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Systema VS. Krav Maga
Systema, Russian Martial Art Forum Index -> Systema Training and Practice
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ScottStarr



Joined: 18 Nov 2004
Posts: 27
Location: Oklahoma City

PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2004 3:42 pm    Post subject: Systema VS. Krav Maga Reply with quote

I am in the US in the state of Oklahoma. Unfortunenately, there are no Systema training outlets here as of yet. I have trained in several other MA applications and find Systema truly intriguing. All I know about it I have only discovered by reading online. Fortunately there is a wealth of material and wisdom.
I have a question. Would you consider there to be major differences between Systema and Krav Maga? If so please explain. Krav maga training is available here and I was thinking of engaging in it in lieu of Systema for now.
The only really striking difference I can nail down just now is the way that practioners move and the breathing. Systema seems to have more fluid movement as well as a comprehensive body of thought on breathing in combat. Then there is the psychic, metaphysical or spiritual side...which really is an individual's choice and practice that can be applied to just about any undertaking from art to surfing, combat, fishing or knitting.

Hmm...Have I answered my own questions? Confused

Here is some stuff I found on Krav Maga...there are similarities to Systema... Can anyone define some of the differences that may not be apparent to one who has not trained in Systema with others as of yet:

Principles of Krav Maga
• Eternal vigilance
• Avoid injury
• Take advantage of natural reflexes
• Defend and attack simultaneously
• Attack the vulnerable areas of the body
• Use all natural weapons as well as anything close at hand
• The only rule is there are no rules

Components of Krav Maga

• Defences against punches and kicks
• Releases from bear hugs and chokes
• Defences against knifes, clubs and axes
• Defences against firearms
• Defences against multiple attackers
• Various types of arm blows
• Various types of kicks
• Sparring under pressure
• Controlled ground fighting

Style Overview

Krav Maga is unarmed personal self protection. It relies on natural instincts and reflexes for effectiveness. Situational awareness and mental conditioning are integral to the training. Never to do more than necessary, but react with speed, economy of motion, and the appropriate measure of force. Speed is paramount and the trainee is taught to strike instinctively at the vulnerable parts. Krav Maga is a dynamic system and constantly evolves as situations require using continuous motion to complete the defence. The system is battle-tested and street-proven.

People when faced with threatening or violent behaviour experience shock and fear. Most assaults are sudden and frightening and many people experience mental & physical paralysis for a short time. By not reacting swiftly, the initiative remains with the attacker. Krav Maga teaching assumes the defender is in a position of great disadvantage.

The training sessions are designed to simulate real situations and so beginners learn to leave their initial fear and surprise in the practice arena. The simple techniques are repeated time after time until they become instinctive and usable.

Krav Maga training emphasises situational awareness on the street. Constant watchfulness is emphasised at all times. Do not walk blithely into danger talking on a mobile phone. Always check 360 and be ready to take action. Escape to safety if appropriate. Practice deception and negotiation to gain space and time. Appear to submit and wait for the right moment, but the first principle is to survive.

In addition to surviving the attack, it is important to avoid injury as far as possible. By taking advantage of natural reflexes to combine defence and attack at once, ten hours of Krav Maga instruction delivers better self defence abilities than two years learning complex martial art manoeuvres. In life threatening situations, the rule is there are no rules, so use all natural weapons as well as anything close at hand.
Our typical training itinerary
Close range with multiple knife thrusts. Medium range slashing attacks. Long range with fast moving assailant. Knife attacks from behind. Two or more assailants. Two defenders against one assailant. Team defences, three, four or more, defending against multiple assailants. Overhead swings to head and shoulders with axe.
Defences against strangling and headlocks. Submission techniques. Releases from four directions with minimum damage to assailant. Ground fighting techniques.
Principles and techniques of defence against firearms. Automatic pistols and revolvers. Neutralizing threats from rifle, shotgun or SMG. Hostage situations. Putting defence into practice. Street simulations. Fighting spirit. Multiple attacks from by other KM students and the course instructors in situations matching difficult street incidents.
Dealing with the consequences of violent incidents. Looking at the civil and legal implications of self defence. How people react, both physically and mentally.
________________________________________

HELP!?!
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Woody Mims



Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 173
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2004 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey there Scott

This is not a good reply to your question re: RMAvKM. However, do not let your lack of a school keep you from studying Systema! I am new to the Systema myself so others may have differing points of view. Here is what I have done and maybe it will be an example for you.

