Training with a living Russian martial arts Legend
Alexander Retuinskih ROSS Seminar - Glasgow 2016
Last weekend I travelled to Scotland with a group of Combat Lab students to study with a living legend of the Russian Martial Arts, Alexander Ivanovich Retuinskih and some of students from the ScotROSS organisation based in Glasgow.
Master of sport in both Judo and Sambo, Alexander Retuinskih was also a student and partner of Alexey Kadochnikov at his school in Krasnodar, Russia. He was instrumental in much of the research and taught hand to hand combat at the school.
Ultimately he split from the Kadochnikov school and created his own organisation Rossijskaya Otechestvennaya Systema Samozashchity known as R.O.S.S., “Russian Native System of Self-defence.” The aim of this school is to teach the ‘Russian style’ as a complete system and it has started to be implemented as a training method for various sporting disciplines, members of the Russian military and Police.
Alexander has been on my list of people I wanted to train with since I found out how many of the leading Russian instructors who we now know of in the West had all trained with him and his school at some point. Some such as Alexander Maksimtsov are open about their time in the R.O.S.S. organisation, but others such as Vladimir Vasiliev are more cagey about their time learning from them.
Other instructors who have trained at some point with Alexander Retuinskih that we now know of in the West are Dmitri Skogorev of the Sibirskiy Viun School, Andri Karimov of the Siberian Cossack school and Michael Grudev of the IZVOR school.
So what is Alexander Retuinskih like?
The first thing that has to be said is that he is one of the nicest people I have met in my studies of the Russian style. There is no attempt at grandeur in the way he interacts with students and he genuinely wants to share what he has learnt during a lifetime in the martial arts of study, practice and practical application.
Each day Alexander had very specific topics he wanted to teach us. These were broken down into bite sized complexes that consisted of warm up exercises that related to the subject being taught, followed by a series of exercises, explanations and techniques that built a frame work so that students learnt very quickly.
Sessions included a session on jacket wrestling, strikes, joint locks, combat sports specific kettle bell exercises, knife defence, working against sticks and a little on the use of a knife as a weapon. Despite the large amount of topics all of the individual sessions had common elements brought them together for us.
By the end of the seminar many new friendships had been formed and it was sad to have to part ways after such a short time. Before we left Alexander handed out attendance certificates for all the students and a couple of special certificates that singled out different people for their contributions to martial arts and ROSS in particular. I was honored and a little surprised to recieve one myself and it will have pride of place in the Combat Lab gym.
My students and I are already planning our next encounter with Alexander and are planning a trip to Russia to join him at the ROSS summer camp in Krinitsa, on the Black Sea coast at th end of June 2017, but I am sure there will be other chances before then to further our knowledge of his work.
If you want to join us on our trip to Russia check out the Combat Lab facebook page where I will be positing details as I get them. Also if you want to buy DVDs from previous ROSS seminars in Glasgow or in the near future one from this seminar check out the ScotROSS site for more information.