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Tominator93
3/17/2010 9:11pm,
I 've been trying to find out more about Systema, trying to determine whether its pure BS, or if it is worth trying. While poking through some old threads on it, I couldn't really find anything but unsubstantiated poo-slinging, on both the "yay" and "nay" sides of the issue.

So, does anyone with prior experience in an established martial art (Judo, Boxing, etc.) have any practical, first hand knowledge about Systema on the basis of which to form an opinion? I heard a lot of references to a "UK throwdown" at which Systema supposedly came off fairly well among MMA types, however I couldn't find concrete details.

So, to those who know, is there anything to this RBSD? Or is it total Bullshido?

jnp
3/17/2010 9:49pm,
Tominator93, the Martial Arts BS, Fraud, Investigations, and Standards forum, or MABS, exists to investigate fraud in the martial arts. Typically specific dojos/kwoons/dojangs etc. are investigated rather than an entire martial art. Opening posts are required to ask specific questions that usually involve a bit of research.

Asking if Systema is legitimate is a bit too broad of a topic. Additionally, had you used the search function, you would have found several threads addressing questions about Systema already.

Here is a set of links to existing threads about Systema:

http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=63502&highlight=Systema
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=35825&highlight=Systema
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=91526&highlight=Systema
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=56009&highlight=Systema
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=55462&highlight=Systema
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=90864&highlight=Systema
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=63280&highlight=Systema
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=46277&highlight=Systema

battlefields
3/17/2010 10:00pm,
Jnp is so nice.

Systema: Nay.
*slings poo*

Matt Stone
3/17/2010 10:11pm,
I've done kung fu, karate, judo, aikido, Army Combatives, and am currently a student under Kelly Worden learning his interpretations of JKD and Arnis.

I've studied Systema with the folks here in WA, and I continue to study it independently, and hope to continue exploring it (and other arts, as well as training for an amateur MMA bout) when I move to Hawaii.

I think Systema has poses some interesting questions to the "problem of physical combat." I don't think it's a be all-end all by any stretch, but it certainly presents some interesting perspectives on martial training. I'm most fond of the ways it deliberately places the student in the worst positions possible and then asks "what now?" I think that's a training method used too infrequently in arts who's stated orientation is to self-defense (as opposed to a competition-oriented training program).

That being said, I think that, as in ANY martial art (including some MMA schools), there are more than a few who are doing more LARPing than training. I believe there's more than a little self-fulfilling prophecy going on in some classes. The classes I've participated in I deliberately, purposefully, and intentionally tried to do everything I could in order to NOT play into their game. Didn't matter... I tried punching them harder than they'd told me to; couldn't lay a finger on them. I tried everything I could think of to screw with the way they'd respond (so that, if their response demanded a particular stimulus on my part, they'd be deprived of that and their response should therefore be defeated), and it didn't really matter. Sure, I landed a few. So did they, and their hits were solid and made me respect the ability of some of their people to land very telling blows.

I'd say explore it if you're inclined, but keep your BS detectors set on "high" while keeping an open mind... Sometimes what you *think* you're seeing in a drill isn't really what the drill's about.

Enjoy.

Tominator93
3/17/2010 10:12pm,
Tominator93, the Martial Arts BS, Fraud, Investigations, and Standards forum, or MABS, exists to investigate fraud in the martial arts. Typically specific dojos/kwoons/dojangs etc. are investigated rather than an entire martial art. Opening posts are required to ask specific questions that usually involve a bit of research.

Asking if Systema is legitimate is a bit too broad of a topic. Additionally, had you used the search function, you would have found several threads addressing questions about Systema already.

Here is a set of links to existing threads about Systema:

http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=63502&highlight=Systema
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=35825&highlight=Systema
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=91526&highlight=Systema
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=56009&highlight=Systema
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=55462&highlight=Systema
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=90864&highlight=Systema
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=63280&highlight=Systema
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=46277&highlight=Systema

I think I went through most of those. Thanks for posting them though.

Sorry if I put this in the wrong category. I'm still familiarizing myself with the intricacies of this site, (as the "noob" moniker on my profile might suggest) so bare with me if I make a mistake.

Would there be a better place to put this topic? Is there anything I'm supposed to do to move it?

Thanks.

EDIT: Nevermind. Its been moved for me. Awesome.

Tominator93
3/17/2010 10:21pm,
I've studied Systema with the folks here in WA, and I continue to study it independently, and hope to continue exploring it (and other arts, as well as training for an amateur MMA bout) when I move to Hawaii.

.

I'm assuming that you're talking about the school up in Bellevue, at Systema NW?

It's their school that I have closest access to, so I'm curious as to what your impression of them was. Did they stack up to any of the hype, positive or negative?

battlefields
3/17/2010 10:22pm,
Its been moved, dude.

Matt Stone
3/17/2010 10:50pm,
I'm assuming that you're talking about the school up in Bellevue, at Systema NW?