1. Read Vlad's post about solo training. It is the 2nd sticky post in this forum. I personally started with breathing and balance and rolling work. YMMV.

2. Look for training partners on this and other RMA forums. Also read all posts as sometimes you will find someone who "gives away" that they live near you in their post or bio. Contact them and get together. Watch the videos and try things out. Here in Portland, OR I have found three people and we each have others we know who are interested. All told, I believe there will be 6-9 folks practicing. (By the way, all of us are in our late 40's early 50's - who'd a thunk it!) We are seriously considering starting our own study group ala Bear Creek Study Group and Brian King. Some of us will journey 200 miles (sharing gas costs) once a month to train under certified instructors and hope to be able to bring instructors in from out of state for seminars eventually.

3. Meet together as often as possible to move, explore and share learnings.

4. Plan now to attend Vlad's seminar in Missouri in February! I am still hoping against hope to make it the 200 miles to Seattle this weekend for Jim King's seminar at Bear Creek. I've got a strong lead on a ride that I'm really hoping will come through!

Hope this helps!

Warmest regards
Woody
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Scott Meredith
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2004 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Scott, and welcome to the wild world of Systema!

I hope you can find an instructor in your location, otherwise you could consider traveling to a seminar or to Toronto for your initial training. There's a long tradition in martial arts of crossing mountains and fording rivers to find your heart's desire.

As for any other martial art, probably cumulatively the readers of this board have deep kprofessional experience in over a hundred major styles, many have been, and still are, teachers of other arts. If we begin to compare point-by-point, we'll find many areas of overlap and difference.

But e-board discussions of those differences can get repetitive and can be mis-leading.

For any style that particularly interests you, I'd suggest typing that style's name into our "Search" function, you'll probably find something on it. But it's better to borrow or buy the videos made by Vladimir Vasiliev, watch them attentively, and draw your own conclusions about those particular areas of similarity and difference that may especially interest you.
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ScottStarr



Joined: 18 Nov 2004
Posts: 27
Location: Oklahoma City

PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2004 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Woody. I am planning to attend that seminar in Missouri. I have read Vlad's stuff on training solo. I am still wanting some hands on training with others though and am considering the KM school...I may possibly find some people there to share interest and training in Systema too. So far I have only found one other person to potentially train Systema with here in the city and he is about to go abroad for several months. I will continue my search. Exclamation
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Scott Meredith
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2004 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For example:

http://www.russianmartialart.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=597&highlight=krav+maga

See the awesome power of search?
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RachelKlingberg



Joined: 12 Dec 2003
Posts: 857
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2004 5:05 pm    Post subject: Systema and Krav Maga Reply with quote

Hi Scott,
I'm not one of the people with years of martial arts experience. I have only one year of experience with Systema. I trained for a few hours with a Krav Maga practitioner in Central Park not too long ago. He has been practicing for two years. I describe the experience here: http://www.russianmartialart.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=597
(Scott M. refers to my post as well--thanks for the plug!)
Naturally, because I am dedicated to the System, it is for me a better means of self-defense. I also appreciate the psychological and spiritual aspects of Systema. Thus my notes about training with the KM practitioner are biased; I favor Systema. I think everyone would agree that you should find the style that best suits you. Before I began training in Systema, I had wanted to take Krav Maga. I was kind of turned off of it by a newspaper article that described it as a style "not for the squeamish" and "especially suited for women with some pent-up aggression to get out." I am not that kind of woman. I have aggression, few of us are devoid of it altogether, but I prefer not to use my training as an outlet for it. But don't put too much stock in what our local free paper says about Krav Maga! The writer researched the styles but I think she especially enjoyed learning about Systema. She described Systema as thus:
Quote:
It's not uncommon for a student to free herself from a choke hold and counter her adversary with a painful hold without using brute strength or breaking a sweat—such simplicity almost looks fake and will make you feel like you're in on a big secret. Apart from skill, Systema also promotes good moral character in a harmonious environment. Sure, you'll be training with guys named Sergei who don camouflage pants and Systema T-shirts and train by doing one-handed push-ups, but that's all part of the back-in-the-USSR setting.

