I was very skeptical initially and began training looking only to improve my general conditioning. I figured at most, I would learn a few basic self defense techniques and my overall fitness would improve. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Two years later and Systema has become a way of life for me. This fascinating combat system has not only given me the tools and confidence to deal with the most serious of situations that may present themselves, but the fundamentals I have learnt have filtered into the rest of my life. I am more relaxed, less stressed and generally a calmer and happier person all round. Training will challenge you both physically and mentally, but with the help and guidance (and incredible patience) of Vadim and his senior Instructors you will be able to push the limits of your capabilities further than you thought possible. Thanks Vadim,. Jonty and Chris, look forward to seeing you in training.
Mike Gunny (33) Production Manager - JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

The trip to Johannesburg to train with you and your students and attend the seminar with Konstantin Komarov was an important experience for us. It was the first time we had a chance to train with instructors of Systema and the training as well as the school was everything we hoped it would be. Many important things about Systema and about ourselves were made clearer to us in the short time we spent there. We would like to say thank you for all of your time, energy and patience, and also to the students for all the helpful suggestions and encouragement. Once again, our heartfelt thanks for an enlightening and inspiring time, and best wishes to all.
Shaun Karssen (28), Julian Karssen (26), William Christian (26) - CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

One of the advantages of having the Systema study group is that since there is no one calling himself "Sensei", there is a much better response to your visit. The reason for this is that everyone in the group feels a responsibility to maintain the quality of training, and the level of constructive criticism is very high. We are very much in agreement with Sergey Ojereliev’s comment that your school embodies the similar qualities of the Systema HQ schools in Toronto and Moscow, and it's a great fortune for all of us, training in South Africa. Thank you.
Shaun Karssen (28) - CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

It’s hard for me. It’s as if that strike to my belly woke me up from a deep sleep I was having with my Self. Vadim’s strike went so deep it dislodged a whole heap of grief that was stuck. As I looked into his eyes, I could see my fathers bright clear blue one's, and caught a myriad of memories and feelings. I wanted to voice out loud that I was so sad that I could not protect him, but I did not want to disrupt the lesson for every one else. I didn't feel that I had failed! It was more the deep sense of sadness that life's events made it impossible. The next blow to my torso, I could feel every attack that had come against me in the last 18 months. But the third blow awakened a part of me that I no longer could feel. It had become hidden, even from me. It was euphoric! The fourth strike helped me regain my sense of self-worth; that condition of self trust that lets you know how far you should step into the lions den. My mind was at peace, my breathing relaxed...but something deep inside was clearly happening. Was it possible that this Art esteems the virtues of kindness and goodwill? I had great peace standing with you all, knowing that it was not a competition, but rather, it was a great moment in our lives...and each one was allowed to experience it for himself.

Systema provides me with an exciting way to exercise and stay in shape and is a training method through which I am encouraged to develop my own style and mental/physical capabilities. From breathing to relaxation to movement, training with weapons or empty handed, Systema allows me to move and train in a way that fits my body. It is a very individual art, not one that focuses on having everyone move in exactly the same way. It is highly creative and quickly brings one face to face with one’s limitations and ways to overcome them . Systema enables me to train in a way that is seamless with the way I wish to live as a human and is a perfect balance of effective self-defence, health, fitness, personal development and fun. The International guests that Vadim so frequently brings to the country are some of the top Masters and Instructors of Systema in the world and to benefit from their battle tested experience is truly a privilege.
Arno Geldenhuys (31) Financial Manager - CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

About Systema what can there be said? I truly believe that there is no better way to go. Even if you are a "competitive fighter", there is so much to be learned from Systema. The only thing you need to do is give it an honest chance. I could keep on writing and writing about how profound the system is, and yet so simple and elegant in its principles. Of course you know this, but it is very hard to explain in words, let alone a few.

