This is an article I wrote for the Toronto Systema Headquarter's newsletter.
During the past eleven years, Systema practitioners in Japan have had the opportunity to learn from the founders Mikhail Ryabko and Vladimir Vasiliev as well as other instructors from the Moscow and Toronto Headquarters on a regular basis. Interest has been rapidly growing and the number of people around Japan teaching, practising and benefiting from Systema has steadily expanded.
As an instructor at Systema Japan, I often hear from students from multiple backgrounds the positive effect that Systema has had on their lives. As Japan is a very safe country, most of the comments are related to how Systema has enabled them to deal with everyday stress. Instead of a negative emotional reaction, they breathe, relax, look more objectively at the situation, choose a better solution, and become better at quick stress recovery, regaining equilibrium.
In my opinion, beyond learning an effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones and, of course, the pure enjoyment of it, this ability to control oneself is one of the main reasons why many people continue to practice Systema. I read Vladimir's words in one of the articles that Systema "is not really a martial art, but a method of cleansing yourself and allowing the art (and your life) to come out of that."This made a deep impression on me, and now after ten years of training, I absolutely agree.
When first starting Systema, it can be like trying to navigate through a thick mist. Then, as you practice, your physical, psychological and spiritual tension starts to lessen, the mist dissipates and you see more clearly. By simply attending classes and seminars, with honest and dedicated training, a person can ‘clean’ himself and become as Vladimir says, “a strong and healthy warrior”; able to deal with and overcome challenges.
For many people in Japan and worldwide, including myself, this is not just a martial art, it’s a way of life that helps us to take control of ourselves and be better people with a positive effect on everyone around.
About the Author: Brett Adams is an instructor at Systema Japan, practicing Systema since 2006.