Author Topic: Russian Systema  (Read 45072 times)

Offline ModernSurvival

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #60 on: April 05, 2010, 05:14:59 PM »
I would like to take you up on this offer.  The only condition is that we videotape it, and share copyright.

This would be a fantastic marketing opportunity for your system.  What is the schedule like for this guy?  Can his representative Neil Franklin stand in?

You waited long enough and you can still get it done if you really want to.  We will be filming at Fight Time Fitness in Sherman Texas from 10-2 on Friday the 9th and Monday the 12th.  I will absolutely require you to sign a waiver absolving us from any harm you come to, I will also require you to take a few mild shots to know what you are in for so you can choose how much you are willing to take.

Last on copy write I will let you use the footage for your own use no problem there.  I do want you to really think about this, I am happy to allow it but please consider what you are in for.

http://www.youtube.com/user/marketingice#p/u/12/Uwh3oUmqBU0

On Neil as a stand in, nope you want to try to stand and take this stuff and say it doesn't effect you to take my money you got to get it from the source.   ;D  I am also curious if you actually think this is going to be easy to do or if you expect it to hurt like hell and put you down but are just willing to take the punishment. 

Your a good member of the forum this challenge is open to any but I feel bad about putting a friendly through this type of treatment but the choice if up to you.   ;)

« Last Edit: April 05, 2010, 05:17:02 PM by ModernSurvival »

Tommy Jefferson

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #61 on: April 05, 2010, 10:56:02 PM »
Dang.  I need $5,000 bad.  Last week I turned on my air conditioner for the first time this year only to discover it is dead.

I'm an old Brazilian Jiu-Jistu fighter.  I fought Vale Tudo professionally back before Texas made it illegal, but now I'm too old.  Now I run a small academy where I teach and manage MMA fighters.

Most Systema guys are hapkido type chop-sockey peddlers.  They don't spar against fully resisting opponents, so their training is pretty much useless. 

Basically, I thought I found an offer of a smoker I could win.  Upon further investigation, I find this Val Riazanov is a 6th Dan in Judo and former Olympic Judoka.  http://www.valriazanov.com/aboutval.html  He's out of my league.  Olympic level judoka spar, and know how to really fight.  I'm confident he would beat me in a no-rules fight.

Thanks for the offer, but I don't think I can take your money!  :'(

Offline The Professor

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #62 on: April 06, 2010, 10:17:16 AM »
Jack,

A couple of questions, if I may, both slightly unrelated:

1.  Is it the general assertion that a person who learns Systema can hit harder than a person who learns how to punch through another style?  For example, if Mike Tyson learned how to hit the Systema way, would he hit even harder?

2.  If you speak to your Russian friend, could you ask him a question?  Back in 1986-87 there was some interaction between US SF and Soviet Spetsnaz in an official, unclassified capacity during the ReForGer exercises.  At this time, I spoke with a couple Soviet Spetsnaz guys and got into a demonstration involving a fighting style that involved a lot of striking in a very short period of time in an attempt to overwhelm an opponent.

I don't believe this was called either Sambo or Systema, but with the intervening years and copious amounts of adult beverages, not to mention strikes to the head, I've forgotten the name they used.  I do remember that it was specifically created for combat, sort of like Israel's Krav Maga system.  Could you ask your friend if he's aware of another style being taught or if there was a different name for Systema?

Thanks.

The Professor

Offline Dylboz

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #63 on: April 07, 2010, 05:32:03 PM »

Most Systema guys are hapkido type chop-sockey peddlers.  They don't spar against fully resisting opponents, so their training is pretty much useless. 


This is bizarre. Both statements complete conflict with my experience. Like, 100%.

Offline bigjimcalhoun

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #64 on: April 26, 2010, 09:23:55 PM »
I have been reading about Systema on another forum and it is received quite favorably over there.

My question is this:
How does someone who does not live near a trainer or have any friends (or friends willing to learn/practice) learn this sort of thing?

I can buy DVDs, but travelling for a weekend to a course is not in the budget at this time.  I assume, maybe wrongly, that someone should practice this with another person.

Offline Dylboz

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #65 on: April 29, 2010, 03:01:35 PM »
I'm fortunate enough to not only have an exceptional Systema teacher available to me here in Tucson, one Yuri Talalev, but his group training is free. Yes. Free. We had Konstantin Komarov come and give a Saturday seminar, and that was the only time I was ever asked to pay, and it was considered a donation. Occasionally the group goes to events out of the state, and those are pay as you go deals. I've been inspired to return to training, as I quit going for a while due to schedule overload.

Offline citygal

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #66 on: August 11, 2010, 04:20:35 PM »
I've only ever heard of Systema here on the Survival Podcast, so hoping someone can share their views of its suitability for self-defense purposes. Being rather petite and not very physical, the training videos don't look very appealing at all... and pretty painful  ;D The trouble is, here in the UK ownership and use of any sort of 'weapons' is illegal - including pepper spray (!), and will get one prosecuted and jailed (whereas actual criminals get soft treatment as they're the real 'victims'). So as much as I hate the idea of close fight, seems something like Systema could be useful. Any opinions or experiences from anyone?           

Tommy Jefferson

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #67 on: August 12, 2010, 07:32:06 AM »
Your odds of finding a competent Systema instructor are near zero.

