Systema Camp 2018

Systema Camp 2018

Systema Camp 2018

Systema Camp 2018

Systema Camp 2018 makes my fourth Systema camp. At the end of the last one in 2016 it was announced that the camp location we where using at the time was being sold and that a new location will be used in 2018. And just like in all the camps before, my plane arrived just after the buses left, which was no issue since I just road with the rest of the Dallas crew. Unlike the last three, we decided to not use tents this time, for they announced that this location had actual dorms instead of kids cabins. So we all decided to share one together. Even though each room was supposed to be labeled, it ended up being a free for all before we arrived and we ended up not in our assigned room, but a different one in the end with two other people.  This ended up being a blessing for the two other guys we roomed with where great people, with one always running off to pick up alcohol for the after training parties.

Systema Camp 2016

Systema Camp 2016

Systema Camp 2016

Systema Camp 2016

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…

Systema Camp 2014

Systema Camp 2014

Systema Camp 2014

Systema Camp 2014

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.