My first exposure to Systema
No internet search or book can describe the impact Systema has had on all aspects of my mental and physical existence. At the end of the first session I learnt how much I appreciate air, at the end of the second session, I learnt how precious water can be. In the third session I learnt how important efficiency and economy of motion is. I used to smoke 5-6 cigarettes a day, but have not touched the stuff since last week- an achievement I am empowered by. I am still assimilating all my experiences, some of the thoughts that continue to amaze me include:
  1. How much more effective I can be by simply breathing and moving properly
  2. The power within relaxation
  3. The awesome ability that a Systema master/instructor has
  4. The uncomplicated and effective methods of practice
  5. The combat effectiveness of this martial art
Somewhere within the gasping and grunting I caught a glimpse of the unseen energy manifest in the motion, balance and power. The System. I want to learn it. Thank you for the opportunity.
Teshufin Naidoo, 29, Anaesthetist. Durban

I started training with Vadim in January '08 after reading about the CQCIA on the internet. I started by travelling from Durban to JHB weekly to train in Systema. Believing I was fit and able to subject myself to intense physical demands did not fully prepare me for the intensity of the Systema classes. Muscles that I didn't know existed were exhausted and were stiff for a day or two after. I saw exercises that I've never seen anywhere before. I was in awe of the effortlessness and ease with which Vadim was able to demonstrate disarming, dismantling and defense against 1, 2, 3 and even more attackers. I previously wondered what did it mean to have 'no techniques, no predetermined stances' etc? How could this be effective as a martial art? It runs contrary to every popular notion that we hold dear for the martial arts (in terms of Kata's, techniques, predetermined moves)?

What you do see when you train with Vadim and his students is a group of unassuming, humble people. There are no inflated ego's, no unnecessary competition or air of intimidation. At the school it is a brethren who are eager to help one another progress. By not limiting themselves to predetermined moves, you can get a glimpse of a free warrior. One who is completely in control of his attackers, in an effortless yet powerful manner. The more we train, the more we learn what we are capable of, and the barriers of what we once thought uncomfortable or impossible are slowly knocked down. For me, training in Systema feels like coming home. It just all makes sense. Nothing unnecessary, nothing superfluous, pure efficiency. Do yourself a favour and try it for yourself. You might also find what you didn't know you were looking for.
Sahil Singh 30, Businessman, Durban

Shortly after arriving at my 2nd camp at Camel Roc, I found myself, as I did the 1st time, questioning why on earth I was here again. Why would I put myself through the discomfort, pain, hunger, thirst and grueling routines all over again…? The reason is 3 fold for me. Firstly, the survival and Systema aspect. Nowhere else am I able to get such expert tutelage from an instructor so knowledgeable on the subject, and so willing to share his knowledge. I feel my knowledge and skill of Systema has increased substantially as a result of the 3 camps I have attended with Vadim. I also understand that this is a never ending road and that I have infinitely more to learn and practice. The second reason I chose to attend the camp is a more internal one for me. Never in life have I considered so many times to give up, than whilst doing the grueling drills and routines that I’ve been accustomed to on camp. And yet each time, something in me and through the support of everyone around, I manage somehow to persevere and complete whatever task we have to accomplish. To the best of my abilities. This perseverance assists me a great deal when returning to real life outside of the camp. I have new benchmarks, mentally and physically for what I can achieve as a result of what we do on camp. The last reason is always the same. I always leave having a new appreciation for the things I have been blessed with in life. When in camp and in limited supply of food, water, sleep and other ”luxuries”, I find that my gratitude for everything in life is all that more heightened. Remembering this as often as possible is a great thing to me. Thank you Vadim for the expert training in Systema and survival, as well as giving me a whole host of other invaluable life lessons.
Ravi Reddy (30) - DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA

I am probably Vadim's longest distance student. I live in the UK and work from time to time in South Africa. Whenever I come to South Africa I make sure that I take the opportunity to visit Vadim's training classes. The classes seem to have the right balance between fun and serious training which creates a great atmosphere for learning. Vadim and his students are all friendly and approachable, no signs of a 'cliquey' atmospehere here. In Vadim I find a teacher who walks his talk, both in the martial sense and as a person. He is quiet, unassuming engaging and dynamic in his application of Systema. Finally, I would add that if you want to find a good teacher, the best thing is to look at their students. Vadim's students are a real testament to the physical, technical and spiritual ethos that Vadim teaches. Thanks to Vadim and all at the club and I look forward to my next visit.
Matt Hill

I came from USA to study at Vadim's school for a month. I'd already visited Systema schools in America and Siberia, but nothing prepared me for Vadim's classes! If you're looking for the skills you need to survive worst case situations, this is a great place to start. It's no cake walk - your strength and mental duress will be pushed to the limits. But Vadim will be there for you every step of the way. And so will his students. If you're looking for first class people with top notch experience and skills, you've found them. What are you waiting for? Experience it for yourself!
Zach, 27, Software Architect.