Systema is one of those martial arts like Hapkido or Gung Fu or Kempo where there are no strong governing bodies.  Any joker can attend a seminar with a famous name practitioner, then add "Systema" to the list of "arts taught" at their Academy.

There are no magic solutions.  It's very common here in Texas for a woman to buy a cute little handgun, throw it in her night stand, never practice with it, and feel she's "protected".  No.  She's not.

Same with martial arts.  It you are unwilling to invest several hundred hours of sweat and learning, don't waste your money on it.

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #68 on: August 24, 2010, 10:38:01 AM »
I am no hand to hand combatant of note but I am a soldier and a historian (well, I have had a BA in history for a decade and am working on my MA).  A hobby of mine is the history of the arts martial (military weapons, hand to hand, firearms, etc).  I make no claims about any system's efficacy, but I do have a little insight on the development of many system (especially Asian ones) when it comes to their provable history (ie documented by something other than Master So and So's say so).

1.  "The Martial Arts" as we know it in the United States, generally articulated as a comprehensive hand to hand combative system that has a strong focus on personal development (self-descipline, citizenship, etc) along with fighting, is very new (roughly a hundred years old).   While there is nothing uniform in the development of the fighting arts, the unified system is pretty new.  There have always been fighting systems practiced by philosophical people and philosophy from fighters but "martial ways" or "-do" if you prefer the Japanese are hard to document before the end of the 19th century.
2.  They all cross-polinated heavily.  They dont survive contact with other systems if they do not evolve.  Korean systems often claim a certain ethnic purity, honestly it isnt so.  TKD and such borrowed a lot of format and teaching methods from the Japanese (Karate and Judo) for instance.
3.  In the modern arena if one system cannot maintain acendancy for long, their techniques will mearly be adopted by the others.  Case in point is Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu.  The absolutely dominated UFC.  Now everyone does ground fighting and have adopted many of their techniques.  If Systema is radically more effective than other systems its techniques will be adopted in time as surely as day follows night.

General Observations on Russian Special Operations units
1.  I am not commenting on the efficacy of Russian shooting courses, but Russian military units both before and after the fall of communism has had problems with having enough trianing ammo to practice shooting the way they should.  Their tier 1 units literally cannot afford to practice the way Delta does.  Something to consider.
2.  The extensive Russian emphasis on hand to hand systems is a symptom of that.  Like many third world armies H2H training is emphasized because it is cheap.  While Spetznaz is good at what they do, when a unit that specializes in direct action...where every operator has a long arm and a pistol....and they then spend a lot of time training on how to kill people with a sharpened shovel...
3.  Foreign trainers sell an image.  We buy that image.  Just like Americans used to obsessed with ancient mystic arts like Kung-Fu back in the 70s, we are now obsessed with foreign military combative systems like those of the former Soviet Union and Israel and we act like they are magic or something.  Look at all the Israeli shooting courses out there.  They take Rex Applegate style point shooting (which was created in the 40s), add in the chamber a round step, a few blocks of instruction on recognizing suicide bombers and talking about how badass Israel is, and sell that to the consumer.  I am sure some of the courses are good but a lot of them you are buying the brand.

These are observations on Russian Special Operations units, not a judgement on Systema or on any instructors mentioned in this post.  Knowledge is power and I want to give some context.

Training is awesome, I am sure that some of these guys have a lot to offer.  I would love to take Krav Maga for instance.  Just remember that the nationality or military unit is not a gurrantee of being good.  The system of fighting is not where the magic happens.  A good instructor in whatever the art/system/style/etc. is the key aspect.  A good boxing instructor is better than a Krav Maga instructor that is cruddy or you dont connect with.

-Chem

Offline Heretic Wilson

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #69 on: August 31, 2010, 03:46:14 PM »
I'm pretty much a newb here, but I have to say that when you hear (or read) the explanation of how Systema works it really makes sense. But some of that stuff in the video posted in this thread looks, for lack of a better word, impossible. It also seemed like some of the "attackers" in those demonstrations were taking really exaggerated falls. So, I'm a bit conflicted.

Someone said the problem with Systema is that anyone can take a seminar and basically claim they're an instructor. Is there any trusted place to go to find a listing of legitimately qualified teachers? There seem to be two out in my area, but I know just about nothing about them.

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #70 on: September 01, 2010, 05:46:10 AM »
Is there any trusted place to go to find a listing of legitimately qualified teachers?

I trust http://www.bullshido.net

I don't participate in that forum because it's a madhouse, but they will give you the lowdown on any instructor you find. 

That forum is very high-volume.  Odds are somebody there will have personal knowledge of the school or instructor in your area.

As the name suggests, chop-sockey B.S. instructors are quickly outed on that forum.  Run a search there.  If you find nothing, sign-up and ask.

Offline Heretic Wilson

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #71 on: September 01, 2010, 02:29:10 PM »
I trust http://www.bullshido.net

I don't participate in that forum because it's a madhouse, but they will give you the lowdown on any instructor you find. 

That forum is very high-volume.  Odds are somebody there will have personal knowledge of the school or instructor in your area.

As the name suggests, chop-sockey B.S. instructors are quickly outed on that forum.  Run a search there.  If you find nothing, sign-up and ask.
Nice, thanks.

Offline citygal

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #72 on: September 04, 2010, 08:46:44 PM »
Thanks for the input and advice, Tommy and Chemsoldier.

