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  1. OZZ is offline
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    Posted On:
    5/13/2007 10:47pm

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I knew it was only a matter of time before somebody mentioned Stalin...
    " If one wants to have a friend one must also want to wage war for him: and to wage war one must be capable of being an enemy." - Fr. Nietzsche 'On The Friend' Thus Spake Zarathustra
  2. EricH is offline

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    Posted On:
    5/13/2007 10:48pm


     Style: systema/RMA

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    Quote Originally Posted by DdlR
    Would you agree, though, that there are enough similarities between their styles and combat SAMBO to suggest a common ancestry?
    I just reread your post and this question gets to the heart of what i was trying to address.

    I don't agree, not from what have seen of these styles. In my opinion combat sambo appears to be so different from the R & K systems (which are recognizably similar) that I do not believe it could have been much of an influence on these styles. I chose the word "influence" carefully because both Ryabko and kadochnikov would almost certainly have been exposed to significant high level training in combat sambo; but I do not notice any traces of this training in the extent of their work to which I have exposure.

    Of course I could be wrong. I am insufficiently experienced and informed, to be making these statements. As I mentioned before SAMOZ (with which I have no experience or familiarity) may simply be quite different from combat sambo as I know it.
    Last edited by EricH; 5/13/2007 10:53pm at .
  3. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    5/14/2007 12:05am

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    Eric,

    Quote Originally Posted by EricH
    I just reread your post and this question gets to the heart of what i was trying to address.

    I don't agree, not from what have seen of these styles. In my opinion combat sambo appears to be so different from the R & K systems (which are recognizably similar) that I do not believe it could have been much of an influence on these styles. I chose the word "influence" carefully because both Ryabko and kadochnikov would almost certainly have been exposed to significant high level training in combat sambo; but I do not notice any traces of this training in the extent of their work to which I have exposure.
    I may not have been clear; I didn't mean to imply that combat SAMBO was the common ancestor, but rather that all three styles (Ryabko Systema, Kadochnikov Systema and combat SAMBO) may have had a common ancestor. By my research to date I think it is highly likely that all three can be traced back to the Dinamo project, at various points; my hypothesis is that Spiridonov's SAMOZ might be the ancestral link, or at least one of the ancestral links.
    I would be very interested in such an investigation but I don't think it would get far or prove much beyond the murkiness of soviet era information.
    Maybe so. I'm encouraged by the information that is gradually coming to light in English, re. the unauthorised history of SAMBO; hope springs eternal.
  4. One Round is offline

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    Posted On:
    5/16/2007 5:33am

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by OZZ
    I knew it was only a matter of time before somebody mentioned Stalin...

    Hey, the Systema camp is the one that puts it in their on-line literature. I'm just pointing out how it's pretty darn stupid for Mikhail and all these Systemers to talk about benevolence, and peace, and serenity of the soul, and all that new age kinda crap while their grand exhalted patriarch says that he learned the same stuff they're practicing from one of the scumbags who kept Stalin from being assassinated all those years.

    Plus, have you bothered to read the history page from Ryabko's own website? I don't know if he really believes all that crap but, if he does, then he's clearly delusional.

    He just plain gives me the creeps. So do the people who so easily fall under his spell and tout his "wisdom" without recognizing the glaring philosophical inconsistencies in his pontificating. It's like he's a Russian Benny Hinn in elastic-waisted camo pants.
  5. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    5/16/2007 6:15am

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    Quote Originally Posted by One Round
    Hey, the Systema camp is the one that puts it in their on-line literature. I'm just pointing out how it's pretty darn stupid for Mikhail and all these Systemers to talk about benevolence, and peace, and serenity of the soul, and all that new age kinda crap while their grand exhalted patriarch says that he learned the same stuff they're practicing from one of the scumbags who kept Stalin from being assassinated all those years.

    Plus, have you bothered to read the history page from Ryabko's own website? I don't know if he really believes all that crap but, if he does, then he's clearly delusional.

    He just plain gives me the creeps. So do the people who so easily fall under his spell and tout his "wisdom" without recognizing the glaring philosophical inconsistencies in his pontificating. It's like he's a Russian Benny Hinn in elastic-waisted camo pants.
    I'm assuming that you didn't bother to read my post at http://www.bullshido.net/forums/show...&postcount=115 , which makes an effort to address these points.

