December 14, 2014
(originally published on September 28th, 2014)
This one is a long time coming and needs to be written. Flame war, engage. But this is about business, not people or personalities.
As many know from the Pramek Radio podcast, I am not a fan of EFO or empty force methods. I have even said publicly for a decade I don’t doubt such things exist, but as a means of defending one’s self…I think it’s something that should not be taught. That being said, I’ve been innundated with FB and email requests asking me to explain a video.
Let me first say I have never trained with Mikhail Ryabko, Vasiliev, or in Systema. My time in the Russian styles, in the US and in Russia, was on the scientific side. After leaving the Russian styles, I focused on creating Pramek to further scientific application and study in the martial arts and how they are taught. But, my lessons from Russian style have never left me like any student honors their teachers by teaching what was good and avoiding what was bad.
I was sent the below link in an email from someone that read:
‘Is this what you studied in Russia???’
I clicked, thinking, ‘Ok, I’m gonna get Rick Rolled.’
A friend of mine was in the kitchen and came running in, confusion on her face as I exclaimed very loudly, ‘What the hell is this shit?’
I think we all have to ask this to keep a system, style, or teacher honest. A lot of other arts (I haven’t even looked at Bullshido or Cage Potato yet) will ask the question of this video, but those who have ties to Russian styles or study this art have to ask the same. These kinds of videos affect us all, as those who see ‘Russia’ or ‘RMA’ in our resume see these things and judge us based on the popularity of Systema as the predominant Russian style.
Like it or not, the general martial art public, having viewed these kinds of videos, see us in this light.
Anger in the past turned to frustration, and eventual embarrassment, when people brought these kinds of videos up to me. It was hard enough explaining the old videos of Mr. Kadochnikov knocking people down without touching them – but those videos are twenty-thirty years old now and explainable as cold-war propaganda, regardless of what the videos were actually demonstrating.
But, what about this video?