I don't know if it was the part about not breaking a sweat, or the one-handed pushups with guys named Sergei, but when I read that article, I immediately thought it would suit me. But reading is of course no way to discover martial arts. If you try both Systema and Krav Maga, maybe you will feel 'at home' in training in one or the other. Only you know what is best for you. If you have the opportunity to try them both, go for it!
Based on my brief training with the Krav Maga practioner, from my very humble perspective, the differences seemed to be that K.M. uses more abrupt, sudden movements to immediately disable an attacker, whereas Systema movements are sometimes so subtle that the person at the receiving end does not realize they have been disabled until they are already on the ground, and even then, they cannot explain how it happened. Because of this, I would venture that Krav Maga does not seem to be as suited for covert or crowd-work, though I am sure that Mossad would disagree with me!
I found much to admire in my brief encounter with Krav Maga, but I feel that Systema is more comprehensive in terms of developing resilience to psychological harm. But I cannot help but reply in a way which is biased toward Systema, whereas the more experienced practioners are much more objective. I suggest doing a search for "Krav Maga" on this forum and you'll find some great information.
*Vsego nailuchshego* (best wishes),
Rachel
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ScottReisinger



Joined: 18 Nov 2004
Posts: 11
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2004 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course this is just my opinion, so take it how you like, but Krav Maga is about 90% hype, 9% aerobic workout and maybe 1% actual skill. I have a friend who was in the Israeli army before coming to the US, and has said that alot of the ads he's seen from the Krav Maga people are "humorous" at best. I've watch some of the videos and trained people who had taken lessons....some of the things they're taught against weapons are down right stupid and dangerous!
Not to mention the motions are far from relaxed. My opinion, Systema is light years ahead of many styles, particularly Krav Maga!!
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John Elliott



Joined: 10 Dec 2003
Posts: 371

PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2004 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I understand it, Israeli MA as marketed in the US is not exactly a homogenous thing. I know one guy a few miles away who became a full-on KM instructor after a 2 week course in Cali. OTOH I know there's guys from Israel who've lived and died by their KM or Kapap or what-all else and are very good with it. I have my reasons for studying systema, I think it's best for me and what I want, but it's a very fine line between getting the word out and turning into a money-machine. Luckily we have someone in North America who is interested in turning out a quality product and serious value, and who promotes honesty over sensationalism (yeah, we have guys starting out with not so much formal training, like the guy down the street I mentioned earlier. but they don't try to pass themselves off as experts or masters), otherwise it could easily have been McSystema city.
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Ilya Kleyman



Joined: 04 Apr 2004
Posts: 36
Location: Richmond, Va

PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ScottReisinger wrote:
Of course this is just my opinion, so take it how you like, but Krav Maga is about 90% hype, 9% aerobic workout and maybe 1% actual skill. I have a friend who was in the Israeli army before coming to the US, and has said that alot of the ads he's seen from the Krav Maga people are "humorous" at best. I've watch some of the videos and trained people who had taken lessons....some of the things they're taught against weapons are down right stupid and dangerous!
Not to mention the motions are far from relaxed. My opinion, Systema is light years ahead of many styles, particularly Krav Maga!!


