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Thread: Systema - Russian "aiki"

  1. #16
    jellyman Guest

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    'I think there is a definite concern with the mental attitude this kind of training engenders.'

    Eh? What kind of attitude is that, exactly? You obviously have never been to Vlad's gymn or seen a demo. In systema, we constantly test each other. One guy slaps my head whenever he gets the chance, in the gymn or out.

    'I truly see no valid martial application to this at all. You want to practice rolling different directions on different physical cues? Do it with someone attacking you realistically, trying to control your movement and direction, perhaps armed, and in some manner that at least looks something like real violence.' If you don't recognize it for what it is, it will get you. Learning to kick while rolling is useful, for a start. We use that in 'live' sparring too.

  2. #17
    jellyman Guest

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    'SOFT-WORK MUST reach towards HARD-WORK. If it is not graduated in a spectrum towards HARD-WORK, then SOFT-WORK is not only ineffective, but COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE.'

    If you cheat, it's counter-productive. As far as 'hard work' goes... well, I can go soft at high speed. I'm never sure what SS means. If my opponent wants to attack with intent, he tends to do a lot of my work for me.

    'The last time I was critical of some truly ridiculous handgun disarms shown on video from one of the Systema websites, and posted a link (literally a crescent kick knocking the gun out of the hand and catching the weapon on the way down...which was better than the drop on your back and scissors the gun out of the guy's hand with your feet...) the video disappeared from the website. I have to question why anyone would even put it up in the first place.

    I still plan on checking Systema out, maybe there is something in there that all this circus stuff is obscuring, or even intentionally drawing us away from (how's that for psychological manipulation). I will go in with a large bias against it, though, and will have to be more than convinced. I make no apologies for that bias, because I honestly feel it has kept me practicing things which have saved me from serious injury at the hands of others on several occasions, and might again tomorrow.'

    Doubt all you like, but be sure to film it

  3. #18
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    Default Well, that explains it

    Oh, so the tape is of an avoidance demo? There was no audio or written description, so it looked like the standing person was knocking uke around without touching him. Well, that certainly explains the airspace.

    It all looks so alien to me. In what we train in, rather than avoid, we would meet and counter the attack, using the very energy and body mechanics that the attacker is using.

    Interesting stuff, nonetheless.
    Cady Goldfield

  4. #19
    Kit LeBlanc Guest

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    Originally posted by jellyman
    .....If you don't recognize it for what it is, it will get you. Learning to kick while rolling is useful, for a start. We use that in 'live' sparring too.
    Learning to kick while rolling? This is a weapon evasion drill?

    I hope you guys can do better than that. It's better than some BS empty force, but not by much. Sounds like some of the very strained explanations I have heard trying to rationalize some of the very strange exercises and sensitivity training that somewhere, somehow got confused with actual martial arts training. One of my favorites " If it looks fake, that means its really good..."


    Uh.....yeah, okay.

    At least you came on here and tried to explain it, though. I still wanna check it out in person, but I don't plan on spending a lot of $ to do so now. Before seeing the vids and hearing about this psychic energy stuff, I WAS going to.

  5. #20
    jellyman Guest

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    Learning to kick while rolling? This is a weapon evasion drill?

    I hope you guys can do better than that. It's better than some BS empty force, but not by much. Sounds like some of the very strained explanations I have heard trying to rationalize some of the very strange exercises and sensitivity training that somewhere, somehow got confused with actual martial arts training. One of my favorites " If it looks fake, that means its really good..."
    Like I said, if you don't want to believe it, I can't convince you on the internet. You have to try it in person. So far, you haven't really done much but say 'there's better,' or 'that's !!!!!!!!'. I mean, this is meaningless, I can say the same about any information you volunteer, but we'll never know behind a keyboard.

    And of course, I can tell pretty much right away you've never sparred anyone who's done systema for any length of time.

    Obviously, you don't believe in evasion or redirection, and you don't believe in sensitivity. Frankly, I'm surprised you're on an aiki forum. Anyway, bring a digital videocam, and stop trying to build straw men on the internet, it's silly.

    'Learning to kick while rolling?'

    Attacking while esaping is a useful thing. I'm sure you never have to escape though

    'This is a weapon evasion drill? '

    The same movements can be used with blades. Belive it or not.

