CFL Systema Member Profile: Patrick Prentice

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1) Background
Let’s see I was born in California, raised in Florida and Arkansas.  My family wasn’t particularly well off but they are very hardworking and did whatever they could to provide for me.  They’ve always been incredibly supportive of my martial arts ambitions and I will always been thankful that they give me this opportunity.  The struggles we endured combined with the ideology of budo are what I believe instilled my strong sense of morality.
2) History in Martial Arts
If we’re going back to the beginning then my martial arts career started out when I was four.  My parents decided that American Kempo would be a good outlet for me.. plus it was the easiest place to put me up for a couple hours while they were at work and I was out of school.  Honestly, I’m grateful for it.  I have continued to train ever since then in various styles from various cultures.  I trained in Shito Ryu karate, Shaolin kung fu, and Tai Chi consistently through my teenage years.  Once I started college I started experimenting with more and more martial arts.  I trained in Jeet Kune Do, Aikido, Boxing, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Kali.. all until Bob Elder of (the now defunct) East Coast Martial Arts Supply finally convinced me to join his Toyama Ryu Battojutsu class.  At heart I’m a sword guy, and it’s opened me up to many other opportunities.  In fact that’s how I found Systema.
3) Involvement in Systema
As I previously mentioned my involvement in Systema started as a result of my training in Toyama Ryu Battojutsu.  It was through Elder Sensei that I met David.  My first taste of Systema came in the form of a Saturday seminar.  I believe it started around 10am and went to around 4pm.  Another student of David’s at the time convinced me to come out and train.  From everything I was told Systema was supposed to shatter all my preconceived notions of what martial arts were.  A total annihilation of all I perceived as irrefutable in the universe.  What six hours of intensive Systema training really did though was leave me beaten and bruised!  I, of course being insane, loved every minute of it.  Due to my work schedule, it wasn’t until about a year later that I was able to join class.  It’s coming up on two years that I’ve been training now and I wouldn’t trade that time for the world.
4) How it Affects my Life
Historically I have always been “the worrier”.  I worry about myself, my future, my friends.  I have always spent more time trying to predict the future than living in the now.  Systema’s core philosophy and I tangled over that fact for a very long time.  Systema wanted me to tackle what was right in front of me, I wanted to tackle what was going to happen a minute later.  Ever been in a fight?  Rarely does your opponent actually do what you think they’re going to do.  I found that the same is true in life as well.  For those who do not know, I’m a civil servant.  I work for the government.  Everyone always told me, “Go get a government job, they’re always stable!”.  Everyone was wrong.  This past month I received a layoff notice from the State, saying they’re doing away with my department.  Pre-Systema me?  He would of freaked out and fought it tooth and nail.. unfortunately the state government is much bigger and stronger than me.  Pushing back would of done nothing.  Now Systema me?  Calm and collected.  I did what any good Systema practitioner would do, redirected the energy.  I found a way to use my layoff to receive preference for other state jobs and I’m now writing this biography as the newest Chief Inspector for the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.  Instead of worrying about it I accepted it, and used it to advance my position.  Sound familiar?
David’s Thoughts: Patrick in one of the true students of martial arts, not just Systema. He is an extremely intelligent person, highly motivated and takes his training seriously.
In addition to Systema, he has been a long time student of sword. This interesting combination has lead to a unique approach to our art, one that will undoubtedly provide him and others much benefit. Patrick is a great addition to our schools.
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