The International Combat Systema Association


Tuesday June 27-Friday June 30, 2017

*Space is extremely limited!  Come and experience the ICSA's world famous Summer Camp in beautiful Montreal. You will receive unmatched instruction, clarity and innovation, challenge your limits and grow your existing skill set while enjoying one of the most beautiful cities in the world at the peak of festival season. No previous experience is necessary.

Russian Systema suffers from so many misconceptions. This is due to a host of factors, including the newness of the art, a lack of quality English language material, inconsistency in epistemology and a penchant for the mystical and nonsensical in many approaches. So, this year, I’ve decided to make the theme of the camp:

Functionalizing Systema

The focus of this camp will be to clearly distinguish the unique  advantages of Russian systema as a pragmatic, modern, self defense approach. We will be looking at the most dominant problem areas:


martial arts employ a variety of soft, slow sparring

drills. This  “soft work” is intended to allow students

the time to identify existing reflexes and to gradually

improve their responses. Often termed “natural

movement”, naturalness does not simply refer to you

doing whatever you want to.  Rather it refers to the

execution of biomechanically efficient movement

which operates according to the optimal function of

the body. This begins with awareness. Next, it must

include high, mindful, intentional repetitions to hone

automatic, procedural skill. Finally, it must include

stress inoculation so that students increasingly replace

fear with familiarity, better learn to identify the symptoms of the onset of fear responses and how to manage it, and finally, become versed at recovering from panic

The cultivation of this awareness must be done carefully. Too often, the cultivation of the attribute is mistaken for the combative application and the result is time wasted performing impossible defenses to ultra slow, unrealistic,  zombie like attacks, which pollute the internet with embarrassing representations of the true system and give honest and sincere students a false sense of security. So, day one will highlight the most essential biomechanical drills in Systema, define clear slow work parameters, but continuously push the practitioner towards the harder end of the spectrum.


Day 2 will highlight the powerful striking of Russian

Systema. Even systema’s harshest critics who have

experienced it’s hitting first hand are surprised by its

power. The key is biomechanical efficiency and the

erosion of needless antagonistic contraction.  Based

on the 1000 year old tradition of Slavic boxing,

emphasis is placed on elliptical, figure-8 striking flows

that pass seamlessly from one target to another, and

address multiple opponents in all directions. Critics of

the approach often cite their belief that Slavic striking,

although powerful, is too obvious and leaves the subject open to easy counter hits. In day 2, practitioners will learn how to dispel these concerns through a forge of essential striking drills designed to protect and shield the practitioner while delivering fast, subtle and devastating hits to their opponents. You will learn how to maximize wave power but then compress in down into its intended battlefield form.


Day 3 will focus on the Russian approach to knife

defense. Based on the idea of body intelligence,

many drills are intended to deeply integrate the role

of yielding and deflecting. Too often however, this

work erodes into highly compliant, delusional body

absorption and suicidal disarms that would never be

possible under stress and against a resistant

opponent. In the third day, students will learn how to

separate the value of the essential drills and dispel

the bunk, following the work through a natural

progression from soft to fully resistant scenario


Russian Systema is based on sound biomechanics.

A key part of maximizing performance is the use

of effective breath work. Breath allows us to control

our fear and maximize our performance. Too often

however, it is allocated near mystical qualities. In

some contexts, it is used to induce hyper-ventilation,

hyper-compliance and feeble emotional states to

make students more susceptible to irresponsible

manipulation by their instructors. In day 4, we will lay

it all on the line—the pragmatic and provable to the

hokey and magical. We will show you the simple steps

to supercharge your breathing and also the dangers of over indulging this work. We will explore susceptibility, psychic energy, and servility and show you how to safe guard yourself from these pitfalls, to be an independent, critical thinking, assertive and self-contained practitioner free of superstition and delusion and to understand the reality and the limits of tactical breathing.

This time around we are running the camp entirely on weekdays. Quebec has a provincial holiday (the celebration of John the Baptist) on June 24th and we have a national celebration (Canada Day) on July 1, so both weekends will be quiet for travel in and out and if you would like to come early or stay a bit later, you get some great touristic opportunities. You do want to book your hotels early however to get the best possible rate.

This camp is a perfect introduction for the novice. If you have never trained before or are experienced in another style, this is the camp for you. There could be no more customized introduction to the world of Systema. This will lay out your foundation and give you the tools to integrate what works for you.

If you are an existing practitioner, this camp will guide you to a higher level of understanding and personal interpretation. You are the best expert on yourself. Pay yourself the respect of training in a manner that is open and that nurtures unique growth rather than trying to jam you into a cookie-cutter mold.

If you are an instructor, this camp will give you new arguments and approaches to better position your club. It will show you how to speak a more open language about your system and make you more solid were you need to be.

As with all camps, you are welcome to come early or stay a little longer to get in extra training at the club. If you have absolutely any questions, drop me a line at

I hope to see you there.

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