I’d like to thank Sergey Ozereliev and Vladimir Zaikovsky for what was a very special seminar in Osaka last weekend. The beauty of Systema is that people with different physical attributes, psychological make-ups, experience and from any background can enjoy, practice and gradually grow in Systema in their own unique way specific to who they are. Practitioners of Systema progressively start to know themselves and, while using the same principles, apply them in their own original way. This is not a cookie cutter method.
Last weekend we saw exactly the potential for how a person can do this. Sergey Ozereliev and Vladimir Zaikovksy are both individuals and approach and explain Systema in different ways but what they express purely in their own way are the principles of Systema as taught by Mikhail Ryabko. To have two Senior Instructors of this caliber in the same room was an inspiration.
We covered a lot during the seminar, for example distracting attention, giving and taking away support, finding comfort and giving discomfort and feeling a person’s intention, but the interesting thing was observing how Sergey and Vladimir approached the same work. The way of demonstrating, the explanation and the particular focus were always different but this gave the attendees the ability to look at a principle from more than one perspective, therefore helping everyone to get a bigger picture of what Systema is.
Sergey and Vladimir literally “worked” all day. They welcomed anybody to come and train with them and they did this continually throughout the weekend. Participants had the great opportunity to feel for themselves the potential of Systema training, if the principles are trained in the right way.
The theme was “Practical Self Defense Situations” and a lot of the work was very realistic and intense but, of course, fun and trained in the spirit of Systema. Sergey and Vladimir welcomed more honest attacks and as Ryo Onishi mentioned are able to move up to “second gear” at will without thinking about it. To feel this work was inspiring after but during it almost felt like going near a dangerous animal at times because of my own fear. However, Sergey and Vladimir were completely controlled and calm throughout and did not cause injury to anybody. And they always did it with a smile. From the outside they looked different but the feeling when working with them was generally the same.
What I learned from Sergey and Vladimir more than anything is that you need to be sure with what you’re doing. Sergey said that you need to have “internal confidence” while Vladimir explained it as having “internal comfort.” This is a small example of how they share the same principle but in a different way. For me it was clear, when you had this “confidence” or “comfort,” things went well. If you didn’t, things generally didn’t go as well as expected. However, this is not something that can be copied it’s something that you must get for yourself through training. It can’t be taken or given you must grow it for yourself. To do this patience and trust in the training is essential.
All I can say is that everyone was very lucky to have this experience. If anyone gets the chance to train with either Sergey or Vladimir or both at the same time, I highly recommend it. You won’t be disappointed. I’d especially like to thank Ryo Onishi and the Systema Osaka staff for organizing such a great event. I look forward to meeting up with new and old friends at the Systema Japan Mikhail & Daniil Ryabko Tokyo seminar in May.