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Systema Homoludens and Combat Lab Camp 2018



Systema Libre is a unique martial arts group on facebook that promotes studying the body and martial arts through the lens of the Russian Martial Arts. Since we first met on a Systema Maksimtsov seminar in the Ukraine, the founder Claire Petr has organised regular seminars in Combat Lab and other methodologies developed from studying the Russian style. Last week however she hosted her most ambitious event when Systema Homoluden founder Alex Kostic and myself were asked to teach together at a camp near Saint Orse in the Dordogne, France.


Never before have I had the chance to teach alongside an instructor of Alex’s experience despite being good friends for nearly 20 years. Instead of teaching our own syllabuses separate from each other’s classes we chose to follow each other using the previous class as the starting point for the next topic of the day.


The students and instructors all lived in a farm house and converted barn isolated from the nearest habitation by 1 1/2 kilometres of beautiful countryside. Everyone trained, ate and socialised taking large breaks and dining on fantastic food prepared fresh for every meal. This all gave the seminar an unexpected feeling of being a retreat where the very essence of being a martial community could be enjoyed to the fullest.





Biomechanics, soft work, low acrobatics and training methods that are unconventional within the Western Systema scene were combined over 5 days to bring students on a journey of self discovery and exploration of practical applications for the martial arts they had been drawing on.






In my own classes I heavily drew on the principles I was taught from the Kadochnikov Systema school by Alexander Maksimtsov, the methods of IZVOR along with over 12 years studying the Vasiliev and Ryabko Systema style with its founders. This all combined with my practical experiences and drills to bring students to full speed work that many could only dream of before.


Alex Kostic also combined many different influences. Having spent a long time teaching at the Systema HQ in Toronto as well as exploring a number of Russian schools most notably a traditional fist fighting school from St Petersburg called Skobar. Alex was able to combine these schools, his own research and topics such as psychology and philosophy to guide students in a unique exploration of their own body experience and how martial arts can bring a deep insight into the human condition. 





The final drills of of instructors deeply challenged everyone. Alex used the Skobar idea of fist fighting in a circle against multiple opponents as a culmination for his presentation and I took students through a drill we use where students have to react to full speed and close range attacks similar to what we see happening in attacks on the street.


It has to be said that the feedback was incredible from the students and we intend doing something similar again in the future. Plans are already being worked out for future seminars with us both in France and there might be the opportunity for other camps in different locations if there is the interest.





To learn much more about studying Systema and our training approach  that develops realistic skills using the Russian style please read our articles and educational material in the Combat Lab Shop