What the Students say about us

" I would like to give a testimony of the power of Systema Breathing and exercises. Two weeks ago, 9/15/14, I was fortunate to be chosen to work full time for a Hazmat company here in CA. Being 58 years old I had to go through a battery of tests. I had to push, pull, squat, bend, lift, and walk up stairs to make sure I was fit for the job. Needless to say, I passed all the tests with flying colors. My secret? I have been using Vlad's breathing tapes and techniques. I also have used his exercise tapes and I feel like a 30 year old again. I would like to thank Vlad for his long lasting commitment to the Systema and to us. Vladimir and Mikhail have selflessly taught over the years invaluable information to us. I wish more people, who cannot go to Toronto and train, like me, would buy the tapes and see for themselves the benefits they will get. Thank you Vlad for your dedication to other's well-being. "

- Samuel Lima - California, USA

" It's hard to really write how incredible it feels to finally find a system of living and training that I feel and know I can get good at. No other martial art, training-program or philosophy I have tried to apply to my life gave me this feeling. I will finish with a huge thank you, and my deepest appreciation. "

- Torjus Hilstad - Norway

" I have seen many martial arts but nothing comes close to the Russian martial art of Systema, which is so fluid and dynamic that it really amazes me, and the humility Mr. Vasiliev and Mr. Ryabko has only increases my respect and reverence towards them. I want to learn the art and dedicate myself into it. "

- Rocky Chowdhury - Calcutta, India

" " I have been a student of bodywork for 3 decades. Systema seems to be the pinnacle of all and everything I have discovered on that journey. My deepest thanks to you [and all in your organization] for sharing the treasure so openly and generously. My deepest, heartfelt thanks. "

- Lee Eddie - USA

" I was in martial arts from ages 15 to age 30, low level belts in 5 different styles, Aikido, Tae Kwon Do, Blue Dragon Kung Fu, American Combat Karate and Bushido Kai. I also studied under a grand master from China in Chi Kung, BUT I am VERY impressed with your Systema. This is the martial arts I have been waiting for all my life, I am now 46 years old. Thanks for this wonderful opportunity to work out and study with you. "

- Marko de la Garza Commisioned Kentucky Colonel - USA

" I have watched thousands of martial arts videos, and of all of the different styles I have seen I like yours the best, because of the compassion and friendliness in your practice sessions. It's just common sense that martial artists' main concern in practice should be helping each other and improving themselves on every level. "

- David Abbott - USA

" My husband is a combative instructor for the army. I enjoyed that training, but felt it was not complete. Systema is not only full body, but self understanding and incredibly effective. I love it. I love how it makes me think, and how it makes me fight. "

- Jaquelyn Hartwig - USA

" In October 2011 I signed up for training at the school. I wanted to share the following with you. I came to Canada in 1992, and in 1993/4 I heard of Russian Martial Art. One day I actually drove to the location and stopped, never got out of the car and returned home; I wasn't ready even though I did not know what I wasn't ready for. Last October I showed up for a Systema class and I realized right away what it is that you do, how it works and why I had to wait eighteen years. Systema creates consciousness through observation and awareness of the mind and the body. The body is allowed to exert its own, native intelligence without interference of the human ego. Of course, practicing ability, moves, techniques all have their place and show the human mind what is possible and what it feels like. However, when in a new situation it is not the mind that reacts but the native intelligence. This process acquired through Systema is substantially faster as it merely reacts without the processing time required by the mind. Without the involvement of mind there is no ego that needs to create an opinion of what is going on or a wish for an action or outcome. There is only what is, which is what needs to be dealt with without distractions. Systema classes reflect the process of reaching consciousness through observation and awareness. The health classes are a huge asset in this process and the breathing exercises alone are able to elevate awareness of self. Performing these Systema exercises ready the student for the learning that follows, true learning, not the learning taught through mere repetition but the learning where the knowledge becomes yours. Knowledge does not rely on repetition but on accessibility. The knowledge has always existed within creation. It is my wish to thank those making Systema available to all, for they are showing a path to the Truth. "