Rolling Eyes
Funny, they think the same thing about us.
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Andrei Balandin



Joined: 29 Feb 2004
Posts: 55
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2004 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some KM video clips. I will not comment.

http://www.academykravmaga.com/clip.html
http://www.ikmf.nl/?pagina=clips
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ScottReisinger



Joined: 18 Nov 2004
Posts: 11
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've seen KM instructors teach students to reach for the weapon BEFORE moving the body off the line of attack.....not a good idea, unless you want to get dead Confused
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RachelKlingberg



Joined: 12 Dec 2003
Posts: 857
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2004 1:22 pm    Post subject: KM Reply with quote

(insert usual "this-is-just-my-opinion disclaimer" here)
I think Systema is refreshingly free of hype, thanks in no small part to diligence over both the quality of the product as well as its marketing, and the fact that there is centralization rather than splintering as you see with many other styles. As far as I can tell from my brief experience, I agree with John's description:
Quote:
As I understand it, Israeli MA as marketed in the US is not exactly a homogenous thing

Though KM practitioners may think we are also mostly fluff with a drop of skill, as has often been stated on this forum, you should try any martial art before making a judgement. In my experience with KM, I did not find it to be effective for self-defense. My KM sparring partner was unwilling to work with me on unplanned attacks or improvisational sparring, he did not know how to fall safely and simply avoided going to the ground, he would not allow me to strike him, and in general he gave me the impression of being afraid of contact. But that's just one guy, and I'd welcome the chance to experience KM again, especially with someone who is familiar with its practical applications, such as a soldier or a member of Israeli law enforcement. The guys in the clip are clearly much more advanced than the guy I met in the Park, but in my very humble opinion, they square off too much. When attacked from behind, they turn around first, then defend. That's a second wasted in my opinion--you can inflict a lot of damage without ever facing your partner. From that clip it also seems as if they telegraph. As it says in the Guidebook, "Fighting skill should not be seen until used," and if someone is ten feet away from you, your fighting skill should remain "invisible."
Well, I don't know a whole lot about fighting. I have less experience than others who have posted to this thread. Just because I trained with a KM guy for a few hours doesn't mean I'm qualified to comment. Yet I think KM should not be dismissed outright unless you've tried it. It just seems polite to give them the benefit of the doubt and not base one's opinion on clips, forum messages, or idling ramblings from people like myself.
I might be coming off as a bit presumptous here, sorry.
*Vsego nailuchshego* (best wishes) and *shalom* (peace),
Rachel
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ScottStarr



Joined: 18 Nov 2004
Posts: 27
Location: Oklahoma City

PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2004 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to all for your very insightful replies... all Scotts, Andrei, John, Woody, Ilya and particularly Rachel. I have a much clearer picture now of the differences I was wondering about.
After further review, I am more convinced that Systema is more advanced and the way I want to train. This still leaves me with my quandary though...finding others to train Systema with. I suppose I will just have to get creative and get to recruiting some of my friends. I do know a few Police Officers, Corrections Officers and men of adventure...
The trouble is that every one of us will be beginners in Systema and having to jockey for time with the personal and family schedules.
I'll make it happen somehow.
I really want to attend the Febuary seminar in Missouri. Cool
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Chris McKinley



Joined: 19 Nov 2004
Posts: 5
Location: Norman, OK

PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2004 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scott,

My name is Chris McKinley and I live just south of Oklahoma City in Norman. While I do not teach or train specifically in Systema, I do have experience teaching military and law enforcement close quarter combat and counterterrorism tactics. The fluid approach that you and I both admire in Systema is very similar to and very much a part of the way I teach the martial art of Baguazhang. I mention this not to discourage you in any way from pursuing a study of Systema. I myself intend to check out the seminar in Missouri. I just mention it in case you were looking for a place to train which incorporates a similar approach until you can train Systema in person firsthand. Either way, best of luck to you in training!
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ScottReisinger



Joined: 18 Nov 2004
Posts: 11
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2004 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris McKinley wrote:
Scott,

The fluid approach that you and I both admire in Systema is very similar to and very much a part of the way I teach the martial art of Baguazhang.


Hey Chris, I have limited dabbling experience with Bagua and definitely agree with you in it's similarity to Systema. I am also an instructor in the Bujinkan and see MANY similarities between the higher level taijutsu and systema.

Seems like most of the highly effective (and advanced) arts share alot of the relaxed, fluid movements seen in systema...wouldn't you agree?
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