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Interview With Michael Grudev IZVOR Instructor

Sometimes written Michael Grudev on the net, this IZVOR instructor has taken the time to answer a few questions about IZVOR and applying Russian Martial Arts at real speeds.

Q: Michael,
Thank you for taking your time for this interview. Could you please start with an introduction and some basic background history about yourself please?

A: My name is Michael Grudin. Before serving in the army, I used to practice some full contact karate. At the same time, I had been also seriously devoting myself to track and field with specialization in decathlon. At the age of 18 I began my military service at the Special Airborne Assault Reconnaissance Brigade. Later, I served in the Special Airborne Assault Brigade. 

Playing sports before the army helped me a great deal while in the service. Besides military-specific training, we were also taught army hand to hand fighting style at a pretty decent level. While in the army, I became very serious about developing speed-strength characteristics and other physical attributes. For example, I had set multiple Brigade physical test records, including 1000 full amplitude pushups in one set and 140 full range dips in one set.

After the army I had trained in San Da, Tai Chi and a few other Chinese martial art disciplines. At the same time I also successfully competed in full contact tournaments. 


Two years after leaving the army, in 1992 I got introduced to Russian Martial Art fighting principals. I realized that it was exactly what I needed. From that moment on, Russian style of fighting became one of the key parts of my life.

Q: You teach a style within Russian Martial Arts that you call “IZVOR”. Could you explain what it is and what makes it such an effective martial art?

A: When translated from the ancient Russian, the word “Izvor” means “spring”, “stream”, “creek”, “beginning”. Water moves around any obstacle and can be present in three different states: hard, liquid and steam-like (or in other words, weightless). The principal of flow, both in body structure and in the movement, is a very important basic concept for us. On the other hand, the word “beginning” symbolizes our Russian traditions.

Q: One of the things that we talked about when I studied with you was that you had trained with many different people and that IZVOR is constantly on the lookout for new useful training information. Could you please tell us who was the biggest influence on the art that you teach today?

A: I have met many martial arts masters over the course of my life, but I never had a specific Russian Martial Arts teacher besides Alexander Lebedev. He was the one that opened up the RMA training principals for us. Alexander lives in the town of Torzok. Sometimes he comes to Moscow to teach a seminar. Alexander is a very kind person, despite the fact that he fought a lot when he was young. He is still remembered in Torzok as an excellent street fighter.

Q: We have talked a bit about your work in private security and how you also teach for Alpha Security Company. Could you please talk a little bit about different situations that you have uncounted in this line of work and the types of organizations that you have taught IZVOR methods to?

A: My own personal experience and Izvor principals applied very well to security training environment. While working for Alpha Security I have taught to various security, law enforcement and military agencies, such as police, SWAT, Spetsnaz, Park Rangers, military units and bodyguards.

Q: You became famous for your fast work through YouTube. How do you go about creating a specific psychological state of mind for a student that he can work fast with aggressive assaults and yet still remain relaxed?

A: If you only train in a slow manner, you will only learn how to work slowly in reality. Conclusion: you need to try it at bigger speeds. When working with a student it is counterproductive to make him fearful. As experience rises, so does speed and power. Emotions are the primal reason for making one too tense.

Q: IZVOR is based upon principals. Could you please explain where did you get these principals and why it is so important for a student to know them?

A: Russian martial principals are present in all Russian Martial Art schools. For instance they are outlined very precisely in such schools as Buza, Kadochnikov System and Ryabko Systema. They are the same across the board, just the interpretation of these principals not the same everywhere. It is important to understand those principals because if you do not follow them, it is impossible to learn and to develop yourself in a comprehensive manner!

Q: I know that you are teaching a seminar soon in the US. What can the seminar attendants can expect, especially beginners? 

A: We have formulated an approximate seminar plan together with Greg Mihovich. For the most part, it will be a heavy emphasis on basic concepts and their applications with emphasis on striking work, so beginners will benefit a lot. For more experienced students I will be giving more specific details on more individual level.
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Interview given by: Michael Grudin

Taken by: Paul Genge

Translated by: Greg Mihovich

For more information about the first IZVOR seminar in Holland please click on the poster below.