Why People Quit Systema

Why People Quit Systema

Merry Christmas, however you celebrate it.
This Tuesday will be our LAST CLASS OF 2009.  We re-open for class on Tuesday January 5th, 2010.

I’ve often thought of taping every class and having someone transcribe all the conversation, including the end circle, because there’s much wisdom to be shared there.
Here’s a recap of Thursday’s end circle:

Lately, our topic has been “up close and personal” knife work.  I’ve spent a lot of time showing students the best, hardest-to-defend ways to attack with a knife, not only to be able to use a knife, but so everyone’s defenses would be ready for these types of attacks.  Naturally this entails stabbing each other, which elicits some deep-seating emotions in students.

As nonchalant as we can be with knives–because we are used to training with them–to a new student the whole topic can be scary, threatening and repulsive.  It’s just not normal to stab people (that’s a good thing for society).  If you’re teaching the military or LEO’s then there is already an acceptance and appreciation for weapons work.  Psychologically, these types of students are mentally and emotionally prepared for this work more so than the civilian.

This isn’t a knife-fighting article, it’s just that working with knives often highlights one of the main reasons people quit Systema–being uncomfortable.

Teaching civilians Systema for over a decade, I’ve observed this phenomenon time and again.  I’ve written about it, I tell people about it in class and I warn people about it in a letter I send to prospective students.

So what makes people uncomfortable in Systema Class?

In the knife work example, a student who is uncomfortable with this work might just avoid it altogether. The “negative” emotions–fear, the heebie-jeebies–pop up and the easiest way to dispel them is not come to class.  No class, no bad feelings.  They quit.
This is the coward’s way out.  But it is all too common (normal).

The frustrating part of this dynamic for Systema teachers is that we know that facing discomfort and fear head-on and overcoming it is a MAJOR Benefit of Systema training. If there were one lesson I’d want students to take from class, it would be this.
Oddly enough, students who do stay come up to me and say things like, “(this kind of situation) freaks me out.  Can we work on this?” THAT’S COURAGE and Emotional Maturity.

Training Quick Tip

Take a few minutes and delve into what “freaks you out.”  Is it knives, sticks, whips, punches, being held down?  Capture it, write it down and lay it bare for you to see and put into a healthy perspective.  When you have the chance, come to class and consciously, purposefully, address it.  You will see your fear and discomfort disappear, often in one class.

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