CFL Systema: A Year In Review

2015Without a doubt, in the 7-year history of being Orlando’s school for Russian Martial Arts, Central Florida Systema had its most unusual year. In fact, you can add up the prior years and 2015 will still have beaten the combination of all.

Nevertheless, as we near the conclusion of 2015, we have come through all of the trials and tribulations and are stronger than ever. We have a solid group of Core Members who embody what it means to be a martial artist and a Systema Practitioner — loyal, dedicated, hard working, creative. We have a new group of people who have just been exposed to this fantastic art and the blending of the 2 make for a most promising 2016.

Here is our annual summation of 2015:

Seminar of the Year

  1. Rick Merrell’s knife seminar in Boca. This was absolutely brilliant. Small group so there was a lot of individual attention. Rick was at his best.
  2. Martin Wheeler in Tampa. Martin again showed why he is considered one of the top Systema teachers in the country. Very physical.

Class of the Year

3 weeks ago, we had one of the best classes of all time. It was 9pm and Maria had come to get us out of the room. Even then, people hung around, not wanting to leave. THAT is how you know when a class has been great. It was all thanks to the wonderful people who participated.

Most Impressive Moment of the Year

To me, Johnny was the star of the show with this one. Despite normal apprehensions, he took strikes during his first class. A few months later, he was right in the thick of it at Martin’s seminar. Very impress way to start one’s Systema career.

“Disappointment of the Year”

I can only think of 2 — the 2 Mondays that we had to cancel class due to holidays and the fact that  Valentin Talanov and Vladimir was refused entrance to America. Hopefully, the latter will change soon.

Greatest Challenge of the Year

Seeing Christy’s purple pants.

Greatest Miracle of the Year

Seeing Christy’s purple pants and not having our retinas destroyed. This was truly a miracle. In fact, atheists all over the world are converting as we speak.

The “I Get It But I Still Wish” Moment

I miss Jon W. and big Mike. Patrick as well.  I understand life gets in the way. Family and job commitments can interfere with Systema classes. Nevertheless, I hope to see you guys soon and of course, wish you the very best.

Most Pleasant Surprise of the Year

How quickly we grew. . . again. It is rather amazing at times. We went from big to tiny back to big in a matter of weeks. Someone is both watching over us and wants us to succeed.

The Biggest Moment of Change

For me, it was 2 events.

  1. Christy showing up when we are at our lowest moment. She came to class, worked hard and kept the energy flowing. Impressive.
  2. Carlos A. sending me an unexpected email. A few lines of the most thoughtful words, they came at a time when things were not the greatest on many fronts.

People say, “It is the little things that matter. . . “ I disagree. There are no little things. More often than not, we have no idea the impact things have on people. These people and their actions came at a time when I was discouraged about our school. Timing could not have been better. It sent me off on a new, healthier, brighter direction and, not surprisingly, within a couple of weeks, our numbers were big again.

Deepest Gratitude

To each of you. You not only have made this school great, but have added greatly to my life. For this, I am most appreciative.

On a Personal Level.  . . . . . The challenges of this year have had a huge impact on me. For starters, it has re-energized and re-invigorated my love for this art. I cannot wait to begin our new version (I explained this in the recent newsletter) for 2016, expand my training in W. Palm and elsewhere and share all the fabulous information surrounding Systema.

On the flip side, I have become very aware of weaknesses, both personal and martial arts-wise and also look forward to via this art, creating a better version of self. Learning to let go and be compassionate in any situation ranks at the top of this list.

Mostly, I cannot stress enough how grateful I am to all of you,  the ones who continue to brave the long trail that is Systema.