What exactly do we mean by ‘the new school’?
It’s inner work, something you cannot see with the eye. It’s not the shape of the body – its the reason, the process of how muscle works. To know it, to understand it… this is what we mean by the inner school.
So have these internal aspects always been a part of Systema?
Yes. Its always been one thing. For example there is Aikido in Japan. And it was split into two halves – and they exported it, but only one half of it. And so, there is something always missing in Aikido.
Does this idea of the ‘new school’ mean a departure from the original form of Systema?
No, Systema is not changing. Its about reaffirming the fundamentals.
For a lot of beginners, certainly for me, grasping some of these concepts can be very difficult. Is there a way that we can check ourselves to make sure we are doing the right thing?
You start with the visual, the exterior thing, and then you continue on to the internal work. This is how you start Systema. Everyone is the same. There is also a limited school in Russia, where they train only people from the Orthodox church – I don’t want to put aspects of religion in the training but there is this limited school. Everyone is of course free to choose their own religion – It’s not my aim to convert anyone.
But I understand that faith is a very important aspect of the way you practice?
Of course, it’s the most important one.
Can you tell me a bit about how faith has informed your practice?
This is a way of living. Its how I live with my beliefs – its always the same.
Do you feel that through training you have deepened your relationship with your beliefs?
No, the belief is something thats always there. Its constant. Its with you every day, and every day you know more and more – you have this aim in communication and in daily life.
In this seminar we’ve been talking a lot about making a connection with a partner. When you and Daniil work with a partner it seems that you can make this connection very fast – is it a conscious process? Do you try to scan or read the opponent?
Its just a feeling. Its instinctive.
How can we cultivate that kind of sensitivity?
First, you have to have a good attitude to people – you have to be a good person.