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Systema:
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(with Every Breath)


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Frequently Asked Questions

 
I am concerned about 'fitting in.'  Do you offer a beginner's course?
We don't offer a designated beginner's course as it is unnecessary.  We encourage beginners to train anytime.  The instructors and senior students are careful to help new students and insure their safety.  You will not be asked to do anything that you are not ready for.  Should you so desire, Mark or Rob will arrange some one-on-one time with you to get you comfortable.  Also, you are invited to observe our classes anytime. 

Is Systema Safe?
Yes.  Systema is as much about personal growth and awareness as it is about martial arts.  In fact, Vladimir and Mikhail have shifted the emphasis toward Systema health and healing from combat skills.  What they have explained is that without the core work and the inherent preparation of the mind, body and soul one cannot understand Systema. 
Injuries are rare when training Systema given the emphasis on the relaxed mind/body state via breath. We blend with and often utilize the energy or our opponents rather than conflicting with it.  Most of our Systema students train in Aikido.  The Ai-Ki in Aikido translates to 'harmonize with energy.' 
Also, we emphasize slow training so that we "wire our brain" correctly.  We train our people to train with compassion by "leaving their ego at the door."
Even when the training is "amped up," we make every attempt to insure the safety of all participants.   Should you feel uncomfortable, simply tell the instructor and he will help you to get through whatever is bothering you. 

I see mostly guys.  Do women train Systema?
Yes, women train and do very well in Systema since Systema is not about strength.  In Park City we work closely to insure that women feel comfortable when training with the men.  Check out this testimonial.

What about the fitness aspect of Systema?
Yes, yes, yes!  We use a variety of exercises to help you to condition your body.  Some of the exercises are derivatives of exercises that you are familiar with. Using breath techniques we teach you to avoid excessive tension as you exercise in keeping with the general principle's of Systema.  We also utilize exercise to get you into a working state so that your training won't be filled with thought.  As with yoga our exercise emphasizes conditioning of the connective, joint tissue rather than bulky muscles.  The breadth of conditioning methods is actually quite amazing.  
 
What do I wear to class? 
We train in comfortable clothes.  The footwear in the soft arts room at the MARC is either socks, barefoot, or "dedicated soft sole shoes."  Dedicated soft sole shoes would be shoes that are light weight and don't ever 'see the street.'  The 'Zebra' mat floors are clean and pliable so any form of street shoe is not allowed.  Most people wear sweat pants/shirts or shorts with t-shirts depending on the time of year.  Some Systema practitioners wear fatigues or camouflage clothes, but this is purely optional.  Systema Utah also can supply you with a very cool, black, Systema t-shirt for a nominal cost. 

Can parents come watch the kids classes? 
Absolutely!  We encourage parents to watch the kid's classes.  Older kids can attend the regular classes with their parents participating.  We can even give you things to practice together in between classes.

Am I too old to attend Systema training?
No.  Many people come to Systema to heal.  It is impossible to explain this in words, but Systema is so much more than a martial art.  There are numerous testimonials of people who have overcome many physical and emotional hurdles as a result of Systema.  The breath work alone can make dramatic difference for virtually anyone. 

Do you offer women's self defense classes? 
Yes, we expect to offer women only self defense in the new, P.C.M.A.R.C. facility.  These will likely take the form of weekend courses or multi-week packages.  Please contact us via e-mail if this is of interest to you so that we can notify you about upcoming events. 
Women should also consider attending our regular classes.  The instructors are sensitive to women's needs and will make every attempt to help women feel comfortable in our classes.  We have trained Systema with many amazing women who are highly motivated and skilled. 

Do you recommend cross-training?
Absolutely.  Park City offers so many activities that it is hard NOT to cross-train.  For the sake of Systema we recommend Yoga, Egoscue, Pilates and Feldenkreis.  All of these modalities are offered through the P.C. M.A.R.C.  Also, if you want to train other martial arts, that is perfectly fine with us.  Any school that tells you not to train other martial arts clearly has "ego problems."  We are comfortable that Systema will help you in everything that you do. 

I see references to Systema striking.  Why is it different?
First, this is an extensive topic.  What we would say is this:  Striking someone is very personal.  As such most people strike out of anger/fear/ego.  This reverberates back into the body of the striker and escalates the attacker's anger/fear/ego.  The Systema strike is natural and precise, but has no anger/fear/ego tied into the contact.  The singular intention is to disrupt the attacker which takes away his/her balance. 
Striking is but one aspect of Systema and is secondary to the principles of breath and movement.  Breath and movement are integral to striking from the perspective of the striker and the person being struck. 
The bottom line is that Systema practitioners disrupt attackers.  We also teach a variety of non-striking methods that disrupt the attack.  This takes the balance of the attacker (physical, mental and emotional).  As attackers become unbalanced they lose their ability to perpetrate violence and hopefully their will to continue the attack.