    Briefly, I think that Ryabko is making a conscious effort to replace the sinister Cold War-era associations with what he sees as being a positive ethical platform drawn from Russian Orthodox Christianity and from pre-Communist Russian folk-culture. I think that he may simultaneously be proud of his style and feel that it has a great deal to offer, and also somewhat ashamed of where it actually came from; all of this complicated by the fact that he has familial connections with the Sokoli Stalina.

    Personally I don't like this revisionist approach to martial arts history, but I don't think that it's "stupid" and I disagree that it's philosophically inconsistent. I read it as an active attempt to move the art forward. Whereas the original Systema (under whatever name) was evolved under Communism and used for dark purposes, his modern Systema (evolving in what is, more-or-less, a federal presidential republic, and also internationally) has a different set of goals and a very different moral compass.
  6. One Round is offline

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    Posted On:
    5/16/2007 9:46pm

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    No, I read it. I was just addressing OZZ addressing me addressing Stalin.

    On the history of Systema, I am, for the most part, inclined to agree with you about it probably being a development, or evolution, of SAMOZ. It certainly doesn't originate with the Cossacks. I don't know why they keep saying that ****.

    Regarding Ryabko's present attempts at philosophizing: I still think it's stupid, and I don't believe that he could serve what was essentially a criminal State so loyally for so many years, and be so instrumental in the training of agents of that State knowing full well for what purposes they would use that training, an then have a miraculous conversion and think that everything is hunky-dory. I think he's a fucking hypocrite who got a whiff of Capitalism.

    I certainly agree that he's trying to make Systema into something that the public won't see as sinister, but I'm certain that he's doing it strictly for marketing purposes. If he's as wise as all the Systemers believe that he is, with their cups of magic Kool-Aid in hand, then he certainly would have chosen a far less cheesy way of attaching some sort of spirituality to Systema. The fact that he often recounts his various activities as a Soviet agent to his students without exhibiting any remorse, execpt for his own fallen comrades, demonstrates that he still really doesn't know right from wrong. The fact that he so overtly lies about, misrepresents, makes nebulous statements without providing any documentation as evidence, or fabricates the history of Systema demonstrates that he is simply dishonest and cetainly doesn't follow his own spiritual teachings. I mean, if the founder of the art is going to lie about the history of that art, then just how great can the spiritual aspect be?

    What amazes me is that nobody in the Systema camp sees the contradictions. Or maybe they do but are too full of the magic Kool-Aid to say anything.

    I'm not knocking their art. Like I said, I'm still up in the air about it. But some of the **** they say is just dumb. Like that crap about Systema not having techniques. Maybe they don't have a specific catalogue of techniques; maybe they don't drill one particular move over and over in a definite, prescribed manner; and maybe they're not as anal as other arts about everybody being an exact replica of O'Sensei, but, like it or not, when one of them applies a wrist lock or a choke or an arm-bar it's a fucking technique. Seems they just want to argue semantics and **** around with the lexicon just so they can feel superior to anybody who still uses the word "technique". For the most part, though, they've just substituted the word "movement" for "technique". That's what I hear on the vids all the time: When movement comes... When movement comes... When movement comes...

    Or: Do this way...then do that way... I'm starting to actually think that the whole "no techniques" business was just VV's way of compensating for his rudimentary command of English when he first started his school, and it worked so he just stuck with it.

    Ryabko still gives me the creeps.
    Last edited by One Round; 5/16/2007 9:49pm at . Reason: Forgot something
  7. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    5/16/2007 11:56pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by One Round
    No, I read it. I was just addressing OZZ addressing me addressing Stalin.

    On the history of Systema, I am, for the most part, inclined to agree with you about it probably being a development, or evolution, of SAMOZ. It certainly doesn't originate with the Cossacks. I don't know why they keep saying that ****.
    I think it's because the matrix of martial arts and combat sports that fed into the Dinamo R&D project (and eventually produced SAMOZ, SAMBO, etc.) reportedly did include traditional Russian MAs. I don't know enough about them to be able to distinguish between Cossack and non-Cossack styles, though.

    As to why they are trying to stress the Cossack "link", IMO it is part of a general cultural movement within modern Russia to "forget" about Stalin et al and to identify with pre-October Revolution folk-culture. I can understand this at the emotional level but, as a historian, I think it's regrettable.