Offline RootStrike

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #73 on: February 03, 2011, 12:41:03 AM »
Just watched the video at the start of this thread. Very interesting. Will have to read through the threads about comments. I did notice, in the start of the video, the man in the blue top did not seem to be punching through the other man - it looks like he is punching out, then "jerking back" to negate the force. The recipient of the punch is contracting hard to absorb/dissipate the punches. So the puncher is actively "decelerating" his punch, so it 'pops' instead of slams into the target.

I've been studying Wing Chun for a while, unfortunately not as regularly as should be, am working on that. As with Bruce Lee, his "inch punch" I've also heard referred to as "instant force." Basically full speed in short distance. You are loose, but you punch through the target, feet rooted. You don't "snap back" a punch unless you are trying to control and just tap someone. The punch through has WAY more power. You can train it on the wooden dummy and pole forms, etc.

Along with that, also attended a TFT (Target Focus Training) seminar. Lots of instruction about hitting targets (I noticed the instructor in Jack's video hit right in solar plexus, bam!). There are many weaknesses in human body that elicit automatic spinal reflexes, such as groin, joints, nerves, liver, spleen, throat, sides of neck, rear of neck, kidneys, eyes, etc. A great feature of TFT, as well as Wing Chun (I'm sure other arts) is that rather than "punching out" to meet you, it is WAY more powerful to be in your space - in other words, get close, slam through, and let your leverage lift up/push back the other person. Just like in Judo. You get in the space and uproot the opponent with leverage.

I am not downplaying the young martial artist doing the punching (not the Systema instructor) - he looks to be quick on his feet, 180-200 lbs, fast, and committed, ready to fight. But if he stepped right up to the target, stayed loose, and slammed the punch through, he would double the plumper guy up. Like hitting a driver in golf - don't hit AT the ball, swing through as if you were hitting beyond it - and you will hit it harder and farther.

I like the demonstration of the "loose power" too. I have felt Sifu just whip a punch and it feels, basically, like your skin is hit, then the muscles/interior of your body gets hit by inertia/shockwave/slam, just like the Systema instructor demonstrated. Likely there is inertia / continuing force principles in play. I have watched Ip Ching do that too, be very loose, but then he hits fast and slams through, with lots of power.

Looks cool, I need to check it out more. When you are TENSE or contract your muscles too hard before a punch, you are slow and have less power. Force = mass x acceleration. I realize am new to the TSP, but am enjoying the podcasts much, if these points have been covered already I apologize but it was on the tip of my tongue. Of course I also carry a firearm and CRKT M16-13Z folding knife (the flipper whips it out super fast), always good to be prepared. I should likely get some pepper spray, sounds like it can be a good adjunct. Always good to have options. And have a long fuse, it is fine to walk away from conflict unless there is no other option but death or great bodily harm to you or another person, then the self-defense laws justify the deadly force. Not legal advice in any shape or form, obviously. I would like to learn to strike in this manner, then keep practicing it too.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 01:46:28 AM by RootStrike »

Offline RootStrike

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #74 on: February 03, 2011, 01:01:58 AM »
I followed jack's link to the Systema instructor's YouTube Channel and watched his video striking the guy with the body padding plate. Wow. I can see and sense his quick power with strikes. He looks loose and nonchalant, then BAM! he slams into the assailant. I will have to research this some more, a great combination of power and penetration and yet he uses element of surprise. I have been lax in my training, need to jump back into it. Sorry if I typed too much, man I need go to sleep.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 01:43:12 AM by RootStrike »

Offline RootStrike

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #75 on: February 03, 2011, 01:29:13 AM »
On the shooting techniques of the Russians, here is a real class done with airsoft, you guys can judge how practical or impractical it is for yourself.  Note the absence of fixed distance and no movement typical of many tactical training courses.  (Mr. Yeager's excluded by the way as  he gets heat because people move)

Russian Martial Art Shooting Seminar 1
Now this looks awesome. What great training to just "react" and fight/fire. All different heights, distances, running, squatting, turning, on ground, hit, fire back, push away. I want to find an advanced CCW class to some things like this, should I ever need them.

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #76 on: February 03, 2011, 01:17:15 PM »
Looks like good training.  The only thing I would look out for is that the excellent training where they are crouching behind and shooting around tables bit.  If you watch there is a lot of bent wrist and odd angle shooting.  This may be neccesary based on the scenario but be sure to practice that kind of stuff on the range with live fire,  some of those angles I saw would very likely cause a malfunction in some pistols.

-Chem

Offline RootStrike

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #77 on: February 03, 2011, 01:43:50 PM »
That is a great point, thank you for saying that. I have to remember the physics, not just the cool looks.

I have noticed that with a shorter barrel and lighter pistol, such as, Kahr PM40, if you limp wrist it the round will stovepipe. The M+P compact and Glock 27 I've fired don't seem as prone to do this as I've tested so far, but they have heavier and longer slides, and longer springs. That PM40 has a tight, short nested combo spring/guiderod, a 3" barrel, a thinner than 1" slide, and polymer frame, and a very steep feed ramp. Which is awesome to hide, though, and very light. Because of the steep ramp be sure to use nicely tapered rounds, like Winchester PDX-1 or Hornady or others that have a well-tapered JHP flat nose.

