Systema Christian roots? MA's effects on the soul?

Discussion in 'Other Styles' started by Filipmania, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. Filipmania

    Filipmania New Member

    First of all I wasn't sure should this go into General MA's, Religion or here but I guess this is mostly Systema specific so I put it into other styles...
    A couple of days back I noticed an older thread in the Religion sub-category
    Christian Based Martial Art

    In a nutshell this is what I was told Systema is when I was introduced to it by my Orthodox oriented ex Bujinkan Ninjutsu instructor, basically it is always depicted with Orthodox saints, etc. A little backstory into this:

    After training in Ninjutsu for 4 years my dojo suddenly disbanded as our head instructor returned from a trip and soon enough re-formed as a fitness and semi self-defense club, the later to my positive surprise as he seemed generally disappointed in martial arts and I thought he was going to go with advising us to cease training, my fellow members at the dojo weren't generally happy with how I thought there was some conspiracy behind this and I didn't discuss it as much as I wanted.
    I played along with this as the instructor is my good friend and I practically grew up with him, the fitness part of our dojo was always there but I wasn't happy with this for long and eventually found a dojo I could continue training and went on to bid farewell to my club but I instead got a reply urging me to choose a Systema dojo he found for me in which he personally checked out the classes.

    Since I wished to continue Ninjutsu I was disappointed and asked why, the reply was that if I was baptized the movements of Ninjutsu that all come from the Japanese spirituality were bad for the soul.
    This raised a big question as the implication was that if I wasn't baptized it was fine??, I was a Christian for sure but I always edged into salvation for everyone, I could hardly bear the thought that now just training a MA ruins your salvation(not like he was lying that every move is tied to some Japanese spiritual concept) and I was always a Japan weeb too.
    Ok Whatever, So I take a look at the linked club's site and find some referenced sites such as the official Serbian Systema site and find some articles on what it is(unfortunately the site's structure now changed and I'm not sure where the same articles would be) and it's roots etc, Idk was it just me or was there a lot more readily available info than on some more official sites like Vasiliev and Ryabkov.

    So, what makes Systema special?
    As my ex Ninjutsu trainer said It descends from what Christian monks used to defend themselves(contrary to the popular culture portrayed in the Vikings that the Christian monks were defenseless weirdos), wikipedia simply says "unverifiable" roots tho with no other explanation except reference links for what is written otherwise.
    It is a fact that some instructors like Ryabkov openly tie it with Orthodoxy and or Christianity generally
    So I go to the club, get practically beaten up, no regrets for 2 years and counting but one of the first things I learned was that Systema is an umbrella term where if you follow it's principles almost anything goes as Systema, of course the rather different styles all look like Systema either way because of the common ground.
    Bringing up the question of.. ok if anything through it's principles goes why was Ninjutsu bad if I could just use it within Systema

    Really interesting story of how I got into the club's Systema(and Aikido, somewhat ironically)
    It's practically safe to say that some wacko tripped my former trainer(he wants to join us at Systema tho) but not all of this is just nonsense, there's some reasoning in it...
    Thoughts? Experience?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2019
  2. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    IronMaiden1991 likes this.
  3. Filipmania

    Filipmania New Member

    Hell if I know, it surely comes from Slavic people tho
  4. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Mod note: Filipmania- please remember that profanity is not allowed on MAP. It is a family friendly site. Thanks!
  5. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    I personally have an intense dislike for people using any martial art to push their religion. Especially when used to put down another religion and culture as inferior. Saying another martial art is bad for the soul is profoundly disrespectful of another culture and religion.

    A martial art should stand or fall on it's own merits. If you have to mix in religion to keep practitioners, it suggests something is very wrong with that martial art/ school.

    Not knocking what you do, if it makes you happy, cool. :cool: But since you asked, that is my opinion.

    My school plays down the religious trappings so that people of all beliefs feel comfortable there. So, instead of the traditional altar to the ancestors, ours is modified to pictures, but not a shrine or altar. When we bow to our past masters, it is just out of respect for those that gave us our art - to respect our history, but the religious trappings are taken out of the picture.

    Saying one has to not study a particular art duo to its negative effects on the soul is frankly, terrible and would make me run far far away from the person who said that. It is a cultist mentality.
  6. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    I'm by no means a biblical scholar, and there are some pretty odd stipulations in the Old Testament, but I cannot think of anything that might imply that doing ninjutsu would be "bad for your soul."
    David Harrison likes this.
  7. Filipmania

    Filipmania New Member

    Aight acknowledged the rules but I wasn't using any hard words, didn't know.

