One of my students went to train with one of the major Teachers in Systema.
And thoroughly disliked it. Mind you, not just a little, but a “I will never do this again!” kind of reaction.
I did not agree with them one iota, but have to I really admired them for speaking their mind and showing the courage to do so in a public forum.
Details are not important (actually they are quite important to them but not to this article), but suffice it to say, I thought them did a magnificent job of “verbal” Systema.
Systema is based on 4 principles – structure, movement, breathing and relaxation, and to this end, she did perfect Systema via the voice.
They stood their ground and with shoulder back and head forward, they spoke. In other words, their structure was solid and sound.
They spoke of her experience and what they would have liked to have seen and accomplished. They spoke of how the treatment was not up to par and what chances would be ideal. They spoke of movement, and their movement was characterized by flowing with their partner(s).
Though it was undoubtedly difficult to express, they used her breath to maintain a sense of calm. “This was my experience. I recognize not every had this, but I did” paraphrasing a bit here. It was rather impressive – calm, relaxed and an as-a-matter-of-fact demeanor. It was a classic example of breathing and relaxation in the face of stress.
We don’t often think of Systema as it relates to speaking, yet this was one of the best examples I had ever seen. It took me a while to appreciate this, as I was caught off guard by the comments. As a Teacher, I take it upon myself to make sure as much as possible, that everyone is safe and enjoys themselves at seminars. Though much of it is out of my control of course (as was the case here), there is still a sense of responsibility.
As mentioned times before, big seminars do not lend itself to a lot of personal attention. People can fall through the cracks so to speak, though no fault of the Chief Instructor. Sometimes, there are simply too many people and everyone’s needs cannot be met. Many of us kind of know this going it, and often treat these as half training/half vacation so to speak. Some are not used to this and this too, is quite understandable.
In any event, something good came from an unpleasant experience. I for one, was very impressed and moved by this person’s courage, eloquent speech and valid points. It reminded me that Systema is a way of life, not just a martial art.