I'll bet that other small, short, thin, light firearms you have to watch for this, like Kel-Tec, Kahr PM, Ruger LCP, Taurus polymer, etc.

BTW, I would never want to do the Jimi Hendrix "behind the head" shot - what if the aim is off, then you're done. Plus it would be very loud. My apologies as that is not technically about Systema striking, but it is related to the firearms class in this thread video.

Offline Thanson_V

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #78 on: February 09, 2011, 08:17:52 PM »
I'm pretty much a newb here, but I have to say that when you hear (or read) the explanation of how Systema works it really makes sense. But some of that stuff in the video posted in this thread looks, for lack of a better word, impossible. It also seemed like some of the "attackers" in those demonstrations were taking really exaggerated falls. So, I'm a bit conflicted.

I have kind of an opposite reaction. What I've heard makes little sense at all. I really went into this with an open mind, curious to see if Systema was something worth putting my valuable time into. I've gotten the videos and watched them. I don't feel confident about the system. I will continue looking.

I would like to learn this however...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QeOQM0GO6c#

Offline Georgesb2

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #79 on: December 24, 2012, 02:05:30 PM »
A few answers about Russian Systema

About me (new here, first post). “I've been around too”. Started training under my dad as soon as I could walk. Since I've been in many martial arts schools and did some “fun” full-contact fighting in a TKD school. Now 60, I have a small self defense school and I also teach Combat Hapkido in regional schools here in the Colorado Springs and Greater Denver area, USA. I discovered Russian Systema about 2 years ago. I saw the you tubes of a short fat Russian dropping guys. It DID NOT LOOK POSSIBLE nor practical. But curious and wanting some more tools for women's self defense, I traveled to find out firsthand. The first hit I took convinced me, no more questions. Nobody had hit me like that, not my GoJuRyu Master, nobody. I qualify myself as having been hit hard quite a lot (knocked out, knocked down, sent across rooms into walls) over the years, in a number of different fighting styles. But to date, Nothing quite like systema ballistic strikes. The feeling was similar to having been in an accident and having gone into traumatic shock. So here's just a few responses to the numerous questions posted here:

Do the systema strikes work? Absolutely!
I drove a long way to get hit by systema. I was dropped. Then after training I was dropping big tough young guys in dynamic exchanges, effortlessly. Using them now, I can usually drop most anyone getting into close-quarter-combatives. It can't be guaranteed to drop but almost guaranteed impact and has distraction capabilities on your way to “something else”.

Can't a systema strike be effectively countered? Absolutely!
This isn't magic. Anything can be countered. Generally the more stiffness you give, the worse you are. That's why in systema, there are so many flow drills and soft work. But even well trained to take these hits, a really deeply placed systema strike will still mess with you. But most fighters fight stiffly and are perfect targets for systema.

Do the systema strikes work in a fight or self defense scenario?
Would systema be of value to women in self defense as well? Absolutely!
Just last week I had a petite woman student of mine use a systema style strike to stop a big guy (me) from grabbing her to take her down. In a realistic scenario of me really grabbing and pulling her quite forcefully she did as I taught and dropped a systema strike deeply into my core through the right side ribs. I stumbled back and dropped. I was “done”. This works in real world H2H.

Are there any downside issues with Russian Systema? Absolutely!
There are many challenges to learning and applying this approach. I've been teaching Russian Systema for about a year or so. I put on a seminar for our advanced students, mostly black belts. Here's the rub. To do them you have to be quite relaxed. Being in a truly relaxed state in a fight takes a great deal of training. Most traditional martial arts actually train stiffness into the body. I have had to train that out. No easy challenge at all. Further, you have to train to get back to “normal” state while in fight, even after taking injury. This takes training. Systema isn't an instant pill or magic dust. There is nothing free here. You have to pay your dues to make it effective. But once you get the knack, once you understand how soft can be hard, it's an extremely powerful weapon set to add to anyone's H2H arsenal.

Is a Russian Systema ballistic strike similar to any other? Yes and no.
The Russians didn't “invent” anything entirely new. But they put together a very effective approach that I respect a great deal. Most systems require stances and a certain cadence, such as strike with out-breath. Systema doesn't work like that.  The approach isn't entirely new but very counter intuitive and different than most of what you commonly see. Chinese source fighting arts emphasize being relaxed, take Tai Chi and Push Hands for example. The ancient Chinese knew about the value of being relaxed in a confrontation. Ki strikes and systema strikes share a lot in common, in my opinion. Just so few people know how today. I think the traditional arts reserved these as "secret" weapons for the highest ranking only in the old days. Not so in Russian systema.  You learn what's important right away. Also systema strikes are generally more “sneaky” as there is no tell tale set or setup with them. They just hit from anywhere at any time.

Would systema strikes work in MMA? Why doesn't anyone use them?
I think they work and I see that certain fighters use the theory already, even if they never heard of systema. The more relaxed looking fighters are appearing to be working their fighting style more like systema. Anderson Silva is one that comes to mind. His very unorthodox style is most noted for his relaxed movements. He may never have trained in systema but it's a concept and any great fighter will have some shared characteristics. The Russian Sambo fighter Fedor Emelianenko had some of that relaxed fighting style and did quite well. George St Piere fights so relaxed, he seems to have some innate similarities to the relaxed systema approach. But keep in mind UFC stand-up fighting and self defense or combatives share little. Going “toe to toe” isn't a good idea except in exhibition fighting on stage. I have used systema concepts in ground fighting pretty effectively. In jujitsu the emphasis is upon fighting relaxed. Watch the Gracies fighting. Of course a highly trained fighter who can survive knock-out blows and fight through arm breaks may not be so rocked. On the street and in other fighting scenarios, they are generally quite effective. I also use the strikes as setups for locks, holds, and containment work. Put them into shock temporarily then bind them up. Effective as distraction also.

