Today marks the 6th anniversary for Central Florida Systema. Needless to say, it is a big day for us. It is not just another day for class, nor another Monday. It is a day to celebrate something special.
It means something to the students who are part of this Circle. It certainly means something to me as well.
We survived a tough beginning. As the great sword master Musashi stated, “It is difficult in the beginning, but everything is difficult in the beginning.” Truer words were never spoken.
We overcame the issue of find a training facility. Thanks to the thoughtfulness of others, we had a place to start. Thanks to relentlessly pursuing a place, I found the Jessie Brock Center which we have called home for nearly 4 years. Thanks to Sifu Jeff Sindy, we have a second place. It is a gift to have a home. It is beyond a gift to have 2 places to call home.
We overcame the uniqueness that Systema presents. It is not well known. It has no belts or kyu grading system. It is training, in its purest form and this can be a challenge. Americans in particular, like external rewards. Systema is based on internal rewards, ones which the individual defines for themselves. In other styles, people get belts or stripes, and practice forms or kata. We get energetic, and practice courage and discipline.
We overcame the competition of sorts; that is, with so many other martial arts (schools) available, it is tough to stand out. We did. We decided to train using Systema as a martial art, but a way of life. Slowly but surely, people responded and continue to respond to this approach. In some way, even if just a small way, our lives are different. Our lives are better.
We overcame losses. When I look back and think of the people that moved or are no longer training, it is a bit sad. Individuals such as Izzy, Craig and Garth were wonderful additions to our Circle. Unfortunately, people come and go and it is the nature of the art. It is the nature of life – constant change.
We have overcome other negative obstacles too. Some people think that training in Systema is all about kick or knife defense, or any other the other topics. We believe it is about People, and doing our best to treat each other with kindness, respect and dignity is as much a part of Systema as taking a punch or defending against a stick. Probably more.
We have overcome to the get to where we are now — the point in time where we now can begin to excel. We have the space, the individuals, the support of the master instructors, the desire and every other characteristic needed to make our Circle strong and powerful.
It is up to us not to take the next step, to find the next level of skill. To find the next level of inner skills too. To find a way of making life better for those around us, and for ourselves via the great art of Systema.
Are you ready??
SO AM I!!!