Chicago Seminar Recap

Chicago Seminar Recap

Whew! I just returned from teaching a whirlwind weekend martial arts seminar in Chicago with long-time friends, mentors and fellow instructors Martin Wheeler and Al McLuckie. We taught a large group of Cops, Joliet Prison Guards, MMA Fighters as well as the Civilian Self-Defense Students.

The venue was Too Cool. The workshops were held at a place called Showtime, a nightclub that also holds Fight Nights. The lighting was DIM and was actually much better than fighting with all the lights on. It made it that much harder to notice weapon work. (I need Dimmer Switches at our school).

Here are just a few highlights:

I started the weekend off with an eye toward teaching Systema Principles that the students would then apply to everything they would do for the rest of the weekend. I taught “Structure and De-Structure”(yeah, I know it’s not a word) and working in teams to take people down. All from movement.

Al fed off that to working some crazy knife-use. The nightclub people almost kicked us out because Al started using the benches and walls for some confined space work. THAT was funny! Al also worked how to effectively use distractions to set up knife attacks and counter-attacks.

Al warned students to “attack realistically with knives” so I took that idea and went on to teach how to deal with a knife attack as the attacker uses Both hands, not just a solitary knife thrust. Mainly, I showed how to avoid the knife and work against the other arm to control the attacker. Al then finished the day with some striking work.

Martin took over on Sunday, again teaching knife defense in ways that few others can. He stressed moving and using your limbs as you move, instead of first as most people are inclined to, keeping your tension down while using the attacker’s tension, how to deal with your tension as it rises in your body, among other things.

He ended the day with some Superlative ground fighting demonstrations against both one and multiple attackers–bridging “traditional grappling” to Systema. Just brilliant work!

One student, in the end circle, commented that of the 4 Main Principles (breathe, relax, form and movement) the whole weekend was about MOVEMENT. Good observation.

Paul Trout said it would be cool to see Martin, Al and me all teach the same topic to see our unique perspectives, how it all looks different but is really the same. Well Paul, we did it, it was enlightening for me too…and…you missed it.

It’s too soon for video, but keep your eyes open, I’ll post some highlights soon–mostly of Martin probably because I was manning the camera during his sessions. Who knows what other footage came out…until I sort through it.

Jeff Waldrom, host and owner of Academy of Self-Defense on the South Side, somehow squeezed in a night of MMA fights on Saturday. The ASD Team went a Stellar 4 wins, 0 loses, including Winning the Women’s Title Fight. If you are anywhere near Chicago at least Stop By Jeff’s School. They have a great group of students and teachers there. I highly recommend them.

Thanks guys for putting it all together. See you in April for Part 2.

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