I trained Kung-Fu for 3 years and started getting a bit disillusioned with training. Went to go watch a Systema Class and kicked myself for a whole month for not going sooner. I still have vivid memories of that first class I watched and the first class I participated in. Systema has really taught me a lot about myself, not only in conflict situations but in my everyday life too. I would like to say a big thank you to Vadim and all my classmates with whom I train.
Dylan Young, 31, Casting Director.

Ever since I joined Vadim I have become like a child again! I just have to absorb the magnitude of information that he has available. I just want to get on the mat and "play", it does not matter what topic, knife, gun whatever! This system is just brilliant and it still have a exhaustive amount of information which I am sure he has'nt even touch yet! Being in the military I immediately saw the applicability in this venue. Ever since we have been trying to open the "authorities" eyes not to try and re-invent the wheel so to speak. Our military is years behind in this regard and they only now again starting to look for possiblities. I sincerely hope that Vadim and Systema will be there to fill this gap! Systema touched my heart and it makes my whole being vibrating with energy and my whole nervous system just tingle with delight when I am able to sort of 'replica' the effect that I saw the senior guys and Vadim do. To be honest Systema prevent me from becoming a hijacked victim. I was able to remain calm until the opportunity was presentred and I acted so swiftly and decisively that even I WAS SURPRISED. That is the Power of SYSTEMA! I have made some briliantÿchoices in my life and this is surely the best one! Long Live SYSTEMA in SA!
Colonel DJORGE MALOY, 46, Senior Staff Officer - South African Reserve Force Military Practitioner.

I've been a Driving Instructor for the last decade. I've had my fair share of bumper bashings, normally being rear ended. This is caused when students make unnecessary stops, like at yield signs. Most of these incidents are minor. One such incident however is etched in my memory forever. My student and I were approaching a yield sign and we were clear to go. At the last moment my student was forced to stop for a motorist that turned in unexpectedly. Unfortunately the motorist behind us wasn't equally aware, which resulted in her smacking mightily into the back of us! On impact my body reacted like in a break fall. I only realised the seriousness of the accident when I saw my student struggling to breathe with his upper body in spasm. I calmed him down as best I could, got him breathing properly and thought better of the notion to ask him if he was acting that way to get a better 3rd party insurance claim. Then I tended to the other motorist, who had a hard time dealing with the trauma, as well. The point of course is that I might not have been able to properly deal with the situation if my body had not been conditioned through SYSTEMA training.
Egbert Knol, 42, Driving instructor.

I've been training with Vadin Dobrin for a year at the Systema School in JHB for roughly a year now. I have come from a professional rugby background and studied psychology as a major, a university degree. After spending time training with this unique Russian art my body has learnt to adapt to change and heal whereas sports seem to break it down. It has taken my mind to places that it has never been on a sports field. Through the Russian martial arts system I'm only now learning to connect mind and body. Systema gives you the ability to train the nervous system to act in situations where it uses the mind and body on a subconscious level. Through this I have been able to deal with physical and mental stress that life presents. I'm only touching the surface but it has allowed me to view life through a holistic and philosophical state of mind. The system allows you to handle telling situations with a relaxed calmness and a deeper strength. As a martial art the physical aspect covers a direct form of body movement that gives you the ability to counteract all threatening physical encounters. On a mental level it gives you the strength to dissolve all situations where control is maintained and one's inner strength is utilized. After partaking in group classes, private lessons and outings it has allowed me to grow as a person and teach me humility, respect, loyalty and honour. Everything that this system provides is a positive attribute in your life.
Tim O'Shea, 27, Professional sports trainer.

