The Art of Peace
In martial arts there are amazing stories of teachers who worked, not for the sake of violence, but for the growth and moral development of the student. The old Masters knew very well that the seeds of violence lie within our own behavior. If we can see this, we may come to realize that a person is his or her own worst enemy. Failing to understand oneself and failing to understand others inevitably lead to suffering. Training Martial arts with the sole goal of learning to fight others can be a waste of time. Our true battle is within ourselves. Systema is an effective, efficient, and endlessly versatile fighting art, but the ultimate goal of our training is our own physical and psychological development.
Suffering and violence begin in the mind, so in order to attain freedom we must train our minds.
Through Systema training we seek to understand ourselves. We come to know our own strengths, weaknesses, and areas of tension. Understanding others is equally important. We will learn what it feels like to be on the other side and try to understand this with Wisdom and Compassion.
When others are angry, they are suffering. We seek not only to end conflicts, but to reduce friction, eliminate tension, and alleviate suffering.
The Art of Communication
In martial arts, fighting is like a form of communication. Systema training teaches us to fight in a way that does not communicate anger, aggression, or malicious intent. Throwing a punch in Systema is done so with full sincerity and with the intent to help one's training partner learn and grow, and such a punch is delivered without negative emotion. Training in Systema teaches us to defend ourselves in the most dangerous situations against the most aggressive opponents, but on a deeper level it teaches us to be calm in the face of aggression and to remain unmoved by the malice of others.
Understanding how people interact is at the core of any martial arts training. In this way, talking and writing are just like fighting. When one is frustrated and runs out of words, it's easy to deliver a symbolic (or real) punch to the mouth in lieu of skilled communication. When we see the "fight" arising in our words, we can choose to stop writing the war.
The Art of Healing
In Systema there is a large focus on survival. As Systema students we learn how to survive some extreme cases of hand to hand combat, fighting in the water or in the dark, fighting against multiple opponents or against aggressors with knives. We learn to deal with each situation calmly, naturally, and with the strength it takes to carry on.
There is an even larger focus on healing. To heal oneself and to free oneself are core ideas in Systema. Systema training teaches students to work with their own traumas, both physical and psychological. Every drill in Systema, whether designed for fighting or for healing is done with full awareness and with the intent of helping both partners learn, grow, and heal.
Learning to fight is empty without also learning to heal. Focus on fighting alone creates suffering and war. It is crucial to balance the ability to defend oneself with the ability to heal one's own wounds.