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Improvised Weapons (DVD) Reviews
Improvised Weapons (DVD)
Improvised Weapons (DVD)

  The DVD does multiple things on multiple levels at the same time.
by Demetry Furman, March 27, 2007
For example, on the surface it explains how to use benign objects in a dynamic manner to defend your self. On a deeper level, Vladimir demonstrates the philosophy of Systema; non aggressive and natural work. Another thing that stood out for me, as it is a remake DVD and many similar objects were used as in the original; the material was presented with a very new and fresh approach, with lots of new ‘twists’. This DVD is essential for our loved ones who are not practicing martial artists. They will see that they always have a means of defending themselves in-hand.

  In this DVD you will get to see and hear how to use such mundane objects as keys, a baseball cap, a belt, a jacket, an umbrella, a pen, or a book, as improvised weapons of self-defense that can give you an unexpected advantage over any attacker.
by Paul McCaughey, March 27, 2007
This DVD is tightly shot at Mr. Vasiliev’s School. The action is intimate, if we were there with him, as his attacker falls again and again, in undoubted pain. Each weapon's use is shot from multiple angles, at full speed and in slow motion, along with clear instruction, so as to leave no doubt in your mind as to both their effectiveness, as well as how to reproduce these effects in your own training. Mr. Vasiliev warns us at the start that there is a disadvantage to taking a weapons in your hand, however improvised it might be. He declares that the use of a weapon usually demonstrates psychological weakness rather than strength, usually a kind of non-confidence in one's empty handed skills, a desperate move if you will. This can also accomplish the over-excitement of the attacker, there-by making them more prepared and which takes away from your own effectiveness. He points out that we can never truly know the extent to which the opponent intends to go, so why should we fuel their fire. He shows how to practice and gain experience, without it use of a weapon can be counter-productive. Therefore Mr. Vasiliev presents one of the key concepts of Systema, that is staying very calm and seeking to control the attacker rather than damage him. The use of improvised weapons is a delight to watch and it begins with something as common as car keys. The advantage of keys is in their concealment as they are easily palmed. A key protruding through the fingers can rake the gripping fingers of an opponent or be used to create acute pain to vulnerable areas even through clothing. In a knife attack, keys are used to distract with a quick release from an underhand throw to the face, which reflexively releases the knife. Mr. Vasiliev’s demonstration of the key release from his open palm is a thing of beauty. The force of the release comes from the opposite hand striking the releasing arm back to release the keys forward. The releasing hand here only directs the keys to the face and reads as empty and accepting open hand, rather than a hand which says, “I’m ready to toss my keys in your face…” Later Mr. Vasiliev explains how non-damaging pain is used not to excite the defenses of the opponent, but to “make them feel such pain they can only think about themselves, not about you!”. You can see this effect quite clearly as a result of all of the improvised weapons he uses. Finally, the opponent always seeks relief from pain through complete relaxation within themselves, which ultimately diffuses their aggression towards you. Keys are especially useful because they are hard to see, they naturally magnify pain and are effective even through clothing. The next weapon is the ball cap, which as a soft peaceful looking object is inherently an unexpected weapon... Mr. Vasiliev carefully shows the parts of the cap, hard, soft, where the handles for the cap are and the ideas for the use of each part. To see the way in which he uses the cap as a projectile, a striking weapon, a protective surface against a knife, a hook against a gun, and for concealment of intention, is a thing to marvel at. You also see that something as hard as keys or as soft as the cap, can be used in very similar ways to accomplish the same disarming results. Now the belt is shown to be one of the most versatile weapons commonly at hand, even when still wearing it! Mr. Vasiliev shows us how the inherent softness of the belt, say in comparison to a stick, enables many short or longer range circular and figure eight movements creating evasion and multiple striking opportunities in one smooth flow. There is one very cool manipulation of the belt that creates a double looped restraint which when pulled ties the opponent's hands together in a tight noose, which gets more uncomfortable as it tightens itself on the wrists when he tried to get out. Then there is “Russian Street Fight Grip”, which is worth the price of the DVD by itself. Mr. Vasiliev with a quick snap of the soft end of the belt, which whips around his wrist and thumb in a lightening smooth motion, creates a grip solid enough that the belt might as well be part of the arm. Then he shows, should the belt become caught in someone’s clothing, how to release with a simple opening rotation of the hand. There are moments when you see the consummate professional in the details. The ease with which Mr. Vasiliev takes this grip in one flowing motion is just one. He does this with no more concentration than tying a shoe lace. His simple ease belies a depth of training which defines the difference between a professional and a civilian. His movements are not martial artistry, they are what minimally needs to be done and he does them with no more apparent intention than breathing in or breathing out. It is here where you see his vision of Systema in action. You’re not supposed to get excited. You’re not even supposed to see him do it. It is as if it were always there part of his hand. It makes you want to go out and buy a belt just like his in the hope that it might give you just a bit of an edge when it comes to such mastery of this improvised weapon. Next is the jacket, which can act as camouflage, protection, restraint, projectile, and a whip. If they are wearing a jacket, you can use it against them like a fifth appendage, to pull them off balance when they least expect it. The softness of the jacket and its contours can be used to obscure your motions, while you entrap a knife, fist or extended hand. With each new weapon Mr. Vasiliev reminds that as with all Systema practices you are supposed to remain peaceful. If you tense up, the person in front of you will see the jacket as a weapon and start to work harder against you. Hence, the very first skill using the jacket is in the ability to take it off normally and with ease. After the jacket, comes the usefulness of the umbrella, both compact and long versions. The advantage of the umbrella is that it seems so innocent and not the weapon of a tough guy, and even less so that of someone with self defense skills. Especially without the cover on, with soft material hanging, as if hastily compacted and clasped together after the last downpour. This is the way most guys pack up an umbrella, when they don’t want to carry one in the first place, but have to because you can’t show up to work wet. Looking kind of sloppy like this, the umbrella certainly doesn’t read as a weapon. There were two things I liked about this part. The first was the talk Mr. Vasiliev gives on the usefulness of unexpected pain and how to create it. You’ll have to buy the DVD to get to hear and see that set of instructions. Then there was the part that left me falling on the floor laughing replay after replay, as Mr. Vasiliev drop- kicks the umbrella into Nick's face, during a knife attack. For one thing, it’s like he drop-kicks his umbrella all the time, as it flies so precisely to the target. Secondly, you’ll get to see how effective a true surprise really is. It’s what I love about Systema. It never fails to make me see another way to do things. For those scholars out there, the next two improvised weapons are for you. First there is the pen (or the pencil, for those with commitment issues) as well as the book. So there is something for everyone in this DVD! Now I think that there is a hidden gem in the midst of all the action and that is Mr. Vasiliev’s ease and economy of effort at all times. His manner does not change from one demonstration to the next. This is not because these demonstrations are staged. I can tell you from spending extensive time with him, he is really like this pretty much all of the time, whether in combat or conversation. He often can do both at the same time! At the end of the DVD, he finishes as he began. He wants us to know that a weapon is used to create the least damage possible; to control another’s movement and that this is not a simple accomplishment, as the object reflexively shapes our intention and thereby displaces our calm and otherwise relaxed state. If you watch for it, you will see that in the midst of demonstrating so variations of use, from these common objects as improvised weapons, the one constant is Mr. Vasiliev’s calm. It is clear that staying calm is a central message underpinning all the great action packed applications of these improvised weapons. This makes this DVD as evocative to our psyche, as it is inspiring to our desire to develop more versatile defensive skills. I think you will find this one of the best DVD releases yet by Vladimir Vasiliev.

