Teacher or Practitioner? Which Would You Choose

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It was a question that came out of the blue. “Given a choice, would you rather be a great Systema Practitioner or a great Systema Teacher?” 

The question caught me off guard and I had to give it a lot of thought. The obvious answer of “both” was not one of the options given. After some time elapsed, my answer was “great Teacher.” 

It is a calling. It feels like it is something I “must” do and not something that I am choosing to do. It is the ring in the Lord of the Rings  — it seeks me as much as I seek it.

It goes without saying that I would love to be a truly great practitioner of this wonderful art, but I ask myself – to what end? I have not had a physical confrontation in decades and consider the absence of such, one of the best accomplishments in martial arts. You train so you do not have to fight. In this era of lawyers and cameras, “winning” a fight may prove to be extremely costly in many ways.

 

At the end of the day, for me at least, without people to share it with, all of the Systema skills in the world would feel empty.

 

Yes, it would feel magnificent to move, strike or kick like one of the masters. At the end of the day, for me at least, without people to share it with, all of the Systema skills in the world would feel empty. Like winning a race because your competition did not show up. Is this really “winning?” Mind you, this by NO means stops me from training and putting my best effort forth into becoming a quality practitioner.

Personally, being a great Teacher is my goal, my dream, my mission. At the end of my life, if I people could say that via teaching Systema, their life became better, I would be extremely happy and grateful. My life would have been worth living and have the kind of meaning to it that I desire.

So I teach and devote the rest of my life to becoming the best possible Teacher I could, given the talent and skills I possess. I share what I have with those who wish to accept it.

Martin Luther once wrote: “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.”

My version would sound like: “If you want to help others change their world, teach Systema.”

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