I did a short run this morning and was rewarded with the sighting of a beautiful and unusually large woodpecker. I stopped to watch for a few minutes before finishing. They are one of my favorite creatures – the drummers of the bird kingdom.
Woodpeckers reminded me a great deal of how we train and who we are, in relationship to Systema. These red-headed feathered creatures find a tree, bang away for a while, pause and repeat. They never try to take down the entire area in a single go. It is always in pieces.
It is identical to how we train. Systema is too large and too deep to take it in all at once. So, we take a piece, bang away at it for a while, enjoy the fruits of our labor, pause and move on. Always seeking. Always learning.
The other aspect is that once we “tasted” Systema, it stays with us permanently. Whether we train for a month or a year or 10 years, it sticks with us. Even when a person stops training, they can’t shake it. Case in point – the first ones to read my newsletters are the 2 or 3 who no longer train and have not for at least a year. Bit of irony here, isn’t it?
Of course, this is neither a “good” nor a “bad” thing, but rather a testament to the power of this art. It has depth and things that have depth have sticking power. I guarantee you that 10 or 20 years from now, you may not know how to spell Vladimir Vasiliev properly or remember the name of your CFL Systema teacher, but you will remember and apply many of the principles that this great art has to offer.
As for the majority who continue to train, continue to bang away, pause and bang away yet again, you just might. . . maybe. . . possibility. . .probably. . . . with enough time and effort. . . become as great and skilled as a Woodpecker.