I am too old. I am a woman. I have an injury. Good Reasons for Training Systema.

by Bratzo Barrena
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A few days ago, after class, a man who was watching the training session (around 35 years old), came to me and told me he had always been interested in martial arts and that Russian Systema was very appealing, BUT (yes, there’s always a “but”) he had a back injury and couldn’t train.This is very common. Many people tell me they would like to train self-defense, but they are too old… but they are a woman… but the knee hurts… but they are out of shape… but… but… but… They always have a ‘but’ to justify why they don’t train, instead of having that ‘but’ as a reason for training.They have a very wrong idea about what self-defense is. They think that to train self-defense, one has to be young and athletic, that one has to be in perfect physical condition, but that’s a mistake. The question is, why do they have such a wrong idea? Simply put, they base their idea on combat sports.

They see that combat sports are dominated by young athletes in their best physical condition, and they come to the (wrong) conclusion that these are indispensable qualifications for fighting. While being a professional fighter is not the same as training for self-defense.

Being a professional athlete requires many hours of training, a lot of money and dedication. Basically, one must devote their life to the sport. But not all of us have the time, money or the interest in becoming a professional athlete.

Yes, to be a professional fighter one must be in the best physical state, but for a regular person, who wants to be able to defend themselves and their loved ones, that’s not necessary.

The first thing to understand is that self-defense is not a right exclusive for young and strong people; it’s everyone’s right. No matter your age, gender or physical condition, you have the right to defend yourself. Yet having that right doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to do it.

Secondly, even professional athletes are not always in their best shape. They get older, get injured, retired. There will always be someone younger and stronger. That´s just life.

Thirdly, who, do you think, has more chances of being attacked? A big, young, strong, fighter-looking guy or a thin, nerdy-looking teen… or a paunchy fiftyish man… or a woman? Most likely, the attacker will avoid the young, fighter-looking guy and choose weaker-looking victim.

Being an older person, being a woman, being skinny or having an injury are no reasons to not defend yourself, very much on the contrary, those are the reasons to learn to defend yourself in a more efficient way. Remember, you are an “easier” victim for an attacker.

In Russian Systema you will train self-defense. You will learn that you age, gender or injuries are not limitations; they are just conditions with which you must learn to live, and that your body has a huge potential to defend itself, in spite of these qualities.

Systema training goal is to develop each person’s natural abilities, make them recognize their strengths and understand their weaknesses. A good Systema instructor helps the students develop, in a natural and spontaneous way, the movements that best adjust to their physical characteristics, their mental state, and psyche… to know themselves.

I’m too old, I’m a woman, I only have one arm…, these are not reasons to not learning self-defense. Better ask yourself, in my condition, how can I use my body to defend myself in the most efficient way possible? Russian Systema will help you find the answer.

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