- Jonathan Kaye, Toronto - Canada

" I have never been athletic in MY LIFE, and certainly not a martial arts person by any stretch of imagination. However, through a fluke, I discovered Systema when living in US and it gave me life. Not just to me, but to my two boys as well. They do not train but it is a fact of life to them as I live and breathe Systema. Not that I am good at it but I do not care if I am good. I care about how it feels and it feels great. Just right or better always. Thank you for your e-mail publications, always very interesting and helpful. Best wishes of success, "

- Natasha Gjerstad, Norway

" I have realized a lot about Systema. Your training tips helped me remember what I have learned and what it means to grow with Systema. One of the more important things that I have learned over time is how Systema can be a broader part of life. This has come from our work in San Diego, which I am proud to say is led with pure dedication to Systema and leadership without ego. Your teachings and insights help us grow and are among the more important aspects (in my opinion) to growing with Systema. Your notes remind those of us that make Systema a bigger part of our lives how Systema and its principles can be applied broadly into our lives, reminding us what living Systema is all about. Systema has enabled me to do so much more beyond the physical aspects of training and enabled me to bring the power and true value of Systema into my business and day to day life. In fact, I bring these principles into my business and to my two young sons and teach these principles. After a few years, I now see that this has come from facing some challenges while training, a bit of pain, and (more than anything) dealing with ego (mine and others) during my training. I ultimately realized that Systema is about me and what is inside me, just as it is for everyone. And realizing this is the greatest gift that Systema can give anyone. Thank you Vladimir very much for continuing to share these types of insights and I look forward to receiving more. Humanizing Systema as you do and bringing these types of insights to us is truly valuable to all of us. "

- Michael Slater, San Diego - California

" Systema has enriched my life not because it was new to me but because I recognized a fundamental truth of being and living in it, that deep down is part of all of us. Simply put, Systema is an expression of our natural movement and behavior, a reflection of whom we really are when we strip away our ego, dare I say an expression of God in our living form. "

- Andrea Bisaz, Australia

" My husband is a combative instructor for the army. I enjoyed that training, but felt it was not complete. Systema is not only full body, but self understanding and incredibly effective. I love it. I love how it makes me think, and how it makes me fight. "

- Jaquelyn Hartwig - USA

Vladimir, I cannot thank you enough for bringing Systema to Canada and the world. My Son Phillip has benefited so much from the training under Maxim!!! It is not just about skill, technique, defense etc. It IS something so very spiritual!!! My son is so calm and focused even at 16. I am so very proud of him. So honoured to know Maxim. And truly blessed that Phillip has Systema. Thank you with all my heart, "

- Spencer Nimmons, Toronto - Canada

" I owe Vladimir very many thanks for what he has done in bringing us Systema. I met Gene Smithson by random chance last year when I was looking for self-defense and martial art instruction, and I've been training with him ever since. Had someone told me then how much my life would change because of Systema I would have thought they were crazy. Yet little by little I am noticing changes. Not in the areas I was thinking, but in the areas God decided I needed changing: humility, pride, gratefulness, spirituality, love. I want to give you a specific example. A few weeks ago I got rear-ended by another car, and had it not been for Systema I would have been much worse off than I am. Instead of serious injury and car damage I walked away with a scratched bumper. Poor guy that hit me was so scared to get out of the car when he saw me, he could not have been more than 5'4'' and 100lbs and I think he figured I would be livid (I am at 270lbs)... I gave him a hug instead. No one was more surprised than me. For me to feel love and empathy in such a situation was a 180 degree turn from where I was before Systema. There had been so much anger in my life. Vladimir I cannot thank you enough for what you have given me as a gift. I want you to know that what you do makes a difference in my life every single day. Please accept my gratitude with this. "

- Anton Kotzev, Austin - USA

"Systema school in Toronto is a wonderful experience I am calling it "Systema Heaven". Systema is an art that has beauty in the flow of movements and power that is remarkable to watch and practice. Training has helped me improve alot of myself that I was in need of correcting."