What is a systema ballistic strike? Difficult to put into words but.
Briefly, you are tossing a good deal of mass deeply inside the opponent. You respect your opponent's body as mostly gell-like materials inside, with empty spaces and liquids. You go to those places and you create a shock wave that might look like ripples on a pond from a rock tossed in. The mass shift is developed with a wave like motion of some or much or your body as you begin the strike. When you connect you go deeply, and there is a power transfer deep inside of him that sets off a shock wave into his internal organs. Different from a classical boxers strike where the boxer typically has a rigid stance that blocks some of his energy going towards his opponent and he typically pulls the punch at some point blocking energy. The systema strike lets all the energy go. Also the systema power peak is deep inside the body and there is a more of a time lingering where all the energy is transferred. It is nothing like board-breaking where the energy peaks withing a couple inches and it is a fast in and out. For systema deep strikes, you need to be in a place where you can use them. Similar to Aikido, most of the systema strikes are most effective in a defensive move. Not all, most. It's difficult to use them standing toe to toe but you can whip your body and develop a lot of power into punches with variations of the systema punch concepts. There is no single way to describe and no single punch in the system. There are a myriad of variations and applications. I believe it would take a highly trained systema eye to see which punch is systema influenced or systema-like when watching a fight. The differences can be difficult to see in the dynamic fight. But in a manner similar to Bas Rutten's liver strikes, the systema stike “explodes” inside the body. You cannot get this concept or prove or disprove it from watching videotapes. You cannot learn this on bags. You need instruction and someone to hit.

Offline Entity

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #80 on: December 24, 2012, 11:38:05 PM »
Ok, physics. ( understand i am neither in support or calling bullshit on this, there are things that make me want to say bullshit, but there are more that says "ok this is feasible, now lets get it proven")
If you saw me pick up a 5 pound hammer and tap a man in the gut with it and he doubled over would you doubt it?  If not why do you doubt the same thing can be done with the 15 lb club that is a average adults arm. 

The short answer: Shortened moment arm.  ( for those that don't know what this is, moment is mass of something, multiplied by the distance from the effective pivot point that it acts. yes this description is deliberately simplified)
This is something that we 'see' instinctively, and that, I feel is why people are calling bullshit on this technique.

BUT

the human skeletal-musculature system is based around opposed pairs of muscles. When someone is striking with a tensed driving muscle, that person must stabilise the blow by partly tensing the opposed muscle. This will take power out of the blow. ( simple force vector addition here folks)
There are martial arts that try to take advantage of this, by teaching their students to strike 'tensed' for a first few years, as a conditioning aid. Later on in their training, when they are shown to relax that tension, they find they have developed a significant amount of additional striking power.

Also by not trying to stop the blow, you are in effect 'planning' on the blow coming to rest somewhere around the reverse side of the target. This trick means that you mind doesn't start putting force in via your muscles to counter the blow force. This is also a known trick in multiple disciplines.

Verdict thus far?
looks improbable at first glance, but I'm willing to write it off just yet

Offline The Professor

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #81 on: December 25, 2012, 12:17:43 PM »
A few answers about Russian Systema

. . .snip. . .
Ultimately, my issue originates with the concept of being relaxed in a real fight.

I've been doing martial arts since I was 8.  I've done practically all types of styles from hard to soft and even in-between.  I've been in the military, a corrections officer and a law enforcement patrol officer as well as having private security gigs ranging from local bars to route security in hot, sandy areas.

I wish I couldn't say this, but: I've been in a LOT of fights.  Fights where not only was my ruggedly handsome face  was threatened with rearrangement, but where life and limb were endangered.  I have the scars to prove it. 

At no time did I feel relaxed. 

To me, this ballistic striking appears to be a Dojo Trick.  In other words, one of those awesome-looking techniques that appears to (and possibly does) work under highly controlled environments, either by actual technique or by suggestion of technique.  Sorta like modern Aikido.  Iriminage's look absolutely awesome and effective. . .until you try one on a non-compliant opponent.

Each and every one of the videos I see demonstrating ballistic fighting is with some guy standing there, bracing himself to be hit and another guy walking up, in a fully controlled environment, and whomping him, as if this were a game of Roshambo.

Now, if I'm ambushing someone, sucker-punching them without their knowledge, yeah. . .this may work.  I could see the application for a security guard or bouncer, especially where cameras (and freakin' cameraphones) may be surveiling.  A deceptive strike that appears to be light but has devastating effects upon a non-resisting, compliant opponent may be useful.

But, in all the real fights I've been in, the other guy is twisting, turning, throwing punches/kicks, grappling, scratching, biting, cutting, tearing, kneeing, etc.

And you expect me to do . . .what?  Relax?  In a close-quarters fight, with very little room to maneuver, how am I supposed to get the necessary momentum to turn my fist into a relaxed, blunt object?

