He never trained in Systema, nor any martial arts for that matter, yet did some of the most amazing transformation of energy I have seen. Hard, rough energy was turning into soft, harmless energy in a matter of seconds.
Since I have been in the world of Systema, it has been a tremendous pleasure in dealing with people. I have the very best students anyone could ask for. I have a great (main) teacher and brilliant other instructors that I work with. Also, friends who are thoughtful, likable and a pleasure to be around are part of my circle.
Once in a blue moon, we had a misunderstanding or 2, but they were quickly rectified, often bringing us closer in the process. Errors are a part of life.
Disrespect is another story. I will not, nor ever will, tolerate this to any degree. In my nearly 30 years of martial arts, only once have I experienced it directed toward me. (Ironically, it was a Systema instructor.)
Before Systema, there was baseball, a sport I loved with the utmost of passion. During the 15 years or so that I played, again, only once did I have to deal with disrespect. Details are unimportant but despite it occurring over 3 decades ago, I can recall it vividly.
Fast forward to this weekend. The assistant coach from my baseball days contacted me via facebook. Needless to say, I was surprised, if none too pleased. It took a bit of time, but I recalled the given situation characterized by disrespect and outright embarrassment. My response was. . . .shall I say. . . short and to the point. 2 words. (Not too difficult to imagine what the 2 words were, now is it.)
His response floored me. In a matter of about 7 sentences, everything was resolved. The angry energy which I shot his way was transformed. Softness overcame hardness. Hot yang converted to cool yin. Everything is fine. In fact, it is better than fine.
This was one of the best examples I ever experienced of Systema-in-action. It was not a punch or a kick defense. It fully transcended this. It was one human looking at another, both flawed, now mended like a once broken fence. Words of compassion proved much stronger than any sword or strike.
I do not know if I will ever see Walt again, but after this weekend, I will forever remember him fondly for reaching out with kindness and giving me such a valuable gift.
And for being a true Systema Master, even if he doesn’t know it.