This past Wednesday, after all an-too-long absence, I returned to train at W. Palm with my teacher, David Merrell. It was absolutely perfect, from the weather to the instruction. More lights when on than ever before.
One major update was the footwork. Though this is always one of the biggest challenges in this art, it was eye-opening to see the advances and adjustments he made. I was used to doing things one primary way. Now, after tossing open about 6 new doors, many options are available. So looking forward to applying and experimenting with this. Funny thing, we tested a number of options on our Wednesday “experimental” classes and were right on target. Definitely moving in the right direction.
It was also great to see what real and “pure” Systema looks like and to be able to practice it with an expert. It seems like so many people are combining this art with another, thinking of it as a “tool” rather than a complete system. In my opinion, this is a huge mistake. Combining it with aikido or tai chi or karate or any other art basically destroys 2 arts simultaneously. Training with an expert like David Merrell, it is easy to see how this happens.
Because it is easier than doing the hard work that it takes to learn real Systema. This latest trip just reinforced my commitment to do what is needed to achieve the skills in this wonderful art that I wish to achieve and do my best to pass it along to others who are also along this path.