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 listen. Just like a little child. Like a little child, running around, jumping and fussing, and then when he's tired he sits down and he is ready to listen! (Laughter).

SP There are dark forces in every country.

MR: It is not only modern the old days were smart too! system. Medicine has been people are hurt or wounded in the exercises we do are to rehabilitation.

SP: The System has religious, philosophical, and technical dimensions. I also know that there are some health practices like cold-water dousing that you use. Where did these come from and how do they tie into the system?

Vladimir Vasiliev and wife Valerie

Vladimir Vasiliev and wife Valerie people who are smart, people in They also knew about the immune developing all the time so when wars they have to be healed. All improve strength, health, and people who are smart, people in They also knew about the immune developing all the time so when wars they have to be healed. All improve strength, health, and

SP: Did you learn these things as a child or later?

MR: Everything came gradually. I could not learn everything right away. There are no tricks to this. Everything comes from sweating and suffering. Knowledge comes that way. I have a number of scars I got from defending against weapons. There isn't one spot on my body that hasn't been hit at one time or another. All my mistakes are visible on my body!

SP: In the little booklet on the System, there is a brief mention of a Russian philosopher. Was it Porfiry Ivanov? Has he had a strong influence on you?

MR: No, he really has no influence on the Russian system. He started a sect. He thought of a sort of "ten commandments" almost. He gave ten ways to live. He presented himself as God. The cold water dousing is of course very good. But the rest of that man's philosophy is not something that we would incorporate. In Russia, people always swam in ice lakes and did cold water dousing, not only Porfiry Ivanov! They would make a hole in the ice and dive in. And they have been washing at the well all the time in icy cold water. That's been done for centuries. He invented his own religion out of it. * Porfiry Ivanov (1898-1983). A Russian ascetic and self-proclaimed doctor from the Russian provinces who died in 1983. Ivanov, a mystic who called himself the brother of Jesus, advocated an ascetic lifestyle, involving fasting, dousing oneself in cold water and walking barefoot in the snow. He has achieved cult status and centers of his followers have sprung up in many cities in the former Soviet Union.

JW: Since even the Communists couldn't indoctrinate every little village, would people still practice these martial techniques from the old days?

MR: If you have any money in your house, the tax authorities won't find it at all. And it does not matter where you live, in the center of New York or in the suburbs. You will still hide it. The same thing was the case in Russia [for the martial arts].

SP: That's a very Japanese answer!

JW: The Russian gentleman from Chicago told me that Russians used to train in basements and not tell anybody that they were practicing martial arts because they were illegal in Russia. MR: Yes, it's the same everywhere in the center of New York or Moscow.

SP: In your personal case, your understanding of the System is very closely related with your cultural and religious upbringing involving the Russian Orthodox Church. Do you think that these universal principles can be accepted widely even for people with different religious backgrounds?

MR: Why wouldn't they accept the System? We are not a sect, nor are we imposing anything. They can take some ideas from the training and use them without necessarily converting to the religion. We've had, for example, about 130 people at the seminar and maybe only 10 of them have been christened.

Ancient Philosophy Of Aikido

Ancient Philosophy Of Aikido

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