    Regarding Ryabko's present attempts at philosophizing: I still think it's stupid, and I don't believe that he could serve what was essentially a criminal State so loyally for so many years, and be so instrumental in the training of agents of that State knowing full well for what purposes they would use that training, an then have a miraculous conversion and think that everything is hunky-dory. I think he's a fucking hypocrite who got a whiff of Capitalism.
    According to this interview, Ryabko left active military service "when the situation in Russia changed". I'm not sure that Ryabko himself had a miraculous conversion, but we know that Russia, itself, did.

    Ryabko doesn't often seem to address his own feelings about Communism in print, but as far as I've been able to read between the lines, he definitely doesn't seem to have been happy with, for example, the "party line" regarding his religion. His references to Communism tend to be negative and regretful, especially with regards to the impact that it had on traditional Russian culture.

    Going by all the research that I've done, it seems as if Ryabko is a religious man and a martial arts teacher first equal, and a soldier second; I'd guess that he served the Communist state insofar as it was his job and duty. I don't think that we have enough information to judge his personal feelings about Communism, etc. beyond that.

    I certainly agree that he's trying to make Systema into something that the public won't see as sinister, but I'm certain that he's doing it strictly for marketing purposes.
    Honestly, I don't see how you can be "certain" about that. We're both guessing, based on our own research.

    If he's as wise as all the Systemers believe that he is, with their cups of magic Kool-Aid in hand, then he certainly would have chosen a far less cheesy way of attaching some sort of spirituality to Systema. The fact that he often recounts his various activities as a Soviet agent to his students without exhibiting any remorse, execpt for his own fallen comrades, demonstrates that he still really doesn't know right from wrong.
    Can you cite (preferably link to) some of these accounts? I'm not sure which ones you're referring to.

    I'm not knocking their art. Like I said, I'm still up in the air about it. But some of the **** they say is just dumb. Like that crap about Systema not having techniques. Maybe they don't have a specific catalogue of techniques; maybe they don't drill one particular move over and over in a definite, prescribed manner; and maybe they're not as anal as other arts about everybody being an exact replica of O'Sensei, but, like it or not, when one of them applies a wrist lock or a choke or an arm-bar it's a fucking technique. Seems they just want to argue semantics and **** around with the lexicon just so they can feel superior to anybody who still uses the word "technique". For the most part, though, they've just substituted the word "movement" for "technique". That's what I hear on the vids all the time: When movement comes... When movement comes... When movement comes...
    I agree that it's largely a semantic argument, but it's also an important pedagogical and conceptual difference between Systema and most other MAs. Systema really is based on "movement" rather than"moves". The fact that any individual offensive or defensive movement(s) can then be broken down into a defined technique, or series of techniques, is obvious; it's taken for granted.

    However, the point that many people struggle with is that Systema movement is not typically broken down in this way, hence no specific technical catalogue, no prescribed/repetitive tech. drills and less O'Sensei cloning.
  8. One Round is offline

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    Posted On:
    5/20/2007 2:34am

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    http://www.systemauk.com/artIMR1.htm

    I really like the part where the author says Ryabko "...speaks of the Afghani people with admiration.", as if that somehow justifies the Soviets staging a Communist coup, invading under the pretense of aiding them in F.I.D., and Ryabko, himself, going there to kill Afghanis and, presumably, to train and direct other Soviets to kill them. Sheesh! Like it's a fucking joke or something... You don't kill people that you admire. That's fucked up, and I seriously can't understand how the Systemers can't see the problem with this kind of ****.

    Instead of saying "certain", I should have said "almost certain" that he's doing it for marketing purposes, because I can't read his mind. I just can't believe that he, himself, would be so delusional as to believe the stuff that he says on-line about Systema history and philosophy, or that Systemers attribute to him in their little stories plastered all over the web and the RMA forum. Man, talk about people who need to take some college-level writing courses. He could be though. I do think that he thinks he's better at writing ad-copy than he really is, and thinks that all Westerners are too stupid to try to fact-check his story, or that not a goddamned one of us has any living relatives who were actually around back during Tsarist Russia. Incidentally, that's also how I'm really, really sure that his **** about Systema having a historical connection with the Cossacks is a load.

