A while back, 2 gentleman came to our Systema class. They had an extensive background in Shotokan Karate, 30 years worth in fact.
They only trained for a half hour and made up some excuse to learn. Upon leaving, one of the men whispered (not so quietly) to the second, “Do you realize that he undid 30 years worth of training in 30 minutes?!”
I relayed this story to the group months later and most considered his statement complimentary to the art and to our training. I simply considered it odd and with all due respect to our visitors, inaccurate.
Many of us came to Systema with an extensive background in other martial arts. Mine were karate, kumdo, aikido, kendo, tai qi and arnis. Others in our group have strong backgrounds in tang soo do, jujitsu and boxing. To completely dismiss or throw way such training in in my opinion, not the best way of going about it.
People have spent many years (decades) of training in other other. The learning has been extensive and many of us have been extremely fortunate to have had exemplary teachers who have passed along gems. Rather than ignore history, I find it more useful to find creative ways of working it into Systema training. You have already taught your body to move in an effective manner. Rather than dismissing history, simply adjust as needed.
Adding “your signature” to your Systema is high level training. This is one of our major goals. Our history can help us reach this goal.