Now, there are times when I do feel in control when I'm fighting.  This tends to be when I'm teaching or learning.  If a student has me in a tight guillotine or rear-naked choke, guess what?  I'm not all that worried, 'cause when I tap out, he's going to let go.  And, even if he doesn't, there are other students/instructors there to help with the aftermath.  Also, when doing practical application in this environment, I can pull out some of those intricate moves because the worse that happens is I look stupid and we all get a good laugh.    On the street?  That usually ends up with me in the hospital trying to mumble my insurance company's name to the cute nurse through split lips. . .or worse.

But, sneaking out into the alley behind the bar to take a whiz and getting jumped for my wallet?  Totally different environment. . .totally different reaction by the body.  Trying to maintain muscle relaxation while dealing with a massive adrenaline dump seems. . .counter-intuitive.

Now, I'm not saying that Systema is horse-hockey.  In fact, I'd love to come down to the Springs, Mr. Borelli, and discuss the style with you.  From what I've read, I find myself rather intrigued by the teaching/learning format as well as the basis for what techniques I've seen.

The Professor

Offline Georgesb2

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #82 on: December 27, 2012, 10:00:59 PM »
Professor, you've hit the million dollar question about systema. I remain in defense of it however because I do it. You are not alone asking about the relaxed question. I was teaching a group of black belts recently and one TKD black belt had exactly the same question. “If these strikes and the system generally works best while relaxed, how can you be relaxed in a fight?” He couldn't listen anymore and he had quite enough. So I stopped the class and had him grab me as aggressively as possible. Like a bear hug prior to lift and dump. I naturally responded to his tension with tension but because of training and only because of this training (this was new behavior for me), I “melted” my tension and fell right out of his grip. I didn't use any words and he had a eureka moment.

I've demonstrated similarly in defense against locks. In systema one learns to manage tension. Sure there is adrenaline …. but you learn to stiffen some parts and relax others in a timed manner. Systema practitioners can unlock their shoulders particularly. It messes with most locks and most pummeling.

I didn't say it was easy to learn to be able to actually do. In most fight experiences you've had and I've had, well all of them …. nobody in those fights trained for years in systema or systema-like practices where learning to automatically relax body part is the norm. Virtually everyone in America has learned to fight with tension, lots of tension. There are very rare exceptions. So your street-fighting experience is real and valid. Everyone there only knows tension. I struggle with this too. But as I get better, as I practice more and more, I become more effective.

I agree with you, that if you watch videos of systema, it all seems orchestrated. Then you conclude it won't extend to a real fight. Perhaps, it depends upon how much training you've done and particularly with progressive resistance concepts.

As an example, I offer the Gracies. Their style of “fighting” is relaxed. You can see it clearly in the early UFC battles. The karate guys all got tense and the Gracies just flowed with confidence.

As another example. Race car drivers can readily negotiate incredible maneuvers under great stress and near certain catastrophe, while the average American driver would stiffen and crash his car.

I can't emphasize this statement quite enough. You cannot understand, you cannot learn, you cannot walk away knowing of systema without doing it. I was a doubter until I got hit. I continued to have some doubt until I began hitting. I wiped out all my doubt when I practiced hitting in dynamic practices.

You say, and reasonably so, that the hits won't work in dynamics. But they work excellently in dynamics, any dynamics. I challenge my self defense students to grab me in any manner that they wish with energy to take me down or even a hit. My systema kicks in and I drop a bomb into their tension. Usually that stops them because they've never been hit like that. After a while you can survive those and keep working but there is still a good level of “distraction”.  Of course if they are better, or quicker, or get the jump, I might eat one. Anything can be countered. Anyone can be beaten.

When I was a kid I wrestled and continued wrestling for a decade. Every street fight I found myself in, I shot takedowns off whatever they offered to me and the fight ended. I wasn't very tense though. I was tense after it was over sometimes. And sometimes I'd get tense before it began. I wish I had learned the systema concepts then, I would have been even more effective.

This transition is very difficult and us old guys trained in old ways have trouble getting there. I was able to teach a petite woman how to deliver stopping systema hits but it took me about 6 hours of totally focused intense private work and hundreds of hits. She had the advantage of yoga!  But in six hours she got it. I think she's at 50% of potential but she dropped me in a dynamic attack scenario. I've spent as much time on male black belts and they still struggle and I haven't seen the ability just yet. It was easier to teach a non martial artist, non fighter than it was to teach a never-ever. But my guys will get it. And it will help them in the long run.

Your experience is real and actually supports what I am trying to convey. I am not surmising that systema works. I experienced that it works. I did not draw conclusions from videos, I have been on the mat. Have I used it specifically in a street-fighting. No, I haven't and I hope I never do. Would it work, absolutely, if I have practice enough (just like anything else).

I don't experience ballistic striking as a “Dojo Trick”.  It's nothing like a cooperative Aikdo partner giving you energy in the manner that you observed.

The only way you will be convinced. Same as me. Is to take a few hits and give a few. Talk is just talk. Videos are just videos.

You gave the example of dynamic close quarter fighting where the other guy is twisting and turning and throwing stuff. All perfect for systema ballistics. You learn to hit while they are doing stuff and you hit into the tension they need to throw their attack. I drop my partners all the time when they throw or attempt to grapple. Systema ballistics are not meant for the person to just “be standing there”.  Just the opposite is true. The videos when they just stand there are the most difficult to do, actually.

