How I Caught a Thief

April 29, 2013 by Karel Cerny  


I would like to tell you a story, that happened in year 1981.

I was 17 years old.


One night, my sister woke me up. It was about 2 a.m. She was unsettled and told me, that somebody is walking in our house and she thought that he was a thief.


I had been doing karate for 2 years that time. I took part in many competitions and I was really good at it in my category. I trained with nunchaks as well.


In pyjamas and slippers I got up, took nunchaks, which I had next to my bed, and I started going through our house. Our parents slept on the first floor. There, I heard some rustling. I found out, that next to my parents room, the balcony doors were open. I went to the balcony and saw a figure climbing down. I ran downstairs and out to the place where I saw this figure. It was February, cold, and I was still in my pyjamas and slippers.

Suddenly, I saw this figure in front of me. I was ready to hit him but he started running around our house, in the direction to the gate next to the garage. I ran after him but he suddenly jumped on the gate. That time I knew that now I had no chance to catch him. So I reached out and hit him with nunchaks. I hit him! He fell down but on the other side of the gate. Then he jumped up from the ground and began to run along the pavement. I ran to the lower gate, jumped over it and followed the thief. I reached him after 500 meters of running. He wasn´t in a very good physical condition. I took him away back to our house and we called the police. They came after about 30 minutes. They started to investigate.


Apparently, he was a soldier, who got drunk and didn´t know what he was doing. The policemen found out, that at the spot around the house where I saw him first, he lost a knife. During investigation, they also discovered that at a nearby house he tried to choke an old woman. She survived but was in shock. The thief constantly talked, he was confused and severely shaken up. This thief ended up in a military prison.


At that time I didn´t think about it, but nowdays I still remind myself of two things.


First, that he lost the knife. What would have happened if he hadn´t lost it? I can´t even imagine it. Because I did karate, but I didn´t know how to response to a knife attack. I am glad that Mikhail and Vladimir are giving us their experiences on how to work with the knife. Both of them know exactly what they are doing. I can recommend to you their seminars or you can learn from their DVDs. Especially the last one: Knife in a Fight. No one can be ensured that they will not be attacked, especially with a knife. Today in the Czech Republic, knife attacks dominate. It´s almost a daily routine.


Second image for me to remember is when the thief jumped over the gate, he got a blow with nunchaks from me. I hit his back, but what if his head was there? I think that in that case, I would be the one going to prison! In Systema, we learn how to stay calm and damage the other person as little as possible. Each situation can be resolved in many ways. In my opinion and the opinions of experts, Systema solves problems in the most humane way. Calmness gives you precision and sureness, reaction will be fast and simple. You will destroy the opponent‘s form and then you just control him.


You can practice some special technique against a certain attack a thousand times, but if the opponent uses a different way of attack, you will not know how to react.


That´s why Systema puts such big emphasis on natural movement. In most cases, we don´t know how our opponent will attack us. Systema prepares the students for such situations.


I wish everybody good health, because healthy persons can train and protect themselves. During training, learn how to be calm, study natural movement, breathing, sensitivity, humility and other important features, which you need in daily life.


Thanks to Vladimir and Mikhail for Systema. Each meeting with them gave me vital information that moved me ahead.

Karel Cerny Karel Cerny is a Systema instructor, certified by Vladimir Vasiliev, teaching at Systema Pardubice, Czech Republic. Karel has over 30 years of martial arts experience, training and teaching Systema since 2011.