    There's always a bit of disrespect if serious about religion(or spirituality in general), surely none says anything out loud but everyone thinks the other is in the wrong, i.e "you'd be happier if you knew what I knew", everyone wants to think they're in the right, agree to disagree statements are just silent swears tho.
    The Ninjutsu instructor was a 6th dan black belt, I believed him when he said it was hard on him too since it's hard to throw out what you've been teaching for a long time, I really don't know where did he get convinced in this
    To this day I'm not exactly sure was it fine for e.g shinto's or whatnot but he seems to have let it go since he didn't say anything about the club's Aikido
    But really it's what it is.. you either agree with it or think it's nuts but some practices do have spiritual implications, I remember my Ninjutsu crew coming in our gym when it was pitch black and accidentally waking in on some Yoga ppl, they proceeded to tell us about how they were "flying", I can hardly shake it off

    I get you're not directly implying Systema is bad, and we're really not nearly all like this and I did say for this reason that Systema takes from various other MA's so there is no ban on MA's originating from wherever etc(altho I do know of a peculiar extremist group in another town that offers free training implying you're Christian and that you'd pray right before training, they kicked out a dude who claimed was a pagan).
    My dojo has Christian celebrations every now and then but none has ever said anything to anyone who wasn't a Christian(even me at a time), it's just that it personally makes me think I brought together 2 things that I love and that it's a benefit for my journey and I don't think a MA is bad even if it's not promoting the one true faith xD, just body movement handled differently.
    What I wanted to put in this thread is mostly connections between Christian values and Systema, the Calmness and non lethal harming of the Opponent might as well be.
    What's your MA(Choy li fut or tai chi?) traditionally tied to since you mentioned not having shrines whereas you might expect to have some?

    I always considered it fanatical if people would believe in things like "the bible forbids you to use a fridge", any case it's not so much that these rules probably meant something less modern as it is that the old testament rules are considered completed and there only for reference since Christian doctrine says Christ established a new covenant with humankind.
  8. Alansmurf

    Alansmurf Aspire to Inspire before you Expire Supporter

    Train in whatever makes you happy
    Religion politics and outside pressures ...leave them at the door of the dojo..
    Train and be happy
  9. Old bloke

    Old bloke Active Member

    In the case of Mikhail Ryabko, he has trained in Systema since he was 5 years old, his family are Orthodox, Systema and his religion to him is all his personal beliefs, I have been to several of his seminars, he does not preach, he does however use some religious context in the form of proverbs, or old sayings, to try to make a connection as he understands it, to what he is teaching. To him it is all linked.
    David Harrison likes this.
  10. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Yeah, I don't know any Christians that worry about mixing types of cloth, eating bacon or having tattoos.

    There is a smattering of Shinto ritual in some Bujinkan stuff though, isn't there? Pretty sure Yahweh doesn't like that type of thing...
  11. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    They my be what he says, but there's no proof of their "systema" existing prior to him and vlad. There's a few competing "systemas" and they're all quite different, so it's more likily it's a recent invention built upon something older.
  12. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    I believe there are some aspects of Shinto as you say, but I don't think they are reflected in how you move whilst training.
  13. Alansmurf

    Alansmurf Aspire to Inspire before you Expire Supporter

    I hit you with a catholic roundhouse and you reply with an anglican snap kick ..:)

    Really its all about body mechanics, power, speed, smooth transitions and throws...
    axelb likes this.
  14. Old bloke

    Old bloke Active Member

    Systema is an evolution or earlier russian arts, but it's methodology is different (notice I said different not better), in Other MA you are moulded into something you are not, which is a good thing, in Systema you mould the principles around you.
  15. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Which systema are you talking about?

    There's been quite a few, and I don't think Vlad's was the first?
  16. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    John_de_Lancie_casual.jpg Re the OP, YMMV but all religions are nonsense, so I wouldn't worry about it.

    At the end of the day, when you die, and IF you meet your maker/Q if there more concerned about shinto arm movements then they are the good you have spread in the world then they very much don't deserve your worship.
  17. Old bloke

    Old bloke Active Member

    I don, t think Ryabko Systema was the 1st, my instructor is a direct branch from Vladimir vasiliev, and how it has been told to me is Mikhail Ryabko was taught his art from his father, and training started when he was 5, he was Russian military, and still holds the rank of colonel, Vlad helped Mikhail to form a training syllabus, using his previous MA experience.
  18. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter

    That's lunacy. 1) Eastern Orthodox monks don't have time to study martial arts. Their schedule is too full. 2) Trying to strengthen the body and trying to physically defend themselves is utterly incompatible and contrary to their spiritual path.
    Mitch and Dead_pool like this.
  19. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Google has mikhail as born on 6 May 1961 (age 57 years)

    Whereas Alexey Kadochnikov was an adult when he left the army in 1962. And devised systema himself.
    Aleksey Kadochnikov - Combat Lab - Russian Martial Arts North West

    Mikhail always demonstrates such terrible material, at least vlad looks like he used to be able to fight.
  20. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Considering the Vikings over-ran Britain so effectively it became divided and north of the divide was known as the danelaw I'll learn what martial art they did.
    Dead_pool likes this.

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