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Old 05-27-2006, 07:59 AM   #351
DH
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

An idea of breath work and some of the ways it can effect the mind/body

http://www.leteverybreath.com/


Dan
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Old 05-27-2006, 08:36 AM   #352
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
An idea of breath work and some of the ways it can effect the mind/body

http://www.leteverybreath.com/
Since just yesterday I was thinking about this and now you've reminded me, let me toss in my opinion. I'm sure the Systema book on breathwork is fine, but a quick look through the "excerpts", etc., leaves me pretty much with the certainty that that "breathwork" in Systema is not related to the "breathwork" that Ueshiba did in Aikido. It is truly an interesting phenomenon to see how Systema has been sold as a potential adjunct to Aikido by people who really don't seem to understand much about the basics of Aikido, ki/kokyu movement and conditioning, etc. My personal suggestion is that people who are trying to get more complete Aikido that is effective..... go after what was in Aikido to fill your gaps, don't start chasing butterflies in Systema, Wing Chun, Taiji, Bagua, Karate, etc.

Of course, for those that look into all martial sources of potential interest without thinking "this is Aikido", I'll bet it's a good book. Heck, I might even buy one and a couple of muscle t-shirts and a "Systema Watch" (made in Russia), and so on....

Regards,

Mike
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Old 05-27-2006, 09:08 AM   #353
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

enfilade fire....that is a term I have not heard in a long time.

Anyway, that is a technique that is easily definable and conceptual in nature...much like ikkyo.

Now if we started talking about the importance of the stance, the mind connection of the various leaders that is important about synchronizing fires, how you watch your enemy responding appropriately to his "energy"...then we might be in esoteric land. IMO.

You guys really have it in for me apparently!

My position equates to that of a "c" student who intuitively goes out an makes a million bucks as a businessman without really understanding economic theory. To be successful in the implementation of his skills, it is not imperitive that he understand the theory behind it.

A college professor may be able to talk about how the "C" student goes out and makes makes it based on supply/demand curves and statistical analysis and all that good stuff, but alas he may not be able to actually go out and do it.

My point is only that it is not necessary to understand these things and not isolate them only to be able to intuitively do them. More power to those that want to intellectually dissect "how" it happens...we need those people as well I suppose.

Again, I am interested in working with people that can not only demonstrate their ability to articulate and do a few isolated demonstrations of theory...but people that can actually apply it under a multiple parameter situation...responding appropriately to the situation that is presented.

I think it is rare that you can find such individuals.

Might be that you are one of those individuals...I don't know as I have never worked with you Mike. Maybe someday I will have the priviledge...I hear many good things about you from people I have worked with.

I certainly am not one of those people that can do all these things! I am frankly of average talent. I hope no one has thought otherwise!
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Old 05-27-2006, 09:43 AM   #354
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
enfilade fire....that is a term I have not heard in a long time.

Anyway, that is a technique that is easily definable and conceptual in nature...much like ikkyo.
Well, my point is that these ki/kokyu coordinations and training are also "easily definable and conceptual in nature", just like enfilade fire, so it's pretty ease to spot people who are just bs'ing around the terms without knowing what the terms mean. You get my point.
Quote:
My position equates to that of a "c" student who intuitively goes out an makes a million bucks as a businessman without really understanding economic theory. To be successful in the implementation of his skills, it is not imperitive that he understand the theory behind it.

A college professor may be able to talk about how the "C" student goes out and makes makes it based on supply/demand curves and statistical analysis and all that good stuff, but alas he may not be able to actually go out and do it.
Sure, I see your point. And if you're in some branch of business or economics, it's a very valid point. But what happens here is that these ways of movement are, as the classical traditions have pointed out many times, "not intuitive and they must be learned". It's a different way of moving, Kevin. Just on a basic level, take the diagrams where I showed how the force goes **straight** from the tanden to the point of application. Easy to do in a static situation. Learning to move full-time like that is a long and deliberate journey. Ask Tohei why he spent so many years studying these things that Ueshiba wouldn't show him.
Quote:
My point is only that it is not necessary to understand these things and not isolate them only to be able to intuitively do them.
And I disagree completely. "These things are not intuitive but must be learned". Sure, there's a few tiny things that overlap, but the entire study... no way that it will ever happen accidentally or intuitively. It was some sort of discovery a long time ago, probably in India, and it's been considered important and it's been refined for some thousands of years.

As I've said a number of times, I missed it, too. Only when I had met a Sandan in Aikido at a party in Miami did I feel something radically different. Ultimately I have to look back at my judo, karate, Aikido, early Taiji/Xingyi/Bagua, etc., and say, "I did 'em wrong because I wasn't aware of this crucial foundational factor". So I'm not saying "Neener, neener, neener" at anyone... I'm pointing out something that I wish someone had pointed out to me sooner.

Insofar as the people and teachers who want to shrug it off, I am stunned by the logic. All the words and admonitions are there in the classical writings, including Ueshiba's. The demo's are there. The explanations and discussions are becoming more widespread, so what's going to happen within the next 10-20 years is inevitable. Denying these things is only a tenable position for a short time. The worst thing is for the students who have teachers that are looking for some way to avoid these things. Is that fair to the students?

So some way these things have got to come out... and discussions and show-and-tells, etc., are the best way to go about it. Although even with those, there are people who I meet sometimes who have either no skills or very rudimentary skills and after diplomatically moving them up a little bit (it's difficult to change fixed habits quickly), they'll say, "Oh, I was already doing all that stuff... couldn't you tell?"

