Questions like this have a tendency to evoke strong debates on both sides of the coin.
The question, of course, is “Is taking some time off from seminars a good idea? Will it help or hurt your training?”
On the one side, there is the argument that we should get as much training as possible. Life is short and our art is a long time process. When an opportunity arrives, jump at it.
Granted, there is much merit to these answers. Much truth and on the surface, it is hard to contest these. On the surface. . . . .
Peel the layer and perhaps there is value — much value — in taking some time off from continual seminars. A period of time, a notable break in the action before returning.
For starters, absence makes the heart grow stronger. Taking time off often allows us to appreciate the great opportunities we do have. A break in the action helps to heal our bodies, clear our minds and re-approach our art with a newfound vigor.
Secondly, at some point, we must make our art. . . .OUR art, our version of this great, powerful art known as Systema.
Aikido found Morihei Ueshiba was conversing with a martial artist who came to train with him. The man said: “I came thousands of miles to train in your aikido.” O’Sensei replied: “That’s funny. Everyone else is training in their own aikido.”
“Secondly, at some point, we must make our art. . . .OUR art.”
I have seen a number of people who try to be Vlad-clones, so much so that they even adopt his personal habits and mannerisms. In my opinion, this is not learning Systema. It is parroting a master who does things his way, who found his way via trial and error and training. It is not, nor ever will be, our way. Each of us has our own unique skills, body types, history and 101 other factors. To think that just because we scratch the side of our head before we punch, or hold our ear lobe that this somehow, makes our Systema better is rather foolish.
Thirdly, the reasons for seminar attending should be examined. For some, it is simply a way of bettering our skills. Some are more interested in selfies than in self-growth. It feeds the ego but weakens the soul. For others still, it is the only opportunity for them to train.
Buckminster Fuller once said: “Treat your life as an experiment. The more experiments, the better the life.” I have taken a cue from this great inventor and decided to take a year off from Seminars and find my Systema, how I would like it to look, move and feel. It is an experiment indeed, one that could be a great success. . . or not. Either way, there is something rewarding with taking a risk.
David Orman is the found of Central Florida Systema schools, Orlando areas school for Russian Martial Arts.