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Old 09-28-2009, 01:51 AM   #1
Hebrew Hammer
Hebrew Hammer's Avatar
Dojo: Lava Fitness (The Boxing Club)
Location: San Diego, CA
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 74
Cross Training with Systema

I wanted to hear from some folks who have been training concurrently in Aikido and Systema. Have you found them to be complimentary? Has it been a challenge in mindset? Would you recommend it?

I'm still trying to get over my prejudices with Systema, I have no experience with this art, it is solely based on the vids of seen of it. I'm aware how it looks and how it may work can be two different things. I hear or read great testimonials of from people who have dabbled in it, I like its 'real world' applications but am also wondering how well it mixes with practicing Aikido.

Stay Cut,

The Hebrew Hammer
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Old 09-28-2009, 02:18 AM   #2
Dojo: Aiki Shoshinkan, Aiki Kenkyukai
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 813
Re: Cross Training with Systema

I can only say I've had some opportunity to dabble in it. That's mostly because there's no opportunity for me to really train it in my country. Based on my opinion, its a great art to train in and can be complementary to aikido.

I know for a fact that Aikido was very complementary for my time in Systema. Especially the way we move with our center and the whole out of line thingey. Also being relaxed and extended gives us a great starting point. The only thing is, their breath training and physical workout is more intense than I'm used to. When we're doing like pyramiding squats, runs and pushups I can't reach the 10 counts to 1 breath stage. So I believe this conditioning exercises would already be a good addition to your Aikido training.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:00 PM   #3
Linda Eskin
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Dojo: Aikido of San Diego, San Diego, California
Location: San Diego County, California
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 335
Re: Cross Training with Systema

George Ledyard discusses cross-training in Systema in a few places:

Go to iTunes and download the "Aikido - The Way of Harmony" podcast episodes with George Ledyard Sensei (there are 2). In the second of the two he talks at length about Systema. Very interesting stuff. Also check his posts here on AikiWeb, and this post on his blog: http://aikieast.blogspot.com/2009/06/georges-short-guide-to-cross-training.html

An excerpt:
"The most radically different training paradigm is the Systema. All of the other systems teach from the standpoint of form. Systema has no form, they don't teach technique. I think it the hardest of all these approaches for an Aikido student to translate back in to basic or even intermediate Aikido. On the other hand, if one has higher level skill in Aikido where one has already started letting go of the strict forms of the basics, then Systema relates directly. Because it has no form itself, each individual can give it whatever outer form he wishes. But for beginners and intermediates I think you'll find that serious Systema training messes up your ability or even desire to do kihon waza. This can be problematical as that is what you are responsible for mastering at the early part of your training."

Linda Eskin - Facebook | My Aikido blog: Grab My Wrist

"Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 09-29-2009, 12:33 AM   #4
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 837
Re: Cross Training with Systema

Hi Kevin,

I run a Systema study group under the aegis of Systema Japan. There has been a bit of a debate in the English speaking Systema world about doing Systema while also doing another martial art. I basically agree with Linda's George Ledyard quote with the proviso that "beginners and intermediates" refers to both Aikido and Systema practitioners. I think you should try it but keep in mind that most who continue Systema end up cutting back and finally stopping the other martial art. Kevin Choate is a notable exception.

I am far from an expert, but if you have any questions about your "prejudices" and such, I'd be happy to answer or help you find someone who can.

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Old 09-29-2009, 10:34 PM   #5
Hebrew Hammer
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Dojo: Lava Fitness (The Boxing Club)
Location: San Diego, CA
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 74
Re: Cross Training with Systema

Linda, thank you for the excerpt, I have seen a few of Sensei Ledyards threads regarding Systema, he is my favorite Sensei in here and I respect his opinions and commentaries. I was looking for some feedback from people who are or have tried doing both. There are a couple of locals Aiki schools that offer the Systema and the two arts do seem quite different...so I thought I'd inquire.

Charles, thanks for your input as well, it didn't occur to me that people would drop their other arts and focus solely on Systema. Please forgive my 'prejudices' it wasn't intended to be insulting.

Stay Cut,

The Hebrew Hammer
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