But it's all fun to watch.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 05-27-2006, 10:14 AM   #355
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Mike wrote:

Quote:
As I've said a number of times, I missed it, too. Only when I had met a Sandan in Aikido at a party in Miami did I feel something radically different. Ultimately I have to look back at my judo, karate, Aikido, early Taiji/Xingyi/Bagua, etc., and say, "I did 'em wrong because I wasn't aware of this crucial foundational factor". So I'm not saying "Neener, neener, neener" at anyone... I'm pointing out something that I wish someone had pointed out to me soone

So, again, as I have said too...I am willing and open to what you are talking about, and will try and seek it out. Thanks again.
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Old 05-27-2006, 10:34 AM   #356
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
It is truly an interesting phenomenon to see how Systema has been sold as a potential adjunct to Aikido by people who really don't seem to understand much about the basics of Aikido, ki/kokyu movement and conditioning, etc.
I will TOTALLY disagree here. I have trained a number of times with the systema guys, we had a club operating out of my dojo which has now become an independent school next door to me. Valdimir was hosted by NW Systema just two weekends ago. The breath work in systema is quite extensive and ties into everything they do (the book does not go very deeply into the theory and practice of breath control as they do it; it's just an intro). Their methods are far more sytematic and comprehensive than anything I have seen in Aikido being taught generally.

Mike, you seem to contradict yourself substantially here. You are not an active Aikido practitioner yet you are on the Aikido forums advising all of us that we don't understand internal energy or kokyu. To the extent that you do, you learned it, not from Aikido but from your training in other arts. Then you tell people not to look outside of their Aikido for this information. As you have so rightly pointed out, not very many people within Aikido have this knowledge. So it's difficult, if not impossible, to get it from normal Aikido channels.

Anyway, as someone with a fair bit of Aikido experience, I can't recommend training with the systema guys enough. It can help open broad new vistas for folks stuckk in their training.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 05-27-2006 at 10:37 AM.

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Old 05-27-2006, 10:41 AM   #357
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
So, again, as I have said too...I am willing and open to what you are talking about, and will try and seek it out.
I should be clear that I honestly feel you *are* open about these things, Kevin. And there are a lot of people like you. And there are always some real "researchers" in the martial arts who actively and honestly keep looking every day. That's what can be so good about the martial arts... it has some very sincere perennial beginners in it who also have pretty good skills.

What I was noting was that a lot of the problem comes from people who are "established" and who therefore feel that they know enough to control the dialogue and the "what's what" in martial arts. Sure, most of these people are "good people" and people who would make excellent personal friends... but they have this status and position that they want to defend. If they don't know something that, as in this strange case of the ki/kokyu training and conditioning, is somehow foundational in an art they're supposed to be expert in, they will not question themselves or their own abilities, particularly as long as they have "peers" who also don't really know. Look at how many people take O-Sensei doing ki-demonstrations or fajin and blow it off as "not important" or "parlour tricks".... yet they can't do these parlour tricks. Doesn't that raise a red flag?

And look at what happens on a lot of the martial arts forums. There are some forums where discussions of Ki/Qi things is relegated to some punishment area of the board or is forbidden!!!!!! What does that say about the owner or the moderators of that list? Look at some of the posts on E-Budo where it's obvious that the list-owner, Georgy Kohler, is clueless about these things, moderators like Mark Feigenbaum and some of the others are similarly clueless, but since they are in charge (it IS their forum, after all), they will actually block discussions they don't agree with about Ki/Kokyu matters. Or take a worse example. There's an Uechi Ryu forum in which a "sensei" who happens to be trained in biomedical matters has short-stopped discussions about areas of ki/kokyu training because he knows everything and simply won't go there. None of these people are particularly ill-intentioned or "bad people", but they have basically said that knowledge stops with what they know. I happen to have an interest in Uechi Ryu (since I took it at one time) and it has been extremely interesting to watch how no progress has been made in ten years due to the fact that the higher-ups already know everything.

In Aikido, as I mentioned in a previous post, there has been this sort of weird statement by some people that is along the lines of "Well, OK, we can't really fight too well with Aikido, so let's get whatever we think is missing from Systema or Wing Chun or MMA or etc.". Really weird. Maybe it's just that there's parts of Aikido that they don't know???? The thought is rejected out of hand.

One of the best things that I think has happened to Aikido in a long time is that someone from outside like Ushiro Sensei showed up at Aiki Expo last year and gave some demonstrations of kokyu power. I wasn't there, but they sounded legitimate. It was legitimate enought that some Japanese Sensei have invited him to their dojo's. Those Sensei are not sitting on their credentials and short-stopping information ... they're actively getting it for their students. The people who actively do those things and the people with open minds... I'm all for them. The people who are "experts" and who block information... who needs 'em?.... they ultimately damage martial arts and sincere beginners.

My 2 cents. (steps off soapbox)


Mike
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Old 05-27-2006, 10:55 AM   #358
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

On Uechi Ryu. Funny you should mention it. My former aikido instructor, Bob Galeone...who was also Jimmy Sorrentino's. Was a Uechi Ryu guy, as well as aikido, I believe now he is pretty heavy into Bua Gua with Alan Pittman.

He seemed to be putting it all together...I learned alot from him, but never really got alot of what he was trying to teach...I could tell by his frustration at times with me.

