There is one integral component of Systema methodology that has lost a lot of meaning over time, but is making a furious come back as it has tremendous merits for the warrior’s path: In these times of extreme sedentarism, technological reliance and screen addictions, nature-based interaction is more vital than ever.
From a curriculum perspective, when we look at the survival chart of Systema, there are a lot of specific skill sets to build on relating to nature. However, first and foremost at the foundational level, through various approaches, Systema teaches internal calm and stillness, which in turn gives you the ability to survive in any situation. As that ability grows, we add new skills…. The art of surviving- beckons far more than knowing how to kick or punch. From orienteering and map reading, to shelter building, tracking, trapping, knowing your poisonous and medicinal plants, using a rifle and skinning a deer, survival takes many shapes. And this “interaction” with nature is foundational. Just as it is, of course, good to know how to apply and escape from restraints, disappear in a crowd, apply a tourniquet and read body language.
To reiterate, none of these skills stand alone: from a Systema perspective, alone, they are arguably irrelevant. The art of surviving, first and foremost, is an internal element. If you don’t have your internal elements well dialed in, knowing how to build a fire in the rain is useless.
With so much of the martial culture having becoming store-front business set ups, integrating nature interaction in your practice on a regular basis may be hard to come by. Roots Dojo, forces nature into focus: on a remote small island, in the middle of the forest- we have rustic indoor and outdoor training grounds that don’t just simulate nature. To add to that, having a place such as Roots to retreat, unplug, and focus on training without new-world distractions, will add to the grounding nature of our training.
From a philosophical perspective, the contemplation is always present: Are we a part of nature or not? The common perspective is that nature needs to be conquered. Roots perspective is rather, that the individual needs to conquer themselves so that they are free to go roam in nature…and furthermore, only those foreign to nature would call it “wilderness”.
Don’t bother coming to Roots just to learn how to build a shelter or start a fire. What we teach goes far beyond individual skills. We strive to balance what it means to be a Warrior and a fighter, and all the abilities comes with that terrain to be able to survive.