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'Systema', or 'The System' is a method of learning which engages the body and mind to further a person’s ability in all aspects of life.
Whilst the most immediate result is self-defense skill, it is not limited to the practice of such. Training with us will increase your awareness, strength, flexibility, cardiovascular efficiency and mental control. We do not adhere to specific techniques or disciplines; rather we train with reality in mind and encourage personal growth and creativity.
WHAT IS A SYSTEMA CLASS LIKE?
Systema classes are held in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. However, most people like to push themselves to their limits, both mentally and physically. Training exercises usually take place with two or more people working together to help each other learn and give feedback. We like to work naturally within different scenarios and for people to be free and inventive with their self-defense methods. Often the instructor will show ideas or solutions rather than fixed techniques. A hands-on approach to all aspects of self-defense is a normal aspect of training. People feel that Systema classes are very relaxing and have a very positive effect on their health and wellbeing.
Our syllabus offers a broad range of training. For newcomers, the important initial steps are in learning to fall and roll correctly, working with correct posture, breathing and movements and learning to cope with punches, kicks, grabs and holds. As your confidence grows, training can spread into many areas.
THE CLASSES COVER:
WHAT SYSTEMA IS NOT:
THE ORIGINS OF SYSTEMA:
Systema is Russian in origin, and predates most oriental martial arts. Vladimir Vasiliev was the first Russian to start teaching the System in the West about 15 years ago, and it has been gaining momentum since. Vladimir, who resides in Toronto, taught his first seminar in UK in 2000, creating huge interest in Systema, and a small but loyal following that now numbers in hundreds. Unlike many oriental instructors Vladimir was quite open about explaining the concepts of Systema and encouraged contact with the source of Systema, his teacher, Mikhail Ryabko. Mikhail is considered one of the few real living masters of martial arts. Both Vladimir and Mikhail remain very accessible and continue to support Systema instructors.
HOW MANY CLASSES SHOULD I ATTEND?
It depends on why you are attending the classes. Self-defense skills come relatively quickly in the system, however most people stay for the benefits it has on other aspects of their life - personal or professional. People come to martial arts for one reason, and end up staying for many. After the initial few months of training your perspective on martial arts (and perhaps on life) will change and you may want to learn different things.
CAN I COME AND HAVE A LOOK?
You can, but you shouldn't. Sorry if this sounds unfriendly; we encourage people to participate, rather than watch. The System, like life, needs to be experienced, not observed. If there are drills you are not comfortable doing, you can sit them out. But if you are sufficiently curious to come all this way to see us, please wear training clothes, and have a go! New participants are always welcome.
WHAT TO WEAR?
Trainers, tracksuit bottoms or any comfortable trousers, t-shirt.
WHAT ARE THE OTHER STUDENTS LIKE?
Average age of people in the class is about 31, with the youngest being just under 20 and the oldest... let's just be polite and say over 40. Participants are mostly men, with about 2-4 women training on each day. Some have studied other arts for quite a few years, some still run their own martial arts schools. But most are regular people from all walks of life: taxi drivers, students, bankers, IT developers, researchers, sculptors, professional musicians, web designers, bodyguards, doormen, doctors (including PhDs), osteopaths...