I did Uechi with him for a shortwhile, and carried a few things away from it. From what I could tell...it was a very good art for learning these things.
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Old 05-27-2006, 10:56 AM   #359
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
I will TOTALLY disagree here. I have trained a number of times with the systema guys, we had a club operating out of my dojo which has now become an independent school next door to me. Valdimir was hosted by NW Systema just two weekends ago. The breath work in systema is quite extensive and ties into everything they do (the book does not go very deeply into the theory and practice of breath control as they do it; it's just an intro). Their methods are far more sytematic and comprehensive than anything I have seen in Aikido being taught generally.
OK, good discussion. So their breathwork ties in with everything that THEY do. Does it tie in with Shingon breathing work? Does it use what was allegorically referred to by the Japanese, O-Sensei, the Chinese, etc., as "The Ki of Heaven" and the "Ki of Earth"? If so, could you expand on the relationship through that Aikido-related approach? If not, could you explain why you think their training ties in with the Ki/Kokyu things?
Quote:
Mike, you seem to contradict yourself substantially here. You are not an active Aikido practitioner yet you are on the Aikido forums advising all of us that we don't understand internal energy or kokyu.
This sets up an "Us versus Me" relationship, George, while noting that I am an "outsider". Rhetorically, it's a way of discrediting someone in a debate. I know you didn't mean to do that, but I thought I'd point it out. Is it possible that we can discuss this without slipping in personal references to bend the debate?
Quote:
To the extent that you do, you learned it, not from Aikido but from your training in other arts. Then you tell people not to look outside of their Aikido for this information. As you have so rightly pointed out, not very many people within Aikido have this knowledge. So it's difficult, if not impossible, to get it from normal Aikido channels.
Well, wait a sec... you're warping what I said. I've seen convincing demonstrations in any number of martial arts in relation to the ki/kokyu things and if you said, for instance, that you were learning ki or breathing, etc., from Ushiro Sensei or from some Yiquan guy or from some acknowledged expert in some art that DOES use these things, I wouldn't say a word. The assertion is that Systema contains these things. So far, and I've looked quite a bit, I haven't seen anything that indicates Systema has these same things. So if you're saying that Systema DOES have these sorts of things and you are asserting that, how about helping with some of these example-analyses we're doing on some of the ki demonstrations in this thread. I have no idea what your expertise is in these things and this would be a good thread to join into if you have such expertise. And I mean that in the friendliest and most neutral of ways, George.
Quote:
Anyway, as someone with a fair bit of Aikido experience, I can't recommend training with the systema guys enough. It can help open broad new vistas for folks stuckk in their training.
OK, you're using your experience as a qualifier. How about showing your actual expertise in the Ki and Kokyu things with some analytical discussions about Ki/kokyu things on this thread? As it is, the conversation has gone straight back to argument by assertion.

All the Best.

Mike Sigman
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Old 05-27-2006, 11:18 AM   #360
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
On Uechi Ryu. Funny you should mention it. My former aikido instructor, Bob Galeone...who was also Jimmy Sorrentino's. Was a Uechi Ryu guy, as well as aikido, I believe now he is pretty heavy into Bua Gua with Alan Pittman.

He seemed to be putting it all together...I learned alot from him, but never really got alot of what he was trying to teach...I could tell by his frustration at times with me.

I did Uechi with him for a shortwhile, and carried a few things away from it. From what I could tell...it was a very good art for learning these things.
I would not recommend Uechi Ryu as a good art to learn the ki/kokyu things. As a general rule, most Uechi people that I've seen (and I've seen a lot of them and I've had numbers of them come to workshops) are so muscle and shoulder oriented that I'd prefer to not mix the discussions. I also think (i.e., it's a personal opinion) that Uechi Ryu has currently devolved so much from its Chinese forebears that there's too much of a chasm developed. I'll be glad to debate it, but not on this thread.

If we ever get into a real meat-and-potatoes discussion on these things, it boils down to the question of doing these things with muscle and without muscle and what that does as one's age increases. But we're not at that discussion yet. Not on this forum, anyway.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 05-27-2006, 01:12 PM   #361
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

funny you should mention age....I just watched the video from my last submission fight two weeks ago. 41 year old man with a few years experience versus the 21 year old newb with speed, strength and agility. I won the fight, but, my God! I did not realize how slow I was moving. It took me 20 minutes to wear him down and beat him!

I was never in fear of losing the fight...but I could not beat him at his game...speed, agility, and strength. I had to relax, feel him out, be patient, and look for the openings. Thus...alot of the fight is not very exciting...it consist of me laying on my back in half guard, or in the turtle...waiting for him to move and make a mistake.

Yea...made me think about getting older and having to rely more on efficiency of movment, correct technique, and reading his balance, center etc.
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Old 05-27-2006, 01:41 PM   #362
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
OK, good discussion. So their breathwork ties in with everything that THEY do. Does it tie in with Shingon breathing work? Does it use what was allegorically referred to by the Japanese, O-Sensei, the Chinese, etc., as "The Ki of Heaven" and the "Ki of Earth"? If so, could you expand on the relationship through that Aikido-related approach? If not, could you explain why you think their training ties in with the Ki/Kokyu things? This sets up an "Us versus Me" relationship, George, while noting that I am an "outsider". Rhetorically, it's a way of discrediting someone in a debate. I know you didn't mean to do that, but I thought I'd point it out. Is it possible that we can discuss this without slipping in personal references to bend the debate? Well, wait a sec... you're warping what I said. I've seen convincing demonstrations in any number of martial arts in relation to the ki/kokyu things and if you said, for instance, that you were learning ki or breathing, etc., from Ushiro Sensei or from some Yiquan guy or from some acknowledged expert in some art that DOES use these things, I wouldn't say a word. The assertion is that Systema contains these things. So far, and I've looked quite a bit, I haven't seen anything that indicates Systema has these same things. So if you're saying that Systema DOES have these sorts of things and you are asserting that, how about helping with some of these example-analyses we're doing on some of the ki demonstrations in this thread. I have no idea what your expertise is in these things and this would be a good thread to join into if you have such expertise. And I mean that in the friendliest and most neutral of ways, George. OK, you're using your experience as a qualifier. How about showing your actual expertise in the Ki and Kokyu things with some analytical discussions about Ki/kokyu things on this thread? As it is, the conversation has gone straight back to argument by assertion.

