No Class 2/17 — and some thoughts on the nature of our practice …

There will be no Systema class Monday 2/17. Best Martial Arts Institute will be closed for the holiday. As usual, I hope you use this opportunity to focus on developing the discipline of consistent, daily, self-driven practice. The training you do on your own the attention you give to this practice are just important (if not more important) as showing up for class.

Lately I’ve been reading Yoka Daishi’s 8th century verses on Realizing the Way with translation and commentary by Myokyo-ni — wonderful book! This morning I came across a passage in Myokyo-ni’s commentary that expresses something fundamental that I’m trying to teach through our Systema training:

There is a Japanese story of a great general, who was an ardent follower of Zen, and who used to take his Zen master with him on his campaigns. One day a magician visited the camp and asked, “What is the use of all this Zen Business? It’s nothing special. I can work real miracles, have got powers that could be useful to you. Look at that waterfall. I can go right through and not a drop of water will touch me!” And he did go through it, and came out bone dry. The general was impressed, and asked the Zen master to do this. The Zen master went through, and came out drenched. Accused of being a deceiver and of having no powers, the Zen master laughed and said, “So, he came out dry, but what is the use of that? You get wet from water and burnt by fire, and that is just how it is!” We may ask, “So why should I do a training like this? After all, I already know that I get wet from water and burnt by fire.” But the general was already well trained in Zen and took the lesson.

It is a question of clearing seeing what is, saying yes to it, and then either accepting it or finding a way around it that accords with the situation as far as possible. If a man comes rushing at you with a cudgel you try to duck out of the way, and do not stand still so that he can hit you over the head. This clear seeing and responding to the situation is what is at stake. That is what the real training is about, not fancy fireworks.

Thank you, Myokyo-ni, for these insightful words. I hope you’ll consider them, and I hope to see you next Monday 2/24, when our regular weekly class will resume.

Until then, peace and blessings to you all.


No Class on January 20th

Just as a reminder, Best Martial Arts Institute is closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. There is will be no Systema class this week, Monday, January 20th. Our normal weekly class will resume next week. As usual, in the off-week I encourage you to continue your own training with daily consistency. The regularity of daily training — daily massage work, movement work, breath work, et cetera — is what really makes for transformative change. Only you can make it happen. I look forward to seeing you next week for our weekly in-class training session.

Have a great holiday, and a wonderful week! :)


Winter Break

There will be no Monday night class for the next two weeks (Dec 16 & Dec 23) while I am away for travel. Our regular class will resume on Dec 30 for the last class of the new year. As always, during the break I encourage you to take this time to make training a part of your daily routine. Any practice comes to fruition through consistent work, and only you can make that happen. Hope you have a great holiday season. I look forward to seeing you at class on the 30th and in the new year.


No Class on Monday

Best Martial Arts Institute is closed on Monday, November 11th for Veterans Day. Accordingly, there will be no Systema class this week.

I hope you are having a good Veterans Day weekend. Our regular Monday evening class will resume on Monday, November 18th. Hope to see you then.

In the meantime, there’s no reason to stop training. Real progress is made when training every day. There is always time to work on breathing, alignment, relaxation, and movement. Keep at it, and I’ll see you soon! :)


No Class on Monday

Best Martial Art Institute will be closed on Monday for Labor Day, so there will be no Monday night Systema class this week. Our regular schedule of training will continue next week. In the meantime, as usual, I encourage you to continue training on your own. Ultimately, our ability to make training a part of our everyday habits can have a profound impact on the course of our practice. Looking forward to seeing you all next week.


No Class August 12th

I’ve had a busy travel schedule this summer and one more time, our regular class will be cancelled this Monday, August 12th. I will be back again next week and our normal weekly schedule will resume. This is my last trip for the summer so weekly class should meet regularly for the foreseeable future. As alway, I encourage you all to continue practicing on your own between classes. If you have questions, write them down and bring them in to our weekly training. Hope to see you all at class when I return.


No Class this Monday

Due to my travel schedule this summer there will be no Systema class this Monday, July 28th. Regular class will be held again on Monday, August 5th. I encourage everyone to continue training on their own every day. Even if you’ve only been to one class there is already more than enough for you to continue your practice.

Hope to see you all for more training when I return!