I think the concept of being relaxed is the hardest part to envision. You accelerate mass and just guide it to the target minimally, this all happens in split seconds, fast. It can be done from a few inches. No set up required. You don't need to “get the necessary momentum to ...” And that's the beauty of it. You can toss a body part instantaneously from any position you find yourself in.

Of course as in any fight, try not to get hit. But systema helps there too. You flow with it. Even boxers learn how to do that. You've had all that experience so you know boxers know how to “roll off” punches! Think that through and extrapolate. If you can believe that boxers know how to roll off or roll with punches, then you can believe in systema.

When jumped in the alley, yes, you will likely go into tension. Then via practice you do as you've trained next time. All my street-fighting, I did what I was trained, even when jumped. Now my training is changing and likely my street-fighting would change to some degree as well, I would hope. It's all the training.

Yes it is counter-intuitive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Professor, we can play with these ideas in person. That is the only way. I don't know where you are but there is a systema certified instructor in Longmont CO, recommend you begin there or find another qualified instructor closer. There are seminars all over the country throughout the year. That's how I picked it up and became a believer. You can also come here and play if you are close enough and we can explore. I can't support it until February due to injury and travel, but I am very willing. But once again. The “weakness” of systema, if there is one, is it takes time and practice and a good deal of un-learning to do....

Offline Georgesb2

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #83 on: December 30, 2012, 10:19:14 AM »
To help me explain my thoughts and experiences on Russian Systema, I looked for a video out of the maybe 1,000 videos of Russian Systema on You Tube and nearly as many instructional DVD's for sale. I was looking for some footage that won't be as likely to be misunderstood. Many are instructional, breaking down into very small elements. The uninformed viewer, sees that and criticizes systema saying: "staged", "fake", "non dynamic", "won't work in fights".. All those views are incorrect. So I try to find you a video that has part instruction, with somewhat impactful hits and somewhat realistic flow. All hard to find in one video piece. Here's a video by a highly respected Systema world leader, Vladimir Vasiliev. In this video the strikes are "realistic". I didn't say "real", there is a difference. Half of the hits would drop most "ordinary" men. I know because I do them and many drop with the first such hit. You can learn to tell real hits by the sound. The deeper more realistic strikes have a deeper "thud" sound, meaning, they went into the body deeper with more impact. These deeper hits are very disturbing. The man in the video taking the strikes "knows how". Taking hits requires a lot of training also. The taking of hits is critically important in self defense training.

Also notice that even though the hits really "hurt", the man is not injured. The hits really do move him and really have impact though. In a fight sequence these hits are great setups and distractions and often drop the man. Watch closely when he hits into body tension, there is more impact. I have incorporated these hits into my "style". They are the distractions we use to setup in Combat Hapkido, for example.

Let me know what you thing and if you have any questions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVdl4iqGaos


Regards,
George Borrelli
Colorado Springs, Colorado
borrelliselfdefense.com

Offline blueyedmule

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #84 on: February 17, 2013, 05:57:45 AM »
After watching several of Val's youtubes, the Systema ballistic strike reminds me very much of what Jeet Kune Do does with it's straight lead punch. It comes from below the line of sight, loose, with a sort of unloading, whip-action that is devastating--but it takes time to learn. I spent about a year studying JKD from a very reputable instructor. I"m lucky enough where I live that there are people here who were trained by one of Bruce's pupils. That doesn't say anything about me, mind you. :) But my instructor is very accomplished and lethal. His punches are like Val's--they hit way heavier into the body than you would think possible for his size and age, and with little or no telegraphing. Like Systema, it has nothing to do with competition fighting. And like Systema, it is at least partially derivative.

I'd love to study Systema. I have no doubt as to its effectiveness. One thing I do wonder though--is it much better to be the tall guy with long arms in this kind of art? It seems to me the kind of force generated by the whipping action would be multiplied by length of arm. Notice how nearly all pro baseball pitchers are tall guys with long arms? That is no coincidence.

I've since gravitated towards wing chun, as my JKD was evolving that way anyway because of my body type--short/wide. I just wonder if my Systema would likewise look different because of body type. It would be interesting to bring Systema striking into wing chun, modified wing chun, and/or JKD.

Offline Georgesb2

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #85 on: November 17, 2013, 01:55:59 PM »


Sorry it took me so long to reply. I just grew tired of “just talking about it”.

I  decided to get much better at Russian Systema. I have been training with Martin Wheeler all around the country all year and just returned from his Master Class seminar in San Diego. I've also taught a lot of it all year. From all that work all this year, I feel even stronger about everything I posted here previously. I got to practice fight (at all intensities) for many days with many talented martial artists from many other systems. I found myself working very hard on my internal state and to apply the Systema concepts. When I could control myself, and achieved a moving calm, systema style, I did quite well. It takes a lot of work (practice) to be able to do this under pressure and that is the mainstay of the training in systema. I was frequently able to remain calm even taking hits and so forth. My calm made me much more capable and formidable. It can be done but takes time and work.

Now I wish to respond to blueyedmule's post way back in February 13.

