Systema Camp 2012

Systema Camp 2012 group photo

Systema Camp 2012 Group Photo

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.

Tactical Medic First Responder Course – Jeff Hensly and Sonny Puzikas

Tac Medic

Tactical Medic First Responder Course – Cricothyrotomy

Tactical Medic First Responder Course

Over the past weekend i was lucky enough to attend a Tactical Medic First Responder Course here in Dallas.

This class was taught by Jeff Hensley and Sonny Puzikas

Tactical Medic (TacMedic) courses seem to be the new ‘trend’ if you will, and for good reason. This is stuff anyone and everyone should know how to do. This was a two day course that included Force on Force scenarios which puts it beyond the Trauma First Responder Course i took a few months back.

Medical courses is always something i have viewed as interesting material, trauma based even more so. As i talked about in a previous post about in a different First Responder course, the knowledge here is easy to learn, but hard to master. What makes it interesting, or more so depressing is how expensive medical items and classes can be. The reasoning behind this, and why you don’t see all that many of these courses is for the lack of a better term ‘liability’ and money. By making something ‘medical’ the prices skyrocket. Take a Israeli bandages as a example, its a usually absorbing cotton bandage that get wrapped in a elastic wrap to compress on the wound. Brilliant idea using cheap common materials, but because its medical (or military/tactical) it costs a lot more than it should. Even as i put my kit together i am still amazed on how a little metal tube with a plastic sleeve costs $10 dollars.

Everyone should know how to do this

“How many people here are worried about learning how to do treat a Tension Pneumothorax (think collapsed lung) something that has a 0% survivability rate if untreated and causes 22% of trauma deaths?” said Jeff Hensley. “What about a cricothyrotomy (emergency airway puncture [top picture])? Airway blocks are 6% of all trauma deaths.” (The following is paraphrased) “This is one of the easiest things I can teach you to save a (trauma) life. But because its a ‘medical procedure’ it should cost you years of training and thousands of dollars. I know because I’m still paying for mine.” said Jeff (paraphrased).

Review: Systema HQ – Train and Teach Systema DVD

Train and Teach Systema

Train and Teach Systema


At first glance, the cover of the Train and Teach Systema gives the feeling that this video is meant for people who are interesting, not just learning, but in actually teaching Systema. But in reality this is a great instructional video that does a good job of not only showing a good chunk of what Systema HQ Toronto Systema Camp is like (about 1/3 i might say). But gives a good feel of Russian Martial Art Systema training as a whole. In short this is a really good video for those who are new to Systema.

Train and Teach Systema

During the Russian Martial Art Systema Camp of 2012, everyone would split up into three groups. Beginners (lead by Vladimir Vasiliev), advanced (lead by Konstantin Komarov) and instructors (lead by Valentin Talanov). So what this video does, is it displays the highlighted material that was covered during the “instructors” portion of the camp. Though it does not include the water, night, and other portions. What it really do not is teach you how to teach Systema, so if you buy it thinking that, then you may be disappointed.



Valentin Talanov is probably one of the lesser known instructors here in the states. Luckily he was able to make it to the 2012 Systema camp at the last minute. From what I was told was he was pushing hard to cover a lot of the ‘teaching’ aspects of Systema to the instructors at this years camp. The goal being to try and make sure everyone was teaching from the same page of Systema.  “Train and Teach Systema” does a pretty good job showing what his training sessions where like during my time there.