    As far as Ryabko's religion and politics are concerned, you and I are probably going to remain in friendly disagreement. As a historian and objective outside observer, you're probably willing to give Ryabko the benefit of the doubt. I, on the other hand, as someone whose family suffered tremendously as a result of the Communist and Bolshevik revolutions, and who's personally lost a big chunk of my birthright, view Ryabko and his immediate ancestors as collaborators and traitors, and he, himself, as a liar and a hypocrite for presenting himself as such a religious person even though he kept himself and family safe from atheistic Communism by willfully serving as it's agent. Worse, he's now profiting handsomely from having done so. The way I see it, he's living the good life from having made others suffer and die for the sake of Communism. If he's such a religious man, he should've sucked it up and suffered a little for his convictions in a gulag somewhere; not made a career training SpetsNaz or K.G.B. killers and then go around talking tolerance, peace, and kindness when it's safe to do so. WWJD? Ha! From what I've seen, he's just spouting what the naive, gullible, and simple-minded want to hear.

    I understand what you're saying about the Systema concept of movement versus specific rote applications or an anal-retentive catalogue in other arts, but I disagree that Systema is a technique-less art the way Systemers say it is. I looked "technique" up in Webster's just to be sure of the definition:

    n. the entire body of procedures and methods of a science, art, or craft; skill in these procedures and methods; (loosely) a way of achieving a purpose

    There we have it. By definition, Systema either is a technique itself, or is comprised of techniques. My quarrel is with the way Systemers so vehemently opposed to the word "technique" being applied to anything they do. Fuckin' cult...and they even deny being a cult, just like real cult members would. Joke's on them! According to Webster's, they're both:

    cult n. a system of religious worship; admiration of, or devotion to, a person or thing, esp. as a form of intellectual snobbery; a passionate craze or fashion; a creed or sect

    They can take their pick, but at least one of those descriptions fits them.

    Another thing that irks me about them is the Systema punching. When I saw my first Systema video (one of the TRS ones) probably ten years ago, no big deal was made out of punching. I really seem to recall VV discussing how Systema punches weren't all that powerful because it wasn't that important to the concept of Systema or something like that, and that Systemers didn't condition their hands doing stupid **** like Iron Palm or makiwara training because that will damage their hands and they need to be supple for Systema. Now, I read on their RMA forum that they're doing knuckle pushups that last for five or more minutes per pushup, and now VV has got them punching solid walls. Well, what the **** is the difference?! Either way, you're still trying to condition your hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders for striking! They also eschew heavybag work because it's not a real, live opponent, but they'll do the wall punching according to the Gospel of VV, or they'll stand there and take turns punching each other in the chest and abdomen. Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know that's how they train to take a punch but haven't Systemers ever heard of hernias, rib subluxation, or costochondritis?

    ...And Ryabko still gives me the creeps. He looks like he should be selling used cars somewhere, beady-eyed ************...
    Last edited by One Round; 5/20/2007 2:40am at .
  9. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    5/20/2007 9:08am

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    Quote Originally Posted by One Round
    http://www.systemauk.com/artIMR1.htm

    I really like the part where the author says Ryabko "...speaks of the Afghani people with admiration.", as if that somehow justifies the Soviets staging a Communist coup, invading under the pretense of aiding them in F.I.D., and Ryabko, himself, going there to kill Afghanis and, presumably, to train and direct other Soviets to kill them. Sheesh! Like it's a fucking joke or something... You don't kill people that you admire. That's fucked up, and I seriously can't understand how the Systemers can't see the problem with this kind of ****.
    I think that the key here may be your use of the word "presumably"; do you know what Ryabko was doing in Afghanistan? Do you know that he killed Afghanis? You're reading a great deal into what was written in that article.

    I think that the article makes it clear that Ryabko's admiration was for the Afghani people themselves, who are able to survive with almost nothing.

    As a side-issue, my friends who are soldiers and who have killed people have told me that you can kill people you admire. You may do it regretfully but you do it because, depending on the circumstances, otherwise they may kill you or your friends. You may also kill them simply because you are a soldier and that is part of your duty.

    Instead of saying "certain", I should have said "almost certain" that he's doing it for marketing purposes, because I can't read his mind. I just can't believe that he, himself, would be so delusional as to believe the stuff that he says on-line about Systema history and philosophy, or that Systemers attribute to him in their little stories plastered all over the web and the RMA forum. Man, talk about people who need to take some college-level writing courses. He could be though. I do think that he thinks he's better at writing ad-copy than he really is, and thinks that all Westerners are too stupid to try to fact-check his story, or that not a goddamned one of us has any living relatives who were actually around back during Tsarist Russia. Incidentally, that's also how I'm really, really sure that his **** about Systema having a historical connection with the Cossacks is a load.
    Like I said earlier, I think that he is deliberately trying to replace the Cold War ethos of the "original Systema" with what he sees as a positive ethical platform based on the morality of Russian Orthodox Christianity. I honestly doubt that he is involved with "writing ad copy", and obviously isn't involved in writing anything in English as he doesn't speak that language.