  6. #21
    jellyman Guest

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    It all looks so alien to me. In what we train in, rather than avoid, we would meet and counter the attack, using the very energy
    and body mechanics that the attacker is using.
    That clip is only part of the story. There's more clips on the site. There aren't really that many boundaries to what systema is from a technical pov. Ultimately, you try to do what's most appropriate.

    We don't do rote techniques, so what if.. questions tend to break down. If he does something else, the reponse will be different.

  7. #22
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    I've seen other Systema and RMA videos and to be honest I enjoyed watching them even the esoteric stuff. No doubt Ryabko and Vasiliev are skillful guys and I look forward to meeting them one day to see what they do. But, I'm with Kit here...I just don't understand why they do have to do that no touch flopping around stuff. They have so much more practical stuff that I've seen. Why not just focus on that?

  8. #23
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    Default Systema War?

    Now this all sounds like the infamous Aiki Wars revisited! Just this time it's Russian instead of Japanese, and the key players are Ryabko, and Vasiliev instead of Okamoto, Inoue and Sagawa. Instead of Aiki vs Jujutsu it's Hard work vs Soft Work.

    More skepticism of demos on video, and accusations of tanking abound. Now Jellyman and others associated with Systema are saying many of the same sort of things I've said in the past about DR AJJ. It's not tanking, and while it may equal hypersusceptibility in some people/practitioners, it's more a result of a high level of ukemi/sensitivity in others. I agree absolutely that if you can't see it, it's because those individuals are operating on another level altogether. Those who are adept with it are fully capable of hurting you if you don't jump, roll or fall away. It is to your own benefit to learn to take the ukemi as well as you possibly can. As in Systema, ukemi in AJJ is also used to attack, and/or counter.

    As for SS's whole HARD-SOFT theory, it fits rather well with the orthodox traditional approach to Daito-ryu encompassing both jujutsu and aiki (and weapons). Different teachers differ on whether it's better to go from hard to soft or soft to hard. Some more progressive instructors insist on emphasizing soft as the better way to progress, and a few prefer only hard. But both are part of Daito-ryu and have presumably always been. Likewise different teachers have their own preferences for training with weapons. The question is one of balance and emphasis as well as which method is more comprehensive and/or effective for developing skills in the most efficient manner.

    I will say this, as unique as I've always said Daito-ryu is, Systema appears closer than anything else I've ever seen - there are still some differences, but the similarities are truly uncanny.

    With respect,

    Brently Keen

  9. #24
    jellyman Guest

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    [quot]I've seen other Systema and RMA videos and to be honest I enjoyed watching them even the esoteric stuff. No doubt Ryabko and Vasiliev are skillful guys and I look forward to meeting them one day to see what they do.[/quote]

    Glad to hear it.

    But, I'm with Kit here...I just don't understand why they do have to do that no touch flopping around stuff. They have so much more practical stuff that I've seen. Why not just focus on that?
    It's all integrated. The posture of the standing man, the relaxation of the rolling man - two sides of the same coin. The posture is maintained form. As long as you maintain form, you are very hard to throw or take down, and your movements will have power. The rolling gives you options when you can't maintain form. It's a gradual process. One day you'll be sparring and throw an elbow to the guy's face. He's surprised, so he leans back, misaligning his form. You can take him down, then. Later on, he learns to go down on his own terms - I'd rather roll than be taken down anyday. If you cannot physically dominate your opponent, it doesn't work. This is a higher level of domination. Of course, some guys refuse to be startled. They'd rather take a hit than a roll, because they're afraid the ref will count that against them. To them I say, if that's how you want it, okay. I can admit to myself when someone has the drop on me. And you'd be surprised what a well-timed roll can result in.


    Of course, to get there, you have to know basic level systema as well. The stuff most people understand.

    Like I said before, on my website (wonder why the people spreading the clip didn't give the url for the web site) this is not beginer systema, it's advanced. It's for systema people. Non-systema people don't know what it is, and I don't know of other MA's that do it. But I never claimed systema was like all the other stuff...

