I would like to say a big thank you to Adam & Brendon Zettler for a great Systema Osaka seminar last weekend on the 31st of January and the 1st of February. The first day concentrated on "tension control” and the second “Power on the move.” A lot was covered and many exceptional experiences were had but I’d like to comment on a couple of things that stood out for me. On the first day, the twins made the interesting remark that they always get asked, "how someone can work with tense and strong people", and they said that in Systema we need to learn to “escape our tension," they gave the example of performing a slow push up being similar to working with a very strong person and, in order to deal with this pressure, we need to relax ourselves and “clean ourselves of tension.” So really we’re not dealing with the person’s strength and tension but our own.
The second day was dedicated to movement with an emphasis on the fun topic of strikes. What I took from this day, apart from some bruises, is that a person can limit their fear and tension by breathing and movement. These are things that are the bread and butter of Systema but sometimes we need reminding of the power of them. An interesting point was made that if you start to feel fear, the simple act of breathing and moving will prevent this fear from going deeper and affecting the psyche. By doing the various drills, it was amazing to observe how many times we stopped our breathing, especially as pressure increased, but the simple act of breathing made you calm down and move better. Adam and Brendon constantly pointed this out to us all and everybody benefited tremendously from this simple and direct guidance.
As expected there were many great demonstrations during the seminar. One where Brendon had his eyes closed, for what must have been ten minutes, and he demonstrated the work as if he had his eyes opened, was very impressive. It was made more memorable when Adam said “Are you peeking?” which caused a lot of laughter. One of the more memorable moments for me was when three of the attendees, including myself, were “lucky” enough to work against Adam and Brendon at the same time. During the chaos, after Brendon had already dealt with a couple of people, I was about to attack Adam when suddenly I felt a blow to my solar plexus that was stealthily gifted to me by Brendon, which, as you may not be surprised to hear, made Adam completely disappear for a moment. I can honestly say I completely lost my desire to attack and was in my own world for a little while. When Adam came back into view he kindly gave me a strike to help me recover. I think everybody enjoyed this moment as I heard quite a bit of laughing. This was the spirit of the seminar and everybody who participated grew due to the atmosphere that was developed.
I’d like to say thank you once again to Adam and Brendon for sharing so much, their humility and generosity in practising with all of the eighty plus students. Big thanks must go to Ryo Onishi, Systema Osaka Head Instructor, the Systema Osaka staff ,who helped throughout the weekend ,and all of the people that attended the seminar and trained so hard and sincerely. I can’t recommend the Zettler Twins enough.