question about systema

i had the opportunity to watch the entire h2h tapes of vladimir. But i was wondering how I am supposed to learn from these videos. There is very little detail given because imho the translator doesn't do a very good job at all. Techniques are shown in almost a demonstrating manner. But my quesiton is this. Am i not even supposed to focus on the techniques at all? RMA seems to be all about the concepts and principles. What are the important points that I should keep an eye on when watching it. there alot of valuable things to pick up, it's just that I feel like i'm missing things.


This sounds more like a question for Vladimir since he's the one who created the videos. I would read in the Saved Threads the RMA Compare/Contrast thread, if I were you. It may help. Also, perhaps "Poobear" can answer your post.

Regarding RMA - I don't know the "formula" for training in Vladimir's system. In ROSS, the focus lies within ROSS Biomechanical Exercises. From the B.E., the trainer creates Static Drills, or "tricks," to demonstrate certain principles and concepts (in Russia, "tricks" is the term typically referring to "techniques" to denote that they are spontaneously created to meet circumstantial needs and then never replicated.) The athletes explore the "tricks" demonstrated, based upon the reference point of the B.E.

Then the trainer places the athletes into Fluid Drills ("Alive" drills that have specific boundaries based upon the parameters of the Static Drill presented), which are incrementally progressive eventually becoming Dynamic Drills (fully "Alive" drills without boundaries.) Dynamic Drills tend to have the Static Drill presented as a reference point, but really at this point it's more of incorporating the new understanding against fully resistant opponent(s).

In a video, one must demonstrate tricks in order to explain principles and/or concepts. ROSS videos depict tricks, but caution observers not to make dogmatic the tricks, and to only work on the formula of B.E., Static, Fluid and Dynamic Drills.

Many people use this ROSS formula (its graduation of Fluid to Dynamic drills, and its collection of Biomechanical Exercises) to reap the benefits of any tricks (Static Drills) from other forms of martial art they embrace, include those demonstrated Vladimir's System's tapes and training. (See the RMA Compare/Contrast thread in the Saved Threads archive.)

Contrarily, since ROSS is Static Drill "light" (not many tricks are demonstrated on videos, which focus upon ROSS Biomechanical Exercises, drills, principles, and concepts), many ROSS practitioners use study aids from other forms of martial art as resources, including Vladimir's System's videos and training. (This is one of the reasons that ROSS is not a "style" of martial art, but a SYSTEM of personal performance enhancement.)

The main goal in RMA is improvisational skill... the ability to create effective and proportional tricks which accomplish the necessary task, i.e. neutralizing an opponent. The above is how ROSS is unique in its educational orientation - the real value of the ROSS System.

Perhaps John/Poobear can shed light on Vladimir's form of presentation.

Caveat - not everyone likes the way I teach. I don't say it's the best way, just my way.



thanx for the response scott.

i'm hoping poobear would see this thread.

"Techniques are shown in almost a demonstrating manner. But my quesiton is this. Am i not even supposed to focus on the techniques at all?"

Yes and no. You should focus on why they work. That's why throughout h2h, he says 'for example' so much. So if you see him take a guy down, you should study the movement to see why the guy went down. The exact footwork or whatever doesn't matter - it's just an example.

Think of when you learned multiplication. The teacher would give you a few examples to work through - 3*5, 4*6, etc. It may be helpful to work throught a few examples, but the skill of multiplication isn't simply remembering a finite set of solutions. You should be able to multiply numbers you never multiplied before.

In a similar fashion, when viewing the tape, it may help you to work your way through the examples. Get a partner and try one. This isn't sparring, mind. You're working your way to understanding. Watch how Vlad moves, listen to him or the interpreter as much as possible. Once you think you have an idea why it works, try a variation. Try applying the same idea to different problems. The drills on the tape are important too, and build up core skills, but again, you don't have to replicate exactly what you see.
This process of analyzing the movement is a very important part of learning systema. Vlad believes the meal is better for you if you chew it yourself. It may seem overwhelming at first, but it is fundemental that you do it for yourself. Only then will your movements be free - for until then, you will be doomed to ask others 'What should I do?'.

What is permissible is help along the way. For that, I recommend attending seminars, going to his website at to see the closest affiliate, and talking to people on his web board. There have been people who have come a long way on tapes alone, but you will benefit much more with outside informed guidance or evaluation by someone who's physically there.

Once you have a good idea about why or how these movements work, the next step is get yourself in bad novel situations, and think of ways out. And sparring of course. You should spar from the beginninng, but attempt to match speed with your parner. You are aiming to make the smallest movements neccessary, rather than rely on being faster or stronger than your opponent. Instead, your tools are efficiency and sensitivity. Accept that you will be hit, but be sure to memorize how it happened. This may require going slowly at first. Strive for deep steady breathing, relaxation, and constant movement. Also smoothness of movement is important. And try to apply what you just learned, do not fall back on what you already know. not because what you know is invalid, but because you're trying to acquire a new skill. Eventually, what you know will resurface spontaneously, but feel more natural, less forced.

The hitting drill is also important. Learning to relax when being hit will save you.

As you progress in systema, it becomes simpler and simpler, but at the same time more subtle. Look at the tape a year later, and you will see things you never saw before.

Oh yes, always smile when sparring.