Self Defense Classes
Self defense classes held every week!
Just like in 2014, I shown up at Toronto international airport right as the camp buses were leaving, and just like in 2014 I thought well enough ahead to make travel arrangements with the camp. So for the ride up yo Systema Camp I basically had my own personal driver. On arrival Big Sergei was one of the first to greet everyone with a shot of vodka to get camp started right. Unlike in previous years, this year I brought my own personal tent instead of staying with a group. This made traveling a bit more cumbersome since I prefer to just bring everything as a carry on, but there was no way to make this tent fit in a over head bin. I quickly set up my site and met with everyone at the mess hall.
At the last two Systema camps, you not only had Vladimir Vasiliev teaching but Valentine Talanov and Konstantin Komarov. This allowed everyone to break up into groups based on their skill level and topic they which to train in, but also allowed instructors to have some free time instead of teaching for 13+ hours a day. But this year Vladimir was basically teaching everything himself. Other well established Systema instructors such as the Systema Twins (Brandon and Adam Zettler), Big Sergei, and few others where there to assist but it was mostly all Vlad.
We started off just after lunch in the big field with some warm up exercises: squats, push ups, sit ups, breathing and moving. I have always enjoyed these on long seminars. It gives you a chance to take in the scenery a bit and center yourself for the training ahead. From there we work on some basic movement work with some light striking, into take downs and grappling. Everyone was cheerful and friendly. We then spent some time in the lake, dinner, and then some light evening work. But the next day…
Unlike Systema Camp 2012, I was right on time. This Systema Camp was a full day shorter than the last one, so we arrived there on Monday and left on Saturday. The plane out of DFW airport left at around 7am in the morning and arrived around 10:30/11:00 in Toronto, which means the plane would arrive right after the big charter buses would leave for camp. Traveling with a few other guys from Big D Systema we informed Vlad and Valerie of our late arrival and they had a van ready for us at no extra charge. We made it there just in time for lunch. We all also decided to stay in the same tent as last time.
The head instructors planned for this week was the same as last one, Vladimir Vasiliev, Valentin Talanov and Konstantin Komarov. Konstantin was having some trouble with his visa this time around and was scheduled to arrive as soon as possible. To warm us up for the week Mr. Talanov started us off with some breathing and mobility exercises, which was great after being stuck in a plane and then a van all morning.
Just like for Systema Camp 2012 we spent a good majority of the time split into a advanced and non advanced groups then at the end the instructor group would break off for some more specialized training. Unlike last time, Talanov was not left alone to run the instructor groups and tests, Val was with him each time. At this Systema Camp instead of there being four major tests focused on each area, there was just one test at the end. I think some people complained about failing the test last camp which is a shame. The testing set up was near perfect at the last camp. Everyone had to perform the four major training sections of Systema: strikes, grappling, ground, and weapons. In front of their piers and in front of the camera, it really added a great amount of tension and importance to the test. Everyone was able to see where everyone stood, and not everyone should be able to pass. I’m pretty sure everyone who went up passed this year.
Every two years Systema HQ in Toronto has a Systema Camp, its a week long training camp where Systema practitioners from across the globe meet up and train together. Its held at this beautiful camp site a few hours north of Toronto with a forest and a lake. This is my write up for 2012 camp that I originally wrote in January of 2013.
For quite some time I have been wanting to go to this Systema Camp and this last year i was finally able to make it. The plan was that this camp/trip should fit nicely after my summer college courses and right before my fall semester started. It would give me a chance to get some great training in, make some new friends and unwind from the last semester by punching people from other countries right in the face (and vice versa).
Leading up to camp…
As I got closer to to the 2012 Systema Camp trip, I found out that my dates where off, and that Tuesday of that week is the same day as my summer college course final exam. Well that’s a problem. Figuring that it wont be that big of a deal, I went and visited my professor to see if i can do the final before or after my trip. I met up with him and explained my situation, told him i leave the Sunday before the final and wont be back until the Monday after the final. I gave him a whole sad story to try and get his sympathy. He listened and paused. “You know what…maybe there is something i can do to help you” he said. “Yes!” i though, “this will all work out.” He then said, in a way that sounded like he truly thought he was doing me a favor: “Instead of Tuesday you can take your final on Wednesday.” “Wednesday? Of the week i get back? That would be perfect!” I responded. “No, the day after the scheduled final, that Wednesday.” he says. “That Wednesday? I will be gone the WHOLE week, that Wednesday is even worse that Tuesday.” “Well that’s to bad then, if you don’t show up for your final you will fail the course.” He stated. Well we never came up with a agreement.