SP Scott do you have any particular questions

SM Yes, I am interested in the role of stories, I mean we do a lot of physical training rolling, hitting and sensitivity, but can people learn a great deal or even more from hearing stories from people who have had deep experiences in reality Are such stories a good teaching tool MR Psychologically, they are a great tool. For example, we are talking now and you are getting a lot of information and you enjoy it. But you have to get to that level. First you do a lot of physical work and then you...

SP I have recently come to understand that what people normally call courtesy or kindness is not sim

MR Any approach to life and martial arts that does not destroy a person's body, soul, family or nation is a correct approach. SP When I first began to understand more about the System, of course, I was very impressed by the skills that you displayed, but James' comments about your character, Mikhail, and that of Vladimir were very important for me. In that sense, I see things in common with aikido with the stress on the ethical system and the martial system. MR This is what makes it similar to...

SP Have you studied this area of history You seem to be very knowledgeable

MR I have studied some, not in great detail, but I have been interested. Information comes naturally when people are interested. One could do more thorough research and there is of course tons of information. VV He has traveled himself to many of these monasteries. That's his favorite type of travel, to the SP Would you talk a little bit about the Revolution and when the government took control of the martial techniques that were being taught What happened during that period Ryabko with...

SP Do you hope that through your efforts and the efforts of others that some of the politicians can

MR There are a lot of positive things happening in Russia now. It is very possible that this sort of thing could happen. I am all for the rebirth and rebuilding of everything, in Russia, America, Europe, and Asia. I am for people, not against anything. I am for good. I am for justice. People are the same everywhere in America, Canada and Russia. Everyone has family and kids. No matter what we say, inside our souls we are kind people. At least we don't wish evil on those close to us, on our...

James Williams listens to reply

That's why we need warriors. This is a difficult question the government after the revolution wanted the fighting skills of the monasteries. Of course they tried to control these arts. For example, there is sambo - and they say that sambo came from judo, but really there are two different directions in sambo-one is competitive and the other combat sambo. Judo does not have that combat component. But sambo was not converted into an Olympic sport. JW I don't know enough about...

About Systema

The Systema that is being taught today to the general public has been refined by Mikhail Ryabko and disseminated by several of his students in Europe and North America. Mikhail Ryabko currently resides in Moscow and is an advisor to the Minister of Justice in Russia. In addition to his military duties and teaching assignments, Mikhail also hosts groups of foreign students who come to him for intensive training in Moscow. Vladimir Vasiliev is one of Mikhail's top students and relocated to Canada...

Systema and Aikido

Mikhail Ryabko

Soon after getting my first serious glimpse of Systema, I began thinking that many of the principles and training methods employed by Mikhail and Vladimir might be highly relevant to aikido practice. As you know, the theme of Aiki Expo 2003 is Realizing Aikido's Potential. Basically with Aiki Expo 2003, our hope is to bring to the forefront the martial aspect of aikido that has become rather neglected in the modern forms of the art. I believe Systema can play a significant role in this regard....

Mikhail Ryabko

Threadgill Menkyo Kaiden

My first exposure to Systema, the Russian Martial Art popularized by Mikhail Ryabko and Vladimir Vasiliev, came in April 2001. I was in attendance at the formal presentation of a Shindo Yoshin-ryu Menkyo Kaiden to Sensei Toby Threadgill in Dallas, Texas. At the party following the ceremony, a group gathered in the living room to watch martial arts videos. At least 20 of us--mostly seasoned martial artists with decades of training experience--watched parts of videotapes of several styles and...

Systema Principles of the Russian Martial

James Williams is the President of Bugei Trading Company, Inc. He has been studying martial arts since 1960 and teaching since 1975. James has trained, competed in, and taught a number of different martial disciplines Japanese, Okinawan, Chinese, Philippino, as well as the Brazilian system of Jujitsu as taught by Rorion and Royce Gracie. His experience includes western wrestling, which he also coached, as well as boxing and kickboxing. His love of samurai martial traditions came with his study...

Russian Health Method

Vladimir also practices a Russian health system that was developed by a philosopher named Porfiri Ivanov. This method was also a part of his training while serving in the Special Operations Unit in the Russian Army. The premise of this approach is to anticipate physical problems before they occur and stimulate the body's immune system to ward off disease. Great care is taken to prevent the body and mind from reaching a state of exhaustion. Special breathing exercises and daily cold-water...

Published Online

Mikhail Ryabko

The following interview was conducted in Toronto, Ontario on May 19, 2003. Present were Mikhail Ryabko, Valerie Vasiliev who served as interpreter, James Williams, Scott Meredith, and Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin. Large parts of the texts were transcribed and translated by Pavel Rott. Stanley Pranin Thank you very much for taking time out from the party to talk with us. It's a wonderful pleasure to be able to meet with you. I think even now that the System is starting to have big...

To Toronto with James to meet Vladimir

On October 10, 2002, James and I boarded a plane for Toronto to spend the weekend training with Vladimir and his students. We scheduled a time to meet with Vladimir privately to conduct an interview and to explain in greater detail the concept behind Aiki Expo 2003. I had high expectations about Vladimir based on what James had told me and my viewing of the Systema videotapes. Vladimir didn't disappoint. He is one of the finest human beings I've ever met and a credit to the kind of person that...

Vladimir Vasilievs training philosophy

Here are a few quotes from the above-mentioned booklet that will give some insight into Vladimir's personal training approach which has been adapted for teaching to the general public I try to keep the training sessions fun and urge you to do so, too. You should be serious on the inside, but on the outside look so as to relax your opponent. Again, I must make this point If you're serious when there is no threat, when a threat really does arrive you'll be left with nothing in reserve. You've...