  10. #25
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    I wouldn't compare Systema to DR Aikijiujitsu. That long video clip is not representative of the whole art. I think it's just some high level skill that maybe Ryabko has fun doing. I don't think he fights like that. I've seen him(in video) slug some guys, man, he can hit! I've seen a lot of cool practical stuff in Systema (videos), but I can't say the same thing for DR Aiki jiu jitsu mainline and especially Roppokai. I can't even stand watching DR...YAWN. Systema keeps me glued to the TV. Watching Ryabko moves reminds me of Don and watching some of the training that Vasiliev does reminds the stuff that Tim teaches in his Shenwu class that is part of some traditional CMA method. I think it's got a lot of good stuff. Systema, that is.

  11. #26
    jellyman Guest

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    Brently

    Personally, I like honest work, as opposed to hard or soft. You want to go slow? No problem. You want to go hard? I like that too. What really honks me off is guys who say they'll go slow, then try to bushwack you by going hard. Or, even more irritating, guys who do that, then when match them, suddenly want ot go slow. and then cheat again. There's a level of trust in sparring, and if you get petty victories through duplicity, you only fool yourself. Not sure where that fits into the hard/soft dichotomy...

    It's been said to me by some that the russo-japanese war had a certain amount of influence on systema - as have all wars in russia. Ryabko himself noted the similarities.

  12. #27
    Kit LeBlanc Guest

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    Originally posted by jellyman


    ....

    And of course, I can tell pretty much right away you've never sparred anyone who's done systema for any length of time.

    Obviously, you don't believe in evasion or redirection, and you don't believe in sensitivity. Frankly, I'm surprised you're on an aiki forum. Anyway, bring a digital videocam, and stop trying to build straw men on the internet, it's silly.

    'Learning to kick while rolling?'

    Attacking while esaping is a useful thing. I'm sure you never have to escape though

    'This is a weapon evasion drill? '

    The same movements can be used with blades. Belive it or not.
    No, I haven't sparred any with Systemites (is that the right word?), that's why I still want to check it out. Might be fun.

    I disagree that I cannot at least start to form an opinion based on what I am seeing, and my own experience. I can watch WWF and know that I don't want to train it for actual application without sparring with the Rock (actually, he would probably kick my ass!)

    I agree on the sillyness of the Internet as a forum, kinda like the silliness of posting videos that look ridiculous on the web as well.

    Technically, actually, usually people are trying to escape from me.

    And not saying that attacking while escaping is not a good thing...I can just think of more realistic ways to practice it. Even including rolling around, which I do a lot of. Different context, though, and one which you would probably dismiss.

    As far as evasion and redirection and sensitivity, I practice judo, and jujutsu stuff nowhere near as sophisticated as aikijujutsu, or Systema, it seems. I am thankful for that! I did train in taiji in China and the US for some years but found out that in real encounters, when you really are afraid you might get hurt and might have to hurt somebody else, sensitivity and relaxation go out the window. You can only speak of them in relative terms.

    I know, I know, that's not what a lot of people teach, or what a lot of systems are based on, even the "battle" arts or "spec ops" methods...but such folks need to be more open minded about what is practical and what is fantastical. Ya can't try to define reality diffently so it suits the world view and training methodology of a particular system. You have to define the system by how it addresses reality. If folks wanna train the more fantastical stuff, and try finding rationalizations for why they do it, I have no beef with them.

    I do if they claim their system is a good thing to teach people in harm's way how to survive. That you have to expect will be questioned, and to have to prove.

    Last, I think you misunderstand when I say I don't believe the same movements are used to practice evading weapons....

    But you are correct, this can't go anywhere sparring with keyboards. The proof is in eating the pudding, not in looking at a commercial for Jello! I do like pudding, so I hope my fears RE: Systema are not confirmed!

    You are a good sport, Jellyman.

  13. #28
    jellyman Guest

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    Fair enough.

    I too have a background in judo and jujutsu. you may find the other clips on my site more 'reassuring' from that perspective - one has VV grappling, for example. Not the best shoot, as it's some guy from Boston shooting from one angle, so you miss a lot of ankle locks, but still pretty good.