All the Best.

Mike Sigman

Mike,
The reason I don't participate in these discussions as they proceed is that I don't have any experience in what you are talking about. My point was that very few people in Aikido have much experience in what you are talking about. To the extent that I understand any of these things it is something I have learned through my own practice and I wouldn't even know where to start talking about it because I have no reference point for establishing a common terminology.

Is systema breathing work the same as Shingon breathing work? I have absolutely no clue. And I bet there aren't three people in the country who could tell you. Since it is a Russian martial art, they have a completly different theoretical framework for talking about what they do. So I would, in fact, be unable to tell you if it uses the Ki of Heaven or the Ki of Earth. I certainly don't know and i don't think you do either if you haven't trained directly under Vlad or Ryabko or one of their seniors teachers. They for sure don't talk about it that way.

You notice that none of the senior Aikido folks who are on the forums participate in this discussion. It's because they don't know this stuff, which you have pointed out repeatedly. I know a very small number of Aikido people who have had much training in this area. For myself I look at the end result of whatever training someone does. Is their technique relaxed, does it neutralize attempts to outpower it, can they generate power without seeming to expend much effort? If so I am interested.

I am not interested in whether systema breathing is the same breathing which O-sensei or generations of anicient Chinese practitioners used, except that it is of interest historically. From a training standpoint I am interested only in what will help me make my Aikido better. I am aware that breath training is something I need to pursue to take my Aikido to another level. That's why I read what you write and that's why I have trained with the systema folks.

The focus on developing breath control is central to systema practice from the very beginning of ones training. If one looks at the end result of the training in the form of Michael Ryabko and Vladimir Vasiliev and even their senior students one can see a group of folks whose understanding of the energetics in the human body far exceeds what I am used to seeing in Aikido. Having some ability to do what they do would certainly improve my Aikido. So that's what I care about.

Just from a practical standpoint I think that cultural differences between systems have more to do with theoretical terminology than actual differences. The human body is the human body. If one group in one culture and another in a different culture both spend hundreds of years focusing on understanding a particular aspect of how human bodies work, like breathing, I strongly suspect that they will end up with common understanding but with different terminology for it.

Anyway, it is quite possible that what the systema guys do is different than what you are describing. I simply don't know. But the point of my post was to counter what I understood your assertion to be that it wouldn't be worth ones while to look to systema for training which would help develop internal power for use in Aikido. I do not believe that to be true. However, what that "internal power" might be could certainly be different than what you have described in your posts. Our areas of expertise are different. I have thirty years of daily Aikido experience which you don't have, you have some vast amount of experience in Chinese internal arts which I don't have. I suspect that my direct experience of systema in terms of training with the two senior Russian teachers is greater than yours and I do have almost daily interaction with serious systema instructors (since their school is on the other side of the wall from mine). So basically, not much discussion is possible for us. So, generally I just follow your posts with interest.

The readers that know me and my Aikido can decide for themselves if they wish to take my advice and check out systema, at least the senior teachers. It has helped me immensely and I have done only a very little. I will say that, the systema folks I have encountered, and I don't mean just Vlad and his teacher but Vlad's senior students as well, are operating on a level of sophistication that one would see except at the very top most levels in Aikido, and not in many there.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 05-27-2006, 02:49 PM   #363
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
The reason I don't participate in these discussions as they proceed is that I don't have any experience in what you are talking about. My point was that very few people in Aikido have much experience in what you are talking about. To the extent that I understand any of these things it is something I have learned through my own practice and I wouldn't even know where to start talking about it because I have no reference point for establishing a common terminology.
Well, but we should be able to find a common terminology very quickly and without any worries about "Shingon" or "ki" or "mind-body", etc. The way we describe and "test" these things is via forces. How are the forces being handled. Even the most mystical believer or the most learned academician reading the thread has to describe simple forces at one time or another. "From the center", "put the weight here", "send force from the ground", etc., ... all these things are descriptions of forces. The common admonition is to "not let the ki rise" and to "move from the center"... this is a description of forces, sources, origins, and directions. If someone is experienced in "moving from the center" and really knows how to do it in an expert manner, they should be able to answer a direct question and the terminology worked out ("what do you mean by such and such") as you go along.