- Mario Vargas JR, Chicago - USA

"Systema has called to me since the first time I saw it. I grew up on the streets, and have lived a wasted life. I have seen the bottom of the barrel and wallowed there for years. Been in and out of trouble (mostly in) for almost all of my adult life. Now I am tired. Tired of the life, tired of of people, tired of that whole lifeless path. I am a new father. I have two boys who will be 5 and 1 in June, and another coming in October, hopefully a girl this time. I married my childhood sweetheart, and am rich in love but little else. My problem is my past. I want to be a man my wife and kids can RESPECT, as well as love. I believe Systema is the foundation I need to build the rest of my life on, properly. Systema to me represents a door, one that opens to my future and closes my past. I dream of training with my family, teaching my kids, and growing together in the experiance of it all. Funny, because I would never look at ANYTHING else this way. I mean who would look at krav maga and think "There is the key to a happy future". But with Systema I do not think it I KNOW it. I do not know if this makes sense or you now think I am off my rocker, But I hope it makes sense. The way Vladimir always talks about correcting actions that are harmful to yourself leads me to believe I am right."

- Jason Fowler, USA

"Huge personal debt of gratitude for all of you at Russian Martial Art and all that you guys do. Its difficult to express the gratitude that I feel towards Vladimir. I spent almost my entire life doing martial arts and finally found Systema. The relief and the joy when I finally found it was huge. To be able to train in a way that is seamless with the way I wish to live as a human. Thank you Thank you Thank you. "

- Gene Smithson, USA

"Systema has called to me since the first time I saw it. I grew up on the streets, and have lived a wasted life. I have seen the bottom of the barrel and wallowed there for years. Been in and out of trouble (mostly in) for almost all of my adult life. Now I am tired. Tired of the life, tired of of people, tired of that whole lifeless path. I am a new father. I have two boys who will be 5 and 1 in June, and another coming in October, hopefully a girl this time. I married my childhood sweetheart, and am rich in love but little else. My problem is my past. I want to be a man my wife and kids can RESPECT, as well as love. I believe Systema is the foundation I need to build the rest of my life on, properly. Systema to me represents a door, one that opens to my future and closes my past. I dream of training with my family, teaching my kids, and growing together in the experiance of it all. Funny, because I would never look at ANYTHING else this way. I mean who would look at a martial art and think (There is the key to a happy future). But with Systema I do not think it I KNOW it. I do not know if this makes sense or you now think I am off my rocker, But I hope it makes sense. The way Vladimir always talks about correcting actions that are harmful to yourself leads me to believe I am right."

- Jason Fowler, Germany

"I would like to thank you for bringing Systema to the Western world. It was your videos and homepage that made me curious, and it was Systema that changed my life, turned it upside down, and made it better. Thank you for all this, and may God Bless you!"

- Norbert Matausch, Germany

"I have been teaching my own martial arts now for about 20 years, and I amazed to see that it has so many similarities with Systema. Watching your videos makes me feel extremely good and at ease. I especially like the way Mr Vasiliev explains himself so clearly and precisely. I recognize this approach and appreciate such teachings as they come from the heart and not from someone looking to just sell for the money but rather from an individual looking to share his knowledge."

