I have seen it too many times.
A great art.
A great school.
Exceptionally motivated students.
A few years later, someone decides to break off and start their own “version” of the art. Then another follows suit. Over time, the art gets so diluted, it is no longer relevant. The magic is gone. . . . long gone.
Though I have made quite a number of mistakes setting up the Central Florida Systema school over the years, the one “golden rule” that I adhere to at all costs is remaining solid, remaining loyal to those individuals for whom I have had the great honor of learning this art.
First and foremost, my loyalties are to David Merrell, my teacher and friend. Without his instruction over the years, I would not have a Systema school. I often remark to David that the Central Florida Systema school is more like “West Palm Systema, Central Florida branch.”
I do not.
The other loyalty I have is to Vladimir Vasiliev, co-founder of Systema. I do not know Vlad very well, but have had the pleasure of training with him on a couple of occasions. The teaching aspect was surreal. I have never met someone with such incredible skills as Vlad. Our personal interactions were equally enjoyable. Humble, outgoing, likable are just a few of the many characteristics I experienced.
It is easy to see why the bond of loyalty is so strong with these gentleman. We are martial artist, practicing our craft and living by the Bushido code. To venture off or splinter would be beyond disrespectful and into the world of completely unacceptable.
This quote sums matters up rather nicely:
“Unless you can find some sort of loyalty, you cannot find unity and peace in your active living.”