  Even the most accomplished martial artist may find themselves in a situation where they might need a little help.
by Terry Cruickshank, April 09, 2007
This DVD is an incredible example of how Vladimir takes everyday objects that surround us, and with some awareness and creativity, turn them into improvised weapons. Vladimir shows how to take these objects and make it an integral part and an extension of your body. After watching this DVD, common objects such as a belt, hat, keys all become "legendary weapons" that will be just as lethal as traditional weapons. The value of this training can be extended to those without any martial arts background, simple objects your wife, kids, etc, can use to protect themselves should a situation arise when they are alone. Really easy and straight forward explanations of how to use and become proficient with these benign, everyday objects.

  What is so inspiring about this DVD is NOT an unbelievable efficiency & breathtaking simplicity of the demonstrated self defense mechanisms but the message so casually communicated to the viewers along with excellent instructions & brilliant demonstrations: WEAK SPIRITED LOOKS FOR WEAPON REINFORCEMENT WHILE A STRONG ONE ENABLES HIMSELF TO SUCEED WITH ANY ACCESSIBLE MEANS.
by Sergey Makarenko, April 10, 2007
The new film illustrates how casually attacker can be forced to ‘reconsider’ his life priorities if ‘victim-to-be’ is calm, confident & prepared to confront the menace. Car keys, ball cap, waist belt, umbrella, jacket, pencil – tools of comfort & convenience transparent to any security check convertible into a weapon when the situation calls & mind is prepared. Exceptional & truly instructional film for any audience.

  IMPROVISED WEAPONS- only soldiers,police officers and criminals walk around armed.
by yuri halev, April 24, 2007
A vast majority of normal people do not carry weapons everywhere they go(this is why they are normal).Mr.Vasiliev shows all of us that any object-keys,belt,cap,book,pen etc. may become a "weapon of mass destruction".The moves are simple and leathal.If a student of the system or a person who is not a martial artist views this DVD -they will never be UNarmed,no matter where they are.Any object may become an instant self defense tool.Mr.Vasiliev shows us the underlying principal of the correct and relaxed movement pattern(the object becomes an extension of your body,you are limited only by your imagination)and this will allow a person to survive a violent confrontation.There are no gold medals for the first place victory on a street or in a war.The action is fast,quick and furious...this DVD is a must for any person who understands that at the end of the day, we are all responsible for our own safety and those that we love-our wives,children,family .Make this DVD a part of your library!5out of 5.Great staff,easy to learn and to apply!