    The Cossack connection would be via the decades-long martial arts R&D project carried out at the Dinamo Institute in Moscow, which did, reportedly, include a number of traditional Russian styles as well as Japanese, Chinese, European and other fighting styles. I have no idea about the specifics, though - wish I did.

    As far as Ryabko's religion and politics are concerned, you and I are probably going to remain in friendly disagreement. As a historian and objective outside observer, you're probably willing to give Ryabko the benefit of the doubt. I, on the other hand, as someone whose family suffered tremendously as a result of the Communist and Bolshevik revolutions, and who's personally lost a big chunk of my birthright, view Ryabko and his immediate ancestors as collaborators and traitors, and he, himself, as a liar and a hypocrite for presenting himself as such a religious person even though he kept himself and family safe from atheistic Communism by willfully serving as it's agent. Worse, he's now profiting handsomely from having done so. The way I see it, he's living the good life from having made others suffer and die for the sake of Communism. If he's such a religious man, he should've sucked it up and suffered a little for his convictions in a gulag somewhere; not made a career training SpetsNaz or K.G.B. killers and then go around talking tolerance, peace, and kindness when it's safe to do so. WWJD? Ha! From what I've seen, he's just spouting what the naive, gullible, and simple-minded want to hear.
    Yes, I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on those points. I have known professional soldiers who are devoutly religious men, though, and they are able to reconcile the two; likewise, again, I read his espousal of tolerance, peace and kindness as being sage advice from one who has walked down a very long and nasty road and emerged with his sanity and sense of morality intact.

    Put it this way, "peace and love"means one thing coming from a middle-class hippy and quite another coming from a former career soldier who specialized in counter-terrorist operations, served as the tactical commander of hostage-rescue teams, and was in charge of apprehending armed criminals in active war-zones.

    I understand what you're saying about the Systema concept of movement versus specific rote applications or an anal-retentive catalogue in other arts, but I disagree that Systema is a technique-less art the way Systemers say it is. I looked "technique" up in Webster's just to be sure of the definition:

    n. the entire body of procedures and methods of a science, art, or craft; skill in these procedures and methods; (loosely) a way of achieving a purpose.

    There we have it. By definition, Systema either is a technique itself, or is comprised of techniques. My quarrel is with the way Systemers so vehemently opposed to the word "technique" being applied to anything they do.
    Like I said, it's possible to break down any Systema movement into a "technique" in the sense that that word is understood by most martial artists. That's an obvious point and it's taken for granted. The difficulties arise when martial artists who don't understand the way Systema is taught and practiced assume that Systema is a collection of codified techniques, which simply is not the case.

    Fuckin' cult...and they even deny being a cult, just like real cult members would. Joke's on them! According to Webster's, they're both:

    cult n. a system of religious worship; admiration of, or devotion to, a person or thing, esp. as a form of intellectual snobbery; a passionate craze or fashion; a creed or sect.

    They can take their pick, but at least one of those descriptions fits them.
    Cool, although by those definitions Catholic Christians, members of the Democratic Party, devoted Bullshido.net posters and die-hard fans of "I Love Lucy" are also cultists.


    Another thing that irks me about them is the Systema punching. When I saw my first Systema video (one of the TRS ones) probably ten years ago, no big deal was made out of punching. I really seem to recall VV discussing how Systema punches weren't all that powerful because it wasn't that important to the concept of Systema or something like that, and that Systemers didn't condition their hands doing stupid **** like Iron Palm or makiwara training because that will damage their hands and they need to be supple for Systema. Now, I read on their RMA forum that they're doing knuckle pushups that last for five or more minutes per pushup, and now VV has got them punching solid walls. Well, what the **** is the difference?! Either way, you're still trying to condition your hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders for striking! They also eschew heavybag work because it's not a real, live opponent, but they'll do the wall punching according to the Gospel of VV, or they'll stand there and take turns punching each other in the chest and abdomen. Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know that's how they train to take a punch but haven't Systemers ever heard of hernias, rib subluxation, or costochondritis?
    Can you link to the thread about punching that you're referring to?
  10. Retrosta is offline

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    Posted On:
    2/18/2008 2:44am

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    Sorry....made a mistake here, didn't mean to post...not sure how to delete
    Last edited by Retrosta; 2/18/2008 3:29am at .
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