It's their school that I have closest access to, so I'm curious as to what your impression of them was. Did they stack up to any of the hype, positive or negative?

Not sure if the thread is still archived somewhere, but I originally got involved with Systema because a Bullshido member, GaiusSomethingorother, got into a verbal battle with Brian King (one of the instructors for the Bear Creek Systema group). Brian was hosting a seminar with Emmanuel Manolakakis, and he'd invited naysayer Gaius to attend, gratis. Gaius refused to go, citing a recently fixed broken nose and a fear of further injury as his justification. I volunteered to go in his stead. When I arrived I had enough minor experiences to lead me to believe that, despite some of the "odd" instructional methods, there was still something to what they were attempting to do.

Brian, Kaizen, and Curt remain friends of mine. I truly enjoy their company, as well as their training. They are genuinely some of the kindest, warmest, friendliest people I've run into in MA, generally, and that's over 20+ years of training.

I recommend you train with them if you're inclined to explore what Systema may have to offer you. You may go and decide it's flatly not for you. Fine, they won't mind. That's no different than any other art. You may go and become a zealous true believer. Fine, too. In either case, I think you're better for the experience. At least you'll have first hand experience upon which to base your opinions.

Tominator93
3/17/2010 11:31pm,
Not sure if the thread is still archived somewhere, but I originally got involved with Systema because a Bullshido member, GaiusSomethingorother, got into a verbal battle with Brian King (one of the instructors for the Bear Creek Systema group).... When I arrived I had enough minor experiences to lead me to believe that, despite some of the "odd" instructional methods, there was still something to what they were attempting to do.

Brian, Kaizen, and Curt remain friends of mine. I truly enjoy their company, as well as their training. They are genuinely some of the kindest, warmest, friendliest people I've run into in MA, generally, and that's over 20+ years of training.

I'll check them out. For a while I hunted for a Kyokushin or Muay Thai school, but the only ones I could find were a bit out of my driving range. So, I also checked out a variety of RBSD schools from Puyallup to Gig Harbor to Seattle, (mostly KM derrivitives) and none of them passed the "phone call test". After a 5 minute call with such places, it became apparent that the "ELITE/ISRAELI/MILITARY/NINJA/-FU" that they advertised were nothing more than cardio kickboxing classes.

Not so with Systema NW. What little I have learned about them from afar was enough to pique my interest. Your endorsement makes it even more so.

Can you elaborate on their "odd" training methods? I have heard all sorts of stories about Systema's methods, ranging from the realistic (training in unconventional movements) to the bizzare (Systema is really a militant sect of the ROC that uses conversion tactics involving dousing people with freezing water, 1 inch punches, etc.). I'm assuming it isn't the latter, right?

Here's hoping that I find something worthwhile up there.

Matt Stone
3/18/2010 12:01am,
Can you elaborate on their "odd" training methods? I have heard all sorts of stories about Systema's methods, ranging from the realistic (training in unconventional movements) to the bizzare (Systema is really a militant sect of the ROC that uses conversion tactics involving dousing people with freezing water, 1 inch punches, etc.). I'm assuming it isn't the latter, right?

I've never once been solicited for any religious anything... I'm an avowed non-theist, a fact that I'm reasonably sure Brian is aware of. Nobody's every even opened their mouth about churchy stuff.

"Odd" methods like the "zombie walk" where everyone except one student puts one arm out forward and just walks toward the "target" student. It's a gradual drill, starting out with the student focusing on movement and avoidance, gradually increasing in speed and power, making a room full of "zombies" coming at you a serious exercise in kinesthetic response.

Brian's a big fan of dousing, but then to a certain degree so am I... Contrast baths - a practice common from the Roman era to the present day - are very stimulating. Pouring ice cold water over one's head, especially coming on the heels of a sauna, promotes an improved circulation (temporarily). Besides being amazingly brisk and refreshing, it does have some minor physical benefit. Not sure how that combines with short range punches to convert someone to ROC, but whatever...

They're worth the time and effort, in my opinion. I think someone with an already established martial foundation gets more out of Systema than a completely blank-slate n00b, but Brian, Kaizen and Curt are all pretty savvy, and I believe firmly in their ability to take even a n00b and teach them more than rudimentary skill sets.

Bear in mind, my first exposure to them was when I went to their school to deliberately expose any flaws in what they were doing or saying. I didn't know them, didn't owe them anything, and I was there to provide evidence of their bogus skills. I came away a supporter rather than a detractor. Your mileage may vary...

SFGOON
3/18/2010 1:34am,
I'm assuming that you're talking about the school up in Bellevue, at Systema NW?

It's their school that I have closest access to, so I'm curious as to what your impression of them was. Did they stack up to any of the hype, positive or negative?