If you notice many different posts on the threads, you'll see an attempt over and over again to shift to arguments (in a debate sense) of vagaries, assertions, beliefs, appeals to authority, etc., but few direct answers or comments that have to do with forces. It is extremely interesting to watch the substitution of opinions for factual discussions. Look how many direct questions are simply avoided.
Quote:
Is systema breathing work the same as Shingon breathing work? I have absolutely no clue. And I bet there aren't three people in the country who could tell you. Since it is a Russian martial art, they have a completly different theoretical framework for talking about what they do.
OK, there's another assertion. If you're familiar enough with Aikido and Systema, you should be able to have a general idea about similarities and overlaps. When I read the various Systema things and Pavel Tsatsouline's books, I look for commonalities, etc. I have seen none so far. Based on what I know about the general training of ki conditioning, etc., a system in which the general principles are the same throughout the Chinese and Japanese martial arts, I would take the position fairly comfortably that while Systema is probably a good system in itself, it does not use the basic training methods of ki/kokyu things.
Quote:
You notice that none of the senior Aikido folks who are on the forums participate in this discussion. It's because they don't know this stuff, which you have pointed out repeatedly.
Sure. And I encourage them to either learn it because the like the ideas or because it's cool, or just because they'd like to kick my butt. I've been a student of "teachers", George. I know many other people that have been students, as well. There is a responsibility that comes when someone hangs out a shingle as a teacher, IMO. If I was a teacher with students, I would feel obligated to learn everything I could about the subject.... and assuming the other people feel the same way I do and that other people just have a basic love of the martial arts, I chatter away, trying to be accurate and truthful. The real problem for me may be that I am not dependent on martial arts in any way for a livelihood and I couldn't care scratch about rank or status. If you ever visit the QiJing list, you'll find no mention of anyone's rank, whether they are a "teacher" or not, their "school", or anything else... only pure issues are discussed. That's the mindset I prefer.
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Just from a practical standpoint I think that cultural differences between systems have more to do with theoretical terminology than actual differences. The human body is the human body. If one group in one culture and another in a different culture both spend hundreds of years focusing on understanding a particular aspect of how human bodies work, like breathing, I strongly suspect that they will end up with common understanding but with different terminology for it.
I disagree. The assumption is that people are working on the same thing if they are working on "breathing". That's not true. There are a number of things that can be done with "breathing" training. O-Sensei was doing the one that involves pressures and tensions in relation to kokyu/jin forces. Just because Systema does specialized breathing doesn't mean it's the same thing. I did "specialized breathing" when I swam cometitively but it's not the same thing as this.
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Anyway, it is quite possible that what the systema guys do is different than what you are describing. I simply don't know. But the point of my post was to counter what I understood your assertion to be that it wouldn't be worth ones while to look to systema for training which would help develop internal power for use in Aikido. I do not believe that to be true. However, what that "internal power" might be could certainly be different than what you have described in your posts. Our areas of expertise are different. I have thirty years of daily Aikido experience which you don't have, you have some vast amount of experience in Chinese internal arts which I don't have. I suspect that my direct experience of systema in terms of training with the two senior Russian teachers is greater than yours and I do have almost daily interaction with serious systema instructors (since their school is on the other side of the wall from mine). So basically, not much discussion is possible for us. So, generally I just follow your posts with interest.
OK, fair enough. But the point is that my 7-8 years of experience in Aikido and its methods, etc., allows me to cross-analyse from Chinese martial arts in a ho-hum-nothing-new-here way that the ki and kokyu-power exhibitions in Aikido are the same qi and jin exhibitions of the same things in Chinese martial arts. There's not a third way that coincidentally does the same things. I can describe what is happening because I know what is happening.... in a way, that's my "credentials" to ante into the game. If Systema is giving you insights and it's the same thing, then we can have an easy and comfortable conversation about what is actually happening. That's what I'm inviting you to do. Notice how Rob John and I have very different backgrounds and terminology... yet we have conversations with each other where we know pretty exactly and immediately what each other is saying. If the subject is understood, the terminology simply isn't that important... it can be worked out.
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The readers that know me and my Aikido can decide for themselves if they wish to take my advice and check out systema, at least the senior teachers. It has helped me immensely and I have done only a very little. I will say that, the systema folks I have encountered, and I don't mean just Vlad and his teacher but Vlad's senior students as well, are operating on a level of sophistication that one would see except at the very top most levels in Aikido, and not in many there.
Fair enough. But if you're in a position to recommend that, couldn't you at least give us the benefit of a couple of simple examples in "moving from the center" in Aikido? Forget the "jo trick". How about, for instance, where Shioda throws Uke by letting Uke grab his gi lapels... how would that simple example work? Or take breathwork... what would you say that Ueshiba is doing in Shingon when he raises his arms up in a circle and brings them down... what can he train by doing that? I.e., I'm feeling for the connection to how Systema is helpful to an Aikidoist by starting with what a prime Aikidoist did. And of course, I'm somewhat pulling your leg, but that's just me.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 05-27-2006, 03:09 PM   #364
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
How about, for instance, where Shioda throws Uke by letting Uke grab his gi lapels... how would that simple example work? Or take breathwork... what would you say that Ueshiba is doing in Shingon when he raises his arms up in a circle and brings them down... what can he train by doing that? I.e., I'm feeling for the connection to how Systema is helpful to an Aikidoist by starting with what a prime Aikidoist did. And of course, I'm somewhat pulling your leg, but that's just me.

Regards,

Mike
Shioda's "lapel throw" involved running a spiral movement with both shoulders that allowed him to rest his entire body weight on the partner's structure. Then he moved his hara foward via weight shifting as done in the "rowing exercise" and pulsed the shoulders thereby projecting the partner back. Part of the kokyu involved would be what some people would call "timing" relating to how he would draw the attacker in before he moved forward to pulse. Ushiro Sensei's talk about where to place one's "attention" also plays a big part. If you don't understand that, you simply collide when attempting this.

As for O-Sensei's arm movement I wouldn't have enough understanding of ki to talk about it that way. But all misogi spiral movement is designed to effect the Mind as well and spirals are the way in which we keep the Mind moving, never letting it stop or attach. Anyway, I'll keep reading the posts but I take my training wher I find it. Hopefully, one of these days I'll get a chance to hit one of your workshops.