- Eelse Visser, 20 years of martial arts teaching

I do not know all the benefits of studying Systema and I do not believe anyone could list or describe them all. I do know that I have benefitted tremendously from my discovery of Systema and the work that I have been able to do with it. My only regrets are that I did not discover it sooner and that I do not live close enough to any of the many fine Systema instructors to work out regularly. But I will do what I can for as long as I can. I am a retired attorney, age 71 years, with substantial prior martial arts experience. After a knee replacement surgery in 2002, I was able to attend my first Systema seminar in Phoenix, Arizona in 2003 with Vladimir Vasiliev as lead instructor. There I began to understand that Systema is far more than just a martial art or self defense system. Intrigued, I signed up for additional seminars, including the Summer Camp near Toronto, Canada in 2004 and the recent (2006) Summit of the Masters near Niagara Falls, Canada, where we learned from Mikhail Ryabko, Vladimir Vasiliev, Konstantin Kamarov and several other excellent instructors. Let me share a couple of the many things I have learned from my Systema experiences in seminars and from the videos and DVDs that are available. Systema is infinite, inexhaustible. Each of us is in the body we have, with its strengths and limitations. Our sensory apparatus and brains let us learn how to use our total being to accomplish our objectives over whatever period of time we spend learning. The same is true of each other person. Human anatomy, physiology, neurology and psychology fits a pattern, but within the pattern each individual varies from all others. What one can do with his mind and body is unique to each person. Unlike other martial arts, Systema does not assume a particular body type or psychology. It does not give orders; it does not direct you to take one or more specific actions in response to an attack. Systema shows you how you might use what you have available to deal with a bad situation and then does it again and again, with variations on the theme, letting you learn how to use your mind and body in a number of effective ways to defend yourself and others, no matter what the situation. The combinations of threatening situations and how you might deal with them, are infinite. As this insight (the inexhaustibility of Systema) has found its way into my mind, I have been increasingly freed from self imposed limitations and my work has become more varied, relaxed and efficient. (Not that I am "good", just slowly improving.) Systema helps you discover the stronger person within. At every seminar I have attended, we students have been asked to do things many of us had never attempted before. Some were rather frightening. Think of yourself on the floor with eight or ten men piled on top of you and your assignment is to keep breathing and get out from under the pile. No panic allowed; just get it done. Other tasks at first seemed physically impossible, like holding in push-up position for eight minutes. (I could not come close to that one on my first attempt at the seminar, but with practice, I actually surpassed it a month or so later.) The point is that the world is going to put demands on you that you do not suspect, have never thought about, and which you must meet and overcome in order to survive, either physically or psychologically. Every Systema session provides you with lessons in how much more you have within to meet the demands of life than you thought. After every seminar, I am rejuvenated; I have learned more about myself and what I can do. I feel stronger, safer, and confident that I am better able to protect myself, my wife and my loved ones, no matter what the circumstances. My investment in Systema has given me unbelievable physical, psychological and spiritual returns. I plan to continue working at it, and getting those returns for many years to come. For this I will be forever grateful to Mikhail, Vladimir and Konstantin."

- David Bergland, Retired Attorney

"I've trained since I was in my early teens, first fencing , then many styles of martial arts. Unfortunatley due to contusions and dissapointment I no longer am able to participate in such classes. Viewing the Systema materials gave me new hope, hope that there is a way to learn to be in contact with yourself and The Creator, to bring respect for others knowledge, and values not only mechanical training. Thank you all, it was a true pleasuer to read and see a living System(a) with a soul."

- Marek Mirenski, Psychology major and 20 years of martial arts training

"I've been on many military campaigns. Before training in Russian Martial Art, I never thought there were such perfect and powerful techniques. Valdimir's work with and against machine guns, military shovels, and knives that you see on the tape is just amazing and could save many lives."

- Jason MacPherson, French Foreign Legion

"I wanted to thank you for the recent training. We are in a training group in Austin Texas and it was well worth the trip up to your Thornhill school! I was extremely impressed with the material and the training presentation. Also, I commend you on a fantastic student body that proved to be very kind and helpful. On a personal note, I realize that you see thousands of guys just like me every year. And still I felt personally welcome and appreciated. I wanted to say thanks not just on a professional training level but also personally. The time I spent there meant a lot to me and having the opportunity to associate with Vladimir was very satisfying on a personal level, also."

- Gene Smithson, 30 years of martial arts training and 10 years of martial arts teaching

"I've met so many great masters and fighters in my life. What I saw in Vladimir shocked me. He is calm, relaxed and smiling, but his skill and way of teaching are incredible."

- Jeffery Wong, 25 years of martial arts training, studied with Yip Man (teacher of Bruce Lee)

"Studying with Vladimir, I quickly realized that it is not necessary to spend years on the different traditional styles, that the Russian system combines it all. I learned more in one year with Vladimir than in 10 years with other styles."

- Mark Monardo, Black Belts in Karate and Judo

"I've met so many great masters and fighters in my life. What I saw in Vladimir shocked me. He is calm, relaxed and smiling, but his skill and way of teaching are incredible."

- Keith J. Figured, Canada

"FANTASTIC is not enough to say about Vladimir's videos. They are a true inspiration!"

- Alessandro Signorini, Italy