Systema has opened my perception on how I used to view other martial arts. I think in our current day and age the knowledge and ease of mind that systema can offer you is essential. The training methods truly prepare you for the chaos and unpredictability that true combat will demand from you. You also learn that you are capable of a lot more than what you might have thought. Learning how to take strikes and coping with it might be one of the most important lessons you can learn for defending yourself, which is just scratching the surface of a complete system which had been intensly researched by many experts for many years. The instructor also has an immense knowledge of martial arts and truely gives expert advice and is open to questions and will gladly help. The class atmosphere is also very inspiring and all are willing to help. I feel energized after each lesson, which is quite funny since i loss about 2 kg of sweat in a lesson. Systema changed the way i life and percieve life. So for the best close quater fighting system in the world presented by an expert instructor who have starting teaching hand to hand combat to his peers when he was sixteen, in a friendly and helping enviroment by the rest of the class members, join the systema school.
Thornton Abbot, 24, Programmer.

What has struck me the most over my two years of training is the psychological aspect of Systema. It teaches humility, honesty and the overcoming of fear and self-pity amongst other things. We are often taught that the more aggressive and competitive you are the more likely you are to succeed in a fight and in life as well. This approach is a product of a fear of failing. The long term effects are detrimental to the mind and the body. Systema discourages this way of thinking which is very refreshing.
Jonathan Cohen, 24, Accountant.

Prior to getting involved with Systema I exercised regularly at the gym about five days a week and also took part in an athletics training program, so I thought my body was in pretty good working order yet it didn't take long after starting Systema to realise I was very wrong. As early as the first few weeks, I started to think about things with regards to my body in a entirely different light and this evaluative process has continued leading me to completely redefine the way I think about my body with specific reference to that of breathing, mobility, strength and sensitivity. I have never felt so comfortable and free in myself (if I can put it that way). The training has extended itself into my everyday activities and has been a completely mind blowing experience I can't wait to further explore the possibilities that Systema has offered me.
JB Serfontien, 21, Student.

Systema has been a revolution on my fighting skills, having been exposed to other fighting arts over many years the Systema method far surpasses anything I have practiced, seen or heard about. For me initially absorbing the fundamentals of the Systema art was a slight challenge, only because of other fighting styles had been pre-programmed into my head. Systema looks at a complete instinctive response to an attack (there is no programming), why would you try block an attack when you can simply move away from the attack, but move in such a manner that you all of a sudden have become a threat to your opponent. It makes so much sense especially once you start practicing it. People become so conditioned in blocking an attack, like I once was, but what if the attack was with a panga or a spade? God knows but you bound to loose a limb. I believe there is no better holistic form of physical, mental and spiritual preparation in terms of close quarter combat than the Systema approach. It's a natural reactive instinct that needs to be conditioned and if it works for me it will work for you. Whatever you do before you pick a fight be sure that its not a Systema student or even worse a Russian Systema Student, because I will put my money on it, you're bound to get a hiding. I highly recommend Russian Martial Arts, you are welcome to contact me if you still have any doubts.
Adam Pires, 30, Training Officer: Wildlife Trade Law Enforcement; Director: Sub-Saharan Africa Scouting Services.

The Johannesburg Systema School, the Close Quarter Combat International Alliance, is the South African home of Systema, the Russian martial art developed and perfected by the elite Russian Spetsnaz Special Forces soldiers. Systema, or The System, is the finest close quarter combat system I have ever encountered. Systema teaches students practical, common-sense, realistic principles and practices of in-close fighting. Systema is designed to be applicable in all combat situations whether they be against armed or unarmed, singular or multiple attackers. I have experienced many systems that claim to be able to do this but only Systema has proven to be true to its word. The Johannesburg School is a place where students come together to learn and grow, there are no belt or grade systems and all ranks of students train together to enhance their learning. Under the tutelage of Vadim Dobrin we all slowly learn, not only how to defend ourselves and our loved ones, but how we can live in a often violent and unpredictable world.
Daniel Janks, 30, Actor.

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