    Anyway, maybe we'll see each other.

    cheers

  14. #29
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    Hey Jellyman,



    What really honks me off is guys who say they'll go slow, then try to bushwack you by going hard. Or, even more irritating, guys who do that, then when match them, suddenly want ot go slow. and then cheat again.
    I know what you mean. Sometimes you've just got to thump them. :-)

  15. #30
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    Default For the skeptics:

    I think these guys have progressed far past the basic "practical stuff". They probably think much of the more "practical" stuff you like is just as silly - flopping around of another sort.

    For them, I suppose what's practical is really what works at higher levels against skilled practitioners and/or professional operators in the real world. In my mind anyway, what is practical is what is most efficient - what allows you the least amount of distraction from accomplishing your objectives. For the professional, they can't afford to be distracted or diverted from their task/mission. Therefore they might find these sort of techniques, drills and exercises to be of immense practical value. By all accounts most of these guys are already highly skilled at more conventional "connecting" sort of methods - and I'm pretty sure that in their minds what makes them so exceptionally good at those methods is these more "esoteric" or intangible skills and attributes - and that's precisely why they chose to focus on those more subtle things, because in their minds, and experience it's those things that make all the difference.

    On the other hand, it may not be a conscious effort on their part to intentionally throw without touching, the intent to throw or divert the attacker is just there, and they may have just found that often their attackers are thrown prior to contact. So "how it happens" may very well depend on the attackers ability to perceive that intent and their skill and/or choice to react to it. Whether they actually knew how or why (at first) is irrelevant, if they can intentionally induce their attacker to throw themselves it's very useful.

    In the case of aiki (and I presume systema too) that choice of the uke to throw himself may be a voluntary skill/choice or involuntary reflex - either may also be manipulated or influenced by various factors including both suggestion and/or susceptibility - but it really doesn't matter if someone "tanks", or is "thrown" as long as the results are as directed. If I somehow convince you to throw yourself, and you do it - is it because you "wanted" to throw yourself, or because I changed your mind and convinced you it was better to throw yourself, or because I involuntarily made you do it, or what? Either way, I'm exhibiting a skill to get you to do something I want. Such a skill would be very practical and would deserve much attention and focus (imo).

    Something to keep in mind, by all personal and experienced accounts thus far - these sort of techniques/practices seem to work in both ajj and systema. There are quite a few respectable and highly experienced martial artists, instructors, real world operators, and even masters of other styles among those who have experienced these things and attest to their validity. The skeptics are usually among those who haven't yet felt/experienced it in person yet.

    A more skilled attacker recognizes and appreciates the skill of the an adept instructor, and reciprocates in kind with more skilled ukemi, preserving some of his dignity and composure in the process. Yet it's clear in the minds and bodies of both who's will was accomplished, and who in fact completed their objective and who did not. In my experience, in DR AJJ anyway, the taking of ukemi from someone as skilled as Okamoto sensei for example, is very humbling. It looks as if the same is true for the likes of people like Ryabko.

    A less skilled attacker will likely feel the hurt a lot more. It actually requires less skill for the adept person to use harder methods. That's why in DR we refer to jujutsu as belonging to more "basic" skills.

    A good old-fashioned hard style @$$ whooping can be humbling as well - but depending on the demeanor and attitude of the whupped it may simply provoke him more, make him more hard-headed and/or resentful too. IOW it doesn't accomplish much, it's definitely not very useful for making new friends much less teaching new skills.

    For example, if you come to a seminar to learn something, and you doubting the instructor's ability stubbornly challenge him - if the teacher kicks your butt, he shows everyone how strong he is, but you won't likely walk away with anything except perhaps bruised body and ego. Was it necessary to hurt you? Maybe maybe not, but you won't likely learn the subtleties of how the instructor kicked your butt, nor will you have gained any appreciable skill in duplicating the skills displayed.

    If on the other hand, you "pay attention" as you take ukemi, you'll probably pick up a lot more on what the instructor is doing, and he will likely clue you in to how he's doing some of that, and thus impart/transmit to you some of what he has to offer. Having humbly received instruction from the start, you'll be much more able to appreciate his ability as a teacher, as well as pick up on some of the finer points of his overall skills without needless injury. Whereas if you simply got your butt kicked, that'd be the extent of your lesson, and depending on the restraint/mercy of the instructor you might not even be able to concentrate enough to receive whatever else he has to offer, or even be able to complete the seminar. It's possible that you wouldn't be able to walk away at all, and your training might be interrupted for a much longer time, maybe even for good. You have to ask yourself, is it worth it?

