Alexander Maksimtsov Systema Seminar 11th November 2012
The 11th of November 2012 was the final day of the UK seminar series taught by Alexander Maksimtsov on Systema Kadochnikova and for one individual it was going to be a tough day. Unlike Systema taught by Michael Ryabko and Vladimir Vasiliev, Alexander’s Systema School has a series of levels of proficiency and a rigorous testing process. Now I know that for some the idea of there being so much in a Systema School is very alien, but this approach has a number of advantages to it such as maintenance of standards and ensuring that students do not miss a crucial piece of the puzzle at an early stage in their training.
For David Savoy he was going to spend three hours of the day being tested for his Systema instructor’s certificate. This process can only be done once a student passes his third level certification and it involves a panel of students and Alexander asking him to teach any subject on the three levels he had already passed during certification tests on his previous four trips to the Ukraine this year.
Alexander started the day with a refresher on the previous day’s material and this included using the pendulum and the foot work he had taught us to enable us to change directions without stopping the continual movement of the centre mass. This is a fundamental principle and when a weapon such as a stick or knife was added in became clear that the use of this footwork doubled the cadence of strikes with the weapon.
Soon it was David’s turn and Alexander handed the class over to him. Not only was his technical knowledge of Systema under the microscope, so was his ability to teach it to a very mixed audience. Everyone had prepared a number of topics they wanted teaching and David’s first question was about the trinity kick.
This has a lot of similarities with the trinity strike I have shown in a previous blog. The strike always starts with the foot, and then the leg rotates to allow a knee of the same leg. Ideally this will be of a slightly downwards angle because it maximises the acceleration of gravity. Next David taught us how the third kick of the trinity can be carried out in a number of ways using the foot and ideally it will triangle the ankle to damage it and take them to the floor.
David then had to field questions on defending the trinity strike with arms, correcting a student experiencing pain when performing the figure eight movement with his legs and a series of lessons on Systema low acrobatics, defence from weapons, Systema Structure Breaking including the side / side hypotenuse and administering first aid to an injured student or in a remote location.
Though it was David’s test we all learnt a lot of material from the experience. We got to ask any question we wanted and if Alexander was not satisfied with the way it was taught he pressed for further information on the topic until he was happy with what we had been taught.
After 3 hours of cross examination, physical Systema demonstrations and detail teaching practice our panel convened. We all gave David constructive feedback on his knowledge, teaching ability and any areas he should consider for future development. This was not a done deal and a number of small technical points were raised, but despite these small points he was passed as the 1st Systema Kadochnikova Instructor certified by Alexander Maksimtsov in Switzerland.
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