As for the idea of teacher responsibility, I couldn't agree more.But there are a number of areas on my list of things to address in my training. Since I am not independently wealthy I teach so that I can spend more time on my art than thoise folks who have demending careers. But having a school and teaching so that I can support my training takes a huge amount of my time so these issues get addressed over a period of years. When I win the lottery, things will be different.

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Old 05-27-2006, 03:37 PM   #365
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Shioda's "lapel throw" involved running a spiral movement with both shoulders that allowed him to rest his entire body weight on the partner's structure. Then he moved his hara foward via weight shifting as done in the "rowing exercise" and pulsed the shoulders thereby projecting the partner back. Part of the kokyu involved would be what some people would call "timing" relating to how he would draw the attacker in before he moved forward to pulse. Ushiro Sensei's talk about where to place one's "attention" also plays a big part. If you don't understand that, you simply collide when attempting this.
OK, so you and I have somewhat different understandings about exactly what is involved. But at least we communicated. It's a start. The more we communicate, both ways, the more ideas are exchange; progress is made. I enjoy it and I learn, too.
Quote:
As for O-Sensei's arm movement I wouldn't have enough understanding of ki to talk about it that way. But all misogi spiral movement is designed to effect the Mind as well and spirals are the way in which we keep the Mind moving, never letting it stop or attach. Anyway, I'll keep reading the posts but I take my training wher I find it. Hopefully, one of these days I'll get a chance to hit one of your workshops.
Fair enough. Although in regard to workshops, I try not to do many since I like my free time so much. But we'll meet someday.
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As for the idea of teacher responsibility, I couldn't agree more.But there are a number of areas on my list of things to address in my training. Since I am not independently wealthy I teach so that I can spend more time on my art than thoise folks who have demending careers. But having a school and teaching so that I can support my training takes a huge amount of my time so these issues get addressed over a period of years. When I win the lottery, things will be different.
OK. I don't have a big bone to pick with teachers, since I'm a realist. But teachers need to keep learning, at the very least, IMO.

The last Aikido teacher I had actually knew some basic elements of pure kokyu-power. But they were his closely guarded badges of authority, not something that he had ever developed into full-blown usage. And he was "smoothe" in his techniques. He had more years of experience than you do and more rank and he was a direct and long-term student (in the dojo) of one of Ueshiba's uchi-deshi . Now that I understand what's involved with all the ki and kokyu stuff and how the power is made, manipulated, etc., I'd be hard pressed to say that his years of experience made him an expert in Aikido, frankly. But that's another debate for another time. "Years of experience" is not directly relevant for anything except as an appeal to authority, in other words.

All the Best.

Mike
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Old 05-27-2006, 07:54 PM   #366
Upyu
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Since George is at a loss I'll jump in:

My own personal bent is that Systema does have overlap with Aikido/IMAs (having participated for over a year over here in tokyo), and you won't see it in the videos, since most of it is covered in the "basic" exercises.

The big problem is that a lot of the Systema people (that I've encountered) tend to get too much into the "relaxed movement", use breathing for "relaxing" etc, when its been continually stressed as a training tool to develop certain feelings which you can then strengthen into fullblown skills.

I'll see if I can outline some of exercises I experienced and where they overlap:

Squats:
Completely underrated and not done enough. Most people relax in this too much.
It develops the sensation of the "straight" spine and teaches the correct frame work for "standing", as well as folding the kua/pelvic bone joing while holding it open and sinking straight down.
The equivalent to maintaining the straight point from the tail bone to the Bai Hui.

Pushups:
The breathwork is used to relax at first to remove undue tension, but for those that're already past that stage, it's used to increase the pressure inside the person (a la hen/ha sounds) and observe the effects on the body.
*Btw this doesn't train the "drop" or "rise" that you normally see associated with breathing exercises. It's a different use of the same effects wrought on the human body.

Also the straight spine is worked here, and how the legs can be recruited to help support the body rather than using the scaps/shoulder/arms to lift the body up.

Tick Tock Robot:
I think there's better ways of achieving the goals of this exercise, but for what its worth its an observation of the spinal column and the three "axis" that govern the body. Helps you seperate and build intention in the three axis and start to understand the ideas of weight shift etc.

Absorbing punches:
Using breathwork to increase the pressure created from the breath to create a "shield" around the body. As the punches get deeper you observe how the punch destroys your structure, and consequently you strive to "correct" it. The equivalent of driving the intent "inside" rather than "outside." (I'd say that's a fundamental difference between so called internal and external)

Emitting Strikes:
They don't use fajin, or breathwork really to do punches (as far as I recall), but that doesn't mean the bodyskills garnered from the basic exercises of pushups and squats don't affect them. In fact both Vlad and Michaeil ('never remeber how to spell his name^^ have mentioned at one point or another, that the "secret" is in the pushups and squats, and the related breathwork. I'd tend to agree knowing what I know now.
The direct overlap is the use of equal pressure across the entire arm (using visualizations of your arms being to heavy weightchains, with cannon balls at the end) and then using the straight spine to deliver them (via the figure eight pattern you have running inside you). I'd say Vlad probably uses compression of the spine as well, but doesn't talk about it.

It's a different "mechansim" for delivering the strike in that it relies on the figure eight pattern internally, and it uses "pathways" developed through the breathing in the basic exercises (a la pushups/squats etc), but it doesn't use the "explosive" force that you see in sometimes in other IMA.

As for Pavel, I think he's a totally different animal that's more or less his own thing and specializes in strength training (good strength training as far as that goes tho).
He trained the Spetznaz, but from what I understand there's a fair amount of divisions within the Spetznaz, so not everyone recieves the same training. IE not everyone in spetznaz did systema ( and it was experiemental from what I understand)

Just my two cents

Anyone else feel like jumping in and making other observations where IMA and Systema overlap/don't overlap?

