMA & American Kenpo

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I went through some LE training with a Systema practitioner from Northwest Indiana. This guy swears by the techniques; he seemed like he was knowledgable and proficient. I have to reserve any judgment until I see it in action.
  5. selfcritical is offline

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    Posted On:
    9/18/2006 3:20am


     Style: Pekiti, ARMA, other stuff

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    With the loose-armed strikes, you said they had you c-cup your hands......how did they have you move your hips?(relaxed arms and a cupped hand are in fact the way you get power when slapping, especially if you're hitting the back of the neck or side of the head.)
  6. Schwarde is offline

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    Posted On:
    9/18/2006 3:21am


     Style: Injured

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    7.) Systema doesn't believe in set techniques or in follow-ups. For example, after you get control of a knife in one of their disarms, you are pretty much free to do whatever you want. Don't worry, your opponent will comply with whatever you want to do, just don't use too much energy. (That'll make your opponent tense and fight you.)

    That's really weak man. Where I train the compliance is limited to a set attack - after you perform the prescribed defence the follow on is non-compliant and can take any form.

    I'm not questioning your account - I'm just highlighting that not all Systema practicioners train that way. If my school trained that way, I wouldn't bother going...
  7. Kungfoolss is offline

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    Posted On:
    9/18/2006 3:48am

    Join us... or die
     Style: I wear pants

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by NoMan

    1.) In Systema, you do not strike an opponent like in any normal martial art. Let your arm go jelly and kind of slap the opponent, which creates a weird suction cup feeling when you get hit. (They don't hit with their fists when they do this, they make like a C with their hands and hit you.) I can only say that floppy shoulders are a big money-maker in Systema.
    So in a sense, they make you hit like some sissy girl.

    The Systema guy they partnered me with struck me with that a few times to what I can only imagine were pressure points. He seemed surprised when I just looked at him and asked me, "You can still move?" I told him I was a boxer and that it took more than that to stun me. He seemed satisfied with that answer, I'm guessing I have mad boxing chi.
    You should've just laughed in his face, it would've shattered his tiny world.

    2.) You are not supposed to use power or move in a threatening manner. As they see it, the enemy does not expect anything when you move in a Systema manner, thus allowing you to easily overcome the opponent and direct him. I followed along and went with the limp with the attacks.
    Why encourage a lie?

    2b.) (Coming back and adding something). They also seem to think it's very easy to strip the knife from an opponent, as most of the knife removals revolve around grabbing the dull side of the blade and pulling it from the opponent's grasp.
    I'd like to see them grab my gerber with its serrated edge on the opposite of the blade.

    3.) The coach never showed any of the chi moves, but hinted at them. He did one thing where he screamed and stopped his student from attacking. He then said, "That's energy, and I don't like to show that." I think he was hinting at a chi attack, but I could also be reading too much into it.
    'Beyond the physical' idoicy systema cultists keep denying exist or isn't practiced, and yet here you with a first hand account. Anybody see that retard, DdlR, around? I'm sure we'd all love to read how he'd spin this one.

    4.) We then were shown the defenses. I saw some of them on Vladimer's knife disarm tape. The one-on-one knife disarms were ridiculous. The coach was at least honest enough to admit that on some of them, you would get cut. I paid attention to the blade on my opponent, who they paired me with because of his Systema experience. I noticed that on many of them, my blade would have gotten him skewered. And that's me playing along.
    Again, why encourage a lie. Next time follow Karl Tanswell's example, stab the systema idiot.

    So, my Systema breakdown. On a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being what I think a person untrained in any martial art would do, and a 10 what an uber-badass in martial arts would do, how do I rank Systema?:

    Striking: 0/10. The raw haymaker is more deadly than the slappy strikes they showed me.

    Standing one-on-one defense: 2/10. Well, at least you move. I would say that Systema would probably get your forearms sliced to hell or your shoulder stabbed, which would be better than doing nothing and getting stabbed in the heart or neck.

    Mounted defenses: 6/10. Same defenses you would use in BJJ if someone was striking you. Only they showed a weird armbar using your head when the person missed with a knife.

    Bodyguard defenses: 7/10. The highlight of the day, these were actually decent. I only didn't like the aforementioned 'slice my arm to save my boss' defense.

    Overall: 15/40. So, 37 1/2% of Systema doesn't suck by my ratings. :phil: Note I have no background in knife defenses or anything, so it's completely uninformed outside of my common sense background in fighting, (see the discipline list.)
    I could've told you that, systema sucks. The only ones that believe in its merits are hopelessly warped.
    Kungfoolss, Scourge of the theory-based stylists, Most Feared man at Bullshido.com, and the Preeminent Force in the martial arts political arena
  8. Kungfoolss is offline

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    Posted On:
    9/18/2006 3:57am

    Join us... or die
     Style: I wear pants

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by slamdunc
    I went through some LE training with a Systema practitioner from Northwest Indiana. This guy swears by the techniques; he seemed like he was knowledgable and proficient.
    "Seemed like" is the operative phrase now isn't it. Either you are or you're not. There's really no grey area here.

    I have to reserve any judgment until I see it in action.
    What, you've never seen systema on youtube?
    Kungfoolss, Scourge of the theory-based stylists, Most Feared man at Bullshido.com, and the Preeminent Force in the martial arts political arena
  9. NoMan is offline

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    Posted On:
    9/18/2006 6:37am


     Style: Boxing, Judo, BJJ, M.T.

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by selfcritical
    With the loose-armed strikes, you said they had you c-cup your hands......how did they have you move your hips?(relaxed arms and a cupped hand are in fact the way you get power when slapping, especially if you're hitting the back of the neck or side of the head.)
    Unfortunately no. I know what you mean, getting a good hip torque and striking with an open hand is devastating, a la' "Pankraton" and Bas Rutten. They didn't follow through the strike though, the hand just bounced off of my skin. I don't have any way to describe that method of striking except less follow-through, more floppy shoulders.

    That's really weak man. Where I train the compliance is limited to a set attack - after you perform the prescribed defence the follow on is non-compliant and can take any form.
    Hopefully so, it would make the experience better. This gets into what we call the "r34l jujitsu" debate. Since I can't visit every Systema school in the U.S., Russia, etc., I'm going to abide by the law of averages, (which tells me if I visit one random Systema school, it is more likely closer to the median than it is to be a deviation on either end), and use this as an example.

    Next time follow Karl Tanswell's example, stab the systema idiot.
    Lol. Had these guys been training with the M.T. guys that were there, or the boxers, or the BJJ guys who were there earlier, I would have done something like that and hoped to show them the way. If they are that close to a real group of martial artists going at it on open mat and don't see the difference, stabbing them isn't going to help. After all, I have mad boxer chi.

    [Warning: Whining inside]
    Besides, I had fought from 11:00 to 1:30, give me a freaking break! The Systema experience let me relax, I had enough of a workout.
    [/Whining end]
  10. FredGarvinMP is offline
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    Posted On:
    9/18/2006 6:38am


     Style: Koei-Kan, Aikido

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    To reiterate what Mr. Browning said, great write up. It is very refreshing to not see a post that has a link and then "this sucks ass, LOL!"

    Your write up does give me hope in one way; A training hall can have one class that is very good in it's teachings and students in one way and then do a complete 180 with another set of teachers and students.

    The "floppy shoulders" aspect is definitely an aikido influence. I can't count the number of times I was told to relax the shoulders. In some cases it is imperative. Striking is not one of those times.

    Thanks for the laugh with the whole "you can still move?" part.
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