Martin Wheeler Master Class

Expectations are an interesting concept. The Buddhists for example, suggest we avoid them and thus avoid the feeling of disappointment.

I do not live this way. My natural inclination is to use expectations to create or to prepare. For the past several months, a group of us on Saturdays prepared for Martin Wheeler’s Master Class. The training was tough – 90 degrees, humid, 3 hours long. It added to the expectation. Gasoline to the fire, so to speak.

Despite all of the above, my expectations were in fact, not met. They were exceeded.  I expected a lot from the Master Class and received even more.

Each day featured a unique topic. though everything eventually overlaps in Systema. The topics had a structure to them. Using the analogy of the alphabet, we would start with letters, progress to words, move on to sentences and finish with paragraphs. Such was the case with stick defense, striking, knife/ground work and mass attacks. Each was crafted beautifully, stacking information and lessons.

 I expected a lot from the Master Class and received even more. 

When I came home, my wife asked me an extremely difficult question, “What was your favorite part?” There were so many aspects that were just outstanding that it is virtually impossible to narrow it down. There were so many aspects, so many levels and so much depth to the training that it will take months to begin to gather at least some degree of understanding and application.

I always liked Martin. If he lived here, I would cultivate a friendship, even he did not teach Systema. His nature is cerebral and easy going and this type of energy permeated the whole group. It added to the enjoyment of the weekend.

Some people are Instructors; that is, they provide the technical aspects of an art. They suggest moving the elbow this way or stepping in that direction.

Others are Teachers. They do the above but add an element that makes them special. They inspire – inspire others to become better Systema practitioners and best of all, inspire others to become better people. Martin is a Teacher. In fact, much of what he said impacted me as deeply as anything we did movement wise.

For those who have taken the Master Class, as you read this, I would bet the house you are nodding your head in agreement. For those who have not yet done so, your Systema training will never be complete until you do.


On a personal note, big thanks to Martin for traveling here to Florida. Also thanks to Kenny for setting up this training and to Greg for allowing the use of his school. Finally, a big thanks to all those who came – friends like Carlos, Mark, Mario and now, new friends. It was an honor to train with you.

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