Last edited by Upyu : 05-27-2006 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 05-27-2006, 08:06 PM   #367
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Hmmmmmm. Rob, do you mean that these Systema exercises are explicitly meant to do what you're suggesting or that they *could* be used to do those things?

Regardless, I'll buy the book and take a look at it, just in case. Pavel has some things in some of his books that are "special breathing exercises", but they're not related to Ki training.

Jin... you didn't mention jin in Systema. Any thoughts?

Regards,

Mike
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Old 05-27-2006, 08:21 PM   #368
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

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Mike Sigman wrote:
Hmmmmmm. Rob, do you mean that these Systema exercises are explicitly meant to do what you're suggesting or that they *could* be used to do those things?

Regardless, I'll buy the book and take a look at it, just in case. Pavel has some things in some of his books that are "special breathing exercises", but they're not related to Ki training.

Jin... you didn't mention jin in Systema. Any thoughts?

Regards,

Mike
I think they're explicitly meant to do them, but they're not openly taught. Again they do that asian thing of "feel it, and if you're smart enough you'll get it".

As for Jin, I think it's there, but not used to the extent that you see in the chinese styles.
The slow "push" work that they do to study the mechnism of striking is a dead giveaway I feel, but that most people end up fixating on either the "relaxing" getting rid of "tension" etc etc or vectors/techniques of striking (something you see in Vlads striking dvd).

PS
None of this stuff is in the Book, it's garbage if you ask me.
And the DVDs focus too much on technique/flowery crap that everyone wants to see. (The dude has to make money somehow right? lol)
The only place you'd be able to get a feel for yourself as to whether they have it is hookup with an experienced systema instructor. (And I think its important that the instructor have a rep, since the gradient of skill in Systema is just all over the place. The ideal of course would be vlad or Mika himself)

Last edited by Upyu : 05-27-2006 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 05-27-2006, 08:29 PM   #369
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
I think they're explicitly meant to do them, but they're not openly taught. Again they do that asian thing of "feel it, and if you're smart enough you'll get it".
Maybe, maybe not. But I'm happy to take a look again. I've watched a couple of vids of them and watched how they move. They're powerful and maybe there's some "suit" (I wouldn't say "yes" or "no"), but the completeness with the jin that they'd need to copy Ueshiba's stuff, I'd say no, IMO.
Quote:
As for Jin, I think it's there, but not used to the extent that you see in the chinese styles.
The slow "push" work that they do to study the mechnism of striking is a dead giveaway I feel, but that most people end up fixating on either the "relaxing" getting rid of "tension" etc etc or vectors/techniques of striking (something you see in Vlads striking dvd).
In the Chinese/Japanese view though, the qi and jin would be one amalgamated whole. Systema may be helpful for martial training, just as MMA or Wing Chun, etc., but in terms of the "aiki" thing, I'd say probably not. But this is just a theoretical discussion. When I've read the book I'll give my impression somewhere. Thanks for the input.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 05-27-2006, 08:35 PM   #370
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

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Mike Sigman wrote:
They're powerful and maybe there's some "suit" (I wouldn't say "yes" or "no"), but the completeness with the jin that they'd need to copy Ueshiba's stuff, I'd say no, IMO.
Ah yea, I'd agree with you there. It's not a direct copy, and Id say its a different use of the same "base". And by base I don't mean useage of Jin, but rather those components that make up "Jin" etc.

Hehe anytime, you know how much I hate BS
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Old 05-28-2006, 01:29 AM   #371
tedehara
 
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

We don't have to be so formal. Just call me "Ted".

Of course I believe an exact observation of forces should be done. I've often used the Ki Society's Four Basic Principles to analyze certain aikido techniques and situations. I think a pathways analysis should be a scientific observation using various instrumentation and analysis, if you really hope to find anything of lasting value.

However there is a specific reason why I'm shying away from any analysis. The Ki Society gives rank in ki development. For the lower tests, you can always do something to pass. Follow one of the Four Basic Principles, extend your ki out, etc. There is always something to do.

For the higher ranked ki development tests, you only told to ignore the tester. This may sound simple, but is very hard since the higher level tests have the person extending ki towards you. If your ego gets in the way of the test, they'll just push you over.

So there is a transition between the lower and higher rank tests. Analysis might work very well in the basic tests, for they are a state of doing. The more advanced tests are a state of being where analysis needs to be transcended.

You can also see this state of doing/being when Ki Society HQ. supplemented the basic principle "Extend Ki." with the addition of "Ki is Extended." Extend Ki. sounds like you need to do something, when actually you don't. Your natural state was already having ki extended. Therefore they had to add the supplement Ki is Extended. to show this was really a state of being.

This touches on what Dan and Dennis were discussing. This is no longer part of your life. It is your life.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 05-28-2006, 07:58 AM   #372
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
Of course I believe an exact observation of forces should be done. I've often used the Ki Society's Four Basic Principles to analyze certain aikido techniques and situations. I think a pathways analysis should be a scientific observation using various instrumentation and analysis, if you really hope to find anything of lasting value.
I'm unclear how something as vague as the "Four Basic Principles" (which must be interpretted themselves) can be used to analyse anything, Ted.
Quote:
However there is a specific reason why I'm shying away from any analysis. The Ki Society gives rank in ki development. For the lower tests, you can always do something to pass. Follow one of the Four Basic Principles, extend your ki out, etc. There is always something to do.