    The other option might be that the instructor would simply ignore you, blow you off and not even engage your challenge. He decides that you're not worth his trouble (and you've already told him that by your attitude), and he'd rather you go home in one piece able to go back to work the next week. That would be a more compassionate, respectful response, not to mention a very "Japanese" way of handling your imprudence. If you're not there to learn, then why waste everyone's time? Why bother hurting you just to prove a point? You're obviously not going to learn much anyway. So the instructor let's you validate your own ideas, and your ego stays nice and big - and you walk away thinking less of the instructor and more of yourself. What does the instructor care? He knows you have no idea whatsoever, and also knows what he can and can't do.

    Then as soon as you're gone, he pulls out the real amazing stuff and shows the guys that sincerely want to learn, some of what is possible. He generously pulls out all the stops and removes all doubt from their minds - and they come away really blown away, and here's the clincher: their skills improve dramatically as a result of their "experience".

    It's only natural that some of them will post their experiences on these boards and other websites and make "unbelievable" video's available as they try to share their enthusiasm for their teacher/style and all that they've been learning and discovering.

    At any rate, if the instructor does chose to "teach you a lesson" and puts the hard-style convincing, hurt on you - you're more likely to come away feeling that it was speed and power and more gross sorts of skills that triumphed, missing altogether what the instructor really wanted to share (frankly, I think this accounts for much of the differences in how Sokaku Takeda taught differently among his students). Whereas with softer, or no touch techinques, and more advanced kinds of training and drills, we're able to see more clearly how it's possible to really be beat by finer skills that require higher levels of training in subtlety and sophistication.

    It's obvious when experienced, how much more efficient such methods are - in fact, most of the greatest warriors throughout history understood something of this kind of "work", and every great strategist from Sun Tzu to Yagyu Munenori and Miyamoto Musashi knew and proclaimed that the greatest ways to victory are those methods that don't involve direct conflict, fighting, struggling or otherwise exerting tremendous amounts of energy, effort, and/or resources in order to accomplish one's objectives.

    FWIW, if I may give a little unsolicited advice for the skeptical:

    If you don't buy what these guys are doing - then just shut up and MYOB. If you're really interested, then come more politely and respectfully, don't openly (and ignorantly) voice your skepticism and doubt by making dismissive and/or challenging comments in public from afar. It only makes you look silly. Instead seek out a qualified instructor, and go see him as soon as you can, come with an empty cup and open mind to learn, and ask your questions politely in person. If in person, you still find that you have doubts, then by all means voice your skepticism at the right time and in earnest, and perhaps you'll be obliged. Don't dish out more than you can take, and don't say you weren't warned though.

    If you do find that any instructor is indeed phony, and teaching bs, then after you've soundly kicked his booty come back and trumpet your skepticism and doubt as findings "from your own personal experience" rather than from speculation. And by all means do it loudly on these boards. Just be prepared to back up what you say, I'd have some respectable (known) witnesses and preferably some video available. We certainly don't need more quacks teaching martial arts that aren't martial, much-less more dishonest claims of fantastic powers. You'll certainly do the world a favor if you in fact, expose some fraud(s) for their psychobabble and delusions of martial prowess with your realistic, no-nonsense practical-jutsu. And you just might pick up some students of your own while your at it, as I'm sure some folks around here might want to come and learn the real goods from you after everything settles down.

    The question is how will you respond when someone then challenges, dismisses or makes fun of your claims, techniques, or training methods in person? Would you just repeat the story of how you once beat a famous master and exposed them as frauds? So you beat up a deluded, psychic energy poser or an aiki bunny, big deal. Would you intentionally hurt someone who's skeptical of you just to "teach them a lesson", and prove how "bad" you really are? Or would you just blow them off and ignore their challenge, choosing instead to concentrate on teaching those who want to learn what you have to share? How would you respond if they went on the net and blabbed about how you didn't have guts and/or ability to back up what you teach, would you care?

    Brently Keen

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