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Seth Jackson
06-22-2003, 10:10 AM
Has anyone on the forums had any experience with systema? What were your thoughts/impressions on its movements as compared with aikido?

Peter Klein
06-22-2003, 11:02 AM
systema is very similiar to aikido. systema though, is more aimed at self defends leaving the mistical stuff out. it doesnt have grades or uniforms. the leading instructor for systema in the usa is vladimir vasiviliev. systema was developed in russia. and is a quite old art. it is stilled used mostly in the army to train spetznaz troups. the art was developed in the army aswell.

06-23-2003, 10:16 AM
i've seen clips from them and other sites. Honestly i am not too impressed. :If you want to see them in action just do a google search.

Mark Jakabcsin
06-23-2003, 10:16 PM

While I am sure your video research of the topic is extensive enough to make a good solid opinion based on understanding you still might want to get some hands on training. I see you live in Boston and it just so happens there is a very good Systema instructor in Boston by the name of Arthur Sennott. You can find his contact information on the RMA web site in the affiliates section or you can PM me and I will send it to you.


06-23-2003, 11:19 PM
Stanley Pranin, of Aikido Journal, is impressed enough to include them in the Aiki Expo this year. That's a pretty good endorsement if you ask me.

06-24-2003, 03:35 AM
Stanley Pranin, of Aikido Journal, is impressed enough to include them in the Aiki Expo this year. That's a pretty good endorsement if you ask me.
After hearing a lot about it from the promotion for the Aiki Expo, a friend lent me one of the Systema training videos. I thought there were some interesting ideas presented on the video. The part that I found dissappointing, since from the hype I had been led to expect otherwise, was the section on defending against an attacker with a knife. None of that was anymore realistic than what is generally taught in aikido tanto-dori. The attacker in all cases was attacking in an untrained manner that a well-trained aikido student would have found it easy to deal with.

Still, I saw some things interesting enough to plan to attend at least some of the sessions on Systema at Aiki Expo this year. You never know, I enjoyed Don Angier's and K. Kondo's sessions last year enough to attend as many of them as I could.


07-08-2003, 05:48 AM

Sorry to resurrect this thread, but as an infrequent visitor, I missed this thread when it was active.

I would like to add something to this thread on systema because I have been learning the system for about six months. My main focus of attention for seven years up until six months ago was aikido. Aside from a few outstanding commitments, I no longer do aikido.

In response to the original question, I would say that systema has a huge amount in common with aikido, but the method of learning is completely different. What we learn is a number of 'drills' which build general skills - there are no fixed techniques. Every drill has the element of unpredicability and no rules exist as to how you solve the 'problem' the drill gives you.

Thus training tends to build a flexible mindset and high survivability.

One of the thing I noticed about the internet forums for mainstream martial arts is that people constantly ask 'what would you do if such and such' or 'how would you deal with at *blank*'. If asked those questions I would have to say I haven't a clue - but I feel okay about being able to deal with it should I need to.

In answer to the 'watched an internet video and not impressed' minset, I'd like to say that a lot of the high level work on video is almost impossible to understand by watching it. It is similar to the work you can see Ueshiba doing. It looks a bit dodgy at first glance, but if you experience it you can't help falling over even though you feel like a chump for doing so.

With regard to the critisim of the knife work - it tends to look unimpressive for a number of good reasons; the main one is that it is totally unrehearsed from an unpredictable attack, and therefore probably the worst situation to try and demonstrate something for - however this is how we work and is to us the most honest way. Also participants use a real knife or something like - this helps keep you honest, but you slow down a little bit in the interests of safety - thus not making for a polished demo.

Those of you who attend the expo hopefully will get a few insights into how it works anyway.

Seth Jackson
07-08-2003, 03:37 PM
I was very interested in the system but its quite rare to find an instructor. I purchased a tape of some training methods and techniques. I thought it was quite unique, the strikes where very unorthodox in that they were whiplike circular strikes. I liked the bodywork in keeping the body completely supple and able to dissolve the impact. It looks very silly lets face it but I think most of us by dealing with aikido should be able to look past those kinda things. The one thing that I didnt understand was the extremely short area covered by strikes following a slap/elbow/ ect all in a sequence. I am sure I wouldnt want Vlad to smack me around with those little serpentine movements but I would like to see how much power he could put forth with them.

I would train it if I could, I really liked the philosophy of movements developed from natural instinctual actions.

07-09-2003, 05:36 AM
Hi Seth,

Looking silly is good! Its the final hurdle to freedom of self expression in movement. Still don't understand the strikes myself yet, but I can say that they really have a profound effect - sometimes I have taken one and fallen over twice.

Good luck finding somewhere to train. You might want to post for a training partner at the forum - http://russianmartialart.org/forum/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=3

07-09-2003, 07:03 AM
Hi Sam;

Respond to me privately if you wish - but why did you stop our little thing?

Peter R.

07-10-2003, 05:34 AM
Hi Sam;

Respond to me privately if you wish - but why did you stop our little thing?

Peter R.
Hi peter,

Sounds like things are going well for you in Himeji:)

In answer to you question, I stopped Aikido because I have found in Systema what I have been looking for for a long time.

Even whilst I was training in Aikido, I used to cross-train in Judo, Karate and Silat. In essence I was always looking for something - I didn't find it in Japan. Now I believe in what I do, I don't cross train anymore.

It sounds like a quote from one of these historical budo books, but when I met the Systema practitioners, they could deal with me effortlessly in a completely unpredictable situation in a gentle manner. This really opened my eyes. I had always had trouble making my aikido work for me, a fact I put down to personality in the end. Systema works for me and also fullfils my artistic and spiritual needs.

I still have interest and respect for Aikido (that's why I still come here), but I don't train anymore. When I started Systema, my aikido (especially randori) suddenly started to exponentially improve - but it got to a stage where aikido was holding back my Systema (and also I was worried about hurting someone), and the best thing seemed to be to make a clean break.

I still have a obligation to fulfil - this years world championships, but after this I will be sticking to time and scorekeeping I think.

Sorry to go into a self-exploratory diatribe, but you did ask;)

07-10-2003, 07:10 PM
Thanks Sam;

I know what you've been exposed to so if you say that you've found something that suits you - guaranteed you have.

Keep in touch though.


Peter R.