For the higher ranked ki development tests, you only told to ignore the tester. This may sound simple, but is very hard since the higher level tests have the person extending ki towards you. If your ego gets in the way of the test, they'll just push you over.
OK, but I know plenty of people that know exactly what they're doing and they can pay attention to the tester or ignore him and still not be pushed over. It's a matter of whether you "turn on" your skill or not. So logically, if the psychological aspect of "ignoring your tester" isn't needed by a lot of people, then it's probably just some sort of unnecessary step, Ted. I'd suggest that if someone knows how to do these things and has practiced them to the point of expertness, then the skills are there at will.
Quote:
You can also see this state of doing/being when Ki Society HQ. supplemented the basic principle "Extend Ki." with the addition of "Ki is Extended." Extend Ki. sounds like you need to do something, when actually you don't. Your natural state was already having ki extended. Therefore they had to add the supplement Ki is Extended. to show this was really a state of being.
It sounds a lot like you're interprettying a religious tract, Ted. If "extending ki is natural", no one would have to go to Ki Society meetings and learn the Gospel. It's a practiced skill. Think of this for a second.... Ki skills are widely known across a large number of martial arts in Asia and they have been known for thousands of years. Why is it suddenly that it takes this belief and adherence to psychology to learn them? It didn't before and it doesn't now.

And from the length of time and amount of success of Ki-Society members, I'd suggest that there is an easier way. If you can do these things, really do them, you don't need to put yourself into some psychological state... just do it.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 05-28-2006, 10:17 AM   #373
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
... If "extending ki is natural", no one would have to go to Ki Society meetings and learn the Gospel.
That's right. That is why some people can practice aikido and "get it" within a relatively short time. Others will spend years and still have to muscle their way through techniques.
Quote:
It's a practiced skill. Think of this for a second.... Ki skills are widely known across a large number of martial arts in Asia and they have been known for thousands of years. Why is it suddenly that it takes this belief and adherence to psychology to learn them? It didn't before and it doesn't now.
It starts out as a practiced skill, but as you advance it's incorporated into your life until you're doing it 24X7. That's why a psychological investigation would prove more fruitful than the mystic teachings that have been used to pass on this tradition.
Quote:
And from the length of time and amount of success of Ki-Society members, I'd suggest that there is an easier way. If you can do these things, really do them, you don't need to put yourself into some psychological state... just do it.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
If you're going to do anything, you need to be in some psychological state. Even the state of No Mind (mu-shin) is still a state.

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Old 05-28-2006, 10:26 AM   #374
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
That's right. That is why some people can practice aikido and "get it" within a relatively short time.
Well, unless they're dealing with a supernatural force (and even the effects of that can be analysed, Ted), the people that "get it" should be able to explain what they're doing. If you push a coffee-cup away from you with "ki" and compare it to pushing it away with normal muscular strength, it can be described.
Quote:
Others will spend years and still have to muscle their way through techniques.
Yeah, well, I would ascribe that to poor teaching, to be honest. I've spent a lot of years watching how long it takes to teach an untrained beginner a number of the "ki tests" in order to see how long it takes. It's minutes and hours, Ted. Granted, it takes longer to make these things automatic and conditioned responsed, but that's to be expected.
Quote:
It starts out as a practiced skill, but as you advance it's incorporated into your life until you're doing it 24X7. That's why a psychological investigation would prove more fruitful than the mystic teachings that have been used to pass on this tradition.
If you're going to do anything, you need to be in some psychological state. Even the state of No Mind (mu-shin) is still a state.
Yeah, but every skill is like that, Ted. Even teaching a neophyte boxer to punch correctly, even during a real fight, takes time and experience until that becomes his natural punch. Never mind "no mind".

Regards,

Mike
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Old 05-28-2006, 11:28 AM   #375
Michael Mackenzie
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

I'd like to pursue the systema piece of this thread a little further…

I had the opportunity to train with Vladimir in 2004-2005 for about six months. I think he's a great guy who is extremely proficient at what he does. I would also agree with Rob John that Pavel is a different critter. Actually, he showed up to train with Vladimir and Mikhail at this year's Expo and was surprised to see how different…

That being said I would say the breathing principles systema uses are different than IMA. In my experience, systema breathing has more to do with the practices one would find in the asana and pranayama of something like viniyoga and some of the harder forms of pencack silat and CMA. They are more breath "packing" exercises. There is an emphasis on long retentions of the breath as well as on the inhalation, utilizing little of the exhalation to "do the work."

I would also agree with Rob that Vladimir and Mikhail take a somewhat more "experiential" approach to learning and they're explanations can be pretty catch-as-catch can. This does not work for everyone. Especially given the sheer # of exercises and drills in systema. TBH I've only seen a small percentage of Vlad's guys "get it." The rest are there for exercises and a sense of belonging. However, this is true of ALL martial arts, or any endeavor for that matter.

I'd also like to venture an informed guess on where some of the systema breathwork comes from. I do agree there are some historical antecedents in Russian physical/martial culture and the Hesychastic use of the Jesus Prayer. However one cannot help but look at the more recent influence of pre WWII judo, pencack silat via the Dutch, CMA, notably Hung Gar, the synthesized Russian Military Arts of SAMBO, SAMOZ etc. and the teachings of AA Kadochnikov, who was featured predominantly in the early systema videos that are no longer available.

Systema is a rapidly evolving martial art developed by Mikhail Ryabko from a variety of sources. I think the training is great if that's what you are into. Ultimately success in any endeavor is based on finding a good teacher, enjoying what you're doing, thinking critically and putting in the requisite practice.

FWIW

Mike
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