There are similarities between various systems, you just look for it and you'll find it. Bruce Lee said something like all the best movements will begin to look the same because there is only one set of physical realities and only one design of the human being. So yes, JKD does have some things common with systema. I searched long and hard for information regarding hitting and then searched long and hard to make sense of Systema. That effort continues and may never end. I have books by Bruce Lee and I periodically re-read what he has said. Great wisdom. He says many things that sound like systema.

Your question about body build. I think it makes little difference if you are tall or not. But certain people “get it” easier  than others. That is another topic. Martin Wheeler is a much shorter man than me and “I can't touch him”.

In my past I fought both and neither has a real distinct advantage unless you stay fixed in a range. But if you move and change the range dynamically and move in (some of the moves are “illegal” in sport fighting). Keep in mind that Systema is in my opinion, largely a close quarters real world fighting system. Not to say that it doesn't work at range. But like most self defense is unlike long range TKD kicking. My current view of Systema is that you close the distance (or let him do it for you ) and then operate “hidden” from there. And once there, reach doesn't matter too much. Every advantage has the inherent opposite disadvantage. I could list both but you can intuit. Things like velocity and mass.

Regarding your last comment. Systema is a conceptual system and can be applied to any other knowledge. Again some will struggle more with systema. Change is difficult. My personal change is taking all that I have.

George Borrelli
BorrelliSelfDefense.com
Russian Systema practitioner, student and teacher
50 year + lifelong martial artist of many styles
Nobody special. Still learning, still changing, still teaching.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
To contract me, please find me on Facebook or visit my web site

Offline joeandmich

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #86 on: February 03, 2014, 09:09:17 AM »
I too am a life long martials arts student and teacher specifically Hung Gar Kung Fu, Muay Thai and Krav Maga. I've been interested lately more in modern martial arts such as Krav Maga, MCMAP, Army Combatives and Systema. I've been studying a mix of Krav Maga and Hagannah for the past 2 years. I've had good teachers and not so good teachers. Some teach you really good techniques some teach you mediocre techiniques. Can you recommend a good Systema teacher in south Florida?

Joe

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #87 on: February 04, 2014, 07:50:07 PM »
I too am a life long martials arts student and teacher specifically Hung Gar Kung Fu, Muay Thai and Krav Maga. I've been interested lately more in modern martial arts such as Krav Maga, MCMAP, Army Combatives and Systema. I've been studying a mix of Krav Maga and Hagannah for the past 2 years. I've had good teachers and not so good teachers. Some teach you really good techniques some teach you mediocre techiniques. Can you recommend a good Systema teacher in south Florida?

Joe
To digress a bit, Joe how do you see the difference in traditional martial arts like the Kung Fu and the military combative systems?  MACP and MCMAP are structured to be brief exposure systems where the average Soldier gets 40 or so hours of instruction and that is largely it.  They are used to build aggression and warrior spirit as much as fighting ability.  In MACP especially, past the 40 hour MACP level one it is mostly instructor development.  A person who is a level 2 MACP has only 60 hours of real instruction hours. Some of the oddities of US Krav seems to be adopting a military combative model of building an acceptable level of ability in the bare minimum time and making it a successful business model.

So what are you trying to get out of studying military combative systems as opposed to more traditional systems?

Offline joeandmich

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #88 on: February 05, 2014, 05:44:32 AM »
To digress a bit, Joe how do you see the difference in traditional martial arts like the Kung Fu and the military combative systems?  MACP and MCMAP are structured to be brief exposure systems where the average Soldier gets 40 or so hours of instruction and that is largely it.  They are used to build aggression and warrior spirit as much as fighting ability.  In MACP especially, past the 40 hour MACP level one it is mostly instructor development.  A person who is a level 2 MACP has only 60 hours of real instruction hours. Some of the oddities of US Krav seems to be adopting a military combative model of building an acceptable level of ability in the bare minimum time and making it a successful business model.

So what are you trying to get out of studying military combative systems as opposed to more traditional systems?

Since I plan on opening a satellite school in 2 years in another part of Miami Dade County Florida I'm trying to formulate a competitive program. We've noticed in our Doral school that most adults prefer not to spend years learning forms but prefer to learn to either defend themselves as soon as possible or get a great workout. Even though we teach Kung Fu, JKD, Krav Maga our most popular class is Muay Thai. Since we are already successful with Kung Fu for kids and Muay Thai for teens and adults I wanted to create an adult oriented self defense class comprising of the Krav Maga I've learned and am still learning with MCMAP, Army Combatives and Systema as well as modern weapons training such as firearms, knife and baton.

The Army Combatives and MCMAP taught in Miami are mostly Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which our head instructor is already taking private classes in and using some of the techniques he likes in the Krav Maga class.

So you can see where I'm going with this. We also plan on adding Brazilian Capoeira at the satellite school because there are many Brazilians here and we already have a Mestre who is interested. Hopefully when we open it will be successful.

Thanks,

Joe

Offline Nazdreg

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Re: Russian Systema
« Reply #89 on: July 18, 2014, 04:09:39 PM »
I recently moved to CO Springs and found a trainer in Black Forrest, let me know if you are still looking for a place to train - we definitely need more students.

Colorado Springs does not seem like a good place for this. The local Krav Maga school is a TKD and Karate school first. I'm not sure I trust that. The closest Systema instuctor is in Longmont, pretty far away. Possible when I get done with my degree I'll move near the Denver metro area.