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.
Arriving at Systema Camp
Once we arrived and signed in to Systema Camp we joined the group in the field for breathing exercises, which I always think is a great way to lean into camp after a long flight and car ride. We spent a little over a hour just doing slow squats, push ups and leg lifts, along with many stretches. Just like last year it was pretty much all Vlad all the time. Sadly the twins, who are one of my favorites to train and work with, could not make it this year. Neither could Konstantin who is also one of my favorites to work with. After the stretching we worked on movement and some basic grappling drills until dinner.
A lot of people claimed that the food here was better than the past, but it tasted around the same for me. But the buildings here where a lot nicer, we actually had showers this time! Though the weather was around the 90s all week, which is nicer than in Texas at the time, but it made the first few nights miserable. After the first night i was even googling some local hotels because it was just that bad. The days themselves where pretty nice and cool, and the night weather really calmed down after the first day or so.
The topics for the the week was similar to last year, a day of strikes, a day of grappling, a day of weapons, a day of mass attacks, and water work in the lake after each session. But I think the intensity this year was a lot lower and we spent a lot more time covering the basics and fundamentals. Which was nice because they where drills I have been slacking on, but at the same time I really loved just the near non-stop sparring and hard work from last camp. So I would have to say out of all four camps, this was the most easiest. But the interesting part is I took more notes this year than I think i did the last two combined since we spent so much time on fundamentals and how to progress them. With the Toronto shooting not to long before the start of camp, there was a bit more focus on personal protection work, improvised weapons and even some active shooter work than usual.
A big highlight to me this year was all the after parties. After each night session we would all hang out and drink in the mess hall and swap stories. It was very interesting to talk to people who have been training way before I started in the growth of Systema, talk some insider baseball, and how we think it will continue on in the future. Along with the huge 25th anniversary party held at the end of the week, with a huge cake and everything. To say that I enjoyed the comradery more than the physical training itself this year would not be wrong.
As much as I enjoyed camp, it was a bit more expensive this time than before, and without the Twins, Konstantin, and other guest instructors I wonder if it would be cheaper to just show up at a few of the weekend events at HQ than to do a one long week. Either way i am looking forward to the next Systema Camp in 2020!