I've studied with them, off and on, for the last four or so years. As you can see by my splendid tag, I'm a former soldier. I also happen to be a former police officer, (though in the interest of fairness, I was only on the road two months before I was laid off.)

I'm a TKD black-belt, though I haven't practiced for over a decade. I have experience in wrestling, and extensive training in Law Enforcement and Military combatives.

I train primarily with Brian King who runs his school in Mukletio.

My opinion of systema is obviously favorable, with some caveats. I don't think it's a good style for beginners. Systema is not a place to get your physical conditioning or experience the sensation of being overwhelmed in a fight. That's not how we train.

Systema is a finishing school. It's the sort of training that helps you keep a lucid head and make quick, effective decisions during a fight. Physically, it helps you develop habits and reflexes that eliminate the flaws every fighter picks up during his initial training.

Sometimes it's very intense and you come home covered in dirt and bruises (Brian has us train outdoors, in part to make us more uncomfortable.) Other times it's frustratingly slow.

I've also been working with a group that's just getting off the ground, who trains a couple times per month out in Seattle. The people who run it were trained by Viktor Sirotin out of North Seattle Community College. Viktor was trained in the USSR by Ryabko. This group is less "purist" systema, and more in line with the kinds of martial arts you see today. Fewer laid back "sensitization" drills, a lot more balls out conditioning.

If you're interested in checking either school out, shoot me a PM and I'll answer whatever questions you have.

DdlR
3/18/2010 2:18am,
30+ years in MA, including a bunch of Bullshido-approved styles (kickboxing, shoot wrestling etc.) and former full-time self defense instructor specializing in full-contact scenario-based training. Systema practitioner for the best part of two years now.

Totally agree re. Systema being intended as a "finishing school" and not necessarily being suitable for beginners. IMO the people who get the most out of it are those with extensive training in a range of styles, looking for a way to move/think outside the boxes of their previous training. Systema drills directly address a number of skills that are only tangentially developed in many other training methods, especially the ability to effectively improvise under physical/tactical/psychological pressure.

I haven't trained with the Seattle guys but I've heard good things about them.

RobG
3/20/2010 5:19am,
The 2 posts above ?
I can agree with.

My study of the martial thingys - from the sportive to the para-military - my over (now) 46 years ofl life work and interest runs a vast gamut. It started as a child in a Boys Club Judo/Karate class - went through 'earning' 3 different levels of B.Belts, sashes, levels - and went from earning my daily bread from everything from bouncing, being a personal protection agent for the former old AT&T Corporate, skip tracing/bail agent, pro-wrestling in my spare time (LOTS of fun) - to the last 24 years as a Corrections Officer in NYC - Rikers in the bad old crack war days. My personal experiences in being attacked on the streets of NYC - and being 'judged' for my actions in self protection...never saw me even arrested.

Basically - I have seen more than a fair share of interpersonal combatives.

Systema - I taught the first NYC native run study group in a public park - rain, snow or heat - we met in many different venues and hammered each other pretty hard. Most of that group were diverse...many LEOS - many agencies, mixed in with some pretty gritty people.

Overall, Systema works with what the student brings to the table. Maybe a finishing school for the ones with experience - whatever that experience might be...but very difficult for the newbie who thinks that they will become the next Norris - or Liddel.

I am also a friend of the aforementioned Brian King. I went from NYC to the very start of the Seattle group. I met Brian at the start of his work in this - and have been a witness to the dedication of Brian and Kaizen to become fine exponents and guides in this study.

I also highly recommend anyone who is interested enough to visit their sportzal to study solid Systema..to do so.
Time on the floor in training simply over-rides theory, supposition and watching videos.

Their group...is open to all...as Systema schools always were.

Doors open - to all.

No one who is an authorized teacher/guide of Systema - would last long if they ducked that open door policy that has existed for over a decade or more.

One last thing - Systema is NOT for everybody..no more than any martial method is..one size does NOT fit all...just as 'martial art' study is not for everybody life needs/requirements.

In closing - I will state - that my study of Systema gave me a much sharper edge and new connection to live a wider, bolder and even stronger/more vibrant expression of WTF the 'me' I am...now.
*****
Individual results always vary.

No matter what one brings to the table.

strykers12
3/23/2010 10:06am,
this is from what a friend tells me who trained with vlad in toronto

systema was once decent but became too commercialized. vlad made it too soft to attract more students. a lot of the current instructors suck and pay for the ability to teach others. there are only about 10 decent instructors. there are useful principles but you are probably learning it from the wrong people.

so unless you can learn under vlad or one of his old students, its not worth the time.

Matt Stone
3/23/2010 10:31am,
this is from what a friend tells me who trained with vlad in toronto

Knowing how well everyone in Systema seems to know each other, I can't help but think that, as soon as some Systema instructors read that comment, they'll either know who said it, or they'll want to know...

Sounds like a disgruntled student. How long did your friend train with Vlad? That will have a bearing on his overall exposure and experience...