  The new Improvised Weapons from Vladimir Vasiliev is an excellent video to add to every martial artists DVD collection.
by Brian Hammond, April 25, 2007
The video gives an in-depth look at how to turn a simple object into a weapon and gives great demonstrations to prove it! The DVD demonstrates the psychology of using improvised weapons and the subtleties of precision of movement. I have been around many different martial artists in my career and Vladimir Vasiliev is definitely the best! Vladimir Vasiliev can teach people from all walks of life. Brian Hammond Buffalo Russian Martial Arts

  This is a fascinating DVD that shows once again how Systema takes on all of the most difficult problems in martial arts--multiple attackers, defending low kicks, anti-grappling, disarming weapons and (in this case) improvised weapons--and provides amazingly simple and effective solutions.
by Matt Conner, May 15, 2007
Vladimir is a physical genius. I would encourage anyone watching the videos/DVDs to make the trip up to the headquarters school in Toronto. It's a lot of fun to see the school in person after watching the DVDs; the students are very friendly and hospitable; and meeting Vladimir in person is awesome. You'll come away with a new understanding that will add a lot of value to the DVDs.

  This is one of the most enjoyable and instructional DVD in my collection (I have all of them).
by Thong Nguyen, May 17, 2007
I've watched this with 2 different groups of senior level Systema instructors. Each time it evoked the same reactions; head shaking, jaw dropping, eye-numbing disbelief. The ingenuity, expertise and breadth of Vladimir's knowledge is not only fascinating but disconcertingly logical. In his usual nonchalance, Vladimir addresses every conceivable angles of attack with ordinary household items. He opens our eyes to fresh ways of looking at familiar things. Highly recommended for all martial artists regardless of styles or expertise. It makes a perfect gift for loved ones and those who don't wish to feel helpless.

  This DVD is without a doubt one of the coolest martial arts DVD's I own.
by Doug Grier, June 03, 2007
And I own over fifty ranging from Kung Fu to Jiujutsu to Shorin Ryu Karate and several on weapons. Vladimir is not only a martial arts genius, he had soft spoken, easy going style that shows you don't have to have multiple black belts or be able to break bricks with your pinky finger to have a sound self defense system. Some of the other DVD's I have on improvised weapons take basic Asian MA weapons techniques and turn them on everyday objects. IE Broom=Bo staff, Small flashlight=kubotan, pipe/ong wrench=escrima etc. Vladimir shows you how to defend your self in many situations with things you might actually have on your person at any given time. You don't need to worry if you haven't your flashlight, Bo staff, or escrima stick with you. With this DVD you can learn to use car keys, a baseball cap (an amazing section I watch again and again), pen, belt and even a book (the most innocuous weapon I have ever seen, beware the man who walks softly and carries hardback book). Vladimir shows you how to use your jacket as weapon and then use an attacker's own jacket agains him! And all this is easy to under stand and put to almost immediate use. His brief showing of potential pressure points taught me more that three books and a DVD on Asian pressure point/dim mak/kyusho has. Amazing stuff. Get this DVD you wont be sorry and in today's world of heightened security measures at airports, businesses and even malls, never feel unarmed again!

  Just wanted to add that I recently got back from taking the family on vacation to Florida, and instead of driving we flew this time.
by Doug Grier, September 02, 2007
I had my baseball cap, a solid pen, my belt and long paracord lanyard on my keys. These did not so much as raise a TSA agents eyebrow and I felt far from unarmed thanks to what I learned on this DVD. Gratefully nothing occured out of the ordinary on vacation but I was prepared. Thanks Vasiliev!

  Improvised Weapons (DVD)
by Kris Webeck, March 30, 2010
Vladimir is the most creative martial artist of all time

  amazing it is like watch a bit of cold war spy espionage history.
by Edward Harcourt, March 04, 2011
as I watched this DVD,I was finding myself easily imaging how this is exactly the type of stuff and international espionage spy would need to learn. Personally I feel this DVD should be featured in some cold war spy museum. A spy I image would be out gunned,out manned very much like the common law abiding citizen. Meny of the easy to understand concepts are very much what you would expect to see in a more realistic James Bond movie.James Bond would not even have a chance against Vlad. sean Connary,Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton,Pierce Brosnan...please not even a chance.Even tough guy Daniel Craig would get totally owned againt Vladimir.Persoanlly , I think Vlad would make light work of the transporter guy as well.Remember that video game "Golden Eye"?.Just imagine if Vlad was one of the characters you had to fight or kill in that game.....Forget about it,no one would have a chance against him. Now word of warning. if this the first systema Video you watch, you will have a hard time to believe Vlad could disarmed a knife attacker with a comb.The rest of us realise he could disarm multiple knife attackers with a wet piece of toliet paper or a plastic spoon. But seriously all joking aside. First you must understand the basic underlining concepts of systema found in "Hand to Hand" and fundamentals of Knife" and "Beat the Odds" and " Hold and Escapse" and in "confined spaces" to name a few then you will easily grasp much easier what he is speaking about in this truly amazing Video.

  Some years ago, I purchased your tape on improvised weapons.
by Brent Frandsen, February 09, 2013
An excellent buy. On one occasion I